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Why Personality Tests and Analytics Aren’t Everything
Data is everywhere. Used for a variety of purposes, data helps individuals make more informed decisions. This need to arrive at more educated conclusions is driving many companies to increasingly rely on data in the hiring process. Measures such as personality tests, gamification, artificial intelligence, team interviews and mobile technologies are helping businesses find the right people to fill key positions.
To gain some perspective on how much businesses are turning to analytics, 55 percent of respondents in a CareerBuilder survey said artificial intelligence would be a regular component of hiring and human resources within five years. Specifically, 39 percent indicated background checks would be fully automated, 38 percent said the same for applicant tracking and another 38 percent said performance management would be partially automated.
Despite the ability of analytics to help businesses reach more informed decisions, there's often a tendency to place too much emphasis on them, using them to make decisions rather than serving as a guide. As a result, it's important that employers remember to use data as a supplement, not as a replacement to the more traditional processes of recruitment.
Here are a few reasons why the over-reliance on analytics can lead to negative results:
Can't account for 'intangible' measures
Ask any coach, teacher or manager, there are certain assets that team members bring that can't be fully quantified or qualified. These include a genuine willingness to help their co-workers, an upbeat attitude or exuding positivity. These often can't be fully accounted for in personality tests. Thus, the traditional method of Interviewing - meeting candidates in one-on-one settings - is irreplaceable.
Assessments aren't fool proof
Because more businesses are utilizing tests in hiring, job seekers have adapted, providing answers that they may not genuinely believe, but sound good or score well, warned Neel Doshi, a noted tech founder, data-driven culture expert and best-selling author.
"In a recruiting process, it's not easy to get a truly accurate read if the questions are part of an evaluation," Doshi told Fast Company. "You see time and time again where an organization will try to assess personality. The candidates tend to see it as tests, and they're trying to figure out how to game the test."
In other words, assessments can be easily identifiable and candidates may alter their answers because they know they're being evaluated.
Data overload can lead to 'analysis paralysis'
Information can be so all-encompassing, it can make the hiring process extremely nerve-wracking, filled with "What if?" questions that can leave you second guessing. Data is great to have, but too much of it can take the human aspect out of hiring, as there's something to be said for relying on your best judgment and professional experience. Additionally, testing and then processing of the results adds more steps to the recruitment process. And the longer it takes to move through the hiring process, the greater the possibility of a candidate landing a position elsewhere.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said it best: "It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." But data should not be the "be all, end all" of personnel decisions. Working with a recruiter helps businesses better analyze information, so they can put it all in perspective and improve the caliber of talent that is coming into the organization.
Key Employment Trends Poised to Impact Your Business on 2019
The U.S. workforce experienced historic gains in 2018 as more than two million jobs were added, and wage increases began to accelerate, according to the monthly ADP National Employment Report® and quarterly Workforce Vitality Report. The unemployment rate stood at 3.7 percent in November, a near 50-year low, which made it difficult for companies to bring in both permanent and short-term talent. This trend is expected to continue into the new year as the talent pool continues to shrink.
To stay competitive in today's marketplace, finding and retaining the right talent is essential. Yet how to do that effectively remains a challenge. "New emerging trends as well as trends that have been identified over the past several are forcing companies to embrace new ways of thinking about their workforce and to reevaluate their hiring processes," says Nancy Halverson, general manager of franchise operations for MRINetwork. "We've identified and assessed several significant trends that will most impact them in 2019."
Transformation and Change in the Workplace
Business leaders who are actively embracing change recognize that innovation comes from people. As they look toward the future of their business operations, it is this focus on people, that is causing many to prioritize workforce planning and sourcing transformational leaders that can move the company forward. By drawing on the expertise of these change agents, employers will gain new approaches to work and improved company cultures that lead to innovation and increased productivity. "These forward-thinking organizations are driving innovation and gaining momentum by changing the nature of work itself," says Marquis Parker, vice president of business services for MRINetwork. "They are enabling people to come together and work in a focused, collaborative manner to solve problems and come up with creative approaches to their lines of business. They know that the real value comes from their employees' creativity, market insights, personal networking, and ability to influence others."
Analytics have the potential to transform the HR function, from recruitment and workforce planning to performance management and employee engagement. Companies are increasingly using predictive analytics to refocus their workforce planning lens from a qualitative one to a quantitative one, enabling them to scientifically unlock and measure the value of people to their organization. This approach views employees as a critical and valuable asset that can be optimized to benefit both individuals and the organization as a whole. It also has the potential to determine which departments and employees are under-performing, allowing managers to create interventions, provide training or move team members around to increase productivity.
According to Deloitte's 2018 Human Capital Trends Report, although 85 percent of survey respondents acknowledged the importance of people data, only 42 percent indicated that their organizations were ready to implement it fully. It's believed this will change dramatically in 2019. The rising use of predictive analytics will be one of the biggest recruiting trends to drive productivity and profitability. Collecting early performance data on new hires and matching it against assessments allows for the creation of a feedback loop that automatically updates and continually refines the profile of a successful employee.
Training will be a critical focal point in 2019. In fact, employers noted in the 2018 MRINetwork Performance Management Study, that it will be one of their top priorities in the new year. "When designing meaningful training programs that have the ability to attract and retain, it's important to think about the top talent you've worked with in the past," advises Sherry Engel, vice president of learning and talent development for MRINetwork. "Most of them are typically natural learners, with a passion for continuous self-improvement." Engel also notes that in order to keep these top performers as happy and engaged employees, leaders must create an environment where people have the ability to grow. She asks, "As a leader, are you providing the right culture and environment to attract and nurture those passions?" "It's not just about checking the box for a learning and development program, but creating a culture that supports taking chances, supports the desires of people to take on new responsibilities and try new things. Leaders must be in tune with their employee's professional desires and provide opportunities to embrace development and growth. Without that, top talent will seek it elsewhere."
As organizations become more agile, they will have a greater reliance on contractors to help bridge the skills gap. Companies across all industries are embracing this trend, with an emphasis on accessing skilled, mission-critical talent. According to Staffing Industry Analysts Workforce Solutions Buyer Survey 2018, respondents report that 22 percent of their staff is currently contingent and project that by 2028 that figure will rise to 30 percent. Factors contributing to this trend include increased turnover and low employee engagement, especially among younger workers. As a result, some businesses are moving away from trying to keep employees around longer and are instead reducing costs associated with turnover and embracing the gig economy. It is particularly prominent in industries that have changing labor demands for different projects, one project, for example, may need 15 people while another may need 150. Employers need to assess the right mix of traditional fulltime workers and contractors to best meet their business objectives.
Bias in the workforce remains a big issue. To minimize any controversy, companies are being encouraged to make hiring a blind process. In standard screening and interviewing, unconscious bias easily becomes part of the equation by including data that gives away key parts of a candidate's background: gender, age, race or even alma mater. By stripping away any information that may reveal demographic data, the first wave of screening can be done based purely on abilities and achievements. "This allows for a more diverse workforce built on merit," says Halverson, "but the problem is trying to achieve this with the proliferation of social media. Using a third-party recruiter is usually necessary to ensure a truly blind process."
The priorities and challenges inherent in these significant trends are clear, and readiness to respond to them is essential. The ongoing tight labor market means that companies will continue to be challenged with finding and retaining the right employees. "Given the importance that business leaders place on the talent management agenda," concludes Halverson, "it's a good time to reflect on what can be done and to take action, focusing on what should be done differently, and what might be improved to move the needle in this critical area."