M ARCH 2005

Fact Brief

Trends in Developmental Assessment Centers
Profiled Institution A* B C** D Industry Pharmaceutical Pharmaceutical High Technology Manufacturing Employees More than 100,000 More than 50,000 More than 50,000 More than 10,000 Revenues More than $20 billion More than $20 billion More than $20 billion Less than $5 billion Key Questions: For what purposes do organizations use assessment centers and what is their typical audience? How do organizations develop, manage, and staff developmental assessment centers? What exercises and tests do organizations include in their assessment centers? What is the return on investment for developmental assessment center activities?

*Company A’s profile pertains only to its information management specialist assessment center. **Company C is in the process of developing its assessment center

Table of Contents Executive Summary Center Philosophy and Audience Center Development and Management Center Activities and Impact Research Methodology 2 3 5 7 11

Issue Overview: Using Developmental Assessment Centers to Fill the Leadership Pipeline The increasing need to fill the leadership pipeline . . . Talent management professionals are increasingly concerned about the aging workforce and the recent rise in executive and senior management retirements. Research suggests that by 2005, the median age of the nation's workforce will be over 40 and that one in five senior executives in the Fortune 500 is eligible for retirement. A significant number of North American firms need to fill 80 percent or more of their senior management positions. Despite this need, only 18 percent of respondents to a Development Dimensions International executive survey were highly satisfied with their internal succession management and development processes, and 33 percent expressed doubt in those processes.1,2 According to the Council’s Voice of the Leader, organizations must successfully develop high potential (HIPO) candidates to assume future leadership positions in order to maintain growth. Companies that report highly successful succession management processes were significantly more likely to report that they outperformed their competitors.3,4 . . . is met with developmental assessment centers for developing HIPO employees. Assessment centers offer an effective leadership development strategy, and are among the more respected methods for identifying the most qualified candidates. Tests show that interviews are only 20 percent effective while assessment centers are 65 percent effective at identifying candidates who succeed.5 Given the need to identify and develop successful candidates for future leadership pos itions , and the effectiveness of developmental assessment centers pipelines, this brief offers tactical strategies drawn from interviews with four companies and the philosophy, design, management, and impact of their centers.6

Catalog No.: CLC12ZUZ1M

© 2005 Corporate Executive Board

This project was researched and written to fulfill the specific research request of a single member of the Corporate Leadership Council and as a result may not satisfy the information needs of other members. In its short-answer research, the Corporate Leadership Council refrains from endorsing or recommending a particular product, service or program in any respect. Sources are contacted at random within the parameters set by the requesting member, and the resulting sample is rarely of statistically significant size. That said, it is the goal of the Corporate Leadership Council to provide a balanced review of the study topic within the parameters of this project. The Corporate Leadership Council encourages members who have additional questions about this topic to assign short -answer research projects of their own design.

© 2005 Corporate Executive Board

and promoting HIPO participants Ÿ DevelopmentTo nurture and accelerate employee development independent of the selection and promotion process Selecting Participants—Assessment centers may be developed and offered to any employee level. two profiled companies use the following measures of success: • Pool size of qualified internal candidates • Top leader awareness of internal talent • Performance on future competency assessments Ÿ Selection and Promotion To streamline succession and talent management processes by identifying.000. and two profiled companies invite recently retired or current executives to participate as assessors in the center to offer visual evidence of high level support for the assessment centers. Staffing with Internal Assessors— Companies may choose to use internal staff as center assessors to promote company culture and reflect senior support. I. profiled companies distribute results to the following individuals: • Participant • Senior Manager • Talent Management Team Ÿ Lack of objectivity Ÿ Significant demand on human capital Hiring External AssessorsIn addition to internal staff. C ENTER ACTIVITI ES AND IMPACT Center Structure and Activities Determining Center Activities—The content of assessment center programming differs according to the organization’s center philosophy. though the majority offer assessment centers for developmental purposes as described below: II. internal staffing presents the following challenges: III. and select high potential (HIPO) talent at manager and executive levels. profiled companies implement single or multi-day assessment centers. Profiled companies use the following tests: • Myers Briggs Type Indicator • FIRO-B Assessment • Hogan Personality Test Assessment Feedback and Impact Calculating ROI Proves Difficult— Profiled companies find it difficult to calculate the return on investment of centers over short center histories. External assessors present the following challenges: Ÿ Ÿ No familiarity with company culture Reduce legitimacy and support for assessment process © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . developing. Centers at profiled companies are designed for the following employee levels: Ÿ High Potential Upper Managers Ÿ Information Management Managers Ÿ Director Level and Above Center Audience Selecting the Audience —The assessment center philosophy determines its audience (the recipients of center assessment results ). develop. C ENTER D EVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT Center Development and Costs Collaborating with VendorsTo maximize resources and to avoid reinventing the wheel. number of competencies. However. companies may choose to involve vendors in the design of their developmental assessment center and the creation of leadership competencies. Most profiled companies use simulation exercises. Profiled companies’ costs per person range from $2. Companies may include the following center activities: • • • • • • • Role Play/In-Basket Exercises Critical Thinking Assessments Leaderless Group discussions Motivational Fit Personality Assessments Problem-Solving Activities Structured Interviews Center Tests Including Tests in CenterCompanies use standardized intelligence and behavioral tests in conjunction with assessment centers. Three of four companies designed their centers with the contribution of vendors.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 PAGE 2 EXECUTIVE S UMMARY To effectively assess. Anticipating Center Costs —There is no average cost for assessment centers due to opportunities for customization. companies may also employ external consultants and executives to participate as assessors and trainers. However. Research data show that the combination of tests and activities provides a markedly better means of evaluating employees than either alone. and methods of testing. while those centered on development tend toward greater confidentiality as described below: Maintaining ConfidentialityLiterature recommends maintaining confidentiality of assessment results to encourage greater participant development.000 to $9. Centers focused on selection provide results to managers and talent management. C ENTER PHILOSOPHY AND AUDIENCE Center Philosophy Determining Purpose—Profiled companies design assessment centers for selection and development. Despite this. Center Management and Staff Companies employ both internal and external assessors in their assessment centers as a means of invoking company culture while maintaining internal human resourse capacities.

7 Research indicates that perhaps the most important feature of the assessment center is that it relates to future performance. performance. and not current performance.” Mercer HR Consulting (21 September 2004) Center Philosophy #1: Promotion and Selection Since first appearing in AT&T’s 1956 Management Progress Study. By observing how a participant handles the problems and challenges of the target job or job level (as simulated in exercises). Distinct Center Purposes: Develop or Select/Promote “Organizations that adopt the vanilla approach of ‘employee development’ are often confused when faced with the full menu of [assessment center] application options—promotions. as the center would provide the greatest developmental opportunities for this level of participant. upper-level employees . as described below: Table 1: Developmental Assessment for Selection Philosophies Employee Level Description of Center Origin and Philosophy HIPO Employees for Partner Positions and Above Company C will use the results of the assessment center for its succession and talent management processes.” —“Assessment Centers: Challenges and Success Measurement Criteria.corporateleadershipcouncil.8 Selection and Promotion at Company C—Company C intends to use its assessment center for the selection and promotion of high potential. Company C assigns the following potential and readiness indicators during their initial people review process: FIGURE 1: DETERMINING CENTER P ARTICIPANTS AT COMPANY C Company C intends to assign prospective participants a pair of the following potential and readiness indicators. succession. C þ Recommended Reading Pre-Hire and Developmental Assessment Tools at Fortune 500 Companies Corporate Leadership Council (January 2003) Details: This study seeks to examine current trends and preferences surrounding the selection and assessment of employees.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 3 Center Philosophy and Audience Companies design assessment centers with distinct philosophies. This section details the different philosophies that form the foundation of assessment centers at profiled companies. companies have historically used assessment centers to screen candidates or target employees for promotion. com/ShortLink?nLinkId=1327211 Determining Center Participants at Company C—In order to select center participants who will benefit most from their assessment center experience. and career planning. © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . Co. listed in order of priority: Potential Indicators: § High Potential (H) § Partner (P) § Vice President (E) § Senior Leadership (S) Readiness Level: § Two Moves Away § One Move Away § Ready Now Employees ranked “H Two Moves” are of highest priority for participation in the center. resulting in differing designs and audience. Available: http://www. The company seeks to strategically develop and manage talent rather than filling talent needs in the moment. assessors may better understand how the employee would perform in the target position. selection. rewards.

but rather to identify needs for future training and development.” —Sylvester Taylor. the majority of profiled companies —Company A. For example. as noted below.10 Confidentiality a Priority at Company A—While research highlights the benefits of maintaining feedback confidentiality. These HIPO employees attended the center not as part of a screening process.” —Cynthia McCauley. It does not attach its development program to the promotion or selection process given sensitivity and vulnerability of assessment. and Company D— do not attach their assessment center procedures to selection and promotion processes. Bristol-Myers Squibb partnered with Personnel Development International (PDI) to create the Accelerated Development Program. Company B. but does not mandate. Confidentiality creates conditions of psychological safety for the feedback recipients necessary for their development. “A Question of Leadership. The following table depicts the recipients of assessment center results at profiled companies: Table 3: The Audience of Assessment Results at Profiled Companies Recipient of Results A B C D Participant Senior Manager Others Chosen by Participant Talent Management Team © 2005 Corporate Executive Board ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü ü . VP for Research and Innovation. The philosophies of the companies’ assessment centers for HIPO managers and above are detailed below: Table 2: Developmental Assessment Philosophies Co. Center for Creative Leadership. literature indicates that confidentiality of assessment center feedback is essential for participant development. The company encourages.” Leadership in Action (May/June 2003) Supporting the trend toward employee development rather than selection. “A Question of Leadership. Company D began using internal assessments for directors and above both as interventions and for assessment/development purposes. in 2001. assessment centers are playing a leading role in accelerating employee development. only Company A provides confidential results. people need a safe environment. Participant Level HIPO Information Management Managers and Above Description of Center Origin and Philosophy Company A created its developmental assessment center in 1995 when corporate leaders indicated that information management upper-level managers needed help to become general business leaders beyond their current technological capabilities. The two should be kept separate. In 2003.” Leadership in Action (May/June 2003) Increasingly.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 4 Center Philosophy (Continued) Center Philosophy #2: Assessment and Development Separating Development from Selection and Promotion “Using feedback for developmental purposes requires distinct tools and processes that are different from those companies use when the feedback data are used for administrative decision-making. The company uses the as sessment center to expose “blind areas” (areas for development) through participation and feedback. that employees provide a summary of their assessment results to their manager. To take a hard look at themselves and commit to self-improvement. A B Global Talent and Upper Management Director Level and Above D Center Audience and Confidentiality The Value of Confidentiality for Development “Confidential feedback is a necessary ingredient for development. in which the company selected 30 managers possessing senior-manager potential to complete the assessment center. Company B began its developmental program in June 2002 in five business areas in order to provide intensive feedback to help push employees to the next level.9 Reflecting the trend toward developmental assessment center use.

2005 A B C D 12 – 20 Partnered Not a As needed 1 $3. including coaching. influencing without authority. Additionally. Company A’s steering committee of information management executives commissioned an outside vendor to create its assessment procedure. and decision-making. and Company A hires former Manchester consultants to manage the center. companies may choose to involve vendors in the design of their developmental assessment center and creation of leadership competencies. To maximize resources and avoid reinventing the wheel. This section details the development strategies. and processing fees. In 2002.000* Conduct Centers— Manchester used its own subcontractors as consultants. with the exception of Company D. Create Simulations— Manchester contracted with Thomsen Group to write assessment center simulations.000 to $9. Company A brought the operations and management “in-house. adaptability. Company D does not have an on-site assessment center and instead uses a vendor to conduct a battery of assessment tests.000 (Varies by Position) with Vendor Formal Center *Estimation **Cost per participant indicates the cost of sponsoring one individual in the assessment center.000 $4.000 $150.11 The majority of companies used consultants to design their assessment center. and role players at the center.250 $2.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 5 Center Development and Costs Companies may develop and design their customized assessment centers and competencies with the help of consultants and vendors. Design and Participant Center Costs Three of the four profiled companies commissioned external consultants to design and staff developmental assessment centers . coaches. The chart below documents the number of competencies tested. and incurred design costs between $150. including costs for compensating external personnel.000* 12 4 to 5 Unknown Participants per Session 8 12 Unknown Per Participant Cost** $8.” Company A’s assessment vendor relationship is docum ented on the timeline to the left. Collaborate with Vendors in Design of Center and Competency Models FIGURE 2: TIMELINE OF COMPANY A’S VENDOR RELATIONSHIP 1995 Commission Vendor— Company A commissions Manchester Incorporated and senior Harvard Business School faculty to create the assessment procedure. Number of Leadership Competencies 16 16 15 VendorSessions Design Cost Developed? per Year No Yes No $500. 2002 Move Internally— Manchester contract ended in 2002. © 2005 Corporate Executive Board .000. and types of internal and external assessors that profiled companies use to develop and manage their assessment centers. companies may choose to staff the assessment center with internal assessors and external assessors hired on contract. Initial Consultant Contributions at Company A—In 1995. Bayer worked with the Center for Creative Leadership to create a three-part program that addresses 13 leadership competencies . and the continuing cost per participant of profiled company centers: Table 4: Design and Management Costs of Assessment Centers Co.000 and $500. the initial design costs. For example. vendor contribution to competency development. hotel stays. costs.000 $215.

TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 6 Center Management and Staff Research reveals that companies employ a mix of both internal and external assessors. two of four profiled companies use the following internal talent in their developmental assessment center: § § Corporate Psychologist (Company D) Company Program Manager (Company B) § § Leaders from the Executive Committee (Company B) Trained Organization Development Staff (Company D) Employ Expert External Assessor Staff In addition to select internal staff.12 However. companies balance the following advantages and disadvantages of both internal and external assessors: Challenge: Managing Internal Assessors Organizations build internal assessors to institutionalize the process. A 2004 Chief Executive survey finds that organizations reporting a high level of senior management involvement in centers are more likely to report greater effectiveness of succession management processes and higher levels of confidence in the organization’s supply of leadership. The following diagram highlights the costs and benefits of using staff in the internal assessor role: FIGURE 3: COSTS Advantages AND BENEFITS OF LEVERAGING INTERNAL ASSESSORS Disadvantages Solution: Decentralizing the Center Organizations reduce the drain on manager resources with the following decentralizing steps: + + + Promotes senior management buy-in Possess knowledge of company culture Leverage and recognize internal talent − − May lack objectivity Significant demand on human capital Ÿ Ÿ Ÿ Incorporate the assessment center method into day to day activities. However. profiled companies also employ external consultants and executives to participate as assessors and trainers in their assessment process. “assessor burn out” is a common consequence of using the same tools over an extended period of time. Company D) Retired Internal and External Executives—(Company A) § Trainers and Executive Coaches (Company A and Company B) Organizations confront the following benefits and costs when choosing to employ external assessors: FIGURE 4: COSTS Advantages AND BENEFITS OF EMPLOYING EXTERNAL ASSESSORS Disadvantages + + + Trained and qualified external experts Reduces internal human capital resource requirement Accurate and unbiased view © 2005 Corporate Executive Board − − Not familiar with company culture May reduce view of legitimacy and support for assessment process . while also employing external assessors to reduce the strain on internal human resource capacities. That said. Given these advantages. as detailed below: § § Consulting Psychologists (Company A. Companies may choose to employ internal assessors in order to maintain company culture. companies should balance the drain on internal resources available for use in the assessment center with the benefits of inculcating company culture and senior management buy-in. rather than dedicating an entire day to a center Allow the assessee to schedule his/her own meetings with assessors (managers) over a period of several weeks Managers incorporate time for the exercises into their usual activities —International Congress for Assessment Methods Roundtable Discussion (May 2000) Determining Assessor Source—To determine whether to employ internal assessors. —Mercer Human Resources Consulting (21 September 2004) Leverage Internal Assessor Staff The involvement of internal and senior staff provides invaluable expertise and support for both the center and the participants. the use of internal staff as assessors can result in a significant drain of human resources.

job relevant. assessment center exercises measure desirable traits or skill gaps. A Purpose of Center Develop Center Length 1 Day Number of Participants 8 Number of Assessors 6 Number of Competencies 16 Exercises and Tests Ÿ Role Play Ÿ MBTI Ÿ Hogan Ÿ Role Play Ÿ Group Exercise Ÿ Interview Ÿ Training Unknown ü B Provide insights beyond those that can be gained by quicker. and tests within profiled company assessment centers. Most profiled companies use role plays during the center and provide training sessions following the assessment experience. Role Play 2. and accurate Assessment centers allow for an accurate comparison of people throughout the world based on the same dimensions —Training & Development (May 2000) Develop 3 Days 12 9 16 C D Select Develop 3 Days 3 hrs – 2 Days Unknown 1 Unknown 1 15 12 – 20 ü Ÿ MBTI Ÿ FIRO-B Ÿ 360Degree ü ü Include Multiple Assessment Center Components The content of assessment center programming differs according to the center’s philosophy. Profiled center components are provided in the chart below: Benefits of Developmental Assessment Centers While assessment centers are unable to effectively evaluate the competencies of work standards and motivation. component activities. Board Presentation 3.000 employees profiled in past Council research uses the following role play exercise developed in conjunction with Development Dimensions International: FIGURE 5: ROLE PLAY EXERCISE AT L ARGE TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANY 1. centers exhibit the following benefits: Table 5: Assessment Center Component Details Co. number of competencies tested. Accompanying Tests Ÿ Individual takes on the role of a CEO for three hypothetical years Ÿ Examine business plans Ÿ Make recommendations Ÿ Individual presents business plans to a fictitious board (assessors) Ÿ Highland’s Abilities Battery Ÿ Complexity of Information Ÿ Hogan’s Personality Inventory Processing Ÿ Specialized 360-degree tool © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . This section details the structure.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 7 Center Structure and Activities The structure and components of company assessment centers vary depending upon center philosophy. without regard for actual job title or responsibility. and methods of testing. Companies may employ the following assessment and development tools during assessment:13 § § § § Critical Thinking Assessments Leaderless Group Discussions Motivational Fit Exercises Personality Assessments § § § Problem -Solving Activities Role Plays/In-Basket Exercises Structured Interviews Assessment Center Case Example A telecommunications firm with more than 100. as well as participant feedback and the ROI of profiled company centers. As tools for development. easier methods such as paperand-pencil tests and interviews The use of outside professional assessors provides an accurate and unbiased view of competencies Participants perceive the assessment center as being fair.

Company B. The consultant offers training and tactics for improved communication and body language Timing Evening First Day Second Day Morning of the Third Day © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . no-bureaucracy at Company A’s Assessment Center—Company A includes its one-day assessment center in a multi-day overall development program. and an individual interview separate from the role play scenario. and Retain Leadership Talent William Byham Financial Times/Prentice Hall 2002 Details: Covers every phase of executive development and succession. Company A. as each individual is responsible for the same competencies. group exercise. Available: www. including a business case. Follow-Up Training—Participants have the opportunity to attend a five-day follow up development session at the Harvard Business School Timing First Day That Night Follow Up Company B’s Assessment Center—Company B conducts a 2. The following diagrams outline the length. The company assesses 16 leadership competencies as participants experience the following center elements: Elements Dinner and Preparation—Participants dine together and spend two hours reviewing preparatory material on an overarching scenario of a fictive corporation Role Play/Business Case—Individuals participate in a role play for the first and second activity in which the consultant plays a partner Group Exercise—Individuals participate in a team discussion with a problem to solve that results in a presentation the second day Group Presentation—The participant group presents its business case with regard to the business problem exercise on the first day Individual Interview—Each individual participates in an interview independent of all other exercises conducted by company senior management Communications Training—If the participant desires. in-house developmental assessment centers. as described below: Elements Six role play exercises—Total simulation approach to assessment that integrates exercises into scenarios Report—The executive coaches create a ten page report for each participant over night. structure.5 day assessment centered on a common role play scenario. she or he may meet with the training consultant to review a video tape of the participant’s center activity.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 8 Center Structure and Activities (Continued) Three of the four profiled companies offer. The center assesses the participant’s grasp of Company A’s 16 competencies with six role play exercises and a six person panel of retired senior executives. and exercise content of the assessment centers at Company A and B: þ RECOMMENDED READING Grow Your Own Leaders: How to introducing high-impact. Develop. and Company C do not vary the structure of the center by position. or will offer. The most common standardized employment tests assess intelligence and may include segments evaluating candidates' reasoning. Company A and Company B use the following behavioral and cognitive tests: Center Test Vending Information FIRO. —Corporate Counsel (September 2003) Companies use standardized intelligence and behavioral tests in conjunction with assessment centers.aspx Meyers Briggs Type Indicator—Measures a person’s preferences.B Assessment http://www. memory.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 9 Center Tests Ability Testing Prevalence About 50 percent of companies use standardized employment tests. (Company D) Hogan Personality Tests—Illustrates a participant's natural advantages and their potential challenges in a job or business setting (Company A) © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . sens ing/ using four basic scales with opposite poles : extraversion/introversion.asp Myers Briggs Type Indicator http://www. and numerical abilities.asp § § Hogan Personality Test § http://www. and judging/perceiving (Company A and Company D) FIRO-B Assessment—Reveals the leadership and management style of participants through -by -design. Research data show that the combination of intelligence data and behavioral observations provides a markedly better means of evaluating employees than either used alone.15 Balance Center with Behavioral and Cognitive Tests To determine accurately the competencies of assessment center participants.14. thinking/feeling. and roughly 70 percent engage in some sort of ability -by -design.

level managers Produced an estimate of the organization’s net gain in dollars resulting from the use of assessment center information in the promotion process. top leaders gained a much better understanding of the talent within their organization.4 million over a four-year period in job performance improvement of the 1. to at least 30. Company D received negative feedback from its first round of assessment tests. “Some participants knew they were successful in their careers.” Company B “Videotaping participants for training purposes has been the best thing we have done. No data yet available § A B C D § § © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . very fair. Unlike Bell. No data yet available Intends to assess competencies every year to determine the impact of the center on participants. Solution—The interviewee at Company D suggests that the company might have avoided negative feedback by providing broader education on the purpose and implications of assessment center results .” Bell gained $13. —“Assessment Center Method. and Technologies” (May 2000) According to William Byham’s “Assessment Center Method. as demonstrated in the table below: Table 6: Center ROI at Profiled Companies Company Impact of Assessment Center Pool of future vice presidents and CIOs has grown from 1 or 2 prospects a year.” Company D 2. The negative reaction by the participants slowed down the assessment center development process. both Company A and Company C established distinct means of calculating ROI. Applications. determining quantitative return on investment for assessment centers is difficult.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 Philosophy and Audience Development and Management Activities and Impact PAGE 10 Assessment Feedback and Impact Measuring ROI at Bell Researchers at Bell calculated the “bottom-line” impact of promotion decisions based on assessment center information versus decisions based on criteria extracted from other methods using the following methodology: 1. Within 12 months. memorable. However.” “Tremendous high-level support.” “Considered very.” Calculating Return on Investment As the interviewee at Company B noted. Soliciting Feedback The three profiled companies with assessment center operations report both positive and negative feedback from the assessment center process. Gathered performance information provided by more than 700 line managers over fouryear period Combined data on validity and cos t of the assessment center with the dollar-valued job performance of first. as described below: Company A “One of the finest programs of its kind at Company A. especially in the initial years when performance tracking is incomplete and inadequate. 3. Applications. and highly instructive by participants.100 new managers that completed its developmental assessment center. The following information reflects the qualitative participant and company feedback regarding their assessment center experiences. as well as limited data on the quantitative return on investment. profiled companies find it difficult to quantify the impact of assessment centers and the assessment process on the leadership development and succession management process. but the cognitive tests showed they were below average in some components. Challenge and Solution: Negative Center Feedback Challenge —While only using developmental assessments for one and a half years. Company A and Company B received significant support from senior executives and participants. and Technologies.

This report represents the findings from secondary and primary sources. If organizations use vendor personnel. drawn from previous Corporate Executive Board research. What is the length of assessment centers? Does the length of assessment centers vary by the position of the individual being assessed? 9. How many exercises do organizations include in the assessment center? Does this number vary by position? 10. 1. Do organizations manage the assessment center using vendor personnel or with internal resources? 6. What is the target audience of assessment centers? What are the target positions? 3. Council staff then interviewed four human resources professionals at different organizations. work with a vendor to develop a customized solution. Do organizations realize a significant return on investment from the use of developmental assessment centers? Table 1: Table 2: Table 3: Table 4: Table 5: Table 6: Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4: Figure 5: Developmental Assessment for Selection Philosophy Developmental Assessment Philosophies The Audience of Assessment Results at Profiled Companies Design and Management Costs of Assessment Centers Assessment Center Component Details Center ROI at Profiled Companies Determining Center Participants at Company C Timeline of Company A’s Vendor Relationship Costs and Benefits of Leveraging Internal Assessors Costs and Benefits of Employing External Assessors Role Play Exercise at Large Telecommunications Company Page 3 Page 4 Page 4 Page 6 Page 7 Page 10 Page 3 Page 5 Page 6 Page 6 Page 8 Project Aims Guide to Tables and Figures © 2005 Corporate Executive Board . What types of tests do organizations use? 11.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 PAGE 11 T HE R ESEARCH PROCESS IN BRIEF Research Methodology The Corporate Leadership Council conducted a comprehensive search of published materials regarding the subject of developmental assessment centers . Do organizations purchase an off-the-shelf product from a vendor. what is the approximate cost per person to maintain the center? 7. What type of personnel do organizations use to staff internal assessors? 8. or develop the center solely in-house? 4. other research organizations. Do organizations use internally developed competency models or work with vendors to develop the competencies being assessed? 12. and the Internet. These individuals discussed their developmental assessment center program . What is the approximate cost of using a vendor? 5. What is the philosophy behind the use of assessment centers organizations? Are they used primarily for developmental or evaluative purposes? Pre-hire assessment? 2. trade press journals.

[Accessed 27 February 2005]." Training & Development (March 2000). 9 Joel Schettler. "Building Bench Strength. Standardized Testing Can Reveal the Right Candidate for the Job— But Handle with Care. Further." Development Dimensions International (May 2000). and the Council cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information or its analysis in all cases." 10 Sylvester Taylor. 1 2 Joel Schettler." eFinancialNews (16 April 2003).." © 2005 Corporate Executive Board ." 8 William Byham. Washington: Corporate Executive Board (2001). accounting or other professional services." 13 Joel Schettler. "Leadership: How to Create a Reservoir of Ready-Made Leaders. "Building Bench Strength. (Obtained through EBSCO). (Obtained from Lexis-Nexis). however. "How to Gain an Edge at Assessment Centers. 3 Corporate Leadership Council. This project relies upon data obtained from many sources. "Succession Management: Filling the Leadership Pipeline. Author Unknown.D." Corporate Counsel (1 September 2003)." 5 Sarah Butcher. (Obtained from Lexis-Nexis). "Succession Management: Filling the Leadership Pipeline. and Technologies." Chief Executive (April 2004). Ph. (Obtained from Lexis-Nexis). "Building Bench Strength. whether caused by Corporate Executive Board or its sources. 6 William Byham.TRENDS IN DEVELOPMENTAL A SSESSMENT CENTERS MARCH 2005 PAGE 12 Professional Services The Corporate Leadership Council has worked to ensure the accuracy of the information it provides to its members." Training (June 2002). the Council is not engaged in rendering legal. "The Assessment Center Method. 7 Joel Schettler." Training (January 2004). Neither Corporate Executive Board nor its programs is responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in their reports. "Assessment Center Methods. Members requiring such services are advised to consult an appropriate professional. 15 William Byham. (Obtained from Factiva). (Obtained through www." Leadership in Action (May/June 2003).assessmentcenters. "A Question of Its projects should not be construed as professional advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Landy. (Obtained through ProQuest). 12 Author Unknown. "Building Bench Strength. 4 Author Unknown. "Leveraging Leadership. Voice of the Leader." 14 Frank J. (Obtained from Factiva). Applications. "Succession Management: Filling the Leadership Pipeline. 11 Heather Johnson. "The Best Assessments.

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