“employees experience TMA as a gift”

states Renée Kamphuis, manager of management development at the ICT company, Atos Origin. `An interview as a result of TMA takes some time and it’s about you. Moreover, such a conversation with a well-trained HR member of staff can immediately get down to the nitty-gritty because there’s already a good starting point.’

Atos Origin have been using TMA only for career interviews and professionalization. Before then, the company, which was created from BSO, the IT department of Akzo Nobel and KPN and KPMG Consultancy, worked with several assessment methods alongside each other. `That’s how it had happened, but we wanted to change to one method so that all company components speak the same language and data are exchangeable.’

A feedback group consisting of eight HR members of staff who had experience with assessment compared all systems extensively with each other. `Eventually, TMA turned out to be the most suitable system,’ comments Kamphuis. The report is one of the important plus points of TMA in the HR experts’ opinion. `The glass is always half full in those written reports. And they are drawn up in comprehensible language. Other methods sometimes use the language that is scientifically perhaps very justified, but which the candidate cannot understand. That doesn’t motivate people.’ Kamphuis had also had a more prosaic reason for choosing TMA: the pricing. `Within a year after doing a TMA, you can do all sorts of other assessments without having to pay extra for that. So you can do a career assessment or the 360-degrees feedback evaluation. You get, relatively speaking, a lot of assessments for that amount of money. The reports are according to Kamphuis a good place to start a conversation about talents, competencies and career.

`It’s a huge help that the employees recognize themselves in the description. They say for example: ‘It is so right. Only I would have never expressed it that way’. If the report has an effect on the employee, he’s more open to a conversation’. Kamphuis finds that the positive tone of the report does however demand extra attention from the HR staff member. `He or she has to be clear-cut on points that have been formulated in a very friendly manner.’

Kamphuis regards the collaboration with TMA as pleasant. `You notice that it is a relatively small company. The employees are well-motivated and react rapidly to comments. I am a critical user therefore I sometimes have comments. For example concerning the way a question is formulated. They do something about it pretty quickly.’

Atos Origin, which employs 49 thousand people worldwide, uses TMA for career coaching. `Such a career interview can be conducted on the initiative of the line manager, HR or the employee himself. We let the employee first fill in a TMA assessment. The report is a fine starting point for the conversation.’ Also, those employees who are looking for a job in a different department within the company complete the TMA questionnaire. `Sometimes people find they get to know themselves better by filling in that assessment,’ Kamphuis comments. `For example, someone who has become a line manager and remained that because it was all going pretty well and the status is also attractive. He realized when talking about his talents that he was actually happier when he was a project manager.

The assessment helps to bring that to the fore.’ When recruiting new employees, TMA also plays a role. `We don’t use the assessment for the selection. But when someone starts working with us, after a while he fills in the TMA questionnaire to give a basis for future career development. The conversation on the basis of the report is hugely appreciated,’ notes Kamphuis.

Kamphuis also has a positive experience with the 360-degrees feedback assessment. ‘That is a valuable instrument that provides a lot of information. We use for professionalization avenues. Together with the employees from a particular department, the nature of the functions is set out in terms of competencies. Then they firstly complete a TMA to inventory how the department is currently. Approximately nine months later the employees take part in the 360-degree assessment where they each fill in questions about each other. Also other people, like customers and managers, can be involved. `That leads to an interesting exchange where the search is for the essence of what makes someone successful in a certain function. It makes the work more interesting for us as an HR department.’

Previously the emphasis was more in terms of weak points that the employees had to improve. Kamphuis found that did not always work. `You shouldn’t force someone who is not strong in administrative tasks to do that sort of thing a lot. There are others who are very good at that and also enjoy doing it. It works better if you find a function that match the talents that a person possesses. When you talk with an employee about his talents, he becomes enthusiastic and starts giving you examples of hobbies that fit with them.’