3 Technologies You Can Use to Re-Skill Your Employees

The following excerpt is fromCaroline Stokes’s bookElephants Before Unicorns. Buy it now fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

I’d like to introduce you to three technologies that will help people leaders discover talent and fuel your teams’ evolution to avoid dinosaur syndrome (falling behind in terms of the skill and functionality of your teams). Let’s walk briefly through each of them.

Bias Avoidance Talent Matching

The first tool is SquarePeg, a matching service for job seekers and employers that uses online assessments to measure a candidate’s aptitude, preferences and character traits, and determine which organization would be the best fit.

When founder Claire McTaggart spoke to me of her time leading a recruitment team as a hiring manager for a strategy consulting firm, she said she found that her team was asking the wrong questions. Instead of, “Where did you go to school? What was your GPA? Which company are you at now?” they should have been asking, “Do you enjoy solving analytical problems? Do you work well on teams? Are you interested in working with a large organization?”

The SquarePeg platform takes such psychometrics and preferences into account. How it works: The candidate takes the assessment, which matches her with jobs for which she’s a strong fit. Each employer has taken the assessment as well. When the candidate receives her report at the end of the assessment, it tells her, “You’re an 84 percent match with Company XYZ, and here’s why.” She can then choose to connect with the companies she matched with.

On the employer side, the hiring manager now has a curated selection of people who are a good fit for the organization and interested in working there. The recruiter gets to skip the tedious work of scanning through resumes and can focus on higher-value human-to-human exchanges, educating the candidate about the role and telling her where she may experience success as well as which job functions might prove challenging.

Predictive Machine Learning Evolving at the Speed of Your Organization

Pymetrics uses neuroscience and machine learning to help companies hire in a way that’s predictive and diversity-friendly. A candidate encounters Pymetrics as the first step in a company’s job application process. Pymetrics uses neuroscience games and machine learning to predict whether a candidate would be a good fit in the workplace. Here’s how it works: The candidate takes a 20-minute assessment in the form of computer games that analyze things such as memory, planning, attention, risk tolerance, risk and reward profile, and learning style. Prior to this, everyone else in the company had taken the assessment, too. Pymetrics then compares the data from the assessments to determine whether the candidate is a good match.

This technology has three especially cool features:

  1. It’s self-learning and adaptive. As your organization’s needs evolve, the tech can evolve with it. Pymetrics can anticipate the “future person” you’ll need to move your company forward and test candidates to see if they fit that future role.
  2. It’s designed to be bias-free. All humans have biases, whether we want to admit it or not. When a recruiter scans resumes, a candidate is less likely to get an interview if said candidate is a woman, a person of color, older, etc. Pymetrics selects candidates via an unbiased algorithm; the recruiter can then focus on human-centered aspects of the work.
  3. If a candidate isn’t a good fit, it will direct him to other companies for which he might be better-suited. I particularly love this last aspect. If candidates go through the application process and don’t end up signing on with the company, they still leave happy — now they have all these other options!

Evolving Your Current Employees

Your current internal operations need to be evaluated, evolved and invested in. The Riff Learning technology has the potential to transform them. Riff measures conversational dynamics and provides feedback during and after video interactions.

What percentage of your business do you conduct via videoconferencing? Chances are, it’s a high number. Riff Learning works to enhance the satisfaction of participants in these conferences. In a meeting — whether in person or via videoconferencing — the goal is dynamic collaboration. You want an environment in which participants freely share ideas and opinions to arrive at authentic solutions. As a people leader, you want to know whether this collaboration is happening or whether one person is grandstanding and discouraging the participation of others, either consciously or subconsciously.

The Riff platform has three core features to make your videoconferencing as productive as possible. Riff uses the vocal activity and facial-gesturing patterns of participants to measure when people are talking, whether they’re agreeing with each other, and participants’ levels of engagement (it does this without recording the contentof the conversations). It also offers real-time feedback through a feature called the “meeting mediator,” which tracks “turn-taking” in the exchange and notes whether one person is dominating the conversation. Finally, after the meeting is over, Riff offers an analysis of your interaction and gives you a history of your interactions in past videoconferences.

For companies that do a significant portion of their business remotely, Riff is enormously beneficial. Conference participants who tend to take up most of the air in a conversation may not realize what they’re doing. Conversely, less talkative participants may feel there’s no opportunity for them to share their thoughts — they leave such meetings feeling frustrated and disengaged. Riff measures these dynamics in real time and provides the data to the employee so they’re aware of the behaviors impacting collaboration and other team dynamics that are skewing in a less than optimal way. Riff values the contribution of allyour team members — not just the loudest. By measuring participation and engagement, team members are invited to rethink their conversational dynamics and aim for more genuine collaboration.

Whatever your organization’s current status, when used correctly, tech can be a powerful unicorn-attraction tool. So pick the tech that suits your needs, and re-skill your teams accordingly.

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