Will AI empower women & how?

We are all striving to become more inclusive because regardless of a person’s gender, ethnicity or background everyone has talent and potential. With more women working than ever before, gender equality is at the forefront of most HR professional’s minds. However, there is a lack of females in leadership positions, for instance, only 25 females are CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

This imbalance can be observed across the workforce, with men and women respectfully dominating certain industries. For example, currently 80% of US software developers are men and 85% of social workers are women. But why is this the case? The effect of life domains on girls’ possible selves study suggests that culture, socialisation and gender role stereotyping discourages females from traditionally masculine subjects such as physics and mathematics. This may influence career choices later on, which further reinforces job role stereotypes. Therefore, these stereotypes based on gender can impact society heavily but the ever-growing change for equality will help open industries to all.

Will this ever change? 

We are on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, and as a result, new technology such as AI and automation will transform industries and workforces. Employees will dedicate less time to routine tasks like data handling, focusing more on adding value to the company. More jobs will require a personal touch using interpersonal skills, creativity and problem-solving abilities which will favour humans over AI and other technologies. According to a study by PWC, women could initially be impacted by the development and implementation of AI and automation. However, in the long term, it is suggested that more males could be affected. This should inspire women to retrain or change career in order to stay ahead of the curve which may mean applying for roles they haven’t considered before.

Currently, there is a lack of females in STEM related fields.  Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments that: “You can only hire in a balanced way for diversity if the talent is there and they have been educated in that field.” As this industry grows, there will be even more roles available in STEM industries. Initiatives have been created to encourage women to take STEM subjects. If this is successful, more females will be hired in typical male dominated roles. This will also mean a more diverse applicant pool. But how can HR managers ensure they are hiring the best candidates for a role, regardless of whether a position is traditionally held by a male or female?  

How can HR support this change? 

More and more businesses are introducing AI into their recruitment process. There are many benefits to adopting this technology, it saves you time, money and people power whilst allowing you to find candidates who fit into your company’s culture and team as well as the role you’re recruiting for. AI technologies can enable you to create a fairer and more diverse recruitment process. As humans are naturally prone to bias, it can sometimes influence decisions the workplace. It is common within the recruitment process as you are judging candidates on a range of skills and attributes to match the job role. However, factors such as gender and culture should not affect applying for a job (read our blog to find out more). AI removes the bias created by humans as it has the capacity to be completely objective.

“If AI doesn’t empower women, then we are doing it wrong”

Dr Boris Altemeyer

It is possible to create a recruitment process that is fair for all. But how do you define ‘fair’? Even if you programme AI software to identify the best candidates with a 50:50 gender split, it may still not be entirely fair. For instance, an applicant pool could have a larger amount of stronger female candidates. Therefore, not only would these qualified applicants miss out on this job opportunity, but the organisation wouldn’t necessarily be hiring the best candidates for the role. Dr Boris Altemeyer also reveals that “The AI needs to learn what is fair and balanced. We need to agree what we tell the AI to do in order to get the best possible outcome.” 

At Cognisess, we remove biases by making it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or even the schools they attended. More significantly, this personal information is never considered in Cognisess’ set of assessments. Our system is mostly interested in assessing how your brain works. From this, recruiters can focus purely on what matters when hiring an applicant. This is called blind recruitment and it provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role regardless of background, age, gender or ethnicity. This creates an environment for recruiters to make objective and well-informed decisions about a candidate’s potential.

Creating equal opportunities for all with AI

At Cognisess, we are constantly pursuing a fair recruitment process for all. We recently investigated if gender bias was present in one of our client’s hiring processes. Although more male applicants applied for their graduate scheme, more female candidates were successful. When candidates were asked to complete a variety of cognitive, emotional, personality Cognisess assessments, there was no bias present. The number of passed and rejected candidates reflected the difference in applicant volume of each gender. The final stage of the graduate process was a video interview. The gender was revealed in this section of the process due to the video aspect. However, in this part of the process female applicants were more likely to pass this stage than males. This could be an indication of higher presentation skills in female candidates, but it could also reflect a subtle bias in the human assessors marking the video interviews. 

This shows the effect humans could have on a recruitment process. It is important to note that bias can happen towards any group of people, including males. This is why it is important HR teams constantly refines this in order to truly hire the best applicants.  

Initially, women will be the most affected by the fourth industrial revolution. But this could be an opportunity for them to step outside stereotypical female roles and realise their potential. With a more diverse applicant pool organisations will need to ensure they have a recruitment process in place that is fair for all. If you would like to discuss how AI and People Analytics can enhance your recruitment process, book a free demo with our expert team. 

Volume Recruitment in Retail: Harvest the volume, find the quality

From Christmas shopping to the rush to buy summer holiday essentials, retail is a high tempo sector regardless of the season. Hiring experienced and qualified staff is important to maintain high standards of service, but this can be challenging when there is a high turnover of staff and a high volume of applications in the talent pipeline. According to Labour Market Review, 60% of employers report that applicants lack important customer handling skills and only 11% of employers think their employees have all the necessary skills to work in their store. That increases the pressure to find the right talent as unsuitable workers who may find themselves as the face of a brand could damage a customer’s perception of the company and affect sales. But how can hiring managers guarantee they have made the right decision when involved in high volume of applicants and acute time pressures to fill vacancies quickly? The answer lies in harnessing the power of Predictive People Analytics from platforms like Cognisess.

Time is precious, recruitment is expensive

Sorting through a high volume of applications is a time consuming and costly process. On average, it takes 42 days to fill a position. In addition, Oxford Economics reveals that the average fee for replacing a departing staff member is £30,614. Costs typically includes £5,433 for logistics, such as agency fees and advertising, and wages during the time when a new employee is yet to reach optimum productivity level, believed to be an average of 28 weeks at a cost of £25,182. Therefore, reducing churn should reduce overall recruitment costs massively and in turn, these costs can be re-distributed across the business to improve business performance.

That’s why one of our clients, a popular UK furniture retailer, started to use Cognisess Pro. Since deploying Cognisess Pro, they have processed nearly 10,000 applications for multiple roles nationwide. Sorting through such a high volume of candidates had previously proved to be too time intensive for their store managers, who really wanted to focus more of their time on the customer experience, sales and optimising the performance of their current employees. By harnessing the recruitment and assessment features of Cognisess Pro, hiring managers were able to transform the application and hiring process by reducing the manual time and resources needed and in doing so generated a more accurate outcome.

Widen the talent pool – don’t narrow it.

When typically faced with the pressure of hiring in retail, managers tend to take short cuts and aim for applicants who appear (on the surface) to meet the basic job fit criteria and resemble candidates they have seen before. As such, many potentially suitable candidates can be ignored or overlooked and others who may not be suitable at all and are liable to churn are often hired. But of course with such time pressure to hire with limited time and resources, it is natural to narrow the field of opportunity rather than expand it.

Cognisess Pro is designed to take the strain of volume recruitment by accurately and scientifically filtering out at an early stage candidates who are simply not suitable based on the basic requirements of the job role. This automated process immediately relieves pressure on traditional manual sifting putting time and control back in the hands of hiring managers. In the case of our furniture retailing client, we provided a process to successfully handle the high volume of applicants by focusing on their abilities and attributes for the role within a ‘blind’ recruitment process which means the system had no visibility of race, gender or age. These characteristics may well have been unconsciously or consciously taken into account by humans previously and can be reliably avoided by using Cognisess Pro. Read more about removing bias in recruitment in our previous blog post

By using a series of Cognisess’ scientifically backed assessments to profile what good looks like amongst our client’s most successful employees, we were able to provide a benchmark and job profile. With the results, the software can automatically compare and rank every applicant’s scores against a series of cognitive, emotional and personality attributes which indicates how well-matched an applicant is to the specific job role. Not only did this give every applicant a fair chance, it also meant that the widest possible volume of applicants could be considered. Without Cognisess Pro, this opportunity would be too prohibitive in cost and resource terms.

How do you hire and keep the best candidates? 

Harnessing People Analytics through the Cognisess Pro platform is a hundred times faster and accurate than any human assessment. This includes widening the search for retail roles to attract applicants from a variety of backgrounds and experiences – many of which would be overlooked during traditional manual processes. And although some applicants may have the relevant transferable skills – others simply wouldn’t have the abilities or personality that the position requires. Cognisess Pro understands what to look for – in an instant.

However, even after hiring a candidate, it can be difficult to know you’ve hired a high quality applicant who will stay the distance in retail for the long term. Last year, Korn Ferry found that part-time retail employees have an 81% turnover rate on average, this means the retail sector is having to constantly recruiting to fill positions which is intensely resource hungry, disruptive to operations and puts pressure on delivering sales targets in such a highly dynamic customer-facing environment. Meta-data analysis by Kristof-Brown  found that employees who relate to a company’s culture are more satisfied in their role and more likely to stay. Hiring people who fit into the team they work with and the culture of the store may help them feel comfortable in their environment and more likely to perform well. 

Cognisess Pro provides additional levels of People Analytics insight in the recruitment process to complement this opportunity. Our Culture Fit tool helps recruiters understand whether an applicant will fit into their company’s culture, and our Team Fit tool rates how well an applicant’s personality traits and skills would fit the store team’s profile. This gamified set of assessments means analysis can be made at an early stage and without having to invest in time off the floor to hold individual and team fit meetings. This allows managers to identify candidates who have a natural fit to their company’s culture and to a team’s unique dynamic energy before even meeting them. This additional level of insight means you are not only selecting the best candidate for the role, you are also investing in an employee who is more likely to thrive and stay.

Be confident – find and hire the right talent

Constantly replacing retail employees is a drain on time and cost. Hiring the wrong talent for your company only exasperates that problem. By using Cognisess Pro and harnessing the power of People Analytics, managers can rely on our data-driven platform to quickly and accurately make the best people decisions every time. Find out how Cognisess Pro can expand and improve your applicant pool, book a demo with us today.

How to successfully interview thousands of applicants with Video Analysis

In the age of AI and automation, soft skills are essential. Although machines are better at processing and understanding large amounts of data, they can’t replace that human connection. Most roles have people-focused elements, whether it’s maintaining relationships with clients as an Account Manager or assisting customers as a Sales Assistant, every step is important. First impressions count. When meeting new people 55% of the impact comes from the way a person acts. This is why it is important to hire a candidate who can make a good impression when representing your company. 

33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they will hire a candidate. However, a recruiter isn’t able to see how an applicant communicates and presents themselves in a written application. This can prevent them from hiring the best talent. 

Is there a way to meet every candidate who has applied for a job? 

This may seem impossible if there are over 1,000 candidates in your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), but here at Cognisess, we have made it possible for you to interview every candidate. Our DeepLearnTM Video Analysis is able to measure: 

  • Confidence and control. When customers are interacting with your business, they want to talk to someone who is in control of a situation and confident in their abilities. You can now measure this before you hire an applicant.  
  • Positivity. An upbeat employee not only improves morale in the workplace but their positive nature will help them successfully communicate with clients. For example, if a client sees a sales executive who is sincerely positive about a product, they are more likely to buy it. 
  • Expressiveness.  Some people make everyone they talk to feel like they are being truly listened to. A high level of expression (within reason) is seen in western cultures as a sign of high levels of engagement in the subject of the conversation.
  • Resilience and grit. This allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere, despite rejection and a lack of noticeable process over a period of time. 

How it works 

The machine vision used by DeepLearn™ uses highly advanced algorithms that read from 27+ points on the face. It tracks the differences of the positions over time to establish a picture of the emotion that is being expressed by a person. With its automated ‘Ask Me’ and ‘Meet Me’ video assessment tool, Cognisess Pro will recognise the values and attributes you’re looking for – accurately, objectively, every time. Book a demo to find out more about this feature. 

As Cognisess Pro isn’t human, it has the capacity to be completely objective (read our blog on unconscious bias in humans here). As there isn’t any human involvement in the analysis process, it supports a less bias hiring decision. Our tool isn’t programmed to see race, age or gender – it is purely assessing what an applicant is non-verbally communicating. This becomes a vital tool when companies are pursuing policies of inclusion, diversity and fairness.

The benefits of video analysis

  • Save time. Find the right applicant for you regardless of the volume of candidates. Our video analysis tool has analysed over 1.4 billion facial expressions with a 97% accuracy rate. This process can be done in a fraction of the time it would take a human to view and make a decision on each video.
  • Meet the human behind the application. The tool brings an application to life. Not only can you view a thorough assessment of a candidate’s personality and cognitive attributes but you can meet them too. 
  • Enhance decision making. Know that you have hired the right talent with the data to back up your decisions. This creates a more objective hiring process. 

Creating a fair recruitment process with our clients

This tool can be used across all industries. Companies also have the option to use the video interview tool without the DeepLearnTM analysis. In the past, clients such as hotel giant IHG, the world’s leading brewer AB InBev and special economic zone Alabuga have used it to enhance their recruitment process.  

Recently, we have studied the performance of the video analysis tool with one of our customers. Focusing on the candidates who had successfully passed their video interview, we uncovered a statistically significant relationship between an internal assessor’s high rating of a candidate and a good positivity and expressiveness score. This further shows the accuracy of this technology and how it can be applied to create a fair and transparent recruitment process, where any areas of unconscious bias can be corrected as a helpful mechanism to support HR professionals avoid bias. 

How our clients use DeepLearnTM Video Analysis

Each candidate records themselves answering a number of key questions that have been set by the company. Computer Vision analyses each video interview frame by frame, searching for positivity, expressiveness alongside other attributes relevant to the job. ​The tool is a hundred times faster and accurate than any human assessment. As a result, a business is able to identify top talent from their entire applicant pool. 

HR professionals are able to draw conclusions from their own expertise when finally ‘meeting’ each candidate. They can also review a comprehensive analysis on them alongside the other Cognisess assessments that analyse Job Fit, Culture Fit and Team Fit. 

People are an essential part of a company. It is important to hire applicants who will represent a business in a positive manner. Using a video interview tool will help you meet each applicant in the early stages of the recruitment process. You may also use the DeepLearnTM  Video Analysis tool to detect a candidate’s true emotion at that moment, not what they may like to present to an interview panel. If you would like to find out more about our video analysis tool and how it can transform your recruitment process, book a FREE demo today with our expert team.    

The AI will see you now… why we should trust Computer Vision

On the whole, humans are generally good at identifying emotions, but this mostly happens at an unconscious level and it isn’t always a reliable tool, particularly when it may involve having to make decisions based on this interpretation. According to psychology professor, Lisa Feldman Barrett our emotions are the brain’s method of understanding the body’s raw data. But sometimes the same sensations can be interpreted differently depending on external events. For example, a queasy stomach could be interpreted as nervousness before a job interview or excitement for an upcoming holiday.

We are reactive to the world around us. For example, if a HR professional has a disagreement with a colleague or is experiencing personal issues outside the workplace, they may bring these negative emotions into interviewing a candidate for a job. This may affect our perception of a candidate and the hiring decision.

Although we can’t change these factors, we can prevent them from influencing the recruitment process to ensure it is fair, consistent and transparent. As we enter the fourth industrial revolution and are increasingly driven by new technology, AI and Computer Vision will be on hand to assist humans in making data-led decisions that are consistently accurate and free of bias; attributes which will become increasingly important in a fast moving and compliant world.

What is Computer Vision and AI?

Computer Vision acts as the eyes of an AI. This technology can visually process the world around them and they can be programmed to analyse the information it collects. For example, Computer Vision is used as part of our video analysis tool. The technology analyses each candidate’s facial expressions and micro-expressions from their video interview. Micro-expressions are facial movements that happen – even before we are consciously aware of making them. This means Computer Vision is able to detect a candidate’s true emotion at that moment, not what they may like to present to an interview panel.

This tool can be used to recruit across all industries. However, it is especially useful in customer focused or sales roles where ‘reading people’ or presenting yourself positively or empathetically is required. Computer Vision can observe how easy a person is to talk to, and how approachable they will be to customers – even under pressure.

Why should we trust machines to assess human behaviour?

Together, AI and Computer Vision are able to accurately repeat the same process over and over again. Our video analysis tool has analysed over 1.4 billion facial expressions with a 97% accuracy rate. This is an invaluable tool for humans and can be used to gain advantage particularly in dealing with scale or distance. Computer Vision doesn’t experience a post-lunchtime dip,  which is when a person feels drowsy for a few hours whilst their body digests their food.  Equally the AI doesn’t have a ‘bad day’ through fatigue which would impair their overall cognitive performance. It can process thousands of job applications and identify the top candidates, regardless of what time of day it is. This enables a recruiter to stay focused on putting their attention and expertise on the applicants that have relevant skills and abilities for the role.

As AI and Computer Vision aren’t human, they have the capacity to be completely objective (read our blog on unconscious bias in humans here). Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, revealed to Information Age that “AI doesn’t have to understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none. AI does not need diversity and inclusion training. It’s incapable of taking an instant dislike to someone, secretly wondering whether someone’s planning on starting a family, or hiring someone who’s pleasingly similar to them.” As there isn’t any human involvement in the analysis process it supports a less bias hiring decision. Our Computer Vision isn’t programmed to see race, age or gender – it is purely assessing what an applicant is non-verbally communicating. This becomes a vital tool when companies are pursuing policies of inclusion, diversity and fairness.

Making fast and accurate hiring decisions for every candidate – every time

Our clients using our video analysis tool will be able to give each applicant a fair chance, regardless of how large their applicant pool is.

Each candidate records themselves answering a number of key questions that have been set by the company. Computer Vision analyses each video interview frame by frame, searching for positivity and expressiveness, both of which are measures of genuine passion. ​The tool is a hundred times faster and accurate than any human assessment. As a result, a business is able to identify top talent from their entire applicant pool.

Working with Computer Vision supports hiring decisions, HR professionals are able to draw conclusions from their own expertise when finally ‘meeting’ each candidate, but also review the Computer Vision comprehensive analysis on them alongside the other Cognisess assessments that analyse Job Fit, Culture Fit and Team Fit.  

Recently, we have studied the performance of the video analysis tool with our client, AB InBev – the world’s leading brewer. Focusing on the candidates who had successfully passed their video interview stage, we uncovered a statistically significant relationship between an internal assessor’s high rating of a candidate and a good positivity and expressiveness score. This further shows how accurate this technology can be and how it can be applied to create a fair and transparent recruitment process were any areas of unconscious bias can be corrected as a helpful correction mechanism to support HR professionals avoid bias.

Make every day a good decision day with AI

Everyone of us within a workforce will have good and bad days, it is an inherent part of being human, after all. But in this new age of technology, AI and Computer Vision will ensure those occasion bad days doesn’t turn into bad hiring and bad decision days. If you would like to find out more about how our video analysis tool or Computer Vision can transform your recruitment process, book a FREE demo today with our expert team.    

Group of people sat in a sofa

Why Humans aren’t Redundant Yet

It has been widely established that AI and Automation will transform the future workplace and our economy. However, it will not only enhance a businesses technological processes but the people within it too.

Machines and algorithms are expected to create 133 million new roles but will replace 75 million positions by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum. But the question is, what type of roles is it creating and displacing? And what skills will these roles need?

Human connection can’t be automated

A few weeks ago CIPD released the ‘People and machines: from hype to reality’ report. It revealed that professional and higher technical staff are one of the most likely fields to be affected by AI and automation at 28%. In contrast, sales and service occupations are the least likely to be impacted at 5%. Although machines are more proficient in processing and understanding large amounts of data, they can’t replace human connection. For example, in sales positions, it takes that human connection to build a rapport with a customer and problem-solve any complaints or issues they are having. The ability to communicate, problem-solve, manage your time and stay motivated – widely known as soft skills.

Interestingly this shift is also reflected in the job market. According to Harvard University, the need for STEM-related roles greatly increased between 1989 and 2000 on the global jobs market but hasn’t significantly grown since. But positions in the creative industries, a sector which is rich in soft skills, increased in demand by 20% between 2011 and 2016. These statistics reveal a future where the need for soft skills in the workforce will become increasingly important.

What are the most valued soft skills for the future?

At the beginning of the year, LinkedIn uncovered the skills companies will need most in 2019, and at the top of that list was creativity. We are about the enter the fourth industrial revolution, companies will need creatives to lead them into the future to create new ideas and methods of working alongside new technology such as AI.

The World Economic Forum also found that 90% of top performers at work also have high emotional intelligence. According to Psychologist Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is defined by five core components:

  • Self-awareness – an understanding of your own emotions and how they could affect others.
  • Self-regulation – this is the ability to think before you react to a situation and the degree you are able to control your moods and impulses.
  • Internal motivation – rather than pursuing a goal for a reward, you are motivated to achieve for personal reasons, for instance, personal development.
  • Empathy – you are able to recognise and understand other people’s motivations.
  • Social skills – you can build a network and manage relationships.

This skill is essential for successfully managing a team, communicating with colleagues or customers. The CIPD report at the beginning of this article showed that the least affected roles will be people focused. This ability will be key for employees who want to successfully conduct themselves in the workplace.

How can businesses measure emotional intelligence and creativity in their applicants?

Cognisess Pro can measure a variety of soft skills through our scientifically backed assessments, including emotional intelligence and creativity. Allowing companies to hire a future-ready workforce.

We achieve this using the Cognisess’ Baseline Assessments along with our Team Fit tool. Creativity is measured by:

  • A person’s openness to experience. If an applicant isn’t willing to try new things, they are unlikely to think outside the box

  • Conscientiousness. For a person to be highly creative this needs to be an average score. An individual needs to commit to a plan, but not so rigidly that they don’t attempt a different method that could work better.   

  • Risk taking. This also needs to be an average or just above average score. They need to be confident enough to take a calculated risk in order to pursue an innovative idea, but simultaneously not constantly take risks.

As a result of this, companies are able to create teams which have a strong representation in terms of both creative skills and aptitudes – but also ensuring the team composition has a high level of Psychological Safety. Psychological Safety is directly related to someone’s emotional intelligence and can be identified as a part of our Team Fit tool. Our expert analytics team have identified that team members who have higher emotional intelligence tend to also have a higher level of Psychological Safety. This means they feel more comfortable speaking their mind in potentially difficult or stressful situations. When considering this in terms of innovation and creativity, it becomes a vital skill for a person to have. As there is nothing gained for the company from someone who is extremely creative at work, yet lacks the confidence to share their ideas with the rest of their team.

How to stay relevant in a fast-changing world

From work carried out with a variety of companies over the past 2 years, Cognisess has identified that understanding the creative composition of a team is a very important factor for companies looking to be innovative.  

Many current thinking and methods will quickly become outdated and irrelevant to a fast-changing and increasingly automated world. Creativity and problem-solving are hugely important for keeping the focus and energy of an organisation moving forward helping to innovate their processes and systems through the coming transformational years  Without this ability to be more fluidly creative and adaptable, organisations will be held back or simply may become redundant in the market. Cognisess has recognised that being able to accurately identify and recruit the talent who can bring creativity and innovation, ill enable Talent Managers within HR to make better decisions about the people and teams who should be empowered as the trendsetters versus those are more likely to conform to or defend the outdated modes of thinking.

Creativity – in the right team environment – is becoming essential to future proof organisations. It elevates the organisation’s strength in producing ideas and innovation through the free trade of ideas and accelerate the uptake of innovation throughout the organisation and help to cultivate a positive culture of freely shared ideas and possibilities. Companies can then reap the rewards of a future-oriented culture that is constantly and confidently implementing new ways to improve the contribution and progression of the business for employees, management, customers and shareholders alike.

Get future ready?

Become future ready and recruit the soft skills every company will need in the age of automation. If you would like to learn more about assessing creativity, emotional intelligence or our Team Fit tool, book a demo with our expert team.

People Analytics will change the way HR makes its decisions: but what’s driving this change?

Amongst marketing colleagues throughout any sector of business, it is inconceivable that customers would not have their fingerprints and footprints of their data analysed to the nth degree to better understand their value, buying behaviours, patterns of consumption and preferences.  CRM and other data driven disciplines like ASO, SEO, NPS are the life-blood of decision making in marketing. Sure hunches in marketing are still important – but only if they are backed up with data. So, why is it the case, that HR do not as yet apply the same rigour in better understand human potential and performance when making key hiring and appraisal decisions?

HR and People Management have always been an inherently human set of processes…. the clue is in the title. But are people necessarily the best judge of people? Traditionally HR, hiring managers and recruiters are trusted with the responsibility of using their experience to assess and select the best talent available in the market. Knowing what a ‘good hire’ looks like is part logic (reviewing CVs and experience track record) and part intuition (having a feel for whether the person will fit the organisation through interviews).  Both of these practices are fraught with inconsistencies, inaccuracies, subjectivity and even bias (unconscious or otherwise). But in fairness to the HR profession it has been very difficult, up until now, to replace the wisdom of experience with anything else.  But advances in Big Data, Cognitive NeuroScience, automation and machine learning – have heralded a new era of certainty and reliability in the form of People Analytics: the science of assessing people through data.

New Technology – New HR Solutions

Humans and AI are finally able to start working together to make better business decisions. In a recent McKinsey study, 47% of executives have embedded at least one AI capability into their business process.  However, HR remain the function which is least convinced of the benefits to their organisations in deploying AI in HR falling way behind operations, product development, service delivery and marketing and sales. Lack of coherent internal and external data sets, lack of skills to operate in an increasingly digital and data driven HR environment and lack of leadership to drive changes in traditional practices: are some of the main reasons cited for lack of uptake amongst businesses for People Analytics.

As a pioneer in bringing machine learning and People Analytics into the HR market over the past 5 years, here are a number of key benefits that Cognisess have delivered for those companies who have been early adopters for AI in HR.

Saving time – AI has an appetite for data. It is able to process applicants and identify the top candidates faster than an employee manually organising them. This means HR managers can spend more time preparing applicants for the role. Recently the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, was able to interview their strongest candidates just 3 days after they’d sent in their application. Before employing Cognisess Pro’s people analytics, it took them 10 days. Cognisess saved them time, enabling them to hire the best talent faster.

Saving money – One bad hire can cost €45,000 (£39,294) in loss of productivity. Predictive analytics cannot foresee the future, but in can prevent unsuitable candidates from advancing through the process. It reveals not only the best talent –  but also those candidates who will fit or adapt into a specific company the culture, thrive in the role and therefore stay – thus saving companies a considerable amount of money and resource in the long term.

Increasing diversity, decreasing potential bias – Humans are naturally biased, and although we all do try to minimise it, our bias is always subconsciously present. In the past, there was no way to eliminate it from the recruitment process – predictive analytics and machine learning has completely transformed this. For instance, Cognisess Deep Learn ™ our AI engine, doesn’t take into account race, gender, age or background. Instead, it focuses purely on a person’s cognitive ability and emotional and social attributes to perform to any given role. This change allowed hotel giant, IHG, to eliminate potential bias by 93% from their recruitment process. This not only increases their prospect of developing a truly diversified workforce, but also demonstrates a clear commitment to fairness and inclusion for the employer brand.

How will it transform HR?

“Companies who adopt a predictive analytics system create a brighter future. They not only gain useful objective data on their applicants and employees, but they also gain insight about their talent pools. Managers can identify strengths and weaknesses – even uncovering hidden talents!” Comments Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess. This approach encourages employees to develop their adaptability and skills whilst managers can better envision a person’s progression in a business by using AI to create complete picture about people and their potential.

As People Analytics become more affordable, accessible and user-friendly we will see many more companies recruit and appraise through a predictive analytics platform, whilst dialling back less reliable traditional recruitment methods. Forward thinking companies such as DFS and Knight Frank are already using our predictive analytics platform, Cognisess Pro to transform their approach. Cognisess Pro’s objective method of assessing talent works well to support and validate recruiters ‘gut instincts’ about a candidate with the data and evidence to back up why they are a good fit for the role. With Cognisess Pro, companies can constantly refine the attributes they are looking for whether it’s short term memory or emotional intelligence – or any other of 120 attributes the platform analyses.

The benefits for HR

Increased Efficiency

With 73% of applicants abandon job applications if they take longer than 15 minutes, there is clearly an art to retaining candidates until the end of an application. Cognisess Pro’s gamified assessments engage the candidate whilst gaining insights for the recruiter – 90% of applicants have a positive experience on the platform. “Our clients often see an increase in applications using our platform.” Reveals Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess. A positive application experience also leaves candidates with a good first impression of a business.

Increased Diversity

With ethnically diverse teams outperforming non-diverse teams by 35%, it consciously pays to focusing on a person’s innate abilities and skills to identify what a balanced and diverse team fit looks like. Predictive analytics create a fairer process for all by removing subjectivity and bias. Typically recruiters are disposed to hiring the type of person they personally connect and recognise through experience or preference – rather than ability or potential.  Having a more objective approach greatly increases the chances of a building a more diverse and productive workforce.

Increased Speed to Hire

People analytics allows HR to recruit quickly cut through the volume of applicants and information to identify the best talent whilst creating a positive and fair process for every participant. Simultaneously the technology allows recruiters and managers to monitor and benchmark their existing employee talent pool to quickly spot opportunities to redeploy talent – rather than always reaching for an external solution.

Learn more about AI in HR

Cognisess is already supporting some of the world’s leading businesses to transform their approach to managing talent and potential. 

For more insight, download our recent case study with global hotel giant IHG.

What is unconscious bias and why it should be reduced in talent recruitment?

Unconscious bias: a brief overview

Every one of us carries a degree of unconscious bias. This is informed by our personal experiences, stereotypes and cultural context. It’s the way our brains make quick judgements about people and situations without us even registering it. Ultimately these inherent biases can impact decision-making in the hiring process. For instance, during a study by PNAS, participants were invited to review a number of job applications. Despite the applications being randomly assigning a male or female name, each reviewer was more likely to conclude:

  • The male applicants were better qualified than female candidates.
  • They were inclined to hire male candidates over female applicants.
  • The male applicants were deemed more worthy of a higher starting salary than the female candidates.   
  • They were more willing to invest in developing a male candidate than a female one.

This is a prime example of unconscious bias at play. Although reviewers didn’t deliberately discount females because of their gender; their unconscious bias did. Ultimately this would impact on the hiring decision, career development and salary of the candidates. It may have even prevented the best candidates from being considered for a position.

Can bias ever be eliminated or at least reduced?

“Because we are all human, we all harbour conscious and unconscious biases. Sometimes they’re useful – like when we stubbornly always choose to stay at our favourite brand of hotel; but often they’re not. Even when we try our best to identify and minimise them, they are always there as they form an intrinsic part of being human,” revealed Cognisess CSO, Dr Boris Altemeyer: “

Although this bias is instinctive, there are methods recruiters can use to minimise the risk of affecting hiring decisions. The emergence of artificial intelligence provides an effective solution to reduce bias. According to Dr Altemeyer: “AI doesn’t have to worry about understand its own unconscious bias, because it has none.”

Cognisess Pro, our market leading AI recruitment platform, makes it optional for candidates to disclose age, gender, race or the schools they went to and that can be hidden from assessors too.  More significantly this information is never taken into account for Cognisess assessments. This is called ‘blind recruitment’ and focuses purely on the attributes and abilities that matter when hiring a candidate. This process provides decision makers with an in-depth understanding of a candidate’s suitability for the role – regardless of background. The platform is data-driven with 50 assessments to choose from measuring over 120 attributes. This range of data has been proven to assist companies like AB InBev, CIL and IHG  make better informed and fewer bias decisions about recruitment and assessments.  For example, hotel giant IHG has recently eliminated potential bias by 93.75% using Cognisess Pro, enabling a fairer and more accurate approach to talent management compared to their more traditional recruitment processes.

Why should companies strive to minimise it?   

It is a given that leading recruiters are committed to a fairer recruitment process for applicants. This is important in building a credible employer brand and reputation to compete in the talent market.  But making a conscious effort to remove bias also provides other significant benefits. “Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”  according to a recent Mckinsey report. Adopting an approach like Cognisess Pro which can reduce or eliminate bias, will lead to the development of a more diverse workforce.  “Teams which have a more diverse composition bring so much more to the business in terms of having strength in depth to maximise opportunities like problem solving, creativity, customer empathy and innovation which can benefit a company in both the short and long term,” confirmed CSO, Dr Altemeyer.

Additionally, a recent analysis of talent attraction strategies revealed that  67% of applicants want to join a diverse team .  Focusing on this will support companies to attract more candidates and the best talent into the applicant pool.

Taking the first steps to address bias

“In the battle for talent, not every company is going to win the hearts and minds of the top 3% of graduates every year – and that thinking in itself is a form of bias”, stated Cognisess CEO Chris Butt: “Therefore companies have no other option to but too look beyond the obvious to identify talent in its many forms and how it can ably fill the skills gaps they have.”

Cognisess Pro is the most advanced People Analytics and Assessment Platform on the market today bringing AI to HR. It is helping companies create a fairer process and pinpointing the best person for the role based on ability and potential – not gender, age or race. If you are uncertain of how to best start the journey of integrating AI into your HR processes, contact us today to schedule a demo.

Cognisess Hosts Elite Athletes from Bath Rugby and Bath City FC

Adam Mann, Bath City forward, and Kahn Fotuali’i, Bath Rugby scrum half take part in Cognisess’ ‘Discover your Talent’ campaign.

The campaign is aimed at supporting people of all ages and backgrounds discover their talent and potential and ultimately find the right job, career or sport to play. This is not by using outdated or biased methods like academic results, IQ tests or CVs, but with neuroscience-based games and AI.

The software platform comprehensively analyses a person’s abilities including cognitive, emotional, behaviour, career values, personality and core skills. This holistic view provides a better insight into someone’s true talent and potential.

By playing games and activities and using some of the latest brain wave technology, the athletes created performance benchmarks which anyone can be compared to. Cognisess Sport are event sponsors of this year’s Bath Sports Awards and will be showcasing their technology at the event on Nov 20th.

As part of the campaign, Adam and Kahn played 3 short cognitive games measuring task switching abilities, risk taking and response inhibition. Both athletes were fitted with a neurofeedback device (or EEG headset) as they completed the activities.

Neurofeedback is used alongside Cognisess’ software games and measures a person’s brain waves,  giving coaches greater insight into what’s happening when someone completes a task. Used by athletes across all sports, the data provides optimised performance data and supports ongoing training and development.

Whilst Adam and Kahn played the assessments the Cognisess team tracked the brain’s performance measuring ‘psychological flow state’ – essentially this is how ‘in the zone’ someone is when doing something.

All sporting professionals get nervous and something known as the yips can impact performance. This is typically if an athlete thinks too much about the technique, instead of focusing on the activity.

Measuring psychological flow state allows a player the best chance in achieving their optimal performance. This powerful tool can be strategically used to discover a sport person’s potential.

Athletes – both amateur and professional use Cognisess Sport to:

  • Map aspects of performance – including cognition, emotion, personality and skills.
  • Map their emotional wellbeing – does mood inform performance? Cognisess worked with the next generation of elite racing drivers and discovered the link between self-esteem, speed and car performance.
  • Map team fit – this allows the coach to observe whether a player would fit into a team before signing.  

Cognisess are giving guests of the Bath Sports Awards and Bath Business Awards an opportunity to play the games on the night. Guests will be able to compare their scores to Adam and Kahn’s and other sporting heroes taking part.

The top 3 places on the leaderboard will win a prize. Cognisess is excited to be showcasing the technology to a wider audience as part of the ‘Discover Your Talent’ campaign.

To learn more about Cognisess Sport request a Demo or follow us on Twitter to keep updated with us.

Three Good Reasons to Utilise AI Over Traditional Recruitment Methods

AI is on the rise. 38% of companies now use AI and 62% of companies are expected to by the end of the year. But what is the buzz about? Why are so many businesses beginning to utilise it? In this blog post, Cognisess will reveal why AI is applied over traditional recruitment methods.

It’s the less biased approach

Subjectivity and bias are unavoidable traits in humans. There are 150 types of unconscious biases in the workplace, so it’s difficult to be completely objective when hiring from a CV. Cognisess Deep Learn™, our AI algorithm, isn’t programmed to take into account gender, race or age. 69% of executives agree diversity is an important issue. Deep Learn™ focuses on the skills of each individual, creating a fairer hiring process and a more diverse workforce.

The best AI tools employ a range of data to calculate well-rounded results. Amazon’s AI CV tool only operated with one type of data, a CV. The AI was taught what a good hire looked like from their male-dominated workforce data  – from this it learnt a successful candidate would be male so began to discount females.

On Cognisess Pro it is optional to disclose age, gender and race – but it’s never taken into account for our assessments. Cognisess focuses on the attributes that matter when hiring a candidate. The platform is data-driven with over 50 assessments to choose from and over 120 attributes. This range of data enables a less biased approach compared to a traditional CV.   

It cuts time and costs

Traditionally hiring a candidate is a lengthy process, the average time to fill is 40 days in the HR sector. 67% of professionals report AI saves them time. The recruitment timescale with AI decreases, for instance, here’s how effortless it is to hire through Cognisess Pro:

  1. Setting up a job and posting it online only takes 25 minutes,
  2. It only takes 15 minutes for each candidate to complete our sophisticated assessments.
  3. When you review the applications, instead of attempting to read all the application forms in your inbox Cognisess Pro has already analysed them and calculated a percentage of how suited each person is to the role. This allows you to review the top talent for the role, without searching through a mass of applications.

It costs a company £3,000 on average to hire one person. Cognisess has saved companies £250,000 purely on assessment centres after switching from traditional methods to Cognisess Pro. It performs the menial work for you, enabling a more efficient hiring process.

It allows you to retain your employees

78% of business leaders perceive employee retention as important or urgent. While one third of new hires leave after six months. It is a notorious issue, an employee leaving can lead to customer dissatisfaction, damaging your brand image as a result.  

Traditional recruitment methods aren’t able to assess whether a candidate will fit in with your company culture – but AI can. If you know a candidate will fit in with your culture, they will more likely to remain in the role. On top of Culture Fit, Cognisess Pro is able to predict current and future performance – reducing the risk of a bad hire. If a new employee is a good fit for the role it will create a loyal and engaged relationship with the company.

Adopting AI into at least one aspect of your recruitment process will enhance it. AI doesn’t make hiring decisions for you, it is there to present its analysis for you to make a balanced hiring decision.

If you are unsure how to incorporate AI into your recruitment process, contact us today to schedule a demo of Cognisess Pro – the most advanced People Analytics and AI Assessment Platform on the market today.

Why Amazon’s Ml / AI CV Selection Tool Developed a Bias

Our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer, comments on why Amazon’s AI recruitment tool developed a sexist bias.

It is very interesting to see that a tech giant with, arguably, access to the absolute best talent in this area has admitted defeat. Their AI was simply automating bias, rather than removing it.

Based on our experience, it is not entirely surprising that this occurred. Relying on CV information for job fit is a limited, risky and biased approach. It is affected by factors such as language proficiency, the locus of control (how much you attribute things happening to you as being a result of your own actions), as well as education and social economic status.

Many high profile individuals rely on professional writers to fine-tune or completely ghostwrite their CVs. Therefore using mere a CV as an indicator of potential job performance relies on one – questionable – assumption: what you did in the past and are able to document coherently is indicative of what you are likely to do in a complex and changing environment.

It has been shown in research – meta-studies in particular – that CVs are not a reliable indicator of performance. Therefore, Cognisess starts at the point of which decisions are made: the brain.

The Cognisess Deep Learn framework that underlies many of our features doesn’t take the same approach as an AI CV selection tool. We are interested in learning as much as possible about a person to make a considered decision, whilst assessing their individual potential. However, personal information such as CV data is only a fraction (and actually the least part) that we are interested in.

Objective metrics such as the ability to inhibit automatic responses, paradigm-shifting, or problem solving, are not impacted by your ability to express how good you are at them. Which is why Cognisess use accessible game mechanics to measure them.

Whilst one can argue that there are gender differences between certain aspects of brain preference and function, this is far less of a concern in our complex profilers. If one were to select an employee purely based on one attribute, it wouldn’t paint a full picture of a candidate. However, when we build profilers with up to 140 separate aspects, each of which can have individual weights, target values, and thresholds, these effects arguably become insignificant.

The wealth of data that can be generated on cognition, emotion, behaviour and emotion detection in videos via AI, allows employers to take the crucial step to calibrate what ‘best’ truly looks like. In many cases, the Amazon AI recruiting tool will lead to additional scrutiny on what has caused the bias in workforce diversity including the poorly established or biased KPIs.

Contact us to schedule a demo of Cognisess Pro – the most advanced People Analytics and Assessments Platform in the market today.