Mindboggling: Personnel Today’s 360-Degree Appraisal of HR quiz

1 You have been asked to produce a report about employee absence figures over the past six months to present at the next management team meeting. How do you go about compiling it?

a Collect the absence information and analyse the average percentage for each department, giving each manager a clear picture of the specific absence figures for their team.

b Gather the absence records and benchmark each department against organisational norms, giving each manager a picture of how their absence figures fit within the organisation.

c Collate the data and analyse it by looking for trends or patterns, giving each manager general information for them to base their absence management decisions on.

2 A colleague invites you to a networking event where you can meet academics, consultants, HR specialists and other business people. Is this:

a Something to avoid, because in this context they will all be selling to you, so better to use your time to focus on your immediate tasks.

b Something to attend partially by joining the meeting at lunchtime to increase the number of contacts you have.

c Something to attend fully to increase your wider knowledge and put up with the fact that some of it may not be a good use of your time.

3 Honesty, integrity and professionalism are often quoted as core company values. How do you rate yourself in this regard?

a I think that it is good to have these as organisational values, as long as people understand what’s most important is getting the job done.

b I appreciate the importance of honesty, integrity and professionalism and have a practical approach to these, as sometimes my drive to succeed may mean that I have to compromise these principles a little.

c I understand the value of having these principles, butit does mean that sometimes people may disagree withme or that things happen more slowly.

4 What do you value most in an organisation or department?

a An organisation where my colleagues are friendly and supportive.

b An organisation where there are many promotional and development opportunities.

c An organisation where I can contribute to the company’s success.

5 A line manager comes to you to discuss a problem they are having with one of their team. They have an idea about how to handle the issue, which does not contravene HR policy, but is different from what you think is the best solution. What do you do?

a Confirm that their suggestion is in line with HR policy and leave it at that.

b Clearly explain why your views are the best solution for this type of issue.

c Explore the reasons for their choice of approach and suggest what they could do differently.

6 You have been asked to give a 15-minute presentation to line managers about the steps involved in a major restructure. The line managers have outlined some HR issues they would like you to cover. What do you feel is the most important thing to consider when preparing your presentation?

a That your slides are interesting, engaging and technically accurate.

b That you have covered all the points mentioned by the line managers.

c That the information you present is clear and focused on business needs.

7 Working with line managers across the business to design a new pay and bonus structure, you are currently preparing a proposal that evaluates the different options. Which of the following do you think is most important to emphasise in your proposal?

a The overall fit with HR best practice.

b The overall cost associated with the option.

c The overall match to the company vision.

8 Your organisation is facing potential redundancies. You have worked closely with line managers and the board on drafting the plans. No final decisions have been made. A worried member of staff confronts you about rumours that they will be affected by redundancies. Do you:

a Tell them not to worry, as they definitely won’t be affected and explain the process to agree the plans.

b Say that their line manager is best placed to answer any questions and concerns, and explain that their manager will be fully briefed soon.

c Inform them that no decisions have been made and explain the proposed business strategy.

9 New legislation will be introduced in a few months’ time that may affect the work of your department. Do you:

a Wait to see how the legislation works in practice then make a judgement.

b Ask a member of your team to prepare a briefing for you and the team.

c Research the new legislation yourself in advance of its introduction.

10 A line manager has a track record of using a subjective and racially biased approach to recruitment, contravening best practice and equal opportunities legislation. The time has come to address this. You call a meeting in their office. Do you:

a Explain that what they are doing is illegal, unethical and wrong, and show them the legislation to prove it.

b Point out that research shows they are unlikely to be getting the right skills that will meet their needs and suggest alternatives.

c Ask about their business so that you can identify how it will suffer unless they employ more objective methods.

11 Your company has decided to commission a new applicant-tracking system to deal with the high volume of applicants across the business. This will have a major impact on the way you and your team recruit in the UK. To what extent do you get involved?

a Ask one of your team members to test the system once it has been built, as you want to ensure the electronic process gives potential employees a positive view of the company.

b Produce a data-flow diagram of your current recruitment processes and send it to the project team, to ensure the new system fits with your current requirements.

c Request to be involved in the project team to ensure the system can integrate with your HR processes and best fit business needs.

12 You are attending an executive board meeting to present what your HR department has achieved this year. What do you structure your presentation around?

a Key activities that your department has been involved in so as to highlight how much your department does.

b Key outcomes of your department’s work to highlight what the department has achieved.

c Key business drivers to show how your department’s work supports and relatesto these.

13 A number of issues have been identified with current HR policies. You have been asked to investigate and recommend changes. What do you think is most important when addressing this task?

a To complete the task quickly so as to ensure the policies are updated as soon as possible.

b To understand the issues that have been raised and their impact.

c To gain an understanding of the wider business strategy and policies involved.

14 How well do you understand your organisation’s business strategy?

a I understand broadly what we do and how we work.

b I understand the detail and have thought through the consequences that this has upon our people processes.

c I understand the detail and am able to build this consistently into the decisions I make about our people processes.

15 It is your job to update your company’s HR intranet site. You are not experienced in web-page design and are not quite sure what it involves. How do you feel?

a I do not like working with unfamiliar computer systems, so I will ask someone in IT to do it for me.

b I’m not very confident with technical systems. I’ll have to find out more about it first.

c I have not liked doing this type of work in the past but I’ll give it a go.

What your responses reveal

Mainly A

Your responses suggest that there are a number of areas where your approach may not exactly fit with the capabilities required to add value in HR roles of the future. Think carefully about what these areas are, and about any feedback you may have received in the past. There seems tobe scope for you to change your approach and add more value in many areas. Consider the requirements of your job carefully before deciding what you could do differently in the future. The roles that require these responsesare under threat.

Mainly B

Your responses suggest that your approach is moderately well fitted to the capabilities required for adding value in the HR roles of the future. There are likely to be some areas where you could potentially take a different approach, and we would advise you to think about what you could do to ensure that you are adding value across all key HR capabilities.

Mainly C

Well done. Your responses suggest that your approach is well fitted to the capabilities required for adding value in an HR role. Based on your answers, this is a job that you may enjoy. But remember, it is important that the job is right for you, and that you are right for the job.

How to really add value

Did our quiz leave you questioning your suitability for the HR role of the future? In his book, The HR Value Proposition, HR guru Dave Ulrich identifies the following competencies as key for adding value in a HR role:

  • Strategic capability: HR professionals must help deliver company strategy.
  • Personal credibility: HR professionals must gain the trust of those they serve.
  • HR mastery: HR professionals must become experts in their chosen domain.
  • Business literate: HR professionals must be able to communicate in business terms.
  • HR systems: HR professionals need to learn to use new technology.

Source: The HR Value Proposition, Ulrich & Brockbank, 2005

About the quiz

The above questionnaire has been developed by SHL and Commercial HR using realistic job preview (RJP) and situational judgement test (SJT) methodologies to measure the skills required for the future model of HR. These are derived from the Ulrich & Brockbank model of competency contained in their book The HR Value Proposition, 2005, and have been designed to act as a basis for employee development. The questionnaire has been created with the permission of the authors solely for the purposes of Personnel Today, and is not to be used for any other purpose.

Please note that the above questionnaire is intended as illustrative. RJPs and SJTs developed using these methodologies typically include more complex scoring keys and less transparent response options.

SHL specialises in designing these SJTs for high-volume graduate, retail and customer service roles. Situational judgement questionnaires are gaining increasing popularity as fun, fair and powerful ways of measuring talent in a consistent way.

Commercial HR provides business-focused HR solutions (training and consulting) dedicated to helping your company get real benefits from your investment in HR.

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