1.    Assessments
2.    Skills Planning and Development
3.    Organisational Development
4.    Emotional Management
5.    Coaching/ Personal Development

Assessments are done only if there is a need to assess. 

Assessments registered with the Health Professions Council and that are classified as psychometric tests, those developed in South Africa, or adapted for South African conditions and/or those with South African norms are preferred. 

In most cases assessments are appropriate for:
•    Selection
•    Placement, including promotions and staff movement
•    Training and Development
•    Career guidance and succession planning
•    Organisational Development
•    Employee wellness/psychological fitness
•    Emotional Management

1.1    Selection and placement
An assessment battery will be decided on (and agreed to with the client) based on the following:
•    The requirements of the job
•    Job description
•    Job specification
•    The requirements of the position  or job grade (organisational level)

Assessments for selection generally include one of, or a combination of, the following:
•    Assessments for competencies, such as:
•    Numeric ability
•    Language ability
•    Spatial ability
•    Mechanical or Technical ability
•    Clerical ability
•    Cognitive ability
•    Service or Sales ability
•    Speed and Accuracy of work
•    Personality
•    Values
•    Integrity
•    Emotional Intelligence
•    Developmental or Learning Potential
•    Aptitude (appropriate to use for decisions involving placement)

1.2    Training and Development
1.2.1    Assessments for existing staff members
Assessments for training and development, within the organisation (succession/promotion), and depending on the position for which the individual is being developed, will generally include one of, or a combination of, the following:
•    Developmental or Learning Potential
•    Emotional Intelligence
•    Ability assessment(s), only when the competencies used are to change significantly

1.2.2    Assessments for trainees
Organisations spend a significant portion of their training budget on trainees.  Trainees include bursary applicants, management trainees, apprentices, learnership trainees, etc.  It is essential that candidates are selected for these programmes based on their ability to complete (and pass) their training programmes.  Assessments for trainees will depend on the type of trainee as well as the needs of the organisation.  These assessments typically include:
•    A personality assessment
•    A Developmental or Learning Potential Assessment
•    Ability assessment
(For apprentices this can include a technical ability assessment, for an architect a spatial ability assessment, for a trainee accountant a numerical ability, and so forth).  Ability assessments are “discipline” specific.

1.3    Career Guidance
Ask any working adult what they are and they are likely to identify themselves in respect of their occupation or profession.  I am: “A housewife, a lawyer, the CEO of a company, a teller, a doctor, a teacher,” etc.

People, at a very young age, make two decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.   The first of these two decisions is selecting a career (career path); the second is choosing a life partner.  Many of us meet this life partner while studying towards our selected occupations or careers.  It does not matter whether the young adult actually follows a selected occupation or career path after training or not, this initial decision will guide many of this young person’s future decisions.  These decisions include employment decisions, such as; “who do I work for” and personal decisions, such as; “where do I relocate to?”

A career is not simply something adults settle down and do.  An occupation or career should not provide an income only; it should provide a person with a sense of satisfaction.  Because people identify themselves according to the activities they spend most of their time performing career choices should be made based on the following:
•    Personality
•    Ability
•    Aptitude
•    Interests
•    Values
•    Labour market trends
•    Earning potential

Career guidance should be considered by:
•    Learners needing to make subject choices
•    School leavers who require assistance in making a decision regarding their future employment
•    Persons who are needing to decide on appropriate training and educational institutions
•    Individuals considering a change in career
•    Individuals wanting to further or complete their studies
•    Persons wanting to re-join the labour market

2.    Skills planning and development
There is not a single organisation that does not need to invest in training and development.  There are many reasons for this need, amongst the most obvious “generic” reasons are; the rapid rate of change (mainly due to technology and globalisation) and the shortage and/or availability of well-educated/trained, skilled and experienced individuals.  In addition to the generic skills that are required, each organisation has specific operational processes that will require specialised skills. 

Skills planning is a rather complex process.  It is a dynamic process that needs to take employee and organisational needs into account while at the same time planning for the “unexpected”.  A strategic vision or plan needs to be in place for skills planning to be successful.  This vision is often based on an ideal future towards which the organisation works.  This strategic plan or vision is however, grounded or founded in the current situation.  Thus organisations need to know what their current skills pool consists of as well as what their future skills pool will consist of.

The process should include:
•    Gaining an understanding of the current skills level using a well-designed skills survey (or audit tool)
•    Understanding the Human Resource requirements and demands linked to the strategic vision, including remuneration, benefits, job satisfaction, etc.
•    Knowing what attracts the “next generation” to occupations, careers and organisations
•    Keeping track of the “quality” of the employee various learning and educational institutions produce
•    Identifying current and future potential for development
•    Planning succession in line with the Employment Equity Act (No. 55 of 1998) and the Skills Development Act (No. 97 of 1998)
•    Flexibility (as the process is a dynamic one)

Depending on organisational and occupational requirements assessments done include assessments that measure:
•    Competency assessments
•    Numeric ability
•    Language ability
•    Spatial ability
•    Mechanical or Technical ability
•    Clerical ability
•    Cognitive ability
•    Service or Sales ability
•    Speed and Accuracy of work
•    Developmental or learning potential
•    Aptitude assessments

Competency assessments are useful to use together with developmental potential assessments as competency assessments provide an indication of gap that exists been current ability (competencies) and desired levels of competency (future ability), while the developmental potential assessment will provide an indication of the individuals’ ability to gain (learn) and use (apply) new and/or acquired knowledge.  An aptitude assessment is valuable when needing to make decisions regarding “staff movement”. 

Skills planning, succession planning or talent management cannot be done around the individuals.  When this statement is made the question often aske is: “why assess?”  The only answer to this question is: “to know what is available” and it is not good enough to know this only once, it is something the organisation constantly needs to be aware of.  Organisations should know what skills/talent they have available both within the organisation and within the environment in which the organisation operates.  Skills planning needs to be done taking into account the future needs of the organisation (including the culture of the organisation), the needs of labour (current and future), the availability of resources (socio-economically determined) and it must be done within specific structures complying with legal requirements (Employment Equity and Skills Development).
3.    Organisational Development
What is Organisational Development?  In a nutshell organisational development can be described as the processes involved in identifying and improving organisational efficiency and effectiveness.  While Industrial Psychologists are associated with organisational development many other disciplines are too, on an on-going basis.  Organisational Development from an Industrial Psychology point of view involves identifying the specific aspects in various organisational processes that, if improved, will increase organisational efficiency and effectiveness. 

Organisational development is about understanding organisations in relation to the environments in which they operate.  It incorporates the entire organisation (the people, the processes and the planning) and all other possible environmental factors that could have an impact on the organisation.  Organisational development considers the current and future needs/demands of employees within the organisation as well as the current and future needs of the organisation and the demands these needs places on available resources (physical and psychological).   

Organisational development is “broadly” linked to or associated with organisational culture and employee “well-being”.  As such assessments and programmes aimed at organisational development will include assessments that provide information in respect of:
•    Physical work processes
•    Work flow
•    Reporting structures
•    Psychological work processes
•    Employee satisfaction
•    Burnout

4.    Emotional Management
This is personal development that is not necessarily based on the outcome of a formal assessment although it can be.  Emotional management is a therapeutic process that often results from a personal realisation that change is necessary or required or as a result of a referral.  The emotional management programme or process relies heavily on the Cognitive Behavioural Approach used in counselling.  This approach focuses on the way people think and act and attempts to overcome emotional barriers to effective living, working and learning.  The aim of this therapy is to assist the individual with recognising the cognitive processes (thought patterns) that result in behaviour, and then to assist them with adopting more acceptable or positive thought patterns resulting in the individual being able to adapt behaviour accordingly.  The individual is provided with tools required to manage their emotions and behaviours and as such the approach attempts to empower the individual.  The success of every Emotional Management Programme depends on the individual’s desire to work towards positive change and their commitment to the process.

Emotional Management includes learning to manage:
•    Anger
•    Low self-esteem
•    Repetitive destructive behaviour patterns

5.    Coaching / Personal Development
Personal Development can include emotional management although this is not necessarily always the case.  In most cases individuals requesting coaching are not in need of a therapeutic intervention although this may become necessary when a client is unable to remove barriers to effective performance.  Emotional Management is a psychological intervention whereas Personal Development is more closely related or associated to Coaching.  Emotional Management (as describe above) relies on a specific approach used in the counselling relationship, Personal Development on the other hand is based or designed according to the needs of the specific client (or clients) in their specific context (home and/or work lives) and will not rely on a specific approach unless counselling becomes necessary.  Coaching, unlike training and development, takes place on a one-on-one basis, and focuses more heavily on intra-personal and inter-personal skills and relationships than training does.  Coaching that focuses on generic skills, such as time management for example, can be done in a group context although the identification of possible reasons for “mismanagement” of time may be individual/personal and these “individual” differences lend themselves to individualised Personal Development Programmes.  The relationship that develops between a coach and a client is a relationship based on an honest exchange of information and feedback and as such it may at time be more directive than counselling is.  Personal Development can only be successful when the client is fully committed to the process.