abcI, the new dimension in talent management

by Harald Ackerschott, posted Jun 15, 2015

The venture started some five years ago: due to the expressed wishes of several customers, we decided that we need to face technological changes in our hitherto purely face to face(s) assessment and testing services. The world is now going online, so our testing tools need to keep up with this development.

We provided face to face assessment services for our clients for 25 years. For some clients we actually work that long. This is a long time and makes a client a true partner.

The most special thing was that we provided some clients with assessment and recruiting services in a large number of countries. We had and we still have international clients but what we did for one customer was really special: They literally jetted us around the world in person with our tests and tools.

And we supported their initial global growth projects with recruiting services throughout the world. In recruiting, the world is really growing together. What you see in ads, somebody working from a beautiful mountain chalet on his laptop, is no fiction, you can really work just this way to recruit people around the globe. It is no problem to set up job-ads in Berlin via, and it is the same easy thing to do it for a position in Beijing or Shanghai via, via for Hong Kong, via for Singapore, to post an ad in the online edition of the Washington Post or in the online edition of Cape Times. You can set up all this from your laptop in a nice little café facing the Loreley at the Rhine river valley. It is as possible as writing an email or this blog.

The face to face assessment delivery is more intense. In the first years, we travelled to meet, test and interview applicants around the world. Even if, as Peter Drucker puts it “The only thing that requires even more time (and even more work) than putting the right people into a job is unmaking a wrong people decision.”, at some point we could see that we, as a boutique firm, would reach the limits of the services we would be able to provide. Even if we were ready to go any extra mile for our partners. To keep up the quality yet at the same time to provide unlimited flexibility and resources posed a challenge that transcended the limitations of face to face(s) testing.

That was the point our venture started: We reviewed what we did, our approach to assessment and testing, we reviewed the literature and looked at what the market offered. We discussed with partners and colleagues and made a plan. We wanted to develop a new online assessment tool. Not just another test or personality questionnaire, but an integrated tool that could drive the methods and approaches we knew a substantial step further, building on the valuable insights we had gained over the years and propel them into the online world. We aimed at giving internationally growing companies a basic tool to support and enable fast and agile hiring decisions. To give freedom to local management to make their decisions and to provide headquarters with a standard to follow up on, document and ultimately to appraise people decisions globally. A strategic instrument for real human capital management that helps to make companies more successful.

The idea for the ackerschott basic cognitions Indicator was born. A measurement of basic dimensions to predict human performance, a tool being compatible with different competency models. A tool that covers basic, underlying talents and behavioral preferences which combine to competencies and capabilities companies want to develop in their employees. An instrument for decision making in a hiring decision as well as for measuring and documenting people assets to support workforce planning and talent development.

For the boutique company we are, this was not an obvious investment and easy task. We had to define our dimensions, develop the tests, do parallel item development in different language versions and find a technology partner to do the programming, to ensure the hosting and to provide IT services.

Now the abcI is online, and many of our longtime customers have already implemented the new tool and changed their processes for online screening of candidates. Some prefer the iPad-version to test groups in a controlled setting. They continue to meet their candidates in person before testing them.

And of course, new clients seeking to enhance the efficiency and quality of their personnel decisions start to use our tool abcI:
– online for prescreening Trainees, young professionals and specialists,
– on iPads integrated in Assessment Centers and
– as additional source of insights in Management Audits and Executive Assessments.

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