Organizations in virtually every industry have faced an increasingly challenging landscape when it comes to hiring and employee retention. A range of factors have made matters quite difficult in the human resources department, including the following:
- A wide-reaching talent gap that prevents employers from finding applicants with the right skills, leaving them understaffed.
- The changing face of the workforce, as Pew Research explained that millennials now represent the biggest percentage of employees.
- Baby boomers leaving for retirement, meaning that leadership positions are turning over quickly.
These issues can impact all of the departments in a business, but the leadership component is especially concerning. When managers and supervisors are not prepared to handle their duties, companies can quickly begin to see major issues with their employees' productivity, efficiency, engagement and retention. For this reason and many more, human resources needs to test applicants for management skills ahead of the hire, and leverage strategies to best handle on-boarding of those who make the grade.
"Testing can yield valuable plans to support new managers."
What to consider
The Society for Human resource Management recently published a blog post written by contributor Roy Maurer who outlined some of the key elements of a successful on-boarding program for managers. First, he cited the statements of renowned thought leader Sharlyn Lauby regarding what all human resources professionals need to be considering when tackling managerial on-boarding processes.
"The worst thing you can do is hire or promote somebody into a managerial position and not give them the tools to be successful," Lauby explained, according to Maurer. "Often, organizations take an uber-smart, technically competent person and promote him to being a manager and assume he knows what he needs to know about managing a department."
With that in mind, Maurer urged human resources professionals to leverage the now popular "ADDIE" model when it comes to testing and on-boarding an applicant who is likely to become a manager. ADDIE is an acronym that stands for assessment, design, development, implementation and evaluation, Maurer wrote, and provides a 360-degree view of the new employee's readiness to lead, initial performance and more.
This can also give companies opportunities to better support new managers, which should be a major point of concern given how young the workforce is getting. Having a roadmap in place that guides a manager through the challenges of the first few months and beyond, with benchmarks to see how the individual is progressing, will imbue human resources professionals with more insights into what to look for in future applicants, as well as what they can do better to improve the on-boarding experience.
Tips to test properly
Management aptitude tests do not only need to be given to those applicants who are sure to be leaders - they can be very valuable for virtually all potential hires so that the company knows whether or not they will be potential prospects for a supervisory role in the future. However, while they do provide insight into suitability for other future roles, you should only include for consideration the results of assessments for skills needed for the job being currently applied for.
Some of the most important elements of a management aptitude test include interpersonal effectiveness, performance orientation, problem solving, confidence, delegation and stress management. If an applicant for a managerial role tests poorly in any of these areas, he or she will not be very likely to excel in the position down the road, regardless of the nature of the business or in which industry it competes.
Remember here that the tests should be highly user-friendly and quick, as the last thing that human resources professionals want to do is turn a hopeful applicant away due to an overly complex and stressful screening process. With the right testing solutions, companies can improve their management pipeline.