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Development centres


We are currently looking at the use of development centres for team leaders and consultants to assess current skills and identify potential within our organisation and are interested in finding out if other organisations use development centres. We would be interested to find out:

1. What do you use development centres for? (for example potential assessment)

2. Who is your target audience for the centres?

3. Do you design and run the centres internally or do external providers run them for you?

4. How do you go about the design of the centre?

5. What are the outputs from the centre and how you manage feedback?

6. How do you evaluate the success of the development centre?

7. How did you determine the need for a development centre?

sarah folwell

3 Responses

  1. Development Centres

    Having had experience in both running internal assessment as an employer and external assessment centres as a provider- there is a question that you need to ask:
    “What is currently not happening that makes an Assessment Centre a solution?”

    Assessing skills and potential “should” be the output of effective line management. Is their capability developed here?

    Development centres work best when that capability is developed and thus the centres are used as an opportunity to select the best talent from the pool.

    Your other questions are valid- and if you’d like me to give an unbiased view, feel free to contact me.


  2. Our approach
    Hi Sarah
    we have used development centres for a number of years now as a means to either encourage individuals with potential or to give a boost to people we believe we could get more from.

    We are currently designing one for scientific and line managers specifically around leadership. We have looked at the aspects of leadership that we think are important and with this competency breakdown we have started looking at what exercises would be suitable to examine each of these.

    We have 1 primary observer for each candidate, they will not see them in every exercise but their role is to collate the feedback from all of the observers and put together into a report to feedback to their individual after the centre. It is important for us that our observers can commit to doing this.

    Our development centres last for 2 days and are a big investment.

    I’d be happy to talk you through more of the detail of our approach if you want to contact me.


  3. Development Centres
    Hello Sarah,

    Your questions cover just about every element of the subject and I think that it is too big to do justice to here.

    You could visit the BPS web site where there is information on the subject.

    Like everything else I think that it comes down to the effort that is put into it. There is no doubt that AC/DCs work very well if the time, effort and resources are put into the design and delivery. So for ‘key’ workers (whoever they may be!), providing the centre is put together properly I think that they are a good tool. But if they are not put together properly then I believe they can be an expensive disaster. I have worked on some where senior management paid lip service to the idea and ended up recruiting people they ‘liked the look of’. So doing it right is key.

    Because of the investment involved I think that there are more cost effective methods for more ‘junior’ workers.

    I have some interesting statistics on the effectiveness of various recruitment & selection/development methods. Contact me direct if you would like to see them.

    If you want to discuss this further contact me direct, I’ll be happy ot share my experiences with you.

    Good luck



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