Science of HR: Maximise the potential of your workforce
Watch on demand!
Kevin Chandler | Guest
Co-Founder & Science
Jonathan Englert | Host
Journalist and Technologist
This webinar continues exploring the role Science plays in HR. We welcome back journalist and technologist Jonathan Englert and Kevin Chandler, Co-Founder and Science of AbilityMap to discuss how to identify the unique business needs and use it to maximise the potential of your workforce, unlocking greater profit and productivity.
Join us to discover:
- How to de-risk and level-up your people strategy
- How to apply science-based strategies to know exactly what you are looking for
- The power of a versatile framework for jobs and people.
Register now for the webinar to understand the power of science in maximising the potential of your workforce.
Morning everyone. As we wait a few minutes for Everyone to join. We’d like to just throw out a little statement or question for you to all think on. So how important is the job interview for you in deciding to make a hire?
Just mull that one over and we’ll be kicking off in just a few moments.
Terrific. I think we, we’ll get started. First, I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we virtually meet today and pay my respects to their elders past and present. So good morning and welcome to the second webinar in the series, focusing on the Science of hr.
My name’s Jonathan Engler. I’m a journalist, a technologist, and a communications partner with Ability Map. So today’s webinar, we’re going to continue to explore the role science plays in hr. And the impacts when following the core fundamentals and how they can drive high performance results for businesses.
And to do this, we’re welcoming back Kevin Chandler Ability Maps Chief Science Officer. Now for anyone new joining today’s webinar I’d like to introduce Kevin. And just give a little bit of a background for a rehash. And Kevin is widely recognized as one of Australia’s leading human performance innovators.
With a background in computer science and organizational psychology, Kevin has spent four decades applying science to human resources and revolutionizing hiring and talent management processes across a range of industries. We were really thrilled by the attendees positive response. To Kevs first webinar.
Just got a lot of questions we couldn’t even answer them all. So today we’re gonna continue this journey with Kev building on those observations about HR and science. And without further ado, welcome Kev. Hi there, Jonathan. Great to be back and talking about my favorite topic. We talk about, the science of.
HR and the science of human behavior. And and you’re right, this has been like a lifetime journey for me. From, when I started at university and doing psychology, there was next to nothing. I. Talked about in terms of the workplace and people at work. It was all about, rats and mice and how the brain works and neuropsychology, and then clinical psychology.
But I took the other, I took the other path. So maybe which was the, what we term the IO path, but yeah, exactly. And Kev, and I think as you’ve said, you’ve been absolutely focused on cracking this nut for decades. And I think what’s exciting is getting into these the insights that I, I think.
Are pretty clear when you and I chat, they’re pretty clear that it’s almost obvious to you after spending all this time focusing on the issue. But it’s worth, diving down and opening it up, right? Yeah. Yeah. So one of the, so do you mind if I kick it off with just a bit rehash and then the jumping off point.
So the last time, you were identifying, bias as an underlying driver for poor outcomes. In, in, in in hiring, in, in sort of employee lifecycle, et cetera. Now how can science counter bias and guide us in understanding and identifying opportunities to maximize potential in people?
And I guess, Maybe as part of the answer to that question, if you can take a step back and I think you have some very distinct ideas, on, on things like G m a, et cetera that you believe we really need to explore and be, have an honest conversation about. Yeah. Maybe a bit as we go through, we’ll talk a bit more about bias, but I thought let, if we just start with talking about the science and.
What makes us different? What makes you different from me, different from everyone else I meet and how can I measure and understand what those differences might be? And because in there lies the basis of bias, because I don’t understand. So I thought, let’s just talk briefly about, about iq, general mental ability.
This is a, and the reason I want to talk about this is because I notice that not certainly companies that hold themselves out to be excellent in the HR space very often do not measure, I IQ and I want to, I want talk about that because this is so fundamental. So let me take you back.
Iq, like we’ve always known that people were different in terms of, some seemed to be much smarter in math than others, but it was only about the 1920s, basically a hundred years ago when we started to un to really see that you could measure people and they were different in the scales of if you like their mental processing capability.
So Stanford being a, the early psych tests and then testing through when we got into certainly in Defense forces, it was a big deal. ’cause you get huge numbers of people coming in and you’ve got some very complicated defense forces activities and you’ve got very simple ones. So the Defense forces started to get into that.
So we started to measure IQ. Say what does it really mean? You know what value is this? And for me, the breakthrough came, it was about the mid eighties when the researchers, smitten Hunter introduced a new concept called meta-analysis, where they were able to aggregate together a large number of statistical studies that had identified.
The value of G M A and they then wanted to compare those studies to say how useful are a number of different character or approaches in, in, in interview in getting to know people? And so they matched up measures of intelligence against. Interviews and unstructured interviews and reference checking and education and prior work experience to try and statistically correlate which ones were most important in determining consistently.
And the fascinating thing is the number one item that came out as being the best predictor of performance in all jobs at all times. General mental ability. Now we all know ’cause everyone says yeah. But I’ve seen, really smart people who’ve got PhDs and this and that, and they’re just hopeless on the job.
But clearly G m A is not all there is to it But the point is that statistically it’s one of the most important, it’s much more important than prior work experience and much more important that interview outcomes. So that’s the first thing I thought. The group need to understand that because it’s been a driver for me.
To have that that sort of, and Kev, if I can jump in there a little bit. Obviously it’s a bit of a hot, it’s a hot button issue in many respects. I know many of us many people would say, I don’t like being tested. I don’t like, et cetera, and or put into a box and that there are other forms of intelligence.
We were chatting before around the ver what, how you understood EQ, for example. It’s relationship. Could you dig down? Because that was very interesting. Could you dig down? Yeah. Okay. Just finishing the last point that I’d make on on, on G M A is that it’s important, it’s an important factor in all jobs at all times, but to different levels.
And then we and the other side, because then we had Daniel Goldman come in with his very brilliant book on emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence. When you think about it he tried. People sometimes think we’ve got general mental ability. That’s iq. And then we, what’s this other stuff?
And emotional intelligence is more about know yourself, control yourself, be motivated, understand others, motivate others. Those were the five elements that were core to industrial intelligence. And guess what? They sound an awful lot like personality, don’t they? And guess it. So it is another name. So I, remember going over, I went to an I a Psyop conference in in San Francisco in 2005 with the, the world leaders in, in io industrial organizational psych.
Then saying that not only did we understand that person, that general mental ability is a critical factor in performance, but also personality. Is a critical factor in performance in all jobs at all times. The question is what kind of personality and how much is, how important is it? So when you see that you’ve got the world’s leaders in this space, in this science of HR, all saying the critical factors are general mental ability and.
In effect, personality being the critical factors that impact performance in all jobs at all times. Then you get to see why in my career I have always advocated that we always assess candidates for jobs with. Yeah. I was gonna say, I guess if you’re taking that position then. There’s there, it would be act, actually almost a dereliction of the assess of the process to not do that.
Yeah. As, because you’re, you would be missing a huge metric or critical data point. It, in those days, if we go back before the advent online assessment, which didn’t only been with us about 15 years, it was difficult and complicated. You had to take someone out of their work.
Environment, you had to sit ’em down against stopwatches. It was a pain. But in spite of that, we tested something like three quarters of a million people over 40 years. But now with the advent of online evaluation, we can do this where you can do this at home, you can be assessed. We can get answers quickly and efficiently.
And stop a, for a candidate, stop wasting your time in terms of bringing you in for an interview, et cetera, which takes hours and hours. But we, and we can get the information out in my opinion, very efficient. In a way that, that we couldn’t before. Yeah. And so I think putting that what, so putting this into practical terms then, how would you say businesses then go about maximizing the potential of their workforce based on that?
Consistent with what? With what I’ve said, if you want to get a detailed picture of a person, remember we go back to our performance as a function of the I and the e. So we need to know one, what the E is, but the I, how do I measure what kinds of capabilities you have. Just for the those listening.
Think about intellect a bit. Like you think about how people play chess. People who are really good at chess can think 5, 10, 15, 20 moves a ahead. People who aren’t so good can only think about one, two, or three. That kind of shows you the difference between someone who might have a high G M A versus a low G M A.
It doesn’t mean you can’t learn. It certainly means that your speed of learning and your ability to assimilate information quickly are much less. And we know that those. Kinds of characteristics lead you to be more successful in jobs rather than less successful. So if you wanna improve your recruitment process, in fact, if you wanna make it scientific and defensive defensible, then you’d obviously have a G m A measure in, in, in your system, as we do in the inability map.
Unlike other, Sort of assessments where they might just be personality based. We’re saying, a, you’ve gotta have G M A, but then you’ve gotta have the other side as well. Yeah. But then I think we get into, and this is maybe the practical application of this is not every, and you could have very high G M A, but it might be the wrong fit for a particular job.
So that, that’s also, I must be part of this equation. I think it’s because we got into the idea of thinking that. Academic performance and G m A were somehow correlated. They’re correlated, but they’re not closely correlated. So high academic performance doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve got high G M A now you go, oh is that right?
And that’s because academic performance is, involves. Both, intellect, but it also involves personality characteristics like determination, resilience planning ability application, stickability, those kinds of things. Alertness, initiative. And they’re all bundled together. So it’s not, we can’t look at these things as a, as if they’re just a single factor that humans are very, humans are complex.
There’s multiple factors that lead us to be capable in a job or not so capable, and as we are talking, where are you on that scale? You at the bottom third? The middle third or the third? It’s then how can we possibly identify those characteristics when when we know that the interview is such a poor evaluator of those things.
Yeah. Maybe you can, maybe you could dig down a little bit into that. The interview question, we kicked off this session with that. That idea of people putting quite a bit of faith or maybe not much faith into an interview process. How does all this come together? How does the assessment come together with the interview, with your gut instincts on a person with the role fit?
Maybe? Firstly I will remember in my early days doing a big research job, hiring supervisors for the lc. Smelter down in Geelong, and I went down there with one of my compat and we interviewed 34 people. Multiple interviewed them. I interviewed them for their personality kind of characteristics, and my partner interviewed them for their technical, and you know what?
At the end of the day, when you’ve seen 34 people, it is a complete waste of time. You cannot hold that much information, even if you were the most brilliant interviewer. And because, so what happens on an interview and everyone watching this? Webinar today has been interviewed and probably is an interviewer.
And so when I ask individuals what are do, what do you think about interviewing, most managers say they don’t like interviewing, and the reason they say they don’t like it is because when they finish the interview, they go I just don’t know. I dunno whether that person is right. I like them.
I got on with them or there were some things about them that didn’t seem to fit. Now, why does that come about? And two things. Firstly, the individuals on their best behavior. That’s the first thing that we see. But secondly I’ve got a set of biases in in, their unconscious biases, but their biases.
And this comes about because. When we’re evaluating others, we use our prior experience and understanding of our environment to try and get a picture of their environment. So the closer an individual is to our environment, the more likely we are to understand them. And, I’m well remembered in Melbourne.
If it’s always Which school did you go to? People ask you that because Oh, that gives them a bit of a feel for what you might be like. But what if on an interview, not only do I not know your school, but your school happens to be overseas, your university happens to be overseas you’re not near my age.
You’re either 20 years older or 20 years younger. I don’t live in your world, but yet I evaluate your world as you live it against mine. That’s where bias comes in. And I often said, when we I like to talk about the glass ceiling. Why does a glass ceiling exist? And I used to say the glass ceiling exists because the individuals who are assessing.
The younger group of women coming through were middle aged white, so to speak, middle aged white guys in, middle in middle management, and they assessed individuals coming up against their background of what they knew and they don’t under, they didn’t understand the background, their education, the thinking, strategies and structures.
That others who are outside that framework might have, and if that person that they’re interviewing happens to be female, happens to be a different age, happens to be a different race, happens to be a different physical size and appearance, they put up a barrier. I don’t understand them. And when I don’t understand, when in doubt say no.
And that’s what they do on interview. Because it’s not even, you’re talking, this is, that’s even conscious, almost the conscious part, and, but there’s a deep unconscious part where they’re not even acknowledging it. It seems to me then what you’re saying is that coming together, say of the g m A, the role fit you environment, those elements is almost creates a diversity engine.
Meaning you you really break, you can bust through. Exactly. So two things. One, One, humans have an inbuilt bias that’s subconscious and almost impossible to remove because I can’t understand the shoes you walk in. That’s the first thing. So how can I change that? To change that, you can do, and this was so fundamental when we set up Ability Map.
So firstly let’s. Introduce objectivity into what we require. We don’t require you to be an age agenda a race or anything like that. We just require you to have certain capabilities, psychological capabilities that that unnecessary in this job. That’s the first thing. What are they?
So that’s the e and then how do we identify those? We can’t use. We can’t use interview and reference checks. A, they’ve never worked well and because, I dunno, the person who’s giving the reference check and no one ever gives you the name of someone who’ll give you a poor reference check. And if you know it’s even harder so that there’s all these barriers.
So you need to use a scientifically based evaluation strategy. And so that’s why, we started our webinars talking about the science of hr, but we need science here. So the issue, and I think last time I gave a couple of examples of, Mac Bank and Chan and McLeod.
There’s firms, but there are many others who’ve used assessment for all of their staff at all times. And built really strong, robust organizations. From my viewpoint, if you are not using these sort of sophisticated tools in hr, then you’re not doing the best job that you could do. That’s the point.
So Kev, I just want to throw out to the audience, since we’re we’ve got about five, six minutes left that we have a q and a chat function here. So anyone who has questions please, put them in for Kevin and in a few minutes, we’ll probably we’ll start kicking that off.
But I just wanted to flag that we have that. So please throw some questions in there. And yeah, ki kept, it was funny because I was thinking there’s, that there’s a trend in I’ve certainly seen it in the States and I think it’s going global around this idea of radical transparency, radical honesty, in terms of driving performance.
And this actually seems like a component or a tool that sort of could. Drive that. ’cause you don’t, you you don’t know what you don’t know in the interview, as you point out also the idea of reference checks, which I’ve never heard you say that before, but that’s, it’s true, right?
It’s like a, it’s like just a closed loop, right? You’re not gonna be at, you’re not asking people who are gonna, throw you under the bus. Almost, we say, We know that 32% from our research, 32% of individuals would not be re hard. That’s one third. So when they go to the next job, what do they say about why they left?
They say I didn’t get on with my boss. Yes, that’s a good reason. I thought I needed a different kind of environment to work in or any other reasons. But the one reason that we don’t get is that it wasn’t the right job because they didn’t know it wasn’t, it was the wrong job.
So I’m just putting out that we need to be objective in. These this sort of feedback. Yeah. One thing I have found is where individuals get feedback on their own underlying skills their underlying capabilities. It’s probably the first time in their lives they go, do you know, I didn’t realize I did that.
That could be a negative. Or do you know, I’m really good at something that I didn’t know I was good at. And there’s so much of life where, you know we go from job to job and it’s chaotic. I don’t know what, ’cause I often don’t say to people, how’d you get that job? Which I just met someone.
Oh, this just happened. Or did you wanna be that when you grew up? Which is Kevin, I’m sorry to interrupt. But that is, that’s fascinating because it actually turns the entire assessment or evaluation also as an employee benefit, as a career benefit. Because if someone begins to get a shape almost of where they should be traveling.
It actually helps them maybe have a more fulfilling career. We know that, kids going through universities, so many of them start off and don’t know where they should go. But when they start in a firm Yeah. And they’re thinking about where could I go? What if we are able to competency profile.
All the various roles and give an individual an idea about where they could head, how they could grow in that organization given the experience and development. Yeah. Should they be going down a particular path? So if they start an accounting and or finance or it, what’s the direction if they start in sales, should they go into marketing?
So if we’re really to get a, a good round picture of a person, maybe That’s something that we should be looking at. Yep. Now the questions have come in fast and furious, and once again we are not gonna be able to get to them all. So I’m gonna just try to let, I’m gonna throw you one which I think flows right from the conversation.
How you have used the description, personality and capability throughout your discussion. What’s the difference with respect to assessment and decision making? Okay. Decision making brings together a number of different characteristics. Obviously knowledge and background, but that this is one of those areas where we’re talking about general mental ability.
People who are clever or who have more mental ability make better, sharper, faster decisions because they can integrate more information into that decision. They can weigh better what’s relevant, what is irrelevant. That’s a quick answer. Okay. No, fair enough.
That’s a good one. And I think we probably can squeeze 1 1 1 more in what weighting would you attribute to the individual versus the environment versus the interview process? Versus the assessment versus the resume experience? So all those components. Okay. Firstly I always. Al almost always discounted references.
I, I would always back assessment over interview. That is, I trust the assessment results because they’re so scientific and so structured. Historically, we relied on the experience of the interviewer to know the background and of knowledge about the job, and now I know there’s a better way to do that with the job profiling we do in Ability Map.
I come down pretty heavily on the individual assessment of the person, and I know all the stats and all the research about what’s accurate and what is inaccurate, but it’s always not balanced about what’s perfect. It’s balanced against what the alternative strategies are for finding out this information.
So in my hierarchy, it starts with evaluation of the job and assessment of a candidate. Then we go down education, background, prior work, experience, et cetera, and put all that together in the mix. But you can’t have that mix without. The assessment as well. Yeah. Fair enough. Look, I think that’s a great place to end it.
We’ve hit time. And I want to on behalf of Billy Map, thank you Kev for your insights and thanks. Thanks all the guests for attending today. We didn’t get to all the questions. I. But we’ve captured them and we’ll be answering them now. The session recording will be made available soon.
So you can share that with your networks and of course you can reach out to Ability Map to discuss how the power of science can maximize the potential of your workforce. Thanks again everybody and enjoy the rest of your day. Thanks, Jonathan. Thanks everyone. Bye-bye. Bye.