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3 Keys to Choosing the Right Assessment

By Carol Piras, Managing Partner, The Piras Group

Choosing the right assessment

Are All Assessments Alike? 

Ah, the world of assessments.  Which one is right for your company and how to you know which one to choose?

Categories of Assessments

There are many different kinds of assessments that can be used in a company, and for a variety of purposes.  Assessments generally fall into one of the following categories:

  1. 360 Leadership Assessments – provide skill and competency feedback to leaders
  2. Styles assessments – understand self and others and how to work most effectively on a team
  3. Development Assessments – generally for individual contributors aspiring to hiring levels in the organization
  4. Employee Engagement Assessments – to understand the overall health of the organization through employee feedback and satisfaction
  5. Organization/Culture Assessments – specifically to understand cultural nuances and values in the workplace

A proliferation of companies have entered the assessment world and many look alike and operate similarly.  Most instruments are web-based and easy to administer.  Many assessments require certification to order and administer, especially leadership assessments.  Many are translated into various languages given the global nature of work. All are intended to be confidential and anonymous in response.

Choosing the Right Assessment

Regardless of which assessments you use, here is what to consider in selecting one:

1.  Leadership Assessments – If the company has used a particular assessment in the past, the question is usage and how wide-spread across the company.  Whenever possible, using one leadership assessment portfolio is encouraged over many different ones.  Companies that offer these instruments generally have a model or framework they use to provide feedback and each one differs.  You don’t want to confuse leaders by using multiple leadership assessments. Instead, pick one that seems to best fit your company’s needs.

2.  Styles Assessments – For styles assessments we often see more than one used in a company.  The MBTI and DISC are most widely used, and they are similar so we would encourage you to pick one and stick with it.  You can add additional styles instruments such as the TKI or 5 dynamics as they provide a specific focus separate from a person’s overall style or preferences.

3.  Employee Engagement Assessments – Employee engagement surveys have seen a proliferation and many ask very similar questions.  If you will measure changes over a multi-year period, then it is best to select one and stick with it so that you are measuring apples to apples.  Most survey companies allow some customized questions or can tweek questions to fit your culture.

Assessments are simply a tool to solicit information and feedback in most cases.  To get you started, we’ve provided a list and breakdown of many popular assessments on the market today.  This list is not exhaustive as new ones are added often.  It will provide an overview of what the assessment is meant to do, which company produces it, and whether certification is needed.

If you would like additional information on assessments of any sort, please give us a call.

Assessments Matrix

Global Talent Strategy, Competency Modeling, Selection and Interviewing Frameworks

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
Korn Ferry (Lominger) Leadership Architect Portfolio
(Card Sorts)
Specify leadership competencies by core, position level, or functional area. Drives multiple processes including selection, development, performance and competency modeling. HRBPs and Executives can design global talent strategies based on vision, values and business strategy. Comprised of 4 Factors, 12 Clusters and 38 Competencies, with associated desired behaviors. An organization can implement the full comprehensive framework or a tailored model that fits specific organizational levels, functions, industries, and unique business challenges. Yes
Korn Ferry (Lominger) Interview Architect Hiring managers can be more strategic and targeted in their interview process. Arenas/Domains to explore with the candidate
A large library of sample questions at the 4 dimensions of interviewing
Follow-up probes and themes to look for
Resume look for's, learning agility evaluation, competency connections, developmental difficulty and more

Leadership/Management 360° Feedback Assessments

For leaders/managers at all levels: C-suite, VP, Dir, Mgr as part of leadership development planning. Focused on competencies and behaviors to be effective.

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
Korn Ferry Voices Voices® is a web-enabled, research-based, and time-tested solution for delivering 360 feedback. Voices® uses the library of the Leadership Architect™ Competencies and Career Stallers and Stoppers as the foundation for important development plans. Equipped with best practices for implementing Voices®, you will be able to facilitate constructive and meaningful 360 feedback for all levels of your organization. Yes
Center for Creative Leadership CCL Benchmarks: Portfolio of 360 assessments from executive to manager 360 - 92 items: Based on Comprehensive Extensive Database, Measures 16 skills; specific to behaviors known to be critical at the top of the organization; researched based. 155 items, Based on Comprehensive Extensive Database, Measures 16 skills; career stallers/derailment; benchmarked against similar managers in other external organizations; excellent comparison results and Development Learning Guide; multiple languages; researched based. Yes
Truscore Portfolio of 360 assessments from executive to manager Role specific surveys for executives, middle managers and first-line managers/supervisors. Research based surveys are summarized as a leveraged sequence of management/leadership behaviors (called the "Task Cycle") in which skills at the beginning of the sequence are of highest leverage in overall effectiveness. Surveys can be customized, are available in several languages and (multiple surveys) can be summarized at the group or organizational level. Scores benchmarked against others in similar roles. Reports include development plan and tips. Yes
The Leadership Challenge (Wiley) LPI - Leadership Practices Inventory Based on Kouzes & Posner's books: "The Leadership Challenge: How To Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations" and "A Leader's Legacy", the 360-degree assessments and facilitator materials illuminates both the effectiveness of your leaders and the level of commitment, engagement, and satisfaction of those that follow. uses The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model: Model the way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable others to Act, Encourage the Heart. Available in multiple languages. Yes

Development Assessments for Individual Areas of Focus

These assessments are meant for individual areas of focus. From emotional intelligence, to client relations, learning agility and aspiring leaders. Some assessments are 360 in nature and others are self-assessments.

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
Center for Creative Leadership Skillscope Aspiring managers quick assessment and feedback (360). Yes
Truscore Technical Professional, Aspiring to Leadership, Client Relations, Coaching 360 degree feedback surveys for individual contributors and special applications. Surveys measure behaviors, can be customized, are available in several languages and (multiple surveys) can be summarized at the team, organization or company level. Scores benchmarked against others in similar roles. Reports include development plan and tips. Yes
6 Seconds:
The Emotional Intelligence Network
SEI - 6Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment Emotional Intelligence Assessment (Self or 360). The Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Assessment (SEI™) is a suite of well validated, effective assessment tools that measure EQ and equip people with a framework for putting emotional intelligence into action. The suite includes an adult EQ measure (with numerous reports), a 360, and a youth version. SEI is used for a broad range of training, coaching, selection, and development needs. SEI is best-in-class because of the blend of robust psychometrics, easy practicality, and global relevance. Yes
Korn Ferry (Hay Group) ESCI - The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (360) developed by Daniel Goleman, measures 12 competencies measuring emotional and social behavior. Yes
Korn Ferry (Lominger) Becoming an Agile Leader (360) Learning Agility: the ability to perform well under first-time, challenging conditions, is a key differentiator in identifying and developing your most successful leaders. Formerly known as Choices Architect® Quick Score Questionnaire, the Learning Agility Architect™ Quick Score Questionnaire is a versatile self-scorable version of the Choices™ survey that allows for quick assessment of self and others, streamlined scoring and easy interpretation of results.

Enhanced to include the Updated Five-Factor Learning Agility model, Learning Agility Architect™ Quick Score Questionnaire s relevant for:
Center for Creative Leadership Benchmarks for Learning Agility (360) Benchmarks for Learning Agility is an important 360° assessment for leaders. Based on research with global managers and international executives. In times of change, leaders need to be more agile than ever when adapting to new business strategies, working across cultures, dealing with temporary virtual teams, and taking on new assignments, all demands that the leader be flexible and agile. Measures: Innovating (Not afraid to challenge status quo), Performing (Remain calm in face of difficulty), Reflecting (Take time to reflect on experiences), Risking (purposely put themselves in challenging situations (hardest area for leaders to develop), Defending (Open to learning and resist defensiveness in adversity). Provides derailers: importance and competence, and narrative section. Yes

Individuals and Teams: Styles Assessments

Provides insight into an individual or team's dominant personality behaviors. For leaders, critical developmental insights. For teams, understanding how differences and likeness can be used for greater effectiveness and team harmony.

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
CPP Myers Briggs Type Indicator
(Broad Portfolio)
Provides effective measure of Personality Type by looking at eight preferences organized into four dichotomies. The four preferences (one from each scale) are combined into one's Personality Type. There are 16 personality types. Can also use temperament theory based on Kiersey's Temperament Model. Yes
Inscape DiSC Measures observable behavior. Assessment of style along two dimensions, producing a unique graph of each person's style profile. Four styles; Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance. Yes
CPP FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation- Behavior) The FIRO-B instrument measures the extent to which people attempt to satisfy three basic needs (Inclusion, Affection, Control). This tool helps people understand their interpersonal needs and how these needs influence their communication style and behavior. Helps people improve their personal relationships and professional performance. Yes
Gallup Strengths Finder Learn how your dominant talents help you excel, and begin your path to better performance and higher engagement. Intended as an introduction to strengths, this solution is ideal for people who want a quick, focused approach to strengths-based development. Yes
5 Dynamics 5 Dynamics Energy Management + Styles: How individuals learn, work, and collaborate; great tool for addressing "fit" between a person's strengths and their jobs and roles. Yes
CPP Thomas Killman Instrument - Conflict Style Based on a continuum of Cooperativeness and Assertiveness. Measures the Five Conflict Handling Modes; collaborating competing, accommodating, compromising, avoiding. No

Organizational Assessment: Employee Engagement

These surveys or assessments measure employee satisfaction and engagement across the organization

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
Gallup Gallup: Q12 - Modified Version Measures employee engagement; 12 questions; feedback to team; action learning model Yes
Conference Executive Board ClearAdvantage Model The ClearAdvantage framework assesses the critical workforce capabilities needed to execute on your organization’s specific business priorities. It also assesses the capabilities for engagement, alignment, and agility—three competencies that every organization needs to succeed today. The result: a workforce survey that becomes a strategic tool to help drive organizational performance. No
Sirota Spotlight Pulse Uses their proprietary "dynamic alignment" model of strategy, leadership, managers and employees, to develop an engagement survey tailored to the needs of the company. With a portfolio of engagement surveys, focus areas on satisfaction, managerial effectiveness, efficiency, leadership, and overall engagement is measured No
Price Waterhouse Coopers Price Waterhouse Coopers Using their proprietary employee engagement index, surveys ask employees a variety of questions related to leadership, immediate management, work environment, role, career development and training, pay and benefits and customer focus. No
SHRM People InSight SHRM's People InSight survey service focuses on more than 50 aspects of job satisfaction and engagement commonly linked to organizational performance—providing specific information in these areas: career development, employee relationship with management, compensation and benefits, work environment, engagement opinions, engagement behaviors and conditions for engagement No

Organization Assessment / Culture

Defining culture, values, enagement of an entire organization

Vendor Tools How Used Certification Required?
Human Synergistics OCI Organization Culture Inventory Impact of Restrictive/Prescriptive Approaches and Defensive, Passive Aggressive  and Constructive Styles on Self, Others & Org impact on org plus structures, systems, technology and skills; customizable Yes
6 Seconds Emotional Intelligence:  OVS - Organization Vital Signs Measures and Improves Culture. Predicts 57.7% of Performance in: Customer Service, Productivity, Retention. Addresses 5 Climate Factors: Accountability, Collab Problem Solving, Leadership, Alignment, Adaptability for Change + Trust. High Validity. Yes
Barrett Values Centre Barrett Values Assessment Measures cultural capital and impact on the organization's performance. Cultural alignment signficantly influences employee engagement, and employee engagement significantly influences organizational and financial performance. Best for strong commitment to organizational transformation. Yes
Great Place to Work Institute Great Place to Work: The Culture Audit Trust is the defining principle of great workplaces — created through management’s credibility, the respect with which employees feel they are treated, and the extent to which employees expect to be treated fairly. Comprised of quantitative and qualitative data, the Trust Index© survey equips you with accurate, in-depth views of the current state of your company’s culture from employees across the organization. It’s easy to customize and implement, and allows you to quickly compare internal results between work groups, locations, and other demographics. The Culture Audit© begins with a brief, but thorough, management questionnaire that captures the details of your company's practices in nine areas critical to building a high-trust culture. Training Required

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