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5 Key Benefits of Workplace Assessments

Workplace assessments can be categorized as a psychometric test, which is a scientific method to measure an individual’s behavior and competencies and to align them with compatible roles based on their results. Assessments can be beneficial to both employers and employees—employers can place employees in roles that suit their skill sets and ambitions, while employees can achieve higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity, collaboration, and success.

Assessments are typically used to measure competence, work ethics, and emotional intelligence, which can help guide HR and talent development personnel position the right talent with the right roles, improve employee turnover rates, and increase employee morale.

Workplace assessments can fall into two categories: competence and behavior.

Competence assessments focus on individual experience, knowledge, skills, and cognitive abilities, such as reading comprehension, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.

Some examples of competence assessments include:

  • Occupational Interest Inventories. Occupational interest inventories (OII) offer insights into an individual’s interests, which can offer potential career paths, learning and development opportunities, and general workplace personality. The Strong Interest Inventory® is a common OII built on psychologist John Holland’s theory that is supported by eight decades of research on how personal interests influence employment and motivations for employees in the workplace. The assessment identifies the work personality through:
    • Six broad areas of interest: realistic, artistic, investigative, social, enterprising, and conventional (RIASEC)
    • Three specific areas of interest: fields of study, careers, and leisure activities
    • Five personal style preferences: work style, learning environment, team orientation, leadership style, and risk taking

Depending on the purpose of your OII and the Strong Interest Inventory® report you select, you may view an employee’s top five to 10 most compatible occupations.

  • Situation Judgement Tests. These assessments evaluate how individuals respond to real-world situations that often explore interpersonal interactions, heightened pressures and stressors, and generally difficult situations. There are variations to the way these tests are administered, such as recording responses, live roleplaying, or prewritten responses participants can choose from.

Behavioral assessments look at self-care, attitude towards change, prioritization, and interpersonal communication. Behavioral assessments typically focus on psychological and personality traits and how those influence an individual’s thought processes, interactions, and general character.

Some examples of behavioral assessments include:

  • DiSC: An assessment that carefully evaluates the way people communicate in the workplace through four distinct personality profiles—(D)ominance, (i)nfluence, (S)teadiness and (C)onscientiousness. Using the DiSC model helps individuals work through conflict resolution and strengthen workplace relationships. If you have the resources, consider leveraging an expert in organizational leadership and hosting a workshop to walk your team through their results and insights on working with varying working styles.
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: This is a questionnaire that explores psychological preferences to provide insights on individual perception of the world and decision-making. There are 16 personality types with each one providing an in-depth view of how you perceive the world, process information, make decisions, and rationalize your choices.
  • Big Five: Similar to Myers Briggs, this assessment analyzes the five dimensions of personality—extroversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism—to help predict employee interactions and manage job-related stress.


Though assessments provide invaluable data and information to your employees and organization, it is important to assess critical considerations in utilizing them. Here are a few items to review.

  • Purpose: The main question that should determine if you should implement assessments—and if so, which type of assessment—is “What is the purpose of this assessment?” Are you seeking research-based evidence to make changes to your current talent? Do you want to improve recruiting and prospective candidate pools? Once you determine your purpose, you can better determine which test to use and how to apply the results. Additionally, employers utilizing workplace assessments must remember that results reflect an ideal average of a population.
  • Compensation: Depending on industry and role, some competency-related assessments are more commonplace (i.e. writing, design, finance). However, the long-standing debate of being paid for such assessments is something to consider. If you’re asking a candidate to dedicate time, energy, and resources—especially for candidates who are already employed—some form of compensation can go a long way. For example, if you have a prospective writer do a writing exercise to gauge time management and quality of product, you might consider compensating them (i.e. as you would a freelance writer). If you can’t afford to compensate them with money, perhaps a more robust interview process may be required (i.e. having them walk through their process of a prospective project).
  • Legal Implications: If you are utilizing a competency-based assessment, you should consider any legal implications of using their work or ideas. For example, if you have a graphic designer complete a social media series for St. Patrick’s Day and you like their design but don’t select them for the role, you might want to consider having a written document they need to sign stating intent for use and their rights.
  • Bias and Discrimination: Also along the lines of legal implications, assessments should be role-related and justified to avoid potential anti-discrimination laws. Individuals reviewing assessments should also focus on the results to avoid predisposition or unconscious bias.
  • Assessment Administration: To preserve reliability and validity of the results, it is important to take measures to reduce cheating or other potential factors that may influence responses. One factor to consider is reducing fear. Be sure to communicate the purpose of the assessment and the impact it will have on employees (i.e. promotions, opportunities for learning and development). This means addressing fear of retaliation or fear of negative actions following an assessment.

If you’re considering using workplace assessments or would like to consider other ways to boost your employee engagement and job satisfaction, check out Namely’s Guide to Upskilling and Reskilling Employees.

Sources: Chron, Indeed, Association for Talent Development

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