FRS’s are doing their very best but a great number are struggling with their promotions processes. There are a mix of key factors:

  • Use of Resources – planning and delivering assessment events is a huge undertaking, which ties up internal teams and wider staff who are required to asses and interview. It puts pressure on staff and takes them away from other tasks.
  • Concerns over Fairness – perceptions of bias and lack of objectivity remain commonplace, whilst a focus on transparency remains a key objective for HMICFRS.

  • Lack of Reliability – internally developed assessment tools may not be particularly robust, despite best intentions, with scoring frameworks insufficiently aligned to criteria frameworks and rating scales not scientifically constructed (no judgement here, its totally understandable you don’t have the time or resources in-house to be applying a painstakingly detailed approach).

  • Lack of Validity – A lack of validation of results through evaluation of candidate performance in later role contributes to insufficient validity of methods used. Again, with limited time, follow up such as this ALWAYS slips, and there just isn’t the capacity to neatly join the dots and do the stats to tie exercise performance to later workplace performance. But, this does impact the confidence an FRS can have in whether the tools they are using actually measure what they need to.

  • Procedural Assessments vs Behavioural Assessment – Internally designed exercises can focus on process/ procedure/ knowledge, which is an important step in conjunction with clear monitoring of development, but not at the expense of assessing leadership potential in a job simulation format. Success in a policy/procedure based assessment will provide information on how capable a candidate is at applying policy and memorising information, it doesn’t tell you how they will actually use information, make decisions and lead a team in realistic, every-day scenarios under pressure, which is what behaviourally-driven assessments are designed to do.

Simply, here is a blueprint of what a promotion process should include:

  • Eligible applicants (i.e. have met suitable development and competence criteria) apply via evidence-based application form, portfolio or appraisal, depending on in-house process.
  • Short-list of suitable candidates.
  • Attendance at pre-assessment briefing or pre-assessment learning materials supplied (or both), to transparently establish expectations, address concerns, answer questions and improve confidence.
  • Candidates are invited to an assessment event. This should include at least two different styles of job simulation activity, set in a generic work-based context and measuring criteria including the leadership qualities, code of ethics and FRS values.
  • Assessments should be anonymous as far as possible, with assessors unfamiliar with the candidates they are assessing.
  • Reasonable adjustments should be accommodated with a range of support options.
  • Anonymous candidate feedback on the exercises and experience should be sought immediately after exercise completion.
  • Scoring framework should be closely tied to the exercise content and criteria frameworks, with clear guidance provided to assessors through criteria and exercise related statements.
  • Candidate feedback on the exercises and experience should be sought immediately after exercise completion.
  • Results should be available to candidates within 7 working days of assessments.
  • Detailed feedback reports should be provided to explain assessment decisions, with clear evidence for a candidate to understand what they did well and areas for development. This should be relevant to general performance and not just in relation to the exercise (i.e. explaining what the assessment results indicate when applied to a general work-related context).
  • Feedback reports should include developmental guidance for further discussion with the candidates line manager.
  • A feedback session should be offered to all candidates with a trained assessor.
  • Data should be reviewed to identify trends in results across different cohorts of candidates, to establish consistency, and inform training and development plans.
  • Validation surveys should be completed by line managers 6-12 months after completion of the promotional assessment to analyse scores and later performance and establish predictive validity (i.e. accurate performance measurement by the exercises)
  • Candidate feedback post assessment exercises should be reviewed and amendments/ improvements made.
  • Anonymous candidate feedback should be analysed after the project and process amendments/ improvements made and communicated.

This blueprint is a simple basis to ensure your managers and future leaders of the organisation to be assessed reliably, effectively and fairly.

If you would like to get more ticks in the box for your promotions processes, we have a solution.

For your next promotion process, for Crew, Watch or Station Managers (green or grey book and control) we can run a Career Progression Gateway ‘LITE’ Trial in your organization. We will deliver the promotion blueprint above for just £349* per candidate. This offer is designed to show you what your promotion can look like, and the positive impact it will have on the moral, functioning and future proofing of your organisation.

All you need to do is sign up before May 5th 2024.

*Max 5 candidates. Excludes VAT and 10% project management fee.