Case study

Building An Assessment Program With A Global Energy Business


This global energy business employs over 75,000 people. Operating in over 70 countries they produce oil and gas on land and offshore.

The pressures of a downturn in global oil prices and increased operating challenges put significant pressure on the costs and efficiencies of the client’s systems. In addition, there had long been a desire to make staff development and coaching much more of a core management skill, as this had been inconsistent in the past.

The HR team, therefore, set down a simplification agenda, combining the drive for new efficiencies from more uniform practices alongside the push to give managers more ownership and responsibility of the assessment and development process. YSC Consulting was engaged to:

  • Shift from a culture and process where line managers sent candidates for recruitment and promotion off to external consultants without much input, to where they engaged actively in this process as a thoughtful contributor.
  • Reduce cost by creating a consistent global process and relying less heavily on a solely external solution.
  • Shift perceptions so that managers saw coaching as an ongoing responsibility after a hiring decision.

We partnered with the client to understand their needs and challenges. We then examined the challenge by looking at our emerging leaders assessment process, and exploring which components of that process the managers would be equipped to take on themselves, and in which components the contribution of a genuine specialist added the most value. In this way, we divided up the assessment into an advanced manager interview and an external ‘supplementary assessment’ which would build on that. We shared this breakdown with the client, who reviewed the LM interviews they were designing, and found they were confident that they were asking managers to take on the things they could be relied upon to do well, while still providing them with further insight they would struggle to get to on their own. This process was then formalized into a manager in depth interview followed by an “external light assessment” by a consultant.

This process was tested over several months, across three continents, to check its robustness. We incorporated minor changes into the process, mostly around improving clarity and encouraging positive conversations. We also worked with a psychometric test publisher that the client had engaged to bring similar streamlining, efficiency and insight to some of the questionnaire and test-based tools used within the assessments.


Participant and client feedback has been that the assessments have been running efficiently and consistently, and we have seen a steady increase in assessment requests for over a year.

YSC assessors have found that the levels of line manager engagement in the process have been noticeably higher than historical averages, both for the client and by industry standards.

Anecdotal evidence has suggested that line managers have shown greater confidence in hiring decisions. The vast majority of line managers have also engaged openly in developmental planning discussions of how to support incoming hires to be successful in the medium term, a strong traditional predictor of authentic coaching conversations.

We have agreed with the client to do a full analysis around participants and their subsequent success and behavior once the population has reached sufficient size, and enough time has passed for such analyses to be worthwhile.