Five steps to effective Development Centre

Once you decide to implement the development programs for your employees, you should identify precisely their needs. You can use for example Development Centre as a method of competencies’ verification. However, how to create professional and effective diagnose, which would minimize stress caused by assessment in the organization?

Here you have 5 steps which will make the whole process much more effective:

#1 – diagnose precisely competencies that you need from employees

Discuss with managers who are needed in the company, which competencies may build competitive advantage or successors.

#2 – plan DC process

Planning DC process means starting with its announcement in your organization. It may prepare employees to participate in assessment properly. You should include all information about the process: the aim, contact details to the project coordinators and of course highlight benefits from taking part in.

Then it is important to build a matrix of competencies and methods adjusted to expectancies of the process. It means that it should consist of different kinds of methods assessing competencies in different circumstances. Every competence should be observed in at least two exercises, group discussions should be mixed with individual exercises, interviews, and even psychometric methods. In such a matrix, we can gather together all the information about our participants from different sources and perspectives.

#3 – assessors team.

Those who observe and assess competencies need preparation and building the same standards. If you want to identify potential that may never occur in everyday practice, direct managers should not take part in DC as observers. It would make participants stay in their actual roles. If you introduce group discussions be aware of relations between participants. Short interview afterward may be a place to find out if there were any effect of relations on anyone’s performance.

#4 – run Development Centre.

Now – showtime! If your aim of the process is finding potential, make sure to organize DC out of your company. Let your employees feel comfortable and safe in a place where they are not in their everyday roles. Plan schedule with breaks but do not give too much time to think or discuss performance or exercises between participants. Prepare good coffee for assessors as they need to stay focus after the session to integrate their observations and give each other notes. Remember: assess no more than 7 competencies in one project.

#5 – give feedback.

Every DC process should be ended up with feedback information session for each of the participant. Everyone is always interested in the assessment of their competencies. Build dialog during a meeting and let employees ask about their results. At the end of the process, there should be created an individual plan of development, precisely adjusted to specific needs. On the basis of the group, results should create a cafeteria of developmental activities which answer diagnosed needs.

Is it easy to get those 5 stars?



Iwona Ostrowska

Senior Consultant