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Posted by Julie Delazyn
Mitigating risk –- most notably the risk of non-compliance — is a key component of success in the financial services industry. Other risks abound, too, such as losing customers and/or good employees.
If employees don’t understand and follow the processes that organizations put in place to mitigate risk and maintain compliance, the risk of non-compliance increases – and a business is less likely to succeed.
Online assessments do a lot to help ensure that employees know the right procedures and follow them. Here are 10 assessment types that play essential roles here:
(1) Internal exams -– check your employees are competent
Some companies administer internal competency exams annually –- and do so more frequently. It’s also good to give these exams when regulations changed and new products are introduced. These exams address compliance with competency requirements and at the same time help employees prove they know how to do their jobs.
(2) Knowledge checks – confirm learning and document understanding
Running knowledge checks or post-course tests (also called Level 2s) right after training helps you find out whether the training has been understood. This also helps reduce forgetting.
(3) Needs analysis / diagnostic tests – allow testing out
These tests, which measure current skills and knowledge about particular topics, can be used as training needs assessments and/or pre-requisites for training. And if someone already has the critical skills and knowledge, he or she can “test out” and avoid unnecessary and costly training.
(4) Observational assessments – measure skills via role plays, customer visits
When checking practical skills, it’s common to have an observer monitor an employee to see if they are following correct procedures. With so many people using smartphones and tablets, such as the Apple iPad, it’s viable to use a mobile device for these assessments — which are great for measuring behavior, not just knowledge.
(5) Course evaluation surveys
These surveys, also called “level 1” or “smile sheet” surveys, let you check employee reaction following training. They are a key step in evaluating training effectiveness. You can also use them to gather qualitative information on topics, such as how well policies are applied in the field. Here is an example fragment from a course evaluation survey:

(6) Employee attitude surveys
Employee attitude surveys ask questions of your workforce or sections of it. HR department often use them to measure employee satisfaction, but they also can be used in corporate compliance to determine attitudes about ethical and cultural issues.
(7) Job task analysis surveys –- to fairly identify tasks against which to check compliance
How do you know that your competency assessments are valid and that they are addressing what is really needed for competence in a job role? A job task analysis (JTA) survey asks people who are experts in a job how important the task is for the job role and how often it is done. Analysis of JTA data lets you weight the number of questions associated with topics and tasks so that a competency test fairly measures the importance of different elements of a job role. Here is an extract from a typical JTA23:

(8) Practice tests

These often use questions that are retired from the exam question pool but remain valid. Candidates can take practice tests to assess their study needs and/or gain candidates experience with the technology and user interface before they take a real exam. This helps to reduce exam anxiety, and it’s important for less computer-literate candidates. Practice tests are also helpful when deploying new exam delivery technology.
(9) Formative quizzes during learning -– to help learning
These quizzes are those we are all familiar with: short quizzes during learning to inform instructors and learners about whether learners have understood the learning or need deeper instruction. Such quizzes can also diagnose misconceptions and also help reduce forgetting.
(10) 360-degree assessments of employees
A 360-degree assessment solicits opinions about an employee’s competencies from his/her superiors, reports and peers. It will usually cover job-specific competencies and general competencies such as integrity and communication skills. In compliance, such surveys allow you to potentially identify issues in people’s behavior and competencies that need review.
For more in-depth coverage of this subject, read our white paper,  The Role of Assessments in Mitigating Risk for Financial Services Organizations, which you can download free after login or sign-up.