Designing an assessment centre to support a sensitive restructuring exercise.
Jo Hale and Ian McGlashan with Gary McDowell.
Findel plc is a long-standing Collinson Grant client. Its subsidiary, Findel Education, which supplies educational resources to schools, regularly uses our services for support on managing people.
The business was undertaking a major review of buying with the aim of improving commercial effectiveness and reducing costs. This potentially meant the staff of the buying department could be reduced by about 40%.
We were asked to design and run an assessment process. Its objective was to help to evaluate the skills and competences of employees against newly defined and more challenging job specifications. Our approach was:
- to review the new job specifications and group all relevant skills and competences under six core headings – knowledge, numeracy, strategic thinking, people, supplier management and approach
- to decide how best to assess each factor. We determined that a numeracy test, an interview, and a case study presentation would be appropriate
- to design a set of interview questions and a case study, and
- to devise a scoring system that could convert all data into a simple candidate comparison number.
- The outcomes were used:
- to decide which employees should leave the business immediately
- to create development plans for those kept on, which, once implemented, would lead to improved performance or to individuals being released from the business at a later date, and
- to develop a model for hiring and performance management that would ensure talented people were better recognised.
Gary McDowell, Findel Education’s Director of Organisational Development & People, said:
“Collinson Grant helped and supported this turnaround with diligence and respect for the people directly affected whilst remaining impartial and highly professional throughout.
Their ability to quickly assimilate our requirements and, more importantly, adapt quickly to the changing circumstances and complexity of the exercise was seamless. Collinson Grant consultants took time to work things through and their explanations were clear throughout, with supporting notes and guidance in both verbal and written form.
I have felt, as a director, confident about the process and its level of robustness if scrutinised. This has enabled both me and the team to focus on the ever-demanding collective and individual consultation and the employees’ demands”.
Mr McDowell said the work on restructuring the buying department had created a model for hiring and performance management which would ensure that talented people were better recognised. Collinson Grant also provides Findel Education with advice on day-to-day employment matters including requests for flexible working, grievance proceedings, tribunal claims and management of agency workers in the company’s two warehouses.