What is “The New Assessment” and how do you implement it?

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

What is “The New Assessment?

The New Assessment is rapidly gaining popularity in recent years as a way of thinking that any organization can use to revamp the traditional HR interview cycle. It provides a methodology for organizations to look at assessing employee performance in a new way.

The Learned platform helps companies implement a continuous hr cycle based on The New Assessment. Now would you like to know more about this? Then watch the video demo or try the hr software for free for 14 days.

Business economist Jacco van den Berg is one of the founders of the theory of “the new assessment” and wrote a book of the same name about it. In this book, Van den Berg indicates he is not “against” assessment. However, he believes that the way assessment is arrived at within the performance management cycle could use a solid refresh. He defines the performance management cycle as managing for outcome agreements and employee-level behaviors in line with the organization’s mission, vision and values. The main principles of the New Assessment System.


1. Focus more on the employee’s strengths.

Whereas in the traditional cycle, when setting learning and development goals, only the “weak” skills and competencies of the employee are often considered, the starting point of the new assessment is to look more at the strengths of the employee and build on them. It provides more value to turn a 7 into a 9 instead of a 4 into a 5.


2. Make employees accountable for their business goals and development.

Whereas the role of manager in the traditional appraisal cycle is to set goals and impose development points, in the new appraisal the role of manager shifts to that of a coach. Obviously there are business goals that must continue to be realized, but it is important to let employees themselves suggest how they can contribute to organizational goals and what they can develop to add even more value in the future.


3. Have an ongoing dialogue about performance and development.

One of the key principles of the new appraisal is to put the employee at the center, so that he or she can enjoy developing and excelling within the organization. To achieve this, Van den Berg suggests abandoning the traditional cycle of plan, performance, and assessment interviews and having “the right conversation” at a set number of times throughout the year. This lets managers and employees have frequent conversations about goals, development and career. Both parties follow up on these good conversations through a series of more informal 1:1 conversations, in the form of the so-called “continuous dialogue. Within this ongoing dialogue, your managers and employees may even engage in monthly discussions. This shorter cycle has the advantage of being much closer to the ball. This way, instead of hearing only after 6 months when something is not going well, problems are held up to the light much faster and you can coach employees more instead of just judging them. What the good talk entails and how to implement it read here


How do you implement “The New Assessment”?

To make The New Assessment a success, thorough implementation is important. In our eguide ‘Design your own modern HR cycle in 5 (effective) steps’ we discuss The New Assessment in detail. In this guide, we take you through 7 steps in designing a modern interview cycle and assessment system.


Challenges of ‘The New Assessment’

While we as Learned endorse Van den Berg’s vision, in practice we also see several challenges to consider. Most important:

  • Reviews remain required (sometimes). Both Van den Berg and Learned are not against appraisals, but steer toward having “good conversations” that should ensure there are no surprises for the employee at the end of the year when a final appraisal is made. After all, this final assessment is often required to address any salary increase.
  • Employees benefit from minimal structure. We fully endorse the goal of putting employees in the lead of their careers. However, it is then well required as an organization to create a minimal structure of “good conversations” that encourage this and serve as a framework. In addition, by doing so, you also overcome the fact that even the more introverted employee can share their ideas and wishes.


Benefits of ‘The New Assessment’

Although no study has been done on the results of “The New Appraisal,” it is plausible to argue that revamping the HR interview cycle through the new appraisal would yield similar results to the study done by Gallup on continuous dialogue. Thus, based on this study, new assessment could realize an increase in your employees’ engagement of up to 280%. Wondering how much this will save you in time and money? Download the business case. Learn more about the benefits of revamping your HR interview cycle here.

In summary, the new appraisal system is a methodology to revamp the traditional HR interview cycle. The main goal is to put the employee at the center of the company in order for him or her to contribute optimally to the company’s bottom line. Here, the key challenges are: focus on the employee’s strengths, place the employee in the lead, and conduct an ongoing dialogue.

The Learned platform helps companies implement a continuous hr cycle based on The New Assessment. Now would you like to know more about this? Then watch the video demo or try the hr software for free for 14 days.

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