How to predict performance and risk in your people

by | May 12, 2023

Have you have ever made the wrong call on how you thought someone would perform in the workplace, or wondered after a few months who the person was that you hired? Perhaps a good performance at interview, along with a strong CV and reference allowed that person to hold up a mask over who they really were.

Why standard selection practices fail.

The problem with most organisations’ selection and review system is that they do not look deeply enough at the candidate.   Is it possible to really know who you are hiring and who is a risk?

Why, at selection, do most organisations only look backwards at a candidate’s history; CV, CRB check, interview and references.  These alone are never enough to predict future risk or performance potential!

Identifying Risk by analysing a person or team’s value based judgement, stress and wellness has synergy across any environment where there is risk and this includes the security of assets and people. 

The security sector is just one environment where risk is increased if individuals and teams are under pressure and stress, and their coping abilities are weak or inhibited. 

It is critical to identify individuals and collective groups that represent a higher risk by highlighting key performance indicators and factors about a person’s judgement such as, decision making capacity, noticing ability and focus. 

Regardless of someone’s performance capability, stress and wellness issues have the potential to significantly decrease performance and increase risk, and this is why it is critical to look at underlying factors that hinder performance. 

The problem with psychometric assessments

Some defence and security organisations are taking a proactive stance by using psychometric screening to try and uncover more about their candidates. 

The problem with most psychometrics is that they are personality-based and although they will give you some insight into the character traits of an individual, they will rarely give you capability strength or identify wellness issues and risk. 

The other problem that comes with most tools of this nature is that they are potentially easy to cheat, particularly when they are self-reporting.  These factors are also evident with the various stress evaluation tools on the market using questions like: ‘Rate out of 5 how well you sleep at night’.  These types of assessments are unlikely to uncover an unwell candidate if they are are willing to hide any issues in order to get the job. 

Value based interviewing

Value based interviews are an excellent way of gaining a deeper understanding of an individual; however, the techniques and practices to do this effectively take time and training to perfect.

When a question is asked at interview, such as “Have you ever led a team and how did it go,” you will typically get a surface answer relating to the scenario and situation. This may leave you confident the candidate has been good at leading a team.  However, subsequent questions relating to lessons learned, challenges, their value of the people and the long lasting relationship the candidate still has with the team may reveal hidden issues.

Gaining an understanding of a candidate’s stability, level of stress and ability to cope is even more difficult.  Aside from medical history, etc., it can be hard to spot someone who is suffering personal challenges if the candidate is good at keeping their emotions contained at interview. 

Training to become proficient at value based interviews can support the interview process and help to uncover key factors. 

A values-based analysis tool can support further, dramatically reducing risk and increasing the likelihood of hiring a high performing candidate.

Value based assessments – Case studies

Some cases where specific analysis of values has been beneficial are illustrated below although the framework and concept would work in many hiring scenarios and the application will have synergy with risk and performance prediction in whichever sector you might be in.

Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

In a blind pilot study, value-based analysis using the Judgement Index was used at week 2 of an 11 month Officer Cadet (Ocdt) training course.  

Specific behavioural values were mapped against the Ocdt assessment criteria and predictions of success and risk were made. 

At the end of the training when the course merit order had been declared the results were compared against our value based predictions based on Judgement Index assessment results.  We were accurate to 3.6% of the final merit order but as significant we picked out and named 75% of the Cadets who failed to complete the training.  In simple terms we were very accurate predicting high performers and risk candidates.

UK Government Military 2 Mentor Scheme:

The scheme involved training veterans as mentors to work with challenging youths in schools.  Value based analysis through The Judgement Index Assessment was used to assess candidates in order to predict role capability and also the stability and potential risk the candidate might be whilst operating in a challenging environment. 

Behavioural values were measured and mapped against key role capability areas along with identifying the wellness and transition stability of the candidate.  Although the future role was not in a hostile environment, it could be argued that mentoring challenged youths from some inner-city schools is fairly risky!  We have supported the selection of over 500 veterans to date. 

The data we have produced on veterans suffering various levels of anxiety was similar to studies carried out by various organisations and charities.  What was significant in this work was our ability to raise awareness to a number of veterans that they potentially needed help.  Subsequently some participants were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and other anxiety issues.  It also transpired that some of the participants had already been diagnosed with PTS.  It should be noted that PTS is nearly always managed and controlled effectively and should not be viewed as a condition that alienates or restricts employment.

Sucessfully predicting performance

These are just some of the hundreds of cases in which we have assessed individuals, teams and whole organisations. 

In every case, participants comment on how strange and different the value based behavioural interview and assessment is, yet it manages to very accurately identify underlying strengths, development and risk in the people and teams.

The net results are then a dramatic improvement in performance and a reduction of risk.

About the Author

Rob Coulthard

Rob is an experienced leadership consultant, trainer and coach and has delivered analysis and training workshops for a variety of organisations around the world. He fulfilled all his military ambitions during his 26 years in the British Army having progressed from boy soldier to a commissioned officer. In 2008 he was introduced to the Judgement Index and the concept of assessing values to predict performance and risk, for the benefit of individuals and teams. Having travelled to the USA to learn more he subsequently returned to the UK and founded the Judgement Index UK in tandem with his USA business associates. Rob now concentrates on facilitating dramatic changes in the organisations he works with, in staff retention, culture and quality of performance. He is a firm believer in generating responsibility at all levels, flexible charismatic leadership and good judgement. Rob is an experienced speaker, having delivered seminars and workshops for The Association of Project Managers Annual Conference, The Sports Analytics Conference at the Manchester University Business School, The Major Projects Association, The Defence Sector Exhibition and various care sector exhibitions including The Care and Dementia Show and Health Plus Care. Rob lives with his family in their old thatch cottage on Salisbury Plain and counts among his hobbies cooking, red wine and keeping the latter in check by physical training.

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