Professional Services

Employment Testing | Job Analysis and Validation | Psychological Assessment | Technical Competence | Structured Interviews | High Fidelity Simulations | Organizational Planning & Development | Performance Management | Strategic Planning

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Frequently we have noticed that clients in one organization are unaware of the scope of our services in other organizations. Some clients think of us as their "testing firm." But, we provide many services beyond testing. For example, recent projects have included excursions into industrial and labor relations, searches for a chief executive officer, strategic planning, interview development, organizational development, job evaluation and classification, consumer surveys, skills-based pay, training program development, expert testimony, and so on.

The mix of our clients continues to broaden as well. We maintain active client relationships with many industries including banking, insurance, travel and leisure, general government, rehabilitation services, retail, employment services, and energy production and distribution.

We assume various roles depending on the project and the client's expectations. In most cases, we are the principal contractor who develops and installs the particular product or service. In some cases, we are retained chiefly as advisors or consultants. Finally, we are sometimes retained as experts who monitor the work of other consultants or contractors on behalf of the client.

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Employment Testing and Personnel Selection

Lopez and Associates, Inc., has a strong tradition of developing job related employment tests across a variety of industries and positions. These instruments are individually constructed and tailored for each client. Because we believe that each client requires an instrument that meets their specific needs, we never adopt a "one size fits all" approach.

Often our testing instruments are incorporated into the larger "Threshold Traits Analysis Selection System" that continues to be a favorite of many clients. The TTA Program continues to forge ahead and provide clients with high quality employees consistent with the principles of a job related and valid selection program. Earlier users of TTA will note that we have streamlined the TTA Program significantly.

For a more technical description of TTA, please refer to:

Lopez, F.M. (1988) Threshold Traits Analysis System. In Gael, S. The Job Analysis Handbook for Business, Industry, and Government. (pp 880-901.) New York, Wiley.

Gatewood R.D. and Field H.S. (2001) Human Resource Selection. (5th Edition. pp 395-396). Mason, OH: Southwestern.

Brannick M.T & Levine R.L. (2002) Job Analysis: Methods, Research, and Applications for Human Resource Management in the New Millennium. (pp. 86, 205, 242) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

The TTA Selection System includes a trait oriented job analysis, validated placement exercises, and structured interviews. Depending on applicant flow, some clients administer the placement exercises on computer. We incorporate the latest in computer generated graphics in the exercises. The criterion related validity of the placement exercises continues to hold up well. (Not long ago we conducted an in-house meta-analysis of the placement exercise validities. Our results were consistent with those found in the professional literature.)

The TTA Selection Program is truly a coast to coast enterprise. The program works equally well in cosmopolitan cities such as New York or small rural enclaves in southern Alabama.

The range of jobs covered by the TTA Selection System spans bank tellers, call center representatives, nuclear reactor operators, senior administrative assistants, and professional and managerial personnel. Our one regret has been the absence of time to publish our findings.

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Job Analysis and Validation

Lopez and Associates Inc., continues to be a pioneer in the area of job analysis and selection system validation. Over the course of the last 35 years we have conducted hundreds of job analyses and validation studies on behalf of our clients. We constantly update and refine our approach.

Still, the result has been psychometrically sound and legally defensible selection instruments. Our work in job analysis and validation continues to be cited in professional and academic literature.

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Professional and Executive Assessment

Clients continue to request our services in the area of individual assessment. We assess candidates for executive and managerial positions, and we now perform a good deal of work assessing candidates for sensitive operating positions in electric and/or gas energy control centers, process control plants, and other secure facilities.

Recently we assisted a southeastern organization in the management development and succession planning process through the assessment of its entire complement of management personnel. Through the assessment process we were able to identify the strengths and developmental needs of each manager to assist both the manager and the organization in years ahead.

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Technical Competence

We've been busy working with clients on our much traveled Technical Competence Program. The Firm has been ahead of the curve in this area long before the term "Competency Modeling" became fashionable.

The Technical Competence Program includes the development of a Technical Competence Specification (TCS) based on job analysis, followed by the development and implementation of various instruments--written, oral, or performance--designed to measure whether the applicant or employee has mastered the technical competence contained in the TCS for that position.

An expanded feature of the Technical Competence Program has been the preparation of learning objectives. After preparing the TCS and learning objectives, we handoff the learning objectives to the client's curriculum development technologists who then develop a complete job related curriculum based on these same TCS-based learning objectives.

Clients currently use the Technical Competence Program as the basis for curriculum development, an end of course test validation, development of valid and job related knowledge and skill based promotion programs, skill-based pay, "testing-out" of training programs, requalification in critical skills, training needs diagnosis and assessment, and the development of a multi-skilled work force.

In some instances we teach clients to extend the Technical Competence Program on their own. In these cases we teach the client to prepare the instruments and we add value by conducting a professional review. Other clients prefer that we do most of the "heavy lifting." Whatever the approach, clients have done a great job and their organizations are more competitive because of their efforts and the Technical Competence Program.

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Structured Interviews

The Structured Interview has been a popular product and service for some time now. The Structured Interview consists of a specific set of questions for a particular job. Each question targets a particular trait, and includes benchmark answers for unacceptable, marginal, clearly acceptable, or superior answers. The interviewer asks the same questions of each applicant. The interview is easy to validate, and the validity results of this approach are significantly better than the old way. We develop both trait based and technical competence oriented structured interviews. The structured interview is accompanied by a training workshop.

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High Fidelity Simulations and Performance Exercises

Lopez and Associates, Inc., has developed high fidelity simulations for its clients for many years under the name of Performance Exercises. These simulations can be used as post training measures, part of a larger selection system, stand alone instruments, or as part of an assessment center. Recent research has indicated that selection instruments with a high degree of face validity or fidelity are less likely to be challenged in court.

Jointly with a client, we developed a computer based high fidelity simulation for customer service personnel for a nationally recognized property and casualty insurer. Potential hires literally had to show proficiency in realistic on-the-job functions before an employment offer was extended. The simulation included simulated client calls with a computer interface. This simulation replicated the exact work environment and worker demands.

Another such project involved a job progression selection system for Civil, Steam, Electrical, and Mechanical Designers in a major Northeastern utility. Through a joint effort with Engineers, we are able to assess the "commonalities within" and "differences between" each of the disciplines and assess this information through a written technical knowledge examination. We also developed specific Performance Exercises for each discipline to assess the Designer skills and abilities. Again, this approach mirrors, on a 1 to 1 basis, the exact work that Designers regularly perform.

Many of these high fidelity simulations are transferable into Physical Ability Testing or (PATs). We also have many developed PAT's for physically demanding jobs such as overhead transmission line workers and construction personnel. Our approach, theoretical understanding and TTA system allow us to create valid predictors of physical ability.

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Organizational Planning & Development

Lopez & Associates, Inc., has assisted a number of clients in aspects of the Organizational Planning & Development process, including succession planning. One assignment that we found to be especially interesting was assisting a New England mutual savings bank in the review of its present staff and organizational structure, with an eye towards making a series of recommendations about succession planning and organization to the Board of Directors.

During this project we worked closely with the Board and Chief Executive Officer. At one point we participated in helping the Bank redefine its mission. In an era of consolidation in the banking industry, this bank continues to maintain its independent New England roots, sense of community belonging, and most of all its superb management team and financial strength.

We are frequently asked by clients to assist them in the development of a Multi-skilled Work Force. Essentially, more and more clients are seeking to combine tasks assigned to several job titles into a single title. As mentioned earlier, the Technical Competence Program--with its emphasis on the identification of job knowledge and skill--is an excellent starting point for implementing a Multi-skilled Work Force.

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Performance Management

We also developed and installed a Performance Management System for one of the country's original supermarket chains. The program included the development of job descriptions, performance standards, and performance review forms and procedures. We trained managers in the principles of performance management, including how to set goals and provide constructive feedback.

In such a competitive industry where the typical "net-net" profit is a "penny on a dollar," every ounce of good management is critical for success. We are looking forward to extending this program to other positions.

Additionally as part of a Training Committee, we prepared the learning objectives for every supermarket operating position--from produce clerk to store manager.

We then trained company subject matter experts (e.g., the Bakery Specialist) to prepare lesson plans based on these learning objectives, including on-the-job-training checklists.

This Performance Management work follows similar successful programs we installed in other industries.

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Strategic Planning

Recently, we completed our role in directing and facilitating a strategic planning process in a major state use organization. The strategic plan was the result of extensive work by the state use organization's board of directors, the strategic planning committee, customers, member agencies, and the organization's staff. The plan was constructed on a set of strategic issues and specific goals to be accomplished, and concludes with a statement of long term vision.

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