Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) is an easy-to-use, highly effective behavioral assessment system that renders profiles of individuals, identifying their natural tendencies and predicting their workplace behaviors. AVA also measures the behavioral demands of specific positions, a critical and too-often overlooked factor in matching the right people with the right jobs to optimize individual productivity and organizational success.
Measuring job-related behavior
Activity Vector Analysis (AVA) is a work-related system of behavioral assessment tools widely recognized for its accuracy, validity, simplicity, and utility. AVA provides the “why” behind behavior in the workplace, enabling you to hire, coach and develop employees to their best possible performance. When you understand why people do what they do, you can place them in the right jobs and motivate them optimally to achieve results. AVA profiles an individual’s workplace behavioral tendencies, the behavioral demands of specific jobs, and the fit between the two.
The Individual Analysis, often referred to as “the AVA,” is the best-known and most frequently used tool in the AVA system. A certified analyst can use profiles generated from the AVA Individual Analysis to make recommendations about job placement, coaching and development, team building, motivation and stress factors, and much more. AVA assesses how an individual’s behavior is likely to be exhibited in varying working conditions, his or her potential for executing assignments over time, dynamic decision-making, morale or perceived appreciation levels at the time of taking the assessment, and compatibility and flexibility of the individual’s behavior style with the behavioral demands of the position.
Job Activity Rating (JAR)
Jobs require specific behavioral traits to be performed successfully. Identifying these unique behavioral demands, and people who are compatible with them, provides the right fit for the job and improves both management and execution of work. Failure to do so often results in unmet goals, dissatisfaction, and expensive turnover. The Job Activity Rating (JAR) identifies the unique behavioral demands of a position while also providing a complete position description in behavioral terms. The JAR Report identifies the behaviors required to do a specific job successfully, suggests relevant behavioral interview questions to ask job candidates, and provides managers with a meaningful framework for motivating people and teams. Furthermore, the JAR helps employers ensure compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines that require all assessment tools to be job-related.
For optimal speed and convenience, clients utilize WebAVA, the proprietary web-based application to administer the assessments and generate reports. The application is designed for flexibility, timeliness, and cost effectiveness in support of your use of AVA.
AVA assessments generate detailed, management-oriented profiles and reports on behavioral tendencies, management competencies, job compatibility, management tips, and other subjects. These reports give clear indications of the ease or difficulty with which an individual or group performs specific job-related activities and also provides managers with unique and effective insights for developing their people.
Insights to boost performance
AVA was developed for the workplace and everything about it is job related. It assesses how an individual will function at work by providing a behavioral profile of both individuals and the job requirements they are to perform. This distinct picture of how someone will behave in your unique environment makes it the best predictor of job performance over time.
As hiring managers know, authenticity is one of the most important factors contributing to high performing individuals and work environments. People can only fake it for so long before a bad fit between them and their job impacts performance. AVA has a direct function in discerning how true to themselves and, therefore, how productive individuals will be in specific jobs and tasks.
AVA provides invaluable, actionable information to recruiters, hiring managers and supervisors by providing them with a profile that measures how suitable a candidate’s behavioral attributes are for the job. AVA is often used in conjunction with the Job Activity Rating (JAR), which provides a behavioral profile of the job to determine the likelihood that this individual is matched correctly according to the most essential performance criteria—behavior.
Team development and optimization are primary uses for AVA. By identifying the behavioral characteristics of your teams, AVA pinpoints the right candidates for achieving specific goals or assigning project tasks. AVA focuses on how to maximize each person’s performance by placing individuals in roles consistent with their natural behavioral potential. And when conflicts arise, AVA helps you understand the underlying interpersonal dynamics in the team that are creating challenges, allowing you to manage the conflict so that team members can keep working toward set goals.
AVA provides managers with a roadmap to guide an employee to success within their organization. AVA helps managers identify career paths that are compatible with individual behavioral styles and design training programs to support growth. It enables employees to understand why people see them the way they do and, with coaching, adjust their behaviors if necessary. These are critical steps toward retaining valuable employees that organizations have invested in and who are essential to maintaining a quality organization.
Taken together, all of these uses make AVA unique in supporting high-functioning work environments where jobs are performed at their highest level.
Behavior moves the bottom line
Understanding how people will behave within the structure of a specific job and within teams is what distinguishes high-performing organizations from average or poor performers. Providing that understanding is what distinguishes AVA. The difference between a qualified candidate’s prospect for success as indicated by a resume and actual success in the job depends on the person’s behavior—and behavior is what moves the bottom line and effects productivity.
Our clients use AVA because they’re serious about creating a high-functioning workplace. They see AVA as high-value, backed by a responsive, accessible, service-oriented team of professionals.
One of the distinguishing features of AVA is its emphasis on knowledge transfer. Unlike many assessment tools that rely on a third-party interpreter, AVA is shared through certification programs that produce skilled and sensitive analysts of AVA profiles.
Certified Analysts are able to extend their use of AVA beyond hiring and placement to a range of management practices such as employee satisfaction assessment, observed behavior in performance appraisals, and a whole host of other applications.
AVA doesn’t create dependence because you determine the level of support you need from us— whether that be through the WebAVA online tools, the occasional phone call for help on an assessment, or hands-on training and consulting. You decide what the right level of participation, personalized attention, and support is optimal for your needs.
Benefits of AVA
AVA delivers positive ROI. When you hire the right person for the job, you immediately increase productivity and avoid costly turnover.
AVA is more actionable than other types of assessments because it is behavior-based, enabling managers to implement “course corrections” on the job.
AVA originates from the research of prominent psychologists and has been continually updated, providing exceptional validity and reliability.
AVA is compliant with EEOC guidelines which require assessment tools to be “job-related” and therefore you can have peace of mind using it for hiring and placement.
AVA was founded in 1948 by Walter V. Clarke, an accomplished organizational psychologist, while he was working in the Human Resources department of a major retailer in New York City. As the story goes, Clarke observed that even when hiring employees with similar educational backgrounds and work experience, some were successful while others failed. The reason was almost always due to behavior.
He decided to create a psychometric model to measure the workplace behaviors of individuals and also the behavioral requirements of positions. The premise behind his work was simple—if employees were able to be themselves, they would be more successful on the job and both the employee and the company would benefit.
AVA is built on Clarke’s in-depth research as well as the theories, studies and research and development of prominent psychologists such as Prescott Lecky, and William Marston— experts in the behavioral sciences of personality, motivation, and psychometrics. The mechanics of the model Clarke built and the extensive research and development to ensure its validity were comprehensive then and are still rigorous today.
Walter V. Clarke Associates, Inc. was the name of the firm that first brought AVA system to companies across the country, and Clarke himself ran it until late in his life. Ownership has changed hands only twice since then. In the early 1980’s, renowned entrepreneur and philanthropist W. Clement Stone bought Walter V. Clarke Associates and helped institutionalize the AVA system in some of the largest corporations in the U.S. In 1988, Bizet & Company, Ltd.—a leading national Outplacement Consulting firm—acquired Walter V. Clarke Associates and remained the owners and proprietors of AVA until 2017. In 2017, Dave Borden, an AVA analyst for over 30 years and the president of Bizet since 2009, purchased Bizet along with his son Dave Borden, Jr. and they founded AVA Assessment Associates.
The professionals that bring you AVA today are staunch advocates of the tradition of Walter V. Clarke himself—which is focused on maintaining the integrity, validity, and reliability of the AVA Behavioral Assessment System.