For more than 25 years, Pittman established herself as an expert in assessment and talent management, particularly in the public safety environment, where she has led projects to design and deliver entry-level and promotional testing for police, corrections, sheriff, and fire/EMS. She has created both video-driven and real-time implementation approaches and a wide range of assessment tools such as in-basket, role play, presentation, supervisory and operational exercises, personality testing, physical ability testing, and knowledge exams.
Pittman has worked with a large federal agency under a consent decree to change their hiring processes to promote greater validity, accuracy, and fairness. She helped identify new processes, including the use of anonymous and structured approaches. Pittman emphasized the need to ensure assessors are highly trained with a focus on identifying and mitigating implicit bias and understanding the need for structure. These methods increased the department’s levels of diversity dramatically.
She has been on the forefront of developing assessor training that includes an interactive approach to educate assessors about the value of a highly structured assessment process, including activities such as video examples of bias, quizzes on process content, and various group exercises to develop cohesion among assessors.
Pittman conducted a gap analysis for the entry level firefighter selection process at a city fire department for the purpose of identifying areas where diversity was impacted. Various areas were identified for improvement including 1) scoring a written exam as pass/fail, 2) integrating a non-cognitive component into the exam, 3) modifying marketing content, 4) recommending diversity on interview panels and building more structure into the process, and 5) having a task-based physical ability test.
Working with Prince George’s County in Maryland, Pittman developed and conducted an implicit bias workshop for judges where they were able to identify specific actions they could apply on the job.
Pittman’s expertise and reputation led to her appointment as expert to the Special Master of the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and later, the Court Monitor. In these roles, Pittman oversaw the work of a large and well-known consulting firm as they developed and administered an entry-level fire fighter process and monitored the efforts of all involved experts. The initial administration of this test resulted in the most diverse academy class FDNY has seen.
“I have enjoyed the privilege of working with Dr. Shane Pittman for many years now,” noted a deputy chief in a Virginia Fire and Rescue Department. “Throughout these journeys, Dr. Pittman’s focus on the principles of equity, fairness, inclusion, transparency, legal compliance, and quite simply just ‘doing the right thing’ has resulted in processes that are effective, efficient, and highly valued by our leadership and personnel that are directly affected by these processes.”
A longtime federal government client added: “One of the primary reasons the Department partnered with Dr. Pittman was because of her reputation for ensuring a promotion process that could be conducted in a fair, impartial, and statistically supportable manner. As with many institutions, employees can develop perceptions that opportunities for professional growth are geared toward interpersonal relationships, and, on some occasions, impacted by biases. Dr. Pittman’s efforts have broken down these employee perceptions. She has established a repeatable model that has built trust and transparency within the Department, resulting in a steady increase in the number and diversity of participants as well as the level of diversity among the organization’s supervisory ranks.”
“Shane’s intense focus on assessment fairness and client/examinee perception of fairness will always be the foundation for our work,” said Rob Minjock, Ph.D., senior scientist, who came to HumRRO with the PMG acquisition and has continued working with Pittman to develop interactive, technology-rich solutions at HumRRO.