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Online assessments give employers the information they need to make informed decisions about the workforce

TRUMBULL, CT USA — October 7, 2020 — Employers may be making poor decisions about their people due to unconsciously ignoring vital information about the workforce.  Using that information could better inform and improve decisions employers make and help them offer more support to their staff. 

Questionmark, the online assessment provider, is urging employers to gather more information about the people they employ before making crucial decisions around recruitment, onboarding, training and promotions.

A recent study by researchers at Harvard, Northwestern and Carnegie Mellon found that the human brain tends to ignore useful information if it causes pain, discomfort or simply contradicts the existing narrative.[1]  Despite having more access to data than ever before, senior leaders may be failing to base decisions on the best available information.  As a result, they may not be creating enough support, giving the right people the right opportunities and delivering the most effective training and development.

In the recent Questionmark Viewpoint report “Beyond Decision Bias: Making Objective People Decisions” it was noted that cognitive bias could be undermining a range of people decisions.

  • Unconscious bias in recruitment – without realizing it, interviewers could make decisions based on factors other than who is best for the job.[2]
  • Onboarding – a line manager may assume from a new starter’s previous experience that they will have skills that have not yet been developed. 
  • Training – assumptions can be made about what training workers need or what they will already have completed. 
  • Promotions – a range of unconscious factors can stop employers promoting the right team members.

There is no reason that these mistakes should be made, if the right information is gathered to inform the decisions.

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: “As we continue to face economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that employers make the best possible decisions about the workforce.  Gathering useful information can help employers make better decisions around supporting their staff, nurturing talent and prioritizing career development.

“There is no need for managers to put their heads in the sand.  Online assessments of the workforce give employers the reliable information they need.  Cognitive bias can be challenged.  The best decisions can be made.”

[1] https://www.managementtoday.co.uk/why-keep-ignoring-hard-truths/food-for-thought/article/1695233

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2019/02/20/how-to-minimize-unconscious-bias-during-recruitment/#7816f16f5fd9