Talent Management Systems (TMS) must be designed to provide useful information for decision makers or they are a waste of time for employees, HR professionals, managers and organizations. This obvious fact was either never considered, or has become lost, in the development and use of most TMS tools administered for human resource and organizational measurement purposes today. The majority of existing designs were driven by the developer’s favorite theory, business approach, or the newest IT fad, without concern for TMS user needs, such as:
a) what decisions the user hopes to make based on the information provided by the TMS,
b) why information from a TMS provides the best basis for making any of their decisions,
c) how information from a TMS would most usefully be conveyed to the user, and
d) where information from a TMS would be most effective in the overall organizational human resource system.
In other words, TMS designers do not typically start with the end in mind, but from the starting point of their own beliefs and biases about what a TMS should measure. We recognized this problem over the past twenty years as we conducted applied research with clients and tried to help them interpret TMS data that was not targeted at meeting their needs. Not only were the clients’ decision making needs not usually addressed in TMS designs, but issues regarding quality of the data (i.e., reliability, validity, equity) were often either unknown or irrelevant, as were the reports of results and the use of the data within the client’s larger human resource system. Based on our research and experiences within organizations of all types and sizes, we developed a viable solution that meets user needs and is psychometrically sound: The PointLeader Talent Management System.
First, we recognized that TMS users are not intrinsically interested in the personality profiles or cognitive ability scores of their current or future workforce. Nor are they interested in using a particular test because of its author, theoretical basis, or popularity. TMS users are interested in making informed decisions about their workforce using relevant data, and many understand that well designed tools provide relevant, valid data for many of the decisions they need to make. They need data that fairly inform them about all important aspects of any employee and will reliably predict and develop success on all critical aspects of each job in their organization—nothing more, nothing less.
Second, in many cases, our clients were using TMS inputs when the TMS data were not going to provide useful information for the decisions to be made, either because they were not using the correct inputs, or because a TMS was not the appropriate manner to gain the information that was needed. In these cases, it was clear that the TMS users were not fully informed from a job analysis, or other source, of what tools to use and why to use them. They need information that informs the appropriate use and misuse of a TMS.
Third, we found that even when our clients were provided useful data from valid TMS tools, they often did not know how to use it because of the manner in which it was presented. TMS users need data aligned to their decision making needs and easily used without problems of misinterpretation.
Fourth, our research and testing experiences clearly support a TMS as part of a larger system. Data from a well designed, valid TMS has a long shelf life and multiple uses across an individual’s tenure with an organization. For example, the data gathered from a pre-employment screening test is useful for training plans, placement, promotion, team building, and leadership activities if the test is designed to be a part of the organization’s TMS.
With these four main points in mind, PointLeader was developed over the past ten years with the end in mind: The needs of test users. Towards this end, PointLeader TMS was designed as a set of aligned tools that measure the aspects of jobs, people, and performance that are important for decision making across jobs, job families, occupations, and industries.
PointLeader TMS was designed from the ground-up to be a fair, useful, flexible, and valid system for predicting, evaluating, and developing performance in any job. To meet this goal, we:
a) Started with a competency model that is robust enough to describe the critical competencies of any job in the US economy,
b) developed and validated a job analysis system (i.e., PointLeader Competency Profiler) that synthesizes local SME job ratings on competencies and behaviors with O*NET ratings for similar jobs to provide stable criticality ratings on the competencies in the PointLeader model,
c) developed and validated an item-bank based behaviorally anchored job performance measurement system (PointLeader Performance Measure) aligned to the competencies in the PointLeader model that provides performance profiles based on the critical competencies for any person in any job,
d) developed and validated an assessment (i.e., the PointLeader Potential Assessment) that provides person potential profiles that predict performance profiles for any combination of critical competencies for any job and,
e) created an automated, database driven online system (i.e., PointLeader) that utilizes the three tools to provide input for decision making about jobs, performance, and/or persons.
From this system of aligned profiling of job, job performance, and persons, decision makers are provided a job profile report for job analysis decisions, a job performance profile for each person and averaged across a group for performance management decisions, a person profile for each person and averaged across a group for decisions regarding future performance, and a person-job fit profile index for each person for decisions regarding placement. Based on all of these profiles, PointLeader has built a validation archive of predictive profiles for competencies, jobs, and job families. This archive provides a basis for confidently estimating the validity of PointLeader for any job in any size organization through a matrix of rigorous methods: a) synthetic validity, b) validity generalization, c) job transport validity, and d) local validation. Because not all test users have sufficient numbers of incumbents to conduct a local validation study, this is an important value-added feature of the PointLeader system.