How to gain meaningful insights with effective capability assessment reporting



One of the core challenges faced by talent managers when implementing a competency assessment initiative is extracting genuine insight from the information collected. The solution, in my view, can be summarised in two words: effective reporting. In this week's blog, we will be discussing the importance of capability assessment reporting ratings, linking reporting to learning outcomes, and increasing a report's life span.


Why reporting is important

The primary goal of reporting is to easily understand group-wide trends and gain real insight into your assessment data. Simply put, reporting is the single most valuable and beneficial part of the assessment process.


I’d go as far as saying there is little point in having an assessment process if reporting at an individual and organizational level is not effective.


Too many times, assessment projects fail because all of the energy goes into data collection from different rater categories and not enough time is allocated to reporting. 360-degree assessment reporting needs to be clear, easy to understand and interpret, lack any form of ambiguity, and give valuable insights into current strengths and development opportunities.


We interviewed Benjamin Morris, Head of Performance, Executive Compensation and Global Projects at Lendlease and among the many interesting points he made, he had this to say about reporting:


“We ran assessment in house in prior years when we were assessing a small cohort of leaders, but when we rolled it out to over a 1000 leaders, we needed reporting that was much more dynamic and more helpful to our leaders to really understand the impact they were having on their teams.”


Reporting in any capability assessment process should clearly show the assessment data in numerous formats, highlight overall capability strengths and development opportunities by participant category and give meaningful insights into that data.


A well-constructed report should let you see information at a high summary level and then let you drill down into specific details for all elements of the survey. You should also have a ‘key highlights’ section to draw busy executives’ attention to the core messages you want them to take away.


Using importance ratings

For many frameworks, the use of an importance rating adds a lot of value to the reporting process. It’s one thing to assess participants on their capabilities, to identify strengths and development opportunities, but determining how important those capabilities are to their current or future roles is essential.


If the participant is not strong at a particular competency, but it’s considered as being less important to them, then it may be deprioritised.


Many frameworks these days can be guilty of covering too much ground and assessing a lot of items. The importance rating capability gives you the opportunity to narrow down the capabilities that are of the highest priority.


Reporting should also give consistent ratings. Is there consistency in ratings by a rater group or do different rater categories see the participant differently? Having a spread or distribution helps gain a clearer understanding of the feedback given.


Linking reporting to learning outcomes

The report should have developmental interventions and learning outcomes, which let people use the report as a road map into their learning interventions portfolio.


Reporting fails when a participant cannot interpret, or is confused by the information the report delivers. This may seem obvious, but surprisingly it’s still common today. More is definitely not better when it comes to the complexity of report design.


We have seen many instances of reports being designed in a way that one needs the expertise of a third party to understand and interpret the report. So what happens when that third party is not available?


Group reporting

Aggregate report and data insights should form a central part of any report process - and it’s crucial to have the same, if not greater ability to interrogate vast groups of data. Individual reporting, while extremely beneficial to a participant, is only one part of the reporting picture.


The organization should benefit from the assessment process by seeing trends in data, overall strengths or development opportunities of a team, how development effects capabilities over time and what is the most effective way to develop capabilities. These are all important questions that can be answered by group reporting.


Increasing a report’s life span and utility

The more digital a report can be, the more it will be used, therefore online reports will ultimately have a longer life span than a printed document.


Providing key stakeholders in the business to online, interactive reports available on smart phone, tablet and desktop format, only increases the utility and accessibility of the reporting. It needs to be easy for people to come back to their report time and time again. Here’s a short video of an example of effective online reporting.


Reporting is just one of the many important steps in designing and implementing a successful competency assessment program. Over the next couple months, we will be publishing blogs on this topic - where you can learn about everything from 'what makes an effective competency framework' to 'choosing the right assessment solution'.


If you'd like to jump ahead and get all the details at once, we'd like to offer you a copy of our eBook on the topic.


You can also subscribe to 'The Insights Blog' and receive a notification straight to your inbox every time we publish a new article.


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