Organizations are increasingly looking to ‘vocational assessments’ as a constructive way of managing the situation when a staff member appears to not ‘fit’ or be struggling in a role.
Such a process of consultation with the employee can be hugely helpful for all parties when conducted correctly, and often unhappy workers will look into vocational counseling themselves, but if a company has a strong staff member who is a poor fit for their current role they may choose to go through the process with them.
By admitting that a role is not playing to an employee’s strengths, and looking for alternatives, says consultant Robin Long, the process can be a relief for all parties. “If you have a skilled worker who is just in the wrong role and you’re wondering if there’s another position within the company where you could keep them, that’s where it’s worth a company going through this process.”
Vocational assessment differs from psychometric testing because it looks at the ideal career path for an individual rather than the work skills or competencies they have.
The consequences of an employee being a bad fit for the role can be damaging: absenteeism, inability to complete tasks, team conflicts, low morale, performance issues, client issues, risk to brand reputation and dysfunction can all follow and cause tension and stress.
Vocational assessment in practice
In the individual meeting to review the ill-fitting employee’s vocational history, an organizational psychologist will find out how career decisions have been made in the past, and clarify the employee’s future career goals.
A thorough assessment process then takes place whereby the individual completes a variety of psychological inventories measuring skills, values, motivation and interest for various roles, behavioural preferences and personality style among other things.
A comprehensive report is then written by the organizational psychologist, who outlines the results of the assessment process and arrives at specific recommendations for future career options.
How to on-board: learn from the best
Beware the common pitfalls of changing employment contracts
Fairer sex comes to skills-shortage rescue
HR Star: Bill Cheshire
Turnover in HR’s own backyard not pretty