The cover story on the June 22nd edition of Time Magazine is about using HR assessments to predict and coach employee behavior. The magazine devoted five full pages to the topic in an article titled, “How High Is Your XQ? Your next job might depend on it.” Curious? I read it so you don’t have to—and I wanted to share the take-aways as well as how this pertains to you as a user of the ProfileXT.
Eliza Gray’s article starts by sharing the main reasons employers are currently turning to employee assessments, and it’s typically a response to employee turnover issues, and a desire for increased productivity and client satisfaction. She notes that most employers have a hard time understanding why, but that correlations have been found in using assessments to review candidate’s responses and performance after they are hired. Gray notes that when Big Data is combined with Analytics, outcomes for almost anything can be optimized, even people.
Side note: If you haven’t heard of this correlation yet, stop reading this post now and watch the movie Moneyball to fully grasp the concept. The 2011 movie is based on the true story of an Oakland A’s General Manager who is trying to rebuild his team on a very limited budget, and decides to employ an economist to assist in a seemingly insurmountable task. While using data to predict failure and success may sound unconventional to some, the concept is quite similar to running a credit score before extending a loan.
The article quotes the founder (Ray Dalio) of the world’s largest hedge fund—Bridgewater Associates. “If you were going to order a piece of equipment, what kind of equipment would you need?” In addition to being named by Forbes as one of the 100 richest people in the world, Gray explains Dalio’s position that using HR assessments helps him find the right people, understand how best to lead them, and encourages stronger working harmonies among teams. Gray explains the belief of Dalio and others that using data to inform talent decisions helps to reduce conscious and unconscious bias by introducing objectivity.
Additionally, Gray quotes Eric Dunleavy, a D.C.-based HR risk-management consultant in defensibility of hiring assessments. “Pains-in-the-a** are not a protected group,” he said.
The article provides two additional pieces of great value—a 30,000 foot view on the evolution of hiring assessments, and a short-quiz to provide a sense of what hiring assessments are like. Gray’s history begins with the 1912 invention of the concept of I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient), or “the ratio of a person’s mental age to physical age, times 100.” She then notes the 1990’s trend of evaluating EQ (Emotional Intelligence”), or “the ability to judge and regulate emotion in oneself and others.” Finally, she explains today’s popular quotient, the XQ (Personality Quotient) as an assessment of “personality traits that will lead to success.” You can complete the magazine’s assessment simulation exercise online here.
While Time Magazine is arriving pretty late to the party, the article celebrates a practice we are all familiar with—utilizing assessments to make talent decisions. What it fails to do is mention the key things to look for in choosing an assessment tool. We would encourage everyone to ask themselves the following, as they begin to think about what to implement in their own organizations:
- Is the assessment reliable, meaning are the results consistent over time?
- Are the applications and measurements validated on a regular basis?
- Does the tool assess multiple dimensions (ex. mental abilities, behavioral traits, interests, etc.)?
- Does it measure a person’s core personality traits against the population, or is it measuring an individual’s current perception about himself or herself?
If you have questions about this topic, using assessments in hiring and development, please visit the MCM CPAs & Advisors website, or please give us a call at 502-882-4667.
Linda Winlock serves as a Principal in MCM’s HR Consulting practice, and has experience working with various-sized companies throughout a variety of industries. Linda’s experience in organizational development, training, executive coaching and hiring assistance spans over 25 years. Previously, Linda was the President and Owner of Personnel Profiling, Inc., an HR consulting company that offered a suite of employment assessments and services to help companies gain a competitive advantage by hiring, retaining and developing great talent. Linda’s formal education includes a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Louisville with a concentration in counseling psychology. Linda and members of her team will be ongoing contributors to the Academy Blog.
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