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6 Talent Assessment Trends to Improve Your Future Readiness

The workplace is changing rapidly. If you want to remain competitive, your workforce must evolve along with it. You need to foster skills that empower your workforce to thrive in a digital and remote work environment.
 
The World Economic Forum estimates that the current half-life of skills is only five years. To keep pace, you need to be able to assess and reskill your workforce quickly.


 
Talent assessment trends are evolving to keep pace with these changes. The latest assessments measure evergreen soft skills, use cutting-edge technology and improve the candidate experience. Here are six of the most important talent assessment trends worth paying attention to right now.
 

Trend #1: New Ways to Measure Digital Readiness

Digital disruption from the use of artificial intelligence and job automation requires businesses to evolve quickly. Your workforce needs to develop new skills and competencies to successfully navigate the changing work environment. To become digitally ready, employees must prepare to retrain, upskill or change roles.
 
There’s no single skill that guarantees performance success in a digital workplace. But our Digital Readiness Model identifies three skills that frequently play a key role: ability to learn, agility and curiosity.
 
The latest talent assessments focus on these soft skills, allowing employers to measure which future-ready soft skills they already have in place, identify any gaps, and develop a blueprint for reskilling.
 
For example, Aon worked with a global bank to improve workforce agility by building a strategic development center. At the center, talent leaders provide clarity about the behaviors that drive success in digital roles at the bank and then provide training and coaching to develop those skills.
 
Openness to change is a vital part of digital readiness, and assessments empower companies to identify employees who are most likely to acclimate to new roles.
 
The bank’s development center also improved support for internal mobility by empowering team members to take control of their career progression and move into new roles.

 
 

Trend #2: A Focus on Delivering Positive Candidate Experience

High-performing digital talent is in high demand but short supply. Employers need to stand out to draw attention from a scant applicant pool, and that means providing a positive candidate experience
 
It doesn’t take much to stand out when more than half of candidates report having a bad experience. Of those candidates, nearly three-quarters share their story with people in their circle.



Talent assessments can be part of delivering a great candidate experience. Candidates should be able to relate their performance on the assessment to potential performance on the job. Companies are using assessments to give candidates a glimpse into the role. Situational judgment tests, for example, ask candidates to respond to a scenario they might actually encounter while on the job.
 
For example, RSM, Norway’s leading audit and advisory firm for small and midsize enterprises, decided to recentered its business strategy to focus on people and to communicate the benefits of working there.
 
At university hiring events, RSM hosted opportunities for students to take short assessments and receive feedback. Company representatives explained how assessments were used to make hiring decisions. By using highly job relevant assessments, they were able to deliver a more transparent hiring process and positive user experience.
 
Assessments can also be designed to provide meaningful insights to candidates. Providing feedback on assessment results helps candidates understand how they performed, and how their results influenced the final hiring decision.
 
Because of its work implementing assessments in a transparent process, more qualified graduates now choose RSM over competitors.

Trend #3: The Rise of Gamification to Increase Candidate Engagement

One of the more popular talent assessment trends is gamified assessments. Aon’s research shows that a robust, gamified assessment can engage applicants and strengthen the candidate experience.
 
It’s important to draw a distinction between interactive games and gamified assessments. Games don’t predict performance, and candidates struggle to see their relevance to the role. This can lead candidates to perceive the assessment process as unfair.
 
Gamified assessments, on the other hand, are fair, robust tests that include gaming elements. They can accurately measure and predict abilities in a high-stakes recruitment process.
 
Employers are using gamified assessments to maintain candidate engagement throughout the selection process. For example, one multinational engineering company wanted to increase application completion rates with an engaging pre-assessment process. The company needed to be innovative and original while maintaining candidates’ perceptions of a fair process.
 
The engineering company implemented situational judgment tests (SJTs) in the style of a chat-based “choose your own adventure” game. SJTs are a strong predictor of employee performance, and gamifying SJTs makes the assessment process more engaging and can help you stand out from your competitors. Even with gaming elements, job relevant content helps candidates see how assessments are used to make a fair hiring decision.
 
After implementing the game-based test, the multinational engineering company achieved 98% application completion rates in the pre-hire stage.

Trend #4: Designing Assessments to Improve Diversity and Inclusion

Fostering diversity and inclusion remains a high priority for talent leaders. Diverse workforces can tap into a wealth of perspectives and experiences to drive business results. Producing objective assessments has always been imperative for assessment designers, but the latest talent assessment trends have moved even further toward supporting a more diverse and inclusive hiring process.
 
Objective assessments focus on the job's requirements and the candidate's attributes, and they’re regularly retested to ensure they remain that way.
 
Using assessments, companies can collect robust data that hiring managers can use to make objective hiring decisions.
 
For example, BAE Systems’ talent leaders wanted to design an apprenticeship assessment that was fair to all applicants, regardless of personal factors. Aon worked with a recruitment manager to develop a screening process that identified the core competencies for their apprenticeship program.
 
Employers are using assessments to objectively identify candidates with the right competencies to match the role. Aon analyzed the apprenticeship program’s role requirements to design a comprehensive assessment. The new test measures core competencies, motivators and behaviors to objectively identify the best candidates for the program.
 
Companies are beginning to use assessments as better, more objective predictors of a candidate’s competencies than degree or experience requirements.
 
This approach enables employers to widen their applicant pool by giving them a way to objectively review candidates who may not have had access to a college education, for example.
 
After implementing the new assessment, BAE Systems saw a relative increase of 5.2% in the number of female applicants. The company also saw a relative increase of 3.3% in the number of racially and ethnically diverse applicants. Additionally, candidates reporting disabilities demonstrated a similar pass rate to candidates who didn’t report having disabilities.

Trend #5: Embedding AI Within Talent Assessment Processes

Artificial intelligence (AI) in assessments is another major talent assessment trend that will continue affecting test development.
 
AI-driven chatbots, for example, can assess candidates in an more engaging manner, improving candidate experience.
 
Employers are also adding data-driven assessments to help hiring managers make fair hiring decisions. Half of organizations perceive data-driven decision making as the biggest potential benefit of implementing AI in assessments, but many people are also concerned about ensuring fairness in the process.

 

Not all assessments are created equal. Traditional “black box” algorithms receive data and spit out a response without revealing how the decision was made. This minimizes trust in the assessment process. Candidates should be able to see how assessment results are used to make a hiring decision.
 
The latest assessments trend towards a “glass box” approach, which shows each step taken toward a final decision. Employers are working towards increased transparency when implementing AI-driven assessment tools.
 
One travel firm worked with Aon to introduce video interviewing and a more objective, AI-driven assessment process. The firm benchmarked “what great looks like” by assessing current employees. The competencies identified in this process formed the basis for the assessment redesign.
 
Using AI-driven software, like Aon’s vidAssess platform, employers can identify positive and negative indicators in the candidate’s responses. Hiring managers, aided by the AI scoring program, can compare candidates fairly and objectively. (The platform does not record and score visual cues as there is no evidence that the technology is advanced enough to make this a valid approach without introducing bias.)
 
When introducing AI in assessment processes, employers must prioritize transparency. Candidates should never have to guess how an AI algorithm is scoring them.

Trend #6: Mining Workforce Data to Build Better Tests

Companies produce huge quantities of workforce data every day from their routine human resources processes. One of the hottest talent assessment trends involves finding ways to use that workforce data to improve the predictive capabilities of their assessments.
 
One of the hardest parts of data analytics is asking the right questions. Talent teams are beginning to mine data from the best performers in a role. This data can be used to define what a “good” candidate looks like.
 
Major electronics retailer Elkjøp, for instance, wanted to identify candidates with the highest sales potential. The company worked with Aon to assess current sales advisers correlated with monthly average sales revenue.
 
By reviewing the trends report revealed by performance management and employee engagement data, companies can identify the traits exhibited by their best performing teams. Based on their assessment of current employees in the role, Elkjøp’s talent management teams identified six characteristics of high performers.
 
When implemented, the company found that the highest scorers contribute 50% more sales revenue than average. Those who score lowest, on the other hand, contribute 58% less sales revenue than the average scoring salesperson. Using data to objectively identify the best candidates significantly improved the company’s hiring practices — and its bottom line.
 
Employers are also using the data gathered from assessments themselves to improve their predictive capabilities. Forward thinking companies compare successful candidates’ pre-hire assessment scores with their post-hire performance. This allows them to pinpoint a correlation between high scores and high performance.
 
Talent assessment trends are keeping up with the larger pace of change. Your company can harness the power of the latest assessment tools to improve selection and make better, future ready hiring decisions.
 
Aon

Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's Assessment Solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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