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. 

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 for employees

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.

3 Key Questions to Consider Before Beginning Your People Analytics Journey

Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer answers three key questions addressing what companies who are thinking about embracing People Analytics need to consider. The insight was based on our recent case study project with hotel giant IHG.

Why should companies put their faith in People Analytics?

For decades the HR hiring manager was the best people analytics capability companies had. They worked without any data backup, operated based on a gut feeling and what had come before. Gut feeling is brilliant but it is the imperfect and human equivalent of processing lots of data and coming to a conclusion. Except….if that hiring manager has a bad day it will affect who’s going to get hired and if they leave their job that data model leaves the company with them.


Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer

As a Talent Management platform, Cognisess brings a systematic approach which can learn and analyse a company’s people preferences and understand what truly makes someone great in a job role, in a team or in that culture – which is what hiring managers are trying to internalise.  Once the machine has learnt, it is able to be totally objective and it doesn’t have a bad day! If the company changes direction or focus – it doesn’t matter, the AI is much more flexible and adaptable than humans will ever be. The beauty of Cognisess is that we can take the best of what makes us humans human and equip HR to make better decisions backed with data and science. That makes for a really exciting and fulfilling future for HR, they will be able to better demonstrate and validate the value of its human capital for the whole organisation and key decision makers.

Our client IHG was really receptive to using People Analytics. They wanted to source the right people who would predictably stay with them, develop in their roles and move them forward within the organisation where their talents were best suited. But there was also a time and resource pressure which left little room for error or waste. Cognisess Pro was able to provide for these competing pressures.

Prior to using People Analytics, what do companies need to do to prepare for it?

Be open-minded. The data companies have may be valuable to the process – or they may need to set up a new method to collect and collate that data over time. People Analytics isn’t a silver bullet that businesses can implement instantly and become 50% more efficient – it’s an ongoing, organic journey. Using data to inform your decision making is not a quick-fix, but about adopting a new mindset. The technology opens up a lot of questions and insights, which can be interesting and inspiring, they are part of kick-starting the process and draw the business’ attention towards just how powerful People Analytics can be.

This was something we saw in IHG’s Future Leaders programme. From the beginning of the project there was a world of information that was already available, but not as actionable data. This was absolutely invaluable for us. The data covered previous cohorts of candidates who not only passed the assessment centre, but were now operating in management positions. The assessment centre results from these brilliant high performers were used to benchmark what ‘good’ looks like. Additionally, we analysed the people who received really good reviews from their supervisors and had made career progress within IHG. This is usually dormant or inactive data that sits somewhere in an HR system but no one looks at – but this is the kind of information that the machine loves! People Analytics recognises that one person was promoted quicker than another and therefore they must be demonstrating some qualities which make them better.

Cognisess Pro’s clients are from a wide range of sectors. Does each sector present different needs for People Analytics?  

We learn an incredible amount from all our clients, regardless of which sector. In fact, it helps to have data sets constructed across many sectors and industries. A university professor half jokingly said we are becoming proxy experts in so many industries. For instance, we have gained an understanding of what best looks like in the hospitality industry and the automotive sector – but it doesn’t mean we intend to run a hotel or build a car. Our focus is very much on understanding people, behaviour and potential. The more understanding we have, the better we can design the system with the widest user experience at the heart of it. We are also very focused on making very complex data accessible, which helps clients make the very best people and talent decisions for them.

If we look at very different clients like IHG and Vauxhall, their applicant journeys are very divergent. IHG’s candidates will fine tune their applications and apply to a select few graduate programmes – as there’s not many around. Vauxhall applicants are more likely to consider hundreds of sector openings. They aren’t likely to complete a 35-minute application when competitors only want them to answer a few questions. Vauxhall’s user journey is a lot quicker than IHG’s. With IHG we designed a more ‘Intercontinental Hotels’ experience for the candidate, as they want to spend more time on their application.

We aim to have a successful and frictionless journey for all applicants whilst ensuring we get the right amount of data for each client. You can only do that if you can draw your experience from as many sectors as possible, we look forward to adding many more sectors to build our reach and understanding. I am confident that whichever sector we serve we will be able to grasp the minute variants and dynamics that are at play there, we will help deliver People Analytics as a driver for transformation and performance for those clients.

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

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace

“Work shouldn’t be a race between humans and machines, but a part of life that helps people recognize their full potential.” Said Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Similarly at Cognisess we believe the future artificial intelligence (AI) will not dominate the workplace, instead it will integrate and replace many outdated methods to create a more efficient, data-driven HR function.

Our CSO, Dr Boris Altemeyer has recently commented that “the relationship between AI and humans will be one of augmentation – not automation –  so we should be prepared to collaborate with these new technologies which will bring huge benefits to the way we make people decisions.” Below Cognisess has highlighted how AI will transform your future workplace.

Traditional Recruitment Methods will be Replaced

This is already materialising. Cognisess is collaborating with numerous brands, such as Vauxhall, to implement AI in their recruitment process. Deloitte Human Capital Trends research also found that 38% of companies are currently already using AI in their workplace.

AI is making it possible to recruit potential, basing decision making on a candidate’s capabilities instead of their credentials. Boris Altemeyer, Cognisess’ Chief Scientific Officer, told Growth Business that: “rather than asking a person to qualify whether they think they would be good at something, they can be tested to find out where they have the actual potential to be good. This opens up the use of AI to further enhance recruitment, employee performance and career learning & development. By providing an even more accurate and scientific understanding of people’s’ true talent and potential.”

According to Talent Board, 47% of applicants have no communication with employers for at least two months after handing in their application. This demonstrates how difficult it is to manage the volume of CVs companies receive. In compassion Cognisess Deep Learn, our AI analytics engine can process millions of data points in real time. This increases the number of candidates a company can process in a quicker time frame, with an increased chance of finding the right person from a wider pool of candidates. CV’s will not be able to compete long term with Deep Learn’s efficiency and data on each applicant’s cognitive performance, behaviour patterns, emotional intelligence, core skills and personality traits.

AI Will Allow Us to Focus on the More ‘Human’ Tasks

AI can process data more efficiently than humans, but there are skills we are stronger in. A Korn Ferry study found human talent is 2.33 times more valuable compared to assets like technology. “At the very core of Cognisess is a desire to realise people’s potential. People are a company’s most valuable asset and we have developed our AI software to nurture employee’s skills” Comments Chris Butt, CEO of Cognisess.

HR admin roles have a 90% chance of automation by 2035, in comparison, HR managers only display a 0.6% chance. AI is capable of handling data and performing mundane tasks, but lacks soft skills. HR Managers need to solve conflict between two employees or creatively problem solve – which AI is unable to do. At Cognisess, we have observed that our clients are able to make a more informed hiring decision when they have data on each individual. Cognisess Pro is able to identify the top candidates for the role, but ultimately it is down to the judgement of the recruiter on who they believe is the best candidate.

The Key to a More Productive Future Lies in People Development

In the future employee’s roles will involve more soft skills, dedicating less time to routine tasks like data handling and more time on adding value to the company – whether that is through their people skills, creativity or problem solving abilities. Cognisess Pro will give the workforce an opportunity to retrain their skills in preparation for this. The Deep Learn AI engine measures your skills through a series of assessments to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

As a company, we will evolve our technology according to the needs of the workplace. For instance, we identified it is difficult to achieve the right team dynamic and an incorrect employee combination can lower productivity – so we created Team Fit. If you would like to discover more about high performing teams, read last weeks blog here.

AI will have a concrete presence in our future, not to replace us, but to transform our workplace for the better. But why wait for the future? Live in the future now by signing up to Cognisess Pro. Cognisess Pro has 120+ cognitive, emotional and base skills assessments and is able to differentiate between poor skill and conditions such as dyslexia. Reap the benefits of the future today.

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

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Cognisess announce new Partner agreement with Australian market research firm

Cognisess are excited to announce that as from September 2017 they will be adding Lewers Research, a leading consumer research company based in Melbourne to their growing representation in Australia.

Lewers is an Australian owned, full service market research agency founded in 2005 by Lisa Lewers with an established reputation as a ‘discoverer of strategic value’ generating unique insight and analysis for branding, advertising, customer segmentation, acquisition and new product development.


Cognisess CEO Chris Butt said:
“Lewers are a great addition to the Cognisess Partner family and this comes on the back of an increasing interest from marketing orientated channel partners.  We have been recognised in the market for applying Predictive Analytics for People within the HR/Enterprise sectors – but there is growing attention from brand and consumer experts and service providers who can see the principles behind our AI technology are as valid to understanding and predicting the behaviour of customers as they are for potential and existing employee assessments. It comes from the same need to use data and insight to understand how people may perform or behave – but just in a different context”.


Cognisess Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Boris Altemeyer also commented:
“We welcome the intellectual creativity and rigour of Lewers into our platform – for example, we are already anticipating working together to innovate around understanding and spotting behavioural trends about when a customer starts to think about churning – long before a brand would ever know it’s going on. The vast costs of customers churning is something that can be mitigated and turned from a negative into an even more superior customer experience. This thinking is as applicable to the customer experience as it is to the employee one. So we look forward to engaging with Lewers on this and other innovations.”

Founder, Lisa Lewers said: “We have been doing some extensive research (as you might expect!) of the marketplace and Cognisess really stood out as having a very holistic approach to understanding People Analytics. Their platform, Cognisess Pro, covers a huge range of options to explore and discover emotional, cognitive and personality insights. Collaborating on this rich predictive analytics platform is exciting as we can go much deeper into understanding and predicting how customers really think and how they will behave in a range of different brand scenarios whilst leaving bias and subjectivity behind. I think the potential is limitless”.

For more information about partnering with Cognisess contact us at partners@cognisess.com