Understanding the Contemporary Approach to Multi-layered Assessments

Young woman with laptop symbolizes staying ahead with contemporary leadership pipeline development
Comic strip illustrates how talent management practices falter at ground level, impacting organizational effectiveness

The above scenario is a classic example of how a well-intended talent management practice fails to be effective at the ground level. Here the manager was not sufficiently equipped to support her team member in setting his development goals. Moreover, this is not a rare case. It can happen at any level and in any organization, irrespective of its sector. 

The Impact: Organizations spend time and efforts yet compromise on the effectiveness of their talent processes.

What Concerns Leaders

With the increased focus on meeting talent development needs, industry leaders have been trying to boost their talent plans. Still, many of their concerns continue to remain a challenge –

The process for recruitment and promotions is set. But are we focused enough to ensure employability and promotability by bridging skill gaps?

Creating robust talent pipelines is critical to business. But how do we assess development needs and continuously improve pipeline flow?

Internal mobility and redeployment have become the norm in tackling new projects. But will it help if we decide on role fitment only based on performance history and recommendations?

Achieving 100% role fitment is a distant dream! How do we bring in a continuous learning and development agenda?

Talent Management processes often succumb to the subjectivity of individuals. How can we achieve a more objective, bias-free approach?

Face-to-face interactions have reduced drastically. How can we ensure that we are “knowing” the participant properly before we make a final decision?

Challenges We Hear

Modern leaders recognize that people and collective capabilities are the fundamental elements at the heart of the issues that ultimately drive profits, customers, and growth.

Structured assessments across the organization, i.e., multi-layered assessments, can be one of the critical talent processes that allow for an integrated way of developing people and capabilities.

In our experience with industry HR leaders, here are some typical dialogues they get to hear when on the task –

We don’t understand why it is so expensive to do some basic assessments. Can you justify the unnecessary high cost?

So many reports and yet not a single source of truth! Can you show us one single collated
insightful report?

All we see is endless jargon! Can you contextualize the outputs in the report to the language familiar to the organization?

We get that using multiple tools is the only way to assess holistically. But how will you ensure a common experience for all?

Young woman in office embodies the shift towards a contemporary approach in managing assessments amid global disruptions

The Contemporary Approach

Traditional approaches used by HRs have not entirely solved the above-stated points at issue in totality. In light of recent global disruptions, a change in mindset towards managing assessments has become indispensable.

Talent-first organizations are, in fact, proactively deliberating on devising better methods for managing multi-layered assessments. While engaging with leading organizations, we observed that they are opting to tweak their existing processes with the following contemporary approach –

how and in what ways efforts intended for assessments can be consistently optimized

the possibilities in which assessment outcomes can help bring development to the big picture

talent processes that can aid in prioritizing and addressing talent needs in the long run

Here are two Examples of our Collaboration with Major Industry Players to Remodel their Existing Assessment Landscape.

Partnering with an International Financial Services Provider to conduct Multi-layered Assessments for hiring and promotions

The Objective

To transform the hiring and promotion assessments deployed for various grades and roles of individual contributors and project managers

The Challenge

The previous in-house process was pen and paper-based and effort intensive for its talent acquisition and management teams.

The Experience

We collaborated with them to design and deploy multi-layered assessments with the help of digital tools. A typical process starts with a nomination, followed by orientation, sharing of guidelines, assessment exercises, and report sharing. Some key actions taken by the Think Talent team are as follows –

  • The assessment packages were selected in consultation with the client based on the grade and contribution.
  • The content was curated as per the work context.
  • Logistical planning and execution were completed within the given time frame.
  • Orientation calls and an extensive support process were rolled out for all stakeholders to ensure a seamless experience.
  • Historical data was analyzed to derive grouplevel insights that can act as a catalyst for future development.

The Impact

All the features requested were incorporated into the self-paced exercises to provide better insights and information. The prompt technical support ensured that the work was collaborative in delivery and execution. 

The project began in 2016 with a mix of physical and virtual assessments. Presently the process has entirely transitioned to virtual mode with a pre-configured platform.

In a Nutshell

Rethinking how to change focus from effort-intensive execution to post-assessment planning

Reimagining how to utilize assessment outcomes to plan for the future strategically

Reinventing the assessment process to digitize and contextualize it while maintaining rigor

Enabling a Global Healthcare Company to leverage Multi-layered Assessments for hiring and promoting its sales force

The Objective

To simplify the hiring and promotions process and deploy multi-layered assessments for their sales force

The Challenge

The existing process needed time and effort streamlining as multiple geographic locations were involved. The team wanted contextualization of the content and mapping of relevant assessment tools to appropriate roles and levels.

The Experience

We partnered with them to plan, design, and deploy multi-layered assessments for four levels of their sales force, i.e., market representatives, area sales managers, regional managers, and national sales managers. Some key highlights of the program are as follows–

  • Assessment packs inclusive of the tools, relevant content, and complexity level were designed as per the client’s work context.
  • Expert assessors curated individual reports with detailed observations focusing on the development needs of individuals along with scores.
  • The content is upgraded yearly as per our recommendation to tackle the changing work dynamics.
  • A workshop on the reliability and validity of the assessment tools was held for the client HR leaders.

The Impact

Our expertise in understanding the aspects and challenges of the pharma sector sales force resulted in successfully deploying multi-layered assessments at multiple client locations. 

The process was decentralized with ownership assigned to location HRs, resulting in time, cost, and effort optimization. Due to the initial success, repeat year-on-year engagements were done with the client from 2018 to till date.

In a Nutshell

Rethinking how to decentralize the efforts invested in talent processes to complete the cycle faster

Reimagining how to leverage assessment beyond hiring to bring in development discussions to the big picture

Reinventing the existing process to improve sales team effectiveness with reliable and contextualized assessments


A successful organization is only as strong as its people at all levels, and each must work together to sustain it. The collective capabilities required at different levels will vary. So having a one-size-fits-all method may not be adequate to evaluate and channel the same.

Organizations must recognize this and develop scientifically robust processes to cater to each level. And the key here will be to integrate them and deliver a seamless user experience.

Did you know?

Think Talent conducts around 12000 assessments across clients every year.

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