Behavioural Assessment Design: Specifying the Behaviours

Managing the Assessment for Accuracy & Risk Management

Behavioural assessment when selecting potential partners is now nearly a standard component in the procurement of key partners. The B2B team have the longest track record in the UK, and have been trusted with assessment for the highest value and most complex projects in the world.  Delivery of the behavioural assessment for the HS2 EDP was the latest successful example.

To provide a professional job that ensures accuracy and validity of the assessment, and to satisfy client legal teams that we can combat risks of challenge from unsuccessful tenderers, it has been important to develop a robust and controlled approach to the design, delivery and reporting of the behavioural assessment that meets international standards.  This short blog briefly looks at a key element of the design of a behavioural assessment– what behaviours to assess?

What Behaviours are Important to Assess? 
You would think from the discussions in the industry media it would be collaboration behaviours alone. Not so! A quick glance at the 2016 Davos conference Top 10 Skills for business success for 2020, identifies that a broader range of competences may be needed beyond collaboration.  needed for success.   

Of course the Davos skills are just generic indicators and current UK best practice for behavioural assessment says that assessment criteria must be based on specific job demands and the competence requirements for given roles. This is a good starting point but many behavioural assessment approaches in EU regulated competitions aim to evaluate teams from the tendering organisations which includes a range of different roles and levels. Whilst assessment of specific individuals is possible, it is not always the most economical, so often a common set of assessment criteria and behaviours are applied to the assessed team. So what informs the assessment criteria?  Our approach is to develop a unique set of criteria by exploring with the client:

  • Future project challenges and risks for which behaviours will be important to address
  • Objectives and deliverables and the enabling competences needed to drive to delivery
  • The organisational values and desired culture for success
  • The relative importance across the range of potential competences to be assessed

UK best practice standards says there is a limit to the number of criteria it is feasible to assess and it is important to use the development process above to gain stakeholder agreement to the critical few criteria as it is important to be focussed on behaviours that will lend the strongest support to managing future challenges and opportunities and those which best support the desired culture and values.  All of the criteria need to be framed into a robust behavioural measurement and scoring approach that meets professional standards and the assessment methods best fitted to assess them are selected – but that is the subject for a future blog!

Procurement project management

Whilst many clients support this critical initial design process by ensuring sufficient time is allocated, and providing expert knowledge into the process, it is important that all procurement project managers do so as everything else in the behavioural assessment rests upon the successful delivery of this stage.