Assessment is a process of gathering information from multiple sources in order to develop an understanding about individuals. The process of assessment makes use of standardized assessment tools that are valid and reliable. The spectrum of assessment tools and their applications in the domain of competency mapping format is vast.
Employees can be assessed through a combination of various techniques that allows them to demonstrate, under standardized conditions, those skills and abilities necessary for success on the job (Coleman, 1987; Uddin, Tanchi & Alam, 2012). This is known as an assessment center. Techniques such as in-basket exercises, problem analysis exercises, interview simulation exercises, role-play and leadership group exercises are integrated in the competency mapping design. These kinds of assessment center exercises allow the employees to showcase those knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job.
For the purpose of objectivity in the competency mapping reports, the administration of psychometric tests becomes essential. These are standardized tools of assessment that provide a quantitative basis of judgment. It is mandatory to use psychometric tests that have high reliability and validity. A test can be said to have high reliability if it shows consistency in scores for the same person if administered more than once and high validity is indicated if the test successfully assesses what it aims to assess.
In the competency mapping process, psychometric tests assessing aptitude and interest of the employees and their personality traits are extensively used. Personality assessment plays an integral role in recruitment and selection to understand the personality-organization (P-O) fit, that is, whether the person possesses those personality traits mentioned in the job description. A high P-O fit is a good predictor of success on the job. Similarly, aptitude testing gives an insight about the capacity of the employee to acquire with training some skills that would be required for the job. Along with these two types of assessments, interview method too can be considered as a part of assessment in the competency mapping process. Its gives an opportunity to the employer and the assessor to get detailed information about the employee, especially those that cannot be easily observed or elicited through psychometric tests and assessment center exercises.
In any competency mapping design, assessment is not a product of a single tool or method but an amalgamation of several exercises and tests that provides complete information about the employee. Therefore, few assessment center exercises maybe used along with psychometric tests and interview to prepare a report that is more holistic in nature. With this backdrop, the role of assessments in competency mapping in corporate sectors and organizations per se, may be said to be two-fold. First, competency mapping makes use of a plethora of assessment tools as part of listing down the characteristics of the employees.
Being quantitative in nature, some assessment tools provide evidence to substantiate the information collected through interview and observations made on the job. Quantitative evidence becomes highly essential since interview and direct observations may be subjective in content. Also, these assessment tools are used to set internal benchmarks for the purpose of competency mapping.
The employee’s characteristics and skills are compared with the global benchmarks inclusive in the tools used and with internal benchmarks prepared with the top performers in the business process. At the end, using the results of these assessment tools, a score card is prepared for each employee giving an insight about their competency for the applied job. Second, competency mapping may be used as a basis to develop customized assessment tools for a specific job role or for the organization at large. For instance, based on the results of job description and the suitable competencies required for it, a tool may be developed to assess whether the candidate is fit for the job.
Assessment’s role in competency mapping process has been proved to be crucial since it is on this basis that an organization can determine the scope for training and development for their employees and their resulting job performance. A best performer in an organization may be said to be a competent employee. If any instance of discrepancy exists between the present and the expected performance of the employees, then training would help in making them more competent and in turn, enhance their performance. All these factors together influence the organizational success which is the ultimate aim.