Original Date: 04/26/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Assessment Center
United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division Aberdeen implemented an assessment process to select those qualified individuals that would best function and contribute within their manufacturing environment. The assessment process determines significant behavioral factors that include group skills, communication skills, personal characteristics, problem solving skills, results orientation, and leadership skills. The process has contributed to a low turnover rate for new hires and very few employees being released after being hired.
At United Defense, L.P. Armament Systems Division (UDLP ASD) Aberdeen, individual employee authority and responsibility are strongly endorsed and encouraged within the facility. Individuals are assigned to autonomous functional teams and provided the opportunity to train and qualify in a variety of roles within those teams. One such role is to conduct exercises that provide an opportunity to evaluate behavioral factors of candidate employees. Selected behavioral factors have been determined to be integral to achieving a high performance work team system. While a successful work history is also valued, behavioral factors are determined to be more essential than technical skills.
Trained and qualified employees participate as assessors with groups of candidates. Together with an independent facilitator, they conduct a series of exercises that enable candidates to participate in and demonstrate their individual attributes. The exercises present a variety of dynamic situations that challenge the six behavioral factors. The employee assessors observe and document their observations of the individual candidate's behaviors, with appropriate anonymity and objective considerations assured at all times. When the group of assessors achieves a consensus on the candidates, recommended candidates are identified to management for subsequent verification actions prior to employment. Candidates are subsequently provided an opportunity to take a plant tour prior to accepting the offer so they can fully appreciate the requirements of the system.
As a result of this significant care and consideration, UDLP ASD Aberdeen has identified and selected those candidates with the necessary skills for success. Both management and workers feel a greater commitment to those hired, while the candidate is exposed to the plant activities and culture. All involved consider the process eminently fair, and turnover for new hires has been low. The Assessment Center is regarded as the first step in a continuous improvement process for all employees. It introduces the candidate to those skills valued by management and workers alike, and it provides assessors the opportunity to gain better understanding of those behavioral skills as they help train others in their use.
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