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Costly misunderstandings – measuring and assessing a global workforce to improve performance

Mary Clarke (CEO of Cognisco, Cranfield, UK)

Development and Learning in Organizations

ISSN: 1477-7282

Article publication date: 1 January 2013




The article seeks to look at the risks that companies face if employees are not competent and to discuss how different assessment methodologies can be applied to improve employee competence, performance and reduce risks. The article aims to show that employee misunderstandings can be incredibly expensive and need to be reduced. The paper aims to cite research from analyst IDC which estimates that UK businesses lose £18.7 billion a year as a result of employee misunderstandings.


The article focuses on the different forms of employee assessments that can be used ranging from observational assessments and training days through to the use of “intelligent” online assessments that measure competence and confidence together.


The paper discusses the limitations of some assessments types such as observational assessments and then highlights how intelligent assessments have been used effectively to improve employee performance and reduce risk at Eurostar and also within utilities companies.

Practical implications

Intelligent online assessments can be used to help companies improve their training interventions, reduce the cost of training. Importantly it enables them to pinpoint incompetence and knowledge gaps and take action to reduce the risks of costly misunderstandings.

Social implications

The paper aims at creating greater safety for society.


The paper describes a more accurate way of assessing employees by measuring competence and confidence together.



Clarke, M. (2013), "Costly misunderstandings – measuring and assessing a global workforce to improve performance", Development and Learning in Organizations, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 13-15.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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