The need, relevance and impact of scientific assessments in the new normal

Publication: The Economic Times, ETHRWorld
April 22, 2021

We often take things for granted. While most companies had robust business continuity plans in place (on paper at least), no one was prepared for the magnitude of impact brought about by the Coronavirus last year. Creating a domino-effect, we witnessed massive economic disruptions worldwide, businesses were forced to shut, and many are yet to see a glimmer of recovery, even today. It impacted people, the nature of work, and the role of technology in every aspect. At the workplace, face-to-face meetings gave way to online video calls and during this time, technology was not just a utility but a lifeline. Businesses started embracing digital tools to boost efficiency, making their data and applications accessible by moving to the cloud, investing in data security, and developing a virtual workforce. They started rapidly pivoting from established processes to new-age digital mandates to assure business continuity.

Using technology to recruit better
A major part of business continuity is hiring, employee retention, promotion, and continuous skill development. For all that to happen seamlessly, assessment becomes very important. An industry report cites about 47% of tech organisations in India shifted from traditional hiring to remote assessment amidst the pandemic. The focus on remote assessments has witnessed a significant rise due to remote working.

Scientifically driven assessments have enabled access to a large talent pool without being restricted by geography. Technology-led assessments promise greater efficiency, timeliness, and sophistication. During tough times, such assessments help us gauge the current state of our people and whether they can work to the best of their abilities. Skills that could not be measured by traditional assessment techniques can be done with the help of scientific assessments. More importantly, these tests are designed not only to make sure the person has the skills required for the job but also to assess whether they are a good ‘culture fit’ for the organisation.

Need, relevance, and impact of corporate assessments
Enhanced remote task environments with multimedia aspects have transformed assessments by making it possible to assess a much wider array of behavioural and cognitive abilities of candidates. Technology-led assessments can be easily customised and can cater to the people demand of an organisation – hiring, employee retention, promotions, skill development. This will help the organisation to eliminate biases, cut costs, eliminate human error, and above all, assess huge volumes of candidates in a short period improving the quality of the hires.

Cognitive assessments
Cognitive assessments test a candidate’s ability to learn fast, solve tough problems, understand ideas that are new and accomplish set targets. Complex jobs can demand a higher level of independent decision-making and problem-solving abilities that will require cognitive prowess. The tools help the company to evaluate very crucial aspects in a potential hire such as logical reasoning, decision making, and critical thinking. Cognitive assessments help companies predict employee success in knowledge-based or vocational roles across sectors. Research has shown that cognitive assessment tools have better predictive validity than traditional selection tools.

Behavioural assessments
It is imperative to hire someone who relates and aligns themselves with the organisation’s business goals. It is difficult to accurately assess a candidate’s behaviour with the traditional method. A behavioural assessment helps us identify how an employee goes about their work and objectives. This method of assessment can be used alone or with other measures, such as ability and personality tests to create an overall image of the participant. Failure in assessing the behavioural traits of candidates can contribute to the attrition rate of a company. Scientific assessments can help organisations better understand the temperament of their new hires. The high reliability and validity score determine the candidate’s chances of being hired or not.

As more organisations move to a hybrid workforce, scientific corporate assessments will be in focus more than ever in a world that is making its way back to normalcy. More companies will focus on how to optimize their workforce and expect employees to address the skill gap through assessment results. Corporate assessments are being implemented in companies across sectors to ensure the hiring processes are optimized, and they will play a vital role in skill development and enable organisations to prepare a future-ready workforce.