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Why professional assessments need to be inclusive

17 July 2023
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For organisations of all sizes and sectors, inclusive professional assessments are essential. In today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape, demand for highly competent professionals is on the rise. But in order to attract and retain top talent, organisations should be proactively reviewing and operating more inclusively in every aspect of the employee lifecycle.

From the pre-hire stage to career development and advancement, the values of diversity and inclusion need to be present.

Inclusive assessments are designed to ensure fairness, equity, and equal opportunities. Their aim is to remove barriers that perpetuate bias and promote diversity in talent evaluation.

This requires a review at the point of design, with considerations such as assessment content, accessibility, language, and format. Going beyond traditional evaluation methods, this approach facilitates a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s skill level and potential - without being impaired by various limitations.

So, how do you achieve this? At Kaplan Assessments, we are recognised experts in designing, delivering, and developing professional-level assessments that promote inclusivity at every stage.

Get in touch today to discover how Kaplan Assessments can transform your organisation.

Why your organisation needs inclusive professional assessments

Unsurprisingly, the importance of building a diverse workforce goes hand-in-hand with the pressure to address skills gaps. By recognising and catering to a wide range of employee needs, organisations can tap into a much broader talent pool.

From legal firms to educational institutions, organisations should be striving to hire qualified candidates that offer a variety of valuable experiences. This will lead to increased productivity and create teams that are better equipped to overcome complex challenges. Plus, with industry developments emerging at a faster pace than ever before, providing a platform that explores unique insights and perspectives will only work in your favour.

Create a culture of inclusivity and avoid overlooking talent that could be crucial to driving organisational growth.

Further to this, unbiased and flexible assessment methods offer a more realistic reflection of the modern workplace. This makes them more effective in measuring the necessary skill sets needed for the long-term success of your organisation. When you choose Kaplan Assessments, you will benefit from tailored and relevant assessments that are designed to mirror the real-world challenges that professionals may encounter in their day-to-day roles. This gives you a more accurate view of a candidate’s readiness to perform tasks, contributing to an overall improvement in standards.

Ensuring equitable access to continuing professional development

The principle of fair and equal opportunity within the workplace is not a new one. However, ensuring that professional assessments (in all formats) align with these values has become even more crucial. And this isn’t just relevant during the recruitment phase…

With a growing emphasis being placed on the importance of continual professional development (CPD), organisations should be providing opportunities for a diverse range of professionals. The concept of CPD is to provide a structured framework for employees to expand their skill sets and remain agile to new processes and technologies. However, without adapting the assessment methodology to suit a variety of roles, backgrounds, and learning styles, this is only accessible to the few.

The risk of unbalanced development opportunities: a case study

One example of the importance of equitable access to CPD can be seen in the healthcare industry. Within this field, an ongoing review of the quality of services provided is vital, from both an ethical and regulatory standpoint. It is therefore the responsibility of each healthcare professional to regularly update their knowledge and skill sets.

Nevertheless, issues have been raised around the lack of development opportunities being provided for certain roles, including healthcare assistants and support workers. Not only does investing in inclusive assessment methods play a role in supporting the delivery of care, but it is essential in improving overall workforce competence.

This poses the question: how can organisations ensure that CPD is tailored to fit and able to serve their workforce as a whole, regardless of role titles or levels of training?

To learn more about your unique organisational needs, speak to a member of our team today.

Promoting a comprehensive understanding of job roles

As a result of changing market demands, in addition to a greater emphasis on flexibility and cross-functional collaboration, job roles are no longer set-in-stone. There is now a need for professionals to keep up with evolving responsibilities, with pressure to acquire a varied skill set that transcends traditional job boundaries.

What does this look like in reality?

Within the legal industry, this is a particularly hot topic. With several forces altering the nature of jobs, including technological advances and geopolitical shifts, questions are arising around what career diversification means for the legal profession. Whether specific roles will have to adapt or be replaced altogether remains to be seen, but what is clear is the impact this will have on the role of assessments.

To enable employees to contribute effectively in various areas, and to be able to measure quality levels in such a diversified landscape, assessments will have to evolve. In this sense, greater inclusivity relates to the need to go beyond academic-based methods and appeal to a broader scope of talent, taking into consideration more transferable and practical skill sets.

At Kaplan Assessments, we understand what it means to be a competent professional within a high-stakes setting.

Through a flexible approach, our comprehensive assessment solutions consider a wider range of abilities - helping organisations navigate the changing nature of the work environment.

Appealing to a wider pool of professionals

In a highly competitive job market, professionals are seeking out organisations that prioritise inclusivity. By demonstrating a commitment to this core value, you are therefore more likely to attract and retain a diverse talent pool. Simply put, how your organisation is viewed by current and prospective employees, as well as external stakeholders, matters.

There are various ways that inclusive assessments can benefit your organisation:

Building a positive employer brand:

When it comes to your employer brand, the way you are represented and perceived in the wider market is central to future-proofing your organisation. Professional assessments help to enhance your offering and image, providing employees with a productive evaluation of skills and potential for growth. This is further strengthened by the inclusivity aspect, presenting you as a progressive and fair employer.

In partnership with Kaplan Assessments, you are able to set your organisation apart and nurture the right kind of talent.

Driving innovation:

A study conducted by the World Economic Forum found that there is up to a 20% higher rate of innovation when an organisation has a diverse workforce. This correlation is unsurprising. The impact of bringing together a group of professionals with varied perspectives is only going to be positive, fostering creativity and effective decision-making.

In this sense, by removing certain barriers to assessment, such as unconscious bias, you are creating a level playing field for professionals to showcase their skill sets and progress in their careers.

The advantages of this approach are two-fold.

Firstly, creating an environment that promotes diversity can help to make employees feel empowered to thrive in the workplace. This, in turn, boosts job satisfaction and engagement levels, which ultimately drives performance. Secondly, innovation is a powerful driver for long-term growth. By diversifying your assessment approach, you are ultimately diversifying the skill sets on offer and giving your organisation a competitive edge. Crucial, when you consider the wider market and the increasing pressure to evolve at pace.

Thinking outside the box has just taken on a whole new meaning…

Kaplan Assessments: Inclusivity at every stage of the assessment process

In line with a larger focus being placed on inclusivity to address skills gaps, tailored assessments are emerging as the go-to approach. As a powerful tool to optimise hiring processes as well as continual professional development, they allow for much-needed flexibility. They are also better positioned to capture different dimensions of skills and capabilities.

That’s why organisations come to Kaplan Assessments.

Inclusivity at the point of design

In order to successfully measure specific competencies in the workplace, assessments should be inherently inclusive. In other words, the assessment needs to be designed so that candidates are able to fully demonstrate their ability - without being limited by biases or accessibility barriers.

This is more likely to be achieved through a tailored approach that can be built around your workforce.

As well as considerations such as the use of culturally and linguistically inclusive content, incorporating a variety of mediums will help to create a more accessible platform. This can include written answer questions, practical exercises, portfolio assessments, and/or simulated case studies.

In order to fulfil the qualification specification, skills, and knowledge being tested, an assessment should be comprehensive in its design.

From multiple choice testing to on-the-job evidence gathering, we specialise in a range of methods. During an initial consultation process, our team will be able to advise you on the best route to go down.

Developing your assessment to reflect real-world competencies

Led by a need to prioritise inclusivity, practical assessments are rapidly becoming a favourable approach to evaluating talent.

While the focus has previously been on subject matter expertise, organisations are moving towards a solution that is more reflective of real-world scenarios. In turn, this will improve accessibility across the board, with organisations no longer relying on just a resume to hire talent.

This provides an opportunity to showcase competence at an experience level.

After all, a solicitor’s ability to recite the legal system, although important, does not offer as much value as actively demonstrating this knowledge through skills-based evaluation. At the very minimum, it provides an equitable assessment process that centres around performance. Further to this, it takes day-to-day operations into consideration, presenting a direct and therefore effective way to raise standards in the workplace.

Keen to implement this within your organisation? Partner with Kaplan Assessments.

Working with high-stakes organisations across multiple industries, we offer a breadth of expertise in inclusive assessment development. Far surpassing a test of knowledge, identifying top talent should revolve around on-the-job performance.

So, we develop methodologies that effectively measure professional competence, where it matters most.

A flexible approach to assessment delivery

Simply put, your assessment methodology needs to suit a variety of employees with a variety of needs. A one-size-fits-all approach is not only limiting but problematic in its failure to recognise the breadth of talent on offer.

But how can this be achieved?

At Kaplan Assessments, we have a wealth of expertise in accessible assessment delivery.

Whether it’s an in-person assessment conducted in a controlled environment or a remote test that can be completed online, we are able to address a number of requirements to ensure equal participation. Additional forms of support, such as assistive technologies, are also available.

Even better, we encourage a continuous feedback loop, allowing for informed adjustments that set the candidate up for success - whatever their individual learning style and level of support needed.

Offer truly inclusive assessments and take your organisation to the next level. Reach out to our team today.

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