/ Frequently Asked Questions

    Working with the system

  1. What will assessment results look like?

    Assessment results are displayed in Corporate and Personal reports. To view sample reports, go to Home Page and click on Sample Reports on the right hand side.

  2. I would like John Doe to be evaluated as a manager. How can I set him up in the system?

    Employee Position can be either directly set in 360 Degrees or imported from Azimuth.

    In 360 Degrees: On the «Organization» page, click on the relevant department → employee name→ In the Position drop down box, select Manager. This will automatically set all other employees in this department as subordinates. Managers of other department will be set as colleagues, while the manager of the department above will be set as the supervisor.

    In Azimuth: During the assessment, participants will be asked to answer questions about the hierarchical organizational structure of their respective departments and/or company. Manager-subordinate relationships will be exported from Azimuth into 360 Degrees; thus automatically setting the positions of the employees assessed.

  3. Can two or more projects be conducted under the same login?

    Yes, two projects can be conducted under the same login. Use the tab «New Project» on the right hand side of the «projects» menu to add a new project.

  4. Is it possible to use your system to evaluate staff of a large company (more than 2, 000 employees)? How is the assessment conducted in this case — will it include all employees, key positions holders or certain departments?

    Yes, it is possible to use our system for the company of this size. Our system has been tested on a project involving 250,000 employees. In fact, our system works for companies of any size: small, medium and large. To hear what our customers say about the system, please read their Testimonials.

    The decision of whom to include in the project is yours and is based on your business needs. It is possible to ask all the employees to participate but may neither be necessary not the best use of your employees time. If, for example, your goal is to evaluate performance of a particular department, you may focus on evaluating certain key employees. The best candidates to evaluate would people who are familiar with them. They may be from the same department or a different one.

    If your goal is to track performance of a particular initiative across the company, you my want to evaluate people who are either formal or informal leaders and are key holders to integrating the initiative into the work collective. If you are not sure who the best candidates for evaluators may be, «Azimuth» can answer this question easily through its analysis of the organizations social network.

    Whatever you business need may be, our system is flexible enough to accommodate your needs and our friendly customer support will be happy to guide you in the right direction.

  5. How much would it cost me to conduct the evaluation?

    The assessment itself is free; what you pay for are the reports.

    The price varies depending on the competence model you elect to use (standard or your own) and the number of employees being evaluated. The starting price is $XX per employee.

    Please, give us a call to discuss your needs and give us an opportunity to provide you with a customized proposal.

  6. What will I get? What ROI can I expect?

    Lets consider the rate charged for standard assessment, i.e. $XX per employee and assume that it constitutes less than 1% of their annual salary.

    According to our customers feedback, we know that staffs productivity increases by more than 1% after a well conducted assessment, even if no organizational work is done. Feedback alone provides a sufficient incentive for employees to improve, increase productivity, etc. For instance, employees who have received low ratings significantly improve the quality of their work. If management uses assessment results appropriately and makes the right organizational decisions, staff effectiveness can increase by up to 50%. In either case, ROI is very high.

  7. I would like John Doe to be evaluated as a manager. How can I set him up in the system?

    Employee Position can be either directly set in 360 Degrees or imported from Azimuth.

    In 360 Degrees: On the «Organization» page, click on the relevant department → employee name→ In the Position drop down box, select Manager. This will automatically set all other employees in this department as subordinates. Managers of other department will be set as colleagues, while the manager of the department above will be set as the supervisor.

    In Azimuth: During the assessment, participants will be asked to answer questions about the hierarchical organizational structure of their respective departments and/or company. Manager-subordinate relationships will be exported from Azimuth into 360 Degrees; thus automatically setting the positions of the employees assessed.

    «AZIMUTH», «360 DEGREES», AND THEIR USE

  8. Who created the «Azimuth» and «360 Degrees»? When were they developed?

    As a method of assessment, «360 degrees» has been around for a while. Tens of thousands of consultants and companies, of all types and sizes, have been using this methodology around the world. Due to our proprietary automated system, we are able to provide the same type of analysis but much quicker and at much lower cost. Its success is largely due to the fact that the employees are evaluated by those who know their work best: their colleagues, supervisors, subordinates and, possibly, customers. We, at BSSL Around, have supplemented this methodology with our own competence model that was developed by our own Ekaterina Oriol, PhD.

    BSSLs proprietary system, «Azimuth," is based on the Social Network Analysis developed by also our own Alexander Larionov in 2009. Our customers are raving about this simple assessment method that graphically displays the nature of interactions within a company. «Azimuth» is recognized as having a great potential and is therefore continuously revised and improved upon.

  9. What makes «Azimuth» unique? Are there other similar assessment systems around?

    As far as we know, «Azimuth» has no equivalents in the world. «Azimuth» uses SNA models and approaches, proprietary questions, and visualization developed in house — everything is unique.

  10. What is the difference between «Azimuth» and «360 degrees»?

    «360 degrees» measures employees competences, while «Azimuth» focuses on the nature of employee interactions. The two methodologies complement each other. For example, «Azimuth» allows to automatically create lists for assessments in «360 degrees» i.e. it determines who will evaluate whom thus reducing the need of manual import.

    «Azimuth» assesses employees accessibility, effectiveness and intensity of his/her interactions with others. In addition, «Azimuth» evaluates employees network metrics such as informal leadership and corporate integration. Network metrics take into account not only scores, but those who provide them. This means that the scores from employees who are the best, in everybodys opinion, will have more value than scores provided by less esteemed employees.

    «360 degrees» is well known and is widely used by management consulting firms around the world. The results of the assessment can give the employer an idea regarding the employees value or contribution to the company and suitability of his/her job role. The results will allow the comparison between the employees self evaluation and the opinions his/her colleagues, superiors, subordinates and customers. The assessment is particularly good at determining who makes valuable contributions to the companys undertakings and who only appears to do so.

  11. How does BSS-Arounds «360 degrees» differ from other types of assessment?

    1. «360 degrees» not only provides evaluations and results, but tests their reliability.
    2. The assessment is completely automated (practically no manual work is required) and is therefore much cheaper than assessments offered by our competitors.
    3. «360 degrees» provides actionable and informative reports to both employees and management.
    4. Our methodology uses a standardized competence model that is applicable to practically any type of company.
    5. It provides flexibility by allowing you the option to use your own competence model.

    «360 degrees» is accessible to both small and big-sized businesses. The larger the business, the higher ROI on investment (through increased productivity of employees) the company can expect.

  12. What makes your competence model universal i.e. applicable to all types of organizations?

    You have a choice: you can either adopt our standard model or create your own. Advantages of the first option include the ability to commence the assessment immediately and lower cost per employee. If you choose the second option, you will need to provide us with your set of competences and well need to set them for you in the system. The option may take a bit longer and the cost per employee is higher.

    In order for a competence model to be solid and good, it does not need to be unique. What matters is that it be tested and proven in practice. Our model has been tested and proven as some of our Testimonials suggest.

    Our system has a wide range of competences that are relevant to most businesses. They include general categories such as «ethics», «creativity», «communication», «leadership», etc. as well as competences that apply to particular business fields. For example, if we want to assess a persons level of professionalism, we can ask his colleagues (who are experts in the same field) simple questions regarding the persons expertise, personal and professional growth, etc. Answers to these simple questions will be sufficient to provide us with a reliable employee profile. The systems main goal is to rate employees relative to one another, and our system is extremely efficient in achieving this goal.

    In addition, our system uses psychometric methods, which tailor the assessment to your company by determining the weight (or importance) of each question depending on the answers provided by the assessment participants. For example, if a question is not appropriate for your company (i.e. the majority of your employees give each other the same exact score or if they cannot answer the question at all), the system will automatically reduce the weight of this question.

  13. What are the advantages of your system for large and small companies?

    There are 5 major advantages of using our system:

    1. The first advantage for both large and small companies is full automation of the assessment process. Theoretically, even organizations with 10 thousand employees can conduct a complete assessment in a single day. In practice, of course, the human factor slows down the process, but a week is a reasonable estimate for the project.
    2. To this day «Azimuth» has no analogue anywhere in the world. This proprietary system with only a few questions away can point out many problematic interactions within companies and work groups.
    3. Our high quality services are financially accessible even to small companies, which was never been the case before. Its also important to point out that our system creates new markets for independent consultants and agencies that can use BSS-Around to provide their customers with inexpensive quality diagnostics.
    4. The use of psychometric analysis to ensure that any potential bias is removed from the participants answers makes our system not only reliable but easily actionable.
    5. Visualization — the easy to read reports with supplemental graphs and the Egocentric Network Diagram provide both — an easy overview and in depth information. This allows managers and participants to easily action on the recommendations to improve productivity and achieve other corporate goals.
  14. What guarantees that assessment results are objective?

    All human judgments are subjective; however, the average of all opinions is much less subjective than that of a single person.

    Psychometric analysis is widely used in the industry for purpose of constructing the assessment surveys. To the best of our knowledge, we are the only ones however, who use it to analyze assessment results. It helps in discounting extremely good and extremely bad opinions through averaging of results.

    Suppose someone evaluates his/her co-workers much more critically than everyone else; the weight of this evaluation will be lowered. Similarly, if two people have given each other scores that exceed by far the scores provided by other employees, the weight of their evaluations will be lowered as well.

    The assessment results, without any doubt, are influenced by the psychological climate of the organization whose employees are being evaluated. Azimuth is a great resource for highlighting any problems relating to the organizational mood and/or culture.

    USING ASSESSMENT RESULTS

  15. Can the assessment results provide actionable items to improve staff efficiency (promotions, organizational changes, layoffs, etc)?

    Reports point out problematic interactions («Azimuth») and weak points of each employee assessed («360 Degrees»). They also include potential reasons and possible solutions for these problematic areas.

  16. Can your system be used to determine whether or not employees occupy appropriate positions in the company?

    «360 degrees» is sometimes used for this purpose, but the decision can only be made by the companys management. Some of our customers use our system for just this purpose. Others find the main virtue of an all inclusive staff assessment as an opportunity to provide feedback to employees. We recommend using «360 degrees» to find «undervalued» employees with growth potential and «Azimuth» for finding problematic interactions among employees; thus allowing actionable items for improving staffs efficiency and productivity.

  17. What are the advantages of your system for large and small companies?

    There are 5 major advantages of using our system:

    • The first advantage for both large and small companies is full automation of the assessment process. Theoretically, even organizations with 10 thousand employees can conduct a complete assessment in a single day. In practice, of course, the human factor slows down the process, but a week is a reasonable estimate for the project.
    • To this day «Azimuth» has no analogue anywhere in the world. This proprietary system with only a few questions away can point out many problematic interactions within companies and work groups.
    • Our high quality services are financially accessible even to small companies, which was never been the case before. Its also important to point out that our system creates new markets for independent consultants and agencies that can use BSS-Around to provide their customers with inexpensive quality diagnostics.
    • The use of psychometric analysis to ensure that any potential bias is removed from the participants answers makes our system not only reliable but easily actionable.
    • Visualization — the easy to read reports with supplemental graphs and the Egocentric Network Diagram provide both — an easy overview and in depth information. This allows managers and participants to easily action on the recommendations to improve productivity and achieve other corporate goals.

    DOUBTS AND CONCERNS

  18. How do you ensure that highly confidential information about my company and its employees does fall prey to hackers or other information leaks?

    Theoretically, the risk of security breach exists, and we take the following measures to minimize it:

    1. Many customers noted that the risk of losing data by the company itself is much higher than the risk of it being stolen by a third party. In BSS-Around, only two people have access to data collected in the process of assessment, and they have no interest in stealing or using it.
    2. We put a lot of resources into ensuring safety of your information. Our colleagues in charge of information security have extensive experience in the field, and take all the necessary up-to-date measures to protect your interests
    3. We have no history of security beaches or leaks of information.
    4. If you are still not convinced, we can install our system on your server. For more information about this option, please contact us.
  19. «360 degrees» is based on a preselected set of competences. How can they universally serve all the different companies? What if I want to use my own competences?

    1. The majority of highly paid organizational consultants working with «360 degrees» use pretty much the same standard model for most of their customers, selecting from the same list of competences. Although the standard model is sufficient for 90% of cases, we have developed our own model, which has now been tested and proven efficient by tens of projects. Remember that our system has 37 competences, each supplemented by several indicators and questions. Companies usually select 5–7 competences when conducting their employee assessment, so there is definitely a choice.
    2. For those interested in trying it out, we offer fully automated assessment procedure as well as very attractive prices. If you would like to test competences that are not included in the standard model, you have the option of creating your own unique set of competences. This type of assessment is a bit higher priced.
    3. Keep in mind that a questions uniqueness is inconsequential. What matters is that it is successful at testing the competence it is meant to test. Thats why it is often better to go with a less creative question that has been proven effective.
    4. In addition to the daily statistical evaluation of our methodology, we use psychometric methods i.e. methods of statistical correction of unreliable answers. This additional procedure has proven to dramatically improve the quality of the ratings.

    QUESTIONS ABOUT THE REPORTS

  20. What does self-assessment rating of 10% mean?

    Self-assessment rating of 10% means that out of all the scores that the employee received for a given competence, he/she awarded himself/herself a score that is better than 10% of all other scores (and hence, worth than 90% of other scores). This basically means that the self evaluation for this competence was much lower than the evaluation by his/her colleagues.

  21. On the Egocentric Net Diagram, an arrow indicates that the employee is in high demand although the person who works with him the/her most did not participate in the assessment. So why is the arrow there?

    The arrows appear if at least one of the participants of an interaction marked it as important. The circles (indicating importance) appear if someone indicates that the interaction is extremely important (level 4 or 5). The color of the circle will depend on the assessed effectiveness of the interaction.

  22. On the Egocentric Net Diagram, do circles on arrows indicate that of the interaction is important but without showing the level of importance?

    Thats right. Circles only appear when the interaction is marked level of 4 or 5.

  23. On the Egocentric Net Diagrams, what do «little people» stand for? My understanding is that these are leaders according to some indices: but to which ones?

    This is how the index of Influence (aka Informal Leadership) is displayed. The more «little people» you see on the diagram, the higher is the index. General description of this rating and its significance can be found in the Corporate Report.

  24. What determines satellite employees position on the Egocentric Network Diagram?

    The position of employees other than the central employee on the Egocentric Network Diagram is determined by the intensity of the relationship between the central person and the satellite person. If the assessment by central employee and the satellite employee differ from each other, a psychometric method is used to determine the appropriate intensity.

  25. In the reports, I see that I awarded the same person with scores that «conform» and also with scores that are «critical." How can this be?

    This question is frequently asked. Score conformity is used as an effective means of differentiating between weak and strong employees. Absolute scores are not included at this point. Degree of criticism reflects deflation of absolute scores. If you gave 1 to a weak employees and 3 to strong ones while others gave the weak ones 3 and the strong ones 5, you will have high «degree of criticism» and high «score conformity.»In the reports, I see that I awarded the same person with scores that «conform» and also with scores that are «critical." How can this be?

  26. Psychologically, it is difficult for people to receive ratings of 2–3%. It might be extremely painful to find out that one is at the bottom of the scale.

    Yes, this is indeed a problem, and unfortunately so far there is no solution. From managements point of view, ratings do work, and usually people receive 2–3% only if they merit it. At this point, the problem can be resolved by talking with the employee.

E-mail: hi@bss-around.com

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