Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Employer Certification

Talk to me long enough about personnel assessment and selection and one of the things I'm bound to say is that we, as a profession, don't do a very good job recognizing good selection practices.

Yes, organizations like
IPMA-HR do a good job of recognizing organizations that do particularly innovative things, but in general we don't recognize ongoing excellent practices such as rigorous and frequent job analysis, carefully crafted exams, and ensuring ROI for our customers. Centralized HR shops (in my experience) do an even worse job of recognizing line or agency practices that meet the grade. We fail miserably in using one of the most powerful behavior modification tools available to us: positive reinforcement .

One place to look for inspiration is job boards. has established a program to certify employers as
"Age Friendly" . All employers advertising positions with will be asked to participate.

So what is it? According to the website, it's "an initiative to identify employers that maintain policies, practices and programs consistent with employment of people age 50 and older based solely on their proficiency, qualifications and contribution, and on terms and conditions comparable to younger individuals. Further, Certification indicates an employer’s recognition of the unique value of age 50+ workers as well as their commitment to take affirmative action in providing meaningful employment, development opportunities and competitive pay and benefits."

What might this look like for personnel selection? Some ideas:

- Recognition of applicant tracking systems that have been implemented that do a particularly good job of communicating with applicants, tracking diversity information, and gathering relevant metrics.

- Sustained quality job analysis efforts that produce documents that would pass muster with federal agencies.

- Employers with high applicant satisfaction ratings as determined by a standardized survey applied across the board.

- HR shops that consistently allow their employees to make presentations at conferences, publish papers, etc.

These could all be linked together into some type of "best practices" web ring. It would help candidates (both HR and non-HR) identify shops that know their stuff and would be an example for other employers.

We've seen
some disjointed efforts in certifying individuals . Why not employers?

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