Going Up

Hays survey shows observation and assessment finds future leaders.

Going Up

Australia & New Zealand

A Hays survey has found 80 per cent of 1,516 Australian and New Zealand employers surveyed use a variety of observation and assessment tools to determine a high performer’s management potential. The remainder utilise big data. The company concludes that people who aspire to management roles should be ready to be heavily assessed.

“I’m sure we’ve all seen instances where a star employee, that person who hits every target and exceeds every objective, is promoted to a management role only to struggle for the first time in their career,” says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “But as any successful manager knows, there are a whole new set of skills required at this level – which only increase if an employee will also be managing people.”

According to Hays these include but are not limited to motivating, communicating, listening, interpersonal, planning, problem-solving, delegation, emotional intelligence and time management skills, as well as the effective organisation, coordination and execution of organisational goals.

So how will these qualities be assessed? Hays found there are two typical approaches: observation and assessment or the utilisation of big data. 56 per cent of those surveyed use the observation and assessment method and plan to continue doing so. 

A further 24 per cent currently use this method but plan to start using big data to inform their decisions in the next 12 months. Observation and assessment can involve any combination of the following:


• How a potential manager treats colleagues who don't perform as well as them;

• How they perform in secondment opportunities;

• How they perform in projects with team lead components; 

• How they coach an underperformer.


• Self-motivation;

• Communication skills;

• Empathy;

• Strength;

• Understanding of the broader company (not only the department they work in);

• Leading by example;

• Respect from others in the organisation;

• Emotional intelligence.

Feedback from:

• Peers;

• Major stakeholders.

It’s also common to use a standard assessment form or checklist to perform an evaluation that determines how consistently an employee demonstrates certain abilities or characteristics as benchmarked in existing successful managers.

For those who fall into the second category, big data is being used to identify potential managers. “In such organisations, mined data pinpoints which staff members could bring them the highest ROI in a management role,” says Nick.

While only 20 per cent of surveyed employers currently use data to predict if a top performer is likely to excel in a management role, as mentioned a further 24 per cent plan to start doing so in the next 12 months. This is therefore a growing trend that we expect to continue in the years ahead as HR moves towards the incorporation of data for more accurate decision making.



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