The world is changing fast. This pace of change is fuelled by a technology boom. Technology today touches all aspects of our lives, both personal and professional. In HR today, most organizations adopt technology-based solutions that help cope with the demands of a dynamic workforce more efficiently and cost-effectively. Employee assessment has undergone a huge makeover from using a paper-and-pencil medium to an automated and online assessment medium. This has resulted in saving precious resources for HR, besides shortening recruitment cycle.
Assessment processes before the advent of technology were laborious. Technology has made the process of assessment efficient. Earlier, assessments were time consuming, suffered from low accuracy and human biases, and involved cumbersome scoring methods, among other challenges. Today such drawbacks are taken care of due to the use of existing and new technology that matches the pace of hiring and development activities undertaken by HR.
Technology enhanced assessments (TEA) involve different modes of delivery involving either a computer or a mobile phone interface. Today assessments can be delivered and scored in real time. TEA is used nowadays by HR professionals in all areas of employee assessment including recruitment where automated testing has considerably reduced the recruitment cycle by helping to select the right candidate for the job in minimal time and in a more scientific manner. Versant, a fully-automated communication assessment from Pearson TalentLens is a good example of how assessment of voice or spoken communication and non voice or written communication is delivered and scored real time. Using Versant, a large number of candidates can be assessed at the same time to deliver results that are accurate and reliable – all without any human intervention. Versant was made possible due to the use of cutting-edge and patented speech and voice processing technology developed by the Knowledge Technologies division of Pearson.
Another assessment by Pearson TalentLens – the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W-GCTA is delivered using the Talent Assessment Platform of Pearson TalentLens that offers a one-stop solution to handle test purchase, test administration, report generation and collation of individual results for group statistics. The W-GCTA has been helping organizations develop robust leadership identification and development programs, where a large number of candidates are profiled for their current level of critical thinking skills and following a threshold analysis, selected individuals are accepted into the leadership program. The online assessment platform allows the HR professional the convenience of a web-enabled process that allows test takers to take the test from any location around the world while being administered and controlled from a single location. Real time reporting of scores on the W-GCTA enables faster decision making. Norms for this test are both local and global. Organizations functioning in multiple geographies can benchmark employees and potential recruits against the norms available for the local talent pool in each of these geographies rather than generic norms. Similar local and global norms are available for the SOSIE, Golden Personality Type Profiler and Raven’s Progressive Matrices from Pearson TalentLens.
Besides delivering assessments that overcome some of the challenges associated with traditional paper-and-pencil tests, technology is also helping HR professionals conduct virtual assessment centres. Here, assessments are delivered via virtual media, such as simulations, computers and video conferencing. Web-based audio and video assessments are good examples of how deep an impact technology has created on assessments. As highlighted with the use of the W-GCTA, technology is impacting employee development, be it in the form of online performance ratings of employees or in terms of a training and consulting firm delivering development content to the employee via mobile phone.
The possibilities for how technology will impact assessment in future are endless. Organizations that adapt to this trend in the increasing use of technology in identifying the right talent at the workplace will be able to reap the benefits of a technologically advanced assessment scenario that is geared to the fast-paced and often unpredictable patterns of the twenty first century workforce.
– Ajay Venkatesh, Regional Manager, Pearson TalentLens (excerpts from the talk on Technology in Assessments at the IHRD Summit 2012, Mumbai)