Employers should seek broader information to make better people-decisions

TRUMBULL, CT — September 16, 2020 — In a new report, Questionmark, the online assessment provider, warns that ‘cognitive bias’ can cause employers to make the wrong decisions about the people they employ. 

The new report, ‘Beyond Decision Bias’ explores how employers can jump to poor decisions because they are vulnerable to sub-conscious factors in decision making.  These can include:

  • Status quo bias – a tendency to stick to the status quo
  • Authority bias – a temptation to always agree with the boss
  • Conformity bias – a desire to want to agree with colleagues

The report argues that employers should deliberately develop alternative arguments that challenge their initial conclusions.  They should intentionally seek information that may disprove or counter the emerging recommendation.  When it comes to making the final call, senior leaders will then have a series of more informed options to choose from.

When attempting to tackle cognitive bias, it is essential that robust data and information are gathered to challenge presumptions.  While employers increasingly have access to a rich range of data sources, they often lack real information on their most important asset, the people they employ.

Skills and attitude assessments of the workforce, carried out online, can give employers the real information they need to make good decisions.  Assumptions can be challenged.  Evidence of bias can be confronted.  Strategies can be introduced to combat it.  Further assessments will show whether those strategies are working. 

Assessments can also confront ‘unconscious bias’ in the recruitment process.  This is when factors other than who is best for the job, subconsciously influence the hiring decision.  By assessing candidates before hiring them, employers can see who has the skills for the job.  They can confront unconscious bias, select the best candidate and nurture a more diverse workforce.  

Lars Pedersen, CEO of Questionmark said: “The decisions that employers make about the people they employ are ultimately what determines an organization’s success or failure.  Are the right people in the right roles?  Are they supported by effective training?   Do they have what they need to thrive?

“Assessing the skills and attitudes of the workforce can give employers the robust information they need to make these decisions.  The data from assessments can challenge cognitive bias and ensure that decisions are grounded in reality.”

For more information on the risks of cognitive bias and strategies to tackle it, download the full report: Beyond Decision Bias.

The report forms part of the ‘Questionmark Viewpoint’ series which explores the challenges that Questionmark customers face, and how Questionmark helps address them.