When developing the new Participant App for digitally supported Assessment Centers and Development Centers it was Profil M’s aim to not only digitize existing paper processes, but to also create genuine added value for participants and observers in terms of expanding the diagnostic possibilities and giving participants the opportunity to self-reflect. We are delighted that with the Participant App we are taking a major step forward in terms of the modernity und sustainability of the Assessment Center and Development Center methodology.

Profil M already launched the Observer App – the “digital observer binder” – some years ago, which offers many advantages for observers: The possibility to take notes and to consolidate data is very convenient, document management is simplified for observers, and data protection of all evaluation data is ensured.

In a second step, there is now also an app for participants, which, in addition to the organizational advantages, offers other functions to participants that enhance the benefit of Development Centers above all.

The Profil M Participant App works on a normal iPad, which every participant is given at the beginning of a Development Center. The app provides the following services:

Display of schedule

The app shows participants their individual schedule.

Instructions and preparatory documents

Of course participants can also use the app to read instructions for exercises. The special feature here is that the period of time during which participants are granted access to the instructions is precisely linked to the preparation time defined in the schedule. Therefore, it is much easier to ensure for the AC and DC organization that the preparation times for all participants are identical. As soon as a participant starts reading the document and access is activated, the app starts measuring the time and at the end of the preparation time the document can only still be accessed with a “mater key” via the Assessment Back Office.

Multimedia-based exercise instructions

In the classic paper-based Development Center participants are provided with printouts of all exercise instructions. Displaying the instructions via the app also allows for video or other multimedia presentations to be part of the exercise instructions. In this way, for example, case studies may also contain “soundbites” or animated presentations. In preparation for role-play exercises videos can be shown in which the counterpart’s behavior (for example, the employee’s behavior in a simulated meeting with an employee) is not only described but in which the participant also sees the counterpart in action. From a diagnostic point of view this is a major advantage because the participant (same as in a real-life situation), who is in the role of a manager, now has to decide himself* which behavior he wants to provide feedback on and which feedback he wants to prioritize. Role-play exercises with video instructions also offer a maximum of authenticity from the participants’ point of view as it is easier for participants to prepare for which “type” of counterpart they will meet in the role-play exercise.

Video feedback for participants

The iPads can also be used for video feedback for participants. Exercises – for example, a presentation – can be recorded using the iPad. Participants then have the opportunity to subsequently view a recording of their exercise for self-reflection purposes. To this end, the app provides self-reflection aids (for example, central questions or rating scales).

Peer feedback and interim feedback from the observers

A unique added value of the Participant App is that interim feedback from the observers or peer feedback processes become possible with relatively little effort. For example, using the app participants can invite other participants to view their recordings of certain exercises. The videos are streamed via the app. The colleagues who are being asked for peer feedback provide their short feedback to the participant via the app (for example using rating scales or free text fields). This feature therefore provides genuine added value for Development Centers in particular with regard to peer coaching and self-reflection.

Many development-oriented Development Centers also aim to include interim feedback from the observers. This is often difficult to implement due to the usually tight schedule. Using the app the observers record a brief video with their interim feedback and provide it to the participant. The streaming function allows participants to view the brief interim feedback from the observers on their iPads and to use this for reflecting on the relevant exercise.

Feedback questionnaire and overall feedback on the Development Center

Another feature of the Participant App is that participants are able to provide the Development Center organizers with immediate feedback on the comprehensibility, suitability, and meaningfulness of the exercises as well as on the organization. In addition, participants can give their overall feedback of the event via the app after the completion of the Development Center. The individual feedback is automatically aggregated and evaluated immediately. Therefore, right after the end of a Development Center, comprehensive feedback from participants is available on how they perceived the event.

*To improve readability, only the masculine form is used in the following.

Alexander Brandt, Head of Digital Solutions

His focus is on consulting on E-HR concepts and the integration of new media into classic personnel and organizational development work.