How HR and People Analytics can help manage Employee Wellbeing

As employees, we all want to perform well in our jobs and be recognised for our contribution. But when working late or not speaking up when you are overloaded becomes the cultural norm, it may lead to employees experiencing damage to their wellbeing and in the worst case, burning out.

With 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem this year, a Gallup study found that around two-thirds of full time employees experience occupational burnout at some stage. This issue not only affects the employees, but the wider organisation. People who experience burnouts are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times more likely to be actively seeking a different job. And of course, if employees are constantly absent, this affect the business. In turn, this could financially impact the business due to high churn rate and funds needed for recruitment.  

By taking more responsibility for the wellbeing of their employees, businesses can create a more positive and productive work environment for their people to thrive in. Innovative technology like Predictive People Analytics is uniquely positioned to support HR to do this in an accurate and timely fashion.

Giving your employees a voice

Sometimes employees may lack the confidence to speak up in the workplace or ask for help. They may instead suffer in silence, which undoubtedly makes the problem worse. Using a platform like Cognisess Pro will allow these people to communicate how they are feeling directly to HR from the privacy of their desks, or at home. Our platform allows employees to log data regarding their mood and how many hours they slept, as well as providing a variety of emotion assessments including how hard they are on themselves in times of difficulty and pressure. These tools can provide HR with the insights needed to improve employees’ wellbeing and optimise the working environment to overcome these issues identified.

Relationships and teams are key

Relationships are key to nurturing a positive work environment; the most important working relationships employers have is with their team. Interactions happen daily making positive relationships and healthy dynamics key to a successful business. Therefore, creating an environment where team members work cohesively is important. According to Dr G. Ramesh and Dr K. Vasuki, in Addressing Employee’s Underperformance by Nurturing a Positive Work environment, one of the reasons why people under perform is due to conflict within a team and personality differences. In contrast, a meta-analysis by Kristof-Brown found that employees who fit in with their company, coworkers and managers perform better in their job. Therefore, implementing a software which understands the current team can help HR Managers to enhance the team with the addition of new candidates which align with the current culture and attributes.

In the past, creating a great team was a process of trial and error, backed up by a manager’s knowledge on each person’s unique abilities. However, a new hire can change a team’s dynamic positively or negatively and it may seem like there is no way to predict the outcome of this. Our Team Fit feature is able to eliminate this risk. Managers are more able to reveal how an individual will fit into an existing team dynamic, allowing them to maintain a conflict free environment. It collates and maps an individual’s results, like how they work and communicate, via a user-friendly graph against the attributes of others in any defined team or group. The team and individual don’t need to meet for the HR manager to understand whether a person would fit well into that team. This scientifically valid assessment not only increases resource efficiency for managers, but also prevents any loss in productivity derived from the wrong individuals working together – or worse, accelerating churn.

Creating a supportive culture

It is also important that employees fit into a company’s culture. Although employees have different skill sets, workers who collectively share the same set of values may feel more united and motivated when working towards a business’s goals and objectives. Meta analysis by Kristof-Brown also found that employees who relate to their company culture are satisfied in their role.

One of Cognisess’ clients recently used our culture fit tool to ensure they recruited people who would fit into their very distinctive culture.  

Our analysis uncovered that the company’s employees demonstrated a high level of emotional intelligence. This is a useful attribute to collectively possess in regards to mental health. This ability allows them to be aware of how they are feeling and know when they need to take a break, which can prevent them from burnout. It also assists them in identifying when others are struggling, which contributes to a supportive work environment. However, it is possible to increase your emotional intelligence, encouraging your employees to do this may help them manage their wellbeing, creating an overall positive work environment.  

For more information on how we apply this feature of Cognisess Pro, our Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer explains the process on a video:

Forewarned is forearmed

Burnout and poor mental health clearly can affect people, but it also affects organisations. Using Predictive Analytics tools for your People can help your organisation operate in a more responsible and efficient business environment whilst also supporting employees to deliver optimum performance and fulfill their true potential. If you would like to find out more about Predictive Analytics for People, book a demo today.

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?

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

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.    

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Why humans aren’t redundant yet

It has been widely established that AI and Automation will transform the 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?

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.

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.

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Cognisess Pro is now available on Microsoft AppSource

Cognisess, the Bath based software company announced that their flagship enterprise product Cognisess Pro –  the Predictive Analytics Platform for People –  is now publicly available on the Microsoft AppSource.

AppSource is the business app marketplace created by the computer giant, Microsoft, and is rapidly becoming the go-to-destination globally forenterprise scale business customers featuring over 200 SaaS (software as a solution) products which can help customers’ businesses to perform, compete and operate more efficiently.

As an Independent Solution Vendor (ISV) Cognisess are now able to market their SaaS offering to the entire international Microsoft ecosystem which is used by potential end clients and third party partners worldwide.

“This takes our relationship with Microsoft to another level” commented Cognisess CEO, Chris Butt. “In four years we have graduated from the Microsoft Accelerator Programme with a fledging offer in the HR Analytics market to becoming a fully integrated enterprise SaaS offering for the global market. It is both a testament to our team in driving our ambition to be a significant brand in the HR Analytics market and to the level of maturity of the market that Microsoft are keen to add Cognisess to their suite of products covering Workforce & People Analytics.”

Cognisess Chief Technology Officer, Tree outlined the significance of this latest development for Cognisess: “Microsoft run a rigorous process of vetting your product before it is accepted into their ecosystem as you might expect. Your quality and compatibility need to be approved by Microsoft before you can be considered as a product capable of integrating with their major enterprise platforms like Microsoft Office 365, Azure and ultimately with Dynamics and Power BI. So it’s a big boost for our technical and engineering reputation to be accepted at this level. It doesn’t get any higher in business terms”.

“We are looking forward to putting our best efforts forward to really capitalise on this new level of access to global partners and clients. It is exactly the kind of strategic boost that the business needs to elevate the brand and its profile globally.” Said Chris Butt.

 

 

Sign up for Cognisess Pro via Microsoft appsource here: Cognisess Pro on AppSource

For more information about Cognisess and the solutions we can offer please contact support@cognisess.com

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Cognisess High Performance brings in the medals this Autumn

Over the past 12 months Cognisess Sport has focused on several high profile projects under the guidance of High Performance Coach, Jon Pitts. Jon has implemented cutting-edge, human performance analysis and coaching using insight provided by the Cognisess Pro platform across two very different sporting worlds: 3 day eventing and the Women’s Cricket Super league.

Firstly, as a High Performance Coach, Jon was invited to help the Swedish Eventing team develop a performance culture in response to an underperforming 10th place at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Jon commented: “Cognisess Pro has given us valuable insight into how to train our riders to manage the intense pressure and assess the risks associated with the sport. This has helped them with making good, positive decisions and executing their skills with more confidence.”

The result of applying this insight and coaching was a team bronze medal at the recent European Championships, finishing just behind Great Britain and Germany and with much positive attention from the Swedish media.

With a unique and interdisciplinary approach working across all sports, Jon was also able to bring new angles to the use of Cognisess assessments and insights within team sports. Working with Western Storm, the Kia Super Women’s Cricket League franchise, Jon has used Cognisess Pro to assess and create a benchmarked standard as to ‘what good performance really looks like’ and use that to focus mental skills training and raise standards within the development squad.

“The impact is two-fold” said Jon: “in a short format T20 competition you need as much information about key players and how to make them peak in their performance, and it also allows us to identify those key cognitive skills that the stars of the future will need”

At the beginning of September this work came to fruition, as Western Storm were crowned champions of the Kia Super League by beating the Southern Vipers in the final.

Jon confirmed: “Cognisess Pro supports better decision-making and helps hone skills which are crucial when competing in the fine margins within a high performance environment. It is this precision analysis and insight which ultimately makes the difference when operating at the elite level of any sport or high-performance challenge,

Cognisess CEO, Chris Butt commented: “by working at the very rarefied, pinnacle of elite performance in sport, we really get a critical understanding about people and behaviours which we use to shape the Cognisess approach to performance at work and life skills in general”.

For more information on High Performance Consulting contact: support@cognisess.com

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Are our strengths any real indication of our potential or performance?

Dr Boris Altemeyer, Chief Scientific Officer, Cognisess explores the pros and cons of basing organisational strategy on strengths versus potential.

As human beings, we all have our strengths and enjoy being reminded of them or praised for them.  It is easy to concentrate on those, as they appear to come naturally to us and often without too much effort. But that doesn’t necessarily make us the rounded individuals or leaders we really aspire to be. Often it is the areas we find hardest to apply ourselves to, which are the ones we need to concentrate more on in order to become better. If not careful, our strengths are something we can hide in rather than open ourselves to the more challenging of rigours and adventures – particularly where we are facing new environments, challenges, threats or opportunities. One of the most misquoted aphorisms used in the modern context is the belief that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution stated ‘only the strongest survive’. He didn’t say that. He in fact said – ‘the most adaptable species were most likely to survive’.

And whilst our strengths are attributes we can and should draw upon to compliment the range of tools we have at our disposal, it must not be forgotten that these are limited to a personal status quo and usually within a single or particular area of application.

At Cognisess, we assess the whole potential and preferences of a person (or team), which can be applied across many different areas and can be developed on further.  Knowing your strengths alone may help you get better at what you are already good at, but it will not in itself necessarily contribute to making a great organisation or culture – particularly if that strength is in over-abundance or possibly not essential to the prevailing challenge. More critically it is about profiling strengths with potential and how these can be applied dynamically in the right circumstances and context. This becomes particularly important when trying to build cognitively diverse teams where innovation, change or transformation are mission critical. After all, if you stick to your status quo – then you are only ever likely to get more status quo. However, if entrenchment is the main strategy for the business – then those status quo strengths may indeed help you achieve that – and probably with some to spare.

A personal development plan based on some strengths is certainly a good starting point – particularly for building confidence. However we believe that personal development plans need to take into account much more than just strengths that already exist. Very often it is the potential and hidden strengths you didn’t know (or think) you had – or were told you didn’t have – that equate to higher performance and greater fulfilment. Often – where there is no clearly defined pathway, or problems are getting increasingly complex and inter-connected within the business – it is having a greater understanding of a person’s or team’s entire skills mix and potential that is crucial. It is this insight within the context dependent situation that makes people (and often the least expected candidates) highly valuable in an organisational context.

From a commercial perspective, there are also very distinct financial differences between the deployments of a multi-dimensional platform like Cognisess versus a simple, one-use, strength-based assessment. Cognisess Pro is not only designed to be a strategic tool that maps whole organisational talent pools and potential, it is also flexible enough to inform quick, tactical decision making in terms of team building, talent profiling, recruitment and development needs assessments.

Because it is very cost effective in comparison to other assessment tools, it is more widely available and affordable to profile entire functions and divisions, rather than be only used by a select group of high-level individuals or high performers.

Furthermore, because the Cognisess system, powered by Deep Learn™ our predictive analytics engine, is based on a recursive learning structure it is powerfully able to ingest people assessment data alongside available workforce and market specific data. This supports the strategic management of human capital and helps identify where minor adjustments in talent deployment and training may lead to significant benefits in terms of performance and ROI. This is particularly useful when used for its performance appraisal features whereby someone’s strengths, talents and potential can be assessed against actual performance outputs.

Our Cognisess Pro assessment platform provides a suite of over 40 assessments, plus the ability to analyse video, audio, and linguistics, for a very competitive price – which is, per candidate / employee, often lower as a per annum subscription than a single strength based assessment.

Increasingly within most organisations, the strength of a person today may not be the answer to competitive edge tomorrow. Adaptability and learning are therefore at the core of everything that Cognisess Deep Learn™ does to predict future performance of a team or individual in a highly dynamic environment.

Identifying potential and making it actionable where it counts – welcome to Cognisess Deep Learn™.

For more information about Cognisess Pro and how it is powered by Deep Learn™ get in touch at support@cognisess.com