New Generation Psychometrics – focusing on the ‘will do’ factor
elemental is a unique psychometric assessment of intrinsic drivers, which (in an assessment situation) adds the motivational – ‘will do’ – factor to the competency – ‘can do’ – factor. In selection situations, these motivational elements are hugely valuable to decision-makers, because the performance of competent individuals in real-life work situations will reflect the extent to which their motivational profiles match the core requirements of the job. So motivation has become the primary concern both of organizations looking ‘beyond competencies’, and of business psychologists seeking more effective psychometrics.
Adding this technique to the assessment process encourages decision-makers to be totally clear on the main priorities for effective performance in the job: experienced users of the technique come to see the intrinsic motivation factor as a pervasive influence on performance. As business psychologist Ken Rawling says, “I would consider an assessment to be incomplete if I did not include the elemental questionnaire. It is the only instrument that describes people’s motivational priorities: the areas of work that attract them, and the styles of working that they feel most comfortable with.” Similarly, John Watley of SOLACE Enterprises comments, “On the rare occasions when we have not used elemental in the assessment process, we have often wished we had done so, when making the final decision. The quality and certainty of the information it provides is invaluable.”
Many large organizations have come to recognize that competency frameworks omit intrinsic motivation: an essential part of the performance equation. In the financial services sector, the Halifax and Prudential were among the first to use this technique, acknowledging the importance of the motivation to succeed in the top jobs in particular. Jenny Preedy from the Halifax explains, “Using the elemental questionnaire…has allowed us to gain an insight into what motivates our high potential managers…to identify not only who can take the organization into the future, but also who will want to; and who is best fitted to take on this challenge.” In the Prudential, Ian Pierce has used this instrument in selection and development because “elemental considerably reduces the risk of people ending up in a job which doesn’t suit their motivational needs, which is good news for employee and company alike.”
The cover of the 2002 Human Resources Solutions for Europe conference programme asserts: “The ability to attract and hold on to talented employees is the single most reliable predictor of overall excellence.” But the performance of those who are in the wrong job (from a motivational point of view) will gradually decline; many will leave because they feel that they are not where they want to be, and are therefore not motivated to develop the skills required to perform effectively. At Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, elemental is seen as a crucial factor in tackling this issue, prompting Senior HR Consultant Hilary Farrar to describe it as being like “finding the Holy Grail!”.