Assessing Potential: How does your workforce measure up?

August 31, 2017

Planning for succession within your organisation can be fraught with controversy! Do you bring experienced people in (if you are in the right place to put together an attractive package spend valuable time and money recruiting the right person)? Or would it be a better investment to promote from inside? And if so how do you measure the potential of your existing workforce?

Claire Morley-Jones ponders how best to judge the budding managers in your business.

By Claire Morley-Jones

job recruitment promotion potentialIn many organisations managers traditionally have been promoted ‘through the ranks’ and achieved their position through time served, rather than potential/ability to do the job.

We move in a forever faster, more competitive global market, where disruptive technology can undercut your product or service offering overnight. With the global movement of people the best employees need to be recruited, trained and developed to retain them within the organisation.

Having the best possible people in role means you can pre-empt competitors (and have the best possible strategies in place to grow your bottom line).

Assuming you have pretty brilliant people already working for your business, then it makes sense to plan for succession within your workforce, but how do you measure the potential of those people?

Talent management folk call it ‘potential analysis’. By using potential analysis, businesses can find the best employee in terms of ‘fit’ to the role and culture.


Commonly intelligence tests, performance tests (a little more role specific) and psychometric tests (personality, relationships, drive, emotion et al) are used for assessing potential, with the best ones being incredibly in depth and an amazingly accurate assessment of potential across a wide range of indicators. Read more about using tests for assessing potential here.


Interviews are really common – and can be a minefield! An ad hoc unstructured interview relies upon the interviewer’s skill – literally how they interview, how they note take and how they make an assessment from that information. Can the interviewer be objective – or does a biased, subjective view creep in?!

Competency based interviews have found favour in more recent years, because they aim to give structure to an interview. In practice, they can be subjective also, with the interviewer putting a ‘spin’ on the answers given.

Assessment centres

Not everyone’s cup of tea, both assessors and assesses get these wrong! HR professionals are expert in setting up the correct exercises and highly structured procedures which help assess your employees for future roles. Bringing out both strengths and weaknesses can help identify development requirements as well as measuring actual potential for a role.

360 feedback

It does what it says on the tin! Managers’, direct reports’, colleagues’ and customers’ feedback all combine and are compared to the personal feedback of the individual being assessed. Variations between scores from others and the score the individual gives themselves can highlight gaps and identify where improvements are needed – if any.

As in the case of Assessment Centres, 360 feedback must be correctly set up, carried out and collated. An HR professional will do this for you and also handle wrapping up the feedback with the individual in a sensitive and pro-active way to make the most out of the time (and money) invested in carrying this out this procedure.

The superhero HR team at HR180 can help with all aspects of assessing potential including psychometric testing, with a trained assessors for Korn Ferry Hays Talent Q Dimensions within our ranks. Get in touch for a free chat so we can assess your needs! Contact details are below.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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