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Assessment Centres for Career Progression / Promotion – but what next?

Source | LinkedIn : By Pallavi Wagle

“I was devastated after I failed to get a promotion last year. I may not have performed well in the Assessment Centre, and hence must not have been promoted.” – Ryan Machado

“I thought I did pretty well in the Assessment Centre last year, but I don’t know why I was not promoted. This year hopefully I will do better.” – Ramesh Krishnan

Both Ryan and Ramesh are part of progressive organizations that have adopted an extremely objective methodology for selecting those to be promoted to the next level.

A lot of organizations have started going beyond the traditional methods of promotion. Earlier, organizations just relied on the past performance of the employee, followed by a personal interview or a panel interview. If the employee had been a consistent performer for a number of years and was able to perform well at the interview, that was enough for him / her to clinch the coveted promotion.

Over a period of time, organizations started realizing that being an exceptionally good performer at the current level / designation is not a guarantee for future performance, especially future performance at a higher level / designation. There was a realization that there are certain competencies that may be required for an employee to be effective at the higher level, which are not required in his / her current role or the current role does not give an opportunity to exhibit.

Promoting employees without preparing them and assessing them for those specific competencies which are essential for success at the next higher level could well become a sure-fire recipe for disaster. This has been enunciated very well in a recently published article and here is a link to the same.

The introduction of an Assessment Centre exercise is an objective way to evaluate whether the employees eligible for promotion have the ‘potential’ to perform as well at the higher level as they are performing at the current level. An Assessment Centre helps simulate the situations that would require the employees to exhibit competencies required for the higher level, through its well thought-out instruments / tools like role plays, case study discussions, analytical exercises, Competency Based Interviews, presentations, etc. The fact that employees are observed by a panel of behavioural experts, not from the same organization, across various instruments, ensures an in-depth and completely unbiased evaluation.

So, fine! A completely objective assessment! In the end, some employees are promoted; some are not, like Ryan and Ramesh. But, those who are not promoted are in no way better equipped the next year than they were the year before.

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