Recently I had the pleasure of attending SHL’s (www.shl.com) L.I.N.K. event in Orlando, FL. L.I.N.K. stands for Learn, Interact, Network, and Know, and I had the opportunity to do all of those at this event. I also had the opportunity to learn about what SHL is doing in the assessment arena. SHL is an industry leader in the assessment area and it appears they have an assessment for every job, in every industry. My interactions focused on assessments and their importance to organizations.
Learning, interacting, and networking is important, especially as we (Brandon Hall Group) know that from the research we have conducted, assessments offer different opportunities for both technology providers and for client companies. Assessments are the next big opportunity for Talent Management Providers and LMS providers to buy or build into their existing systems, and they also represent an amazing opportunity for clients to better understand their talent pools.
Every organization wants to have a great team of people working to make their organization better. Successful enterprises take many things into consideration when building a team, but to the surprise of many, group or team intelligence doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the intelligence of individuals. Assessment testing allows the organization to determine if the most important traits of a world class team are possible with the available individuals. In building a great team, the ability of the team members to listen and provide feedback constructively is critical to its success. Of course, a good team member is intelligent, but these individuals must also display emotional intelligence.
In the past, I have had outstanding opportunities to work with many wonderful team members, many of whom I would consider to be the best and the brightest anywhere. However, this intelligence does not always translate into a great team. I have seen team dynamics that were more focused on individuals trying to focus on their own strengths rather than working towards goals as a team. This game playing does not make for a sustainable team in today’s workforce. Your best people won’t want to be part of a team where someone is always trying to prove their superiority by putting down the rest of the team, and if assessments are done on potential team members before they join the team, the organization can determine whether or not individuals are a good fit from an emotional intelligence standpoint.
Generational norms are also becoming a factor for companies to consider when building teams. In 2010, US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that by 2013 the millennial generation will make up 40% of the work force. Millennials were born between 1982 and 2002, and companies sometimes forget that members of this generation will be turning 30 next year, and are becoming organizational leaders. Some of these people are managers and a select few may become your next boss or the company’s youngest CEO or VP if they haven’t already. I believe the millennial generation is going to be very successful and as they learn to have a voice and a seat at the table, they are going to be a very important part of the team. The advancement of this generation into company leadership is especially important when organizations are looking to create teams to function well together.
The necessity of teams functioning well together leads me back to assessments. Americans happen to be one of the lowest users of assessments in the world. However, our initial research shows that if a company is embarking on any kind of a learning strategy, a talent strategy, or heck, a new business strategy, any of these initiatives will be more successful if the organization engages in assessments before moving forward. Having a talent strategy without utilizing scientifically proven assessments is like getting married before dating. Sometimes the results are positive, but most people would agree they wouldn’t want to operate that way. Some advanced assessment of potential team members and team characteristics is critical for a team’s success.
I would love to hear your thoughts around assessments and how your organization conducts assessments for its team members. It is a fascinating topic and one we want to hear from all of you on as we conduct our research in these areas.