Organisations often confuse development centres and assessment centres thinking that they are one and the same. The truth is they are not, and whilst both play a vital role in a company’s people strategy the development centre is more concerned with just that…. Development. A development centre is designed to help specifically identified high potential staff members within the company to develop the competencies needed to drive the company in future.
Why Development Centres?
Development centres came to prominence off the back of assessment centres. In similarity to the assessment centre the development centre typically uses a form of observational assessment of an individual or group placed in real life scenarios. There may also be some form of psychometrics involved in the development centre. The key difference is that the outcomes are designed to support the competency development of key staff in order to align effectively with organisational goals, as opposed to supporting recruitment decisions.
What types of task take place?
Development centres focus on using simulations of real life scenarios to help candidates examine their ability to demonstrate a particular competency. Often the individual will be monitored by a member of staff who will provide objective feedback. In a development centre environment however candidates are encouraged to self-reflect on their performance, and are afforded a safe environment in which they can be honest with themselves about how they move forward with a particular competency.
An example might be a group task where an individual is being asked to lead a small group of staff. Following a task, the individual in question may be encouraged by an observer to reflect on their communication style, listening and delegation methodology. The observer plays the role in this scenario of a facilitator encouraging self-reflection rather than assessor giving performance feedback.
The benefits of development centres
As the name suggests development centres are about enhancing potential and equipping future seniors within the company with the skills and awareness to perform effectively in management roles. By implementing a culture of development within the organisation the company will benefit from enhanced engagement as staff feel supported on their learning journey. The competencies developed will help make the company more resilient to the commercial landscape in future years. With so many positive outcomes from such a strategy its worth looking at how your organisation could benefit from development centre learning.
If you want more support on how to start a development centre in your organisation, then contact us for more details.