Occupational psychology

a powerful contribution to business success

Our highly qualified and experienced team of Chartered Occupational Psychologists design and deliver an enviable range of innovative and cost effective solutions to contemporary Assessment, Development and Talent Management agendas.

Since 1990 we have worked in close partnership with an often diverse customer base to develop, refine and evolve our portfolio of progressive, professionally robust and practical products and services. For those products that are based on Competences, we can either work with clients' own frameworks or the Chesterman Swann competency set which, developed and refined over many years, has proved both comprehensive and robust.

Above all, we believe Occupational Psychology is about helping our customers achieve their full potential through their people, not abstract theories. Our principle areas of expertise are in the following areas.



Psychometric Assessments

This is one of our key strengths. Chesterman Swann has eighteen Ability tests and thirteen varieties of Personality (etc) questionnaires in stock. We can also offer on-line completion of the most popular instruments and, as befits the international nature of our business, many can be completed in languages other than English.

Our Chartered Occupational Psychologist holds a Full Level 'B' Statement of Competence in Occupational Testing and has conducted well over 700 psychometric assessments.

For objective information to inform your selection or development assessments, there is no substitute for breadth and depth of experience - especially when it comes to 'high stakes' CEO or Board-level appointments - including ‘management due diligence’ enquiries in connection with Mergers and Acquisitions.

360° Feedback

Perceptions 360 is Chesterman Swann's exclusive multi-rater Feedback tool. It is a straightforward way to get the benefits of 360° Feedback in your organisation.

Materials include:

  • comprehensive documentation (self- and other- rating questionnaires, covering letters, personal profile forms etc)
  • a User Guide, including notes for briefing- workshops for participants and their managers.

The system can be tailored around your own competencies or Chesterman Swann's own framework. Perceptions has been used in projects with companies such as Honda of the UK Manufacturing, Rolls Royce, the Alumasc Building Products Group and others.

Assessment Centres

Assessment Centres are widely acknowledged as the most reliable and valid method of identifying suitability for selection or promotion.

Of course, we can provide a complete package for you. Chesterman Swann has designed and delivered Assessment Centres (and/ or Development Centres - see below) for many blue-chip companies, including Diageo (formerly Guinness Packaging) and Smith & Nephew EFL.

But if you want to run your own Centre, why not get us to advise on its design? As occupational psychologists, we can help you select the best tools to assess performance on your competences; or suggest alternative methods such as group exercises, rôle plays etc. Or, we can just contribute specific inputs e.g. psychometric testing or training observers.

Development Centres

Development Centres enable organisations to:

  • identify future potential and start to develop employees for new roles
  • test the validity of current assumptions regarding existing personnel
  • foster and communicate a culture of continuous learning

A DC can be designed around an existing rôle, or at a future position for which the individual is being considered, or even at changes the organisation has not yet made.

Objective but sensitively-delivered Feedback is built in so that participants can prepare a realistic Personal Development Plan.

Learning and Development - complete solutions

Team Building (inc. Top Teams)

Naturally, our team-building events are bespoke. However, a typical programme would include a diagnostic stage (360° feedback, psychometrics etc), followed by a combination of formal input, and learning by doing.

One session that we have found to be very powerful is the personal presentation, which involves inputs on self-disclosure, sensitivity and confidentiality. Other options include certain of the modules described in the next section, plus group exercises.

We have run a successful programme like this for (Mercedes) Ilmor.

Leadership Development

As with the 'Team Building' events, described opposite, these programmes are tailor-made to suit the client and the particular situation.

As an example, we presented Leadership Development Programme for Rolls-Royce (Transmissions) which consisted of four sections, including the core 'personal leadership' module, which covers ten 'leadership elements' from 'Advocacy and Influencing' through 'Planning and Goal-setting' to 'Reviewing'.


Self-development, Coaching Skills etc. Please ask for details

Learning and Development - Modules

Training Modules

Observer/ Assessors' Skills

Assessment/ Development Centres, and other, similar, situations, often require Observers and there are distinct advantages in drawing these from amongst existing staff. This module guides people through: Observing, Recording, Classifying and Evaluating behaviour including sources of error and contributing to the 'Wash Up'.

Most of the time is taken up with real exercises, which will enable delegates to practise their new skills.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Giving feedback effectively is a skill. This short module is ideal preparation for those who have to give and/ or receive feedback in all sorts of situations such as 360° Feedback, Coaching, Development Centres (Observers) etc

It is intended to maximise learning whilst avoiding 'blocking behaviours' such as defensiveness and aggression. Topics such as: Preparation; Principles and Strategies; Negative and Positive Feedback; Tips and Criteria, and many others, are covered.


Competency-based Interviewing , Team Rôles, plus a wide selection of off-the-shelf exercises. Please ask for details

Learning Styles

A useful starting session to many development events, this module gives delegates an appreciation of the fact that people learn in different ways and it helps them to discover their own 'best' way to effective learning.

The module only lasts about two hours and includes administration and scoring of a questionnaire for determination of preferred learning style.

Talent - and Performance - Management


According to a recent CIPD* Learning and Development survey, nearly eight in ten respondents are now using coaching activities in one form or another.

Coaching is in the top three most effective methods of delivering performance and development improvements, according to 87 per cent of organisations that use it. Little wonder that Coaching is "growing fast and is making an important contribution to … the workplace".

Our approach to (Executive) Coaching is goal-directed and time-limited. It ‘focuses on the here and now’ – or, as some say, on future opportunities rather than past problems.

Please ask for our Information Sheet on Executive Coaching.


Setting-up a Coaching Culture, Career-management etc. Please ask for details

Succession Planning

It has become a cliché that the most important task for any senior executive is to identify his/ her replacement (and, one might say, cultivate him/ her for the new rôle). In their Factsheet, 'Succession Planning', the CIPD* argues that "All organisations … need to be able to find people with the right skills to fill key leadership jobs" and that "this process needs to be managed".

Our approach to succession planning has four stages: from identifying the 'at-risk' jobs, to nurturing the next generation of leaders to be ready to take up the reins of their new responsibilities.

Succession Planning is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix - so we can help you with designing the programme or implementing the nuts and bolts of identifying suitable individuals and preparing them - or both.

* CIPD = Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development: the professional body for HR Practitioners in the UK.

Employee Engagement and other Research Projects

Employee Engagement Surveys

The 'Employer of Choice' Survey is Chesterman Swann's own survey of Employee Engagement. With the EoC survey, you will be able to:

  • benchmark yourselves against other organisations
  • weave the results into, or use them as a basis for, your HR Strategy

The 'Employer of Choice' Survey includes a number of unique design features, which are described in our Information Sheet. Please ask for a copy.

Critical Incidents Technique

The Critical Incidents Technique is a way of identifying the behaviours that characterise successful and effective performance of a particular job. Examples might be how someone dealt with an irate customer or how they turned a necessity into a virtue.

The CIT is particularly effective for identifying job competences but can be used in any situation where you wish to extract key behaviours from real situations.

Please ask for our Information Sheet.

Repertory Grids

The 'Rep' Grid technique was devised by American Psychologist George Kelly in the 1950s.

Rep Grids are used to map someone's (or your own) perceptions and judgements about a topic. There are applications in many fields including Marketing, Education etc - and HR; for example, Performance Counselling and measuring Organisation Culture.

Please ask for our Information Sheet.


Validation / Evaluation of Interventions, Job Profiling etc. Please ask for details

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