WRITTEN BY: Amber Wigmore Álvarez.
Dr Amber Wigmore Álvarez is executive director of career services, IE Business School – Talent and Careers, Spain. You can follow her at @wigmorealvarez
A few years ago digital transformation stopped being an option and became a necessity for companies. In a dynamic and competitive landscape, technology and innovation are the backbone of the most successful companies, those which are able to look to the future with optimism and confidence rather than sinking amid the current uncertainty.
Ten years since PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC began measuring the digital IQ of companies, which they define as the “measurement of an organisation’s abilities to harness and profit from technology”, there is overwhelming consensus around the importance of investing in the digital environment. Now the discussion revolves around how companies are able to measure their digital coefficient and that of their employees.
We have witnessed significant change in the world since 2007, and in relation to technology, that transformation has been particularly fast. As PwC points out on the 10th anniversary of its Global Digital IQ Survey, a decade ago innovation was about the pace of data mining, search technologies, service-oriented architecture and virtual collaboration; now the present and near future of technology is all about the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and robotics.
CEOs increasingly have fewer doubts that the business game is being played on digital terrain and the importance of the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Digital Officer in strategic decisions has grown substantially.
Technology, innovation and digitalisation must be seen as sources of income and not as costs to a business. However, for this to become a reality, companies need to go beyond IT workers and embed these elements in their organisation’s DNA and in every employee.
Digitalisation is a way to obtain a competitive advantage. Companies should focus on developing a high-quality user experience for their employees and customers, an experience that enhances their brand and makes them unique. Technology and innovation are the best allies for accomplishing this goal.
Recruiting the best
The field of recruitment has not been spared from this technological ‘tsunami’ and one of the main catalysts that is driving its transformation is gamification.
The use of game mechanics in non-play contexts is beneficial for both the candidate and recruiter. Behind their colourful and attractive screens, these video games rely on neuroscience and psychology to find the best fit between the cognitive and emotional traits of potential new hires and the prototype employee that the company is seeking.
Organisations can benefit from gamification by measuring an individual’s digital IQ – their ability to harness the potential of digital technology in their sector – at an early stage in the recruitment process and also by incorporating training and development activities on digital IQ if they want to increase their organisational digital IQ.
In order for companies to truly leverage their technology, the employees themselves must have a strong digital IQ in the first place.
This is what companies such as the United Kingdom-based Arctic Shores set out to do. Dedicated to the generation of game-based assessments that are destined to revolutionise traditional recruiting, they have the ability to easily and automatically filter the most relevant profiles, potentially screening out the unconscious bias inherent in traditional selection processes and eliminating the stress and nervousness of traditional interviews which can distort the job skills of valid candidates.
In contrast, many of the organisations which are not fully on-board with gamification are focusing on how innovative or open minded a person may be rather than on capturing a more accurate, full measure of digital IQ.
They attempt to measure this at later stages in the selection process such as in the face-to-face interview or at an assessment centre and find themselves limited by not always being capable of gathering primary evidence, which is what is provided by a game-based assessment.
Gamification aims to increase digital IQ in the new hires of any organisation by associating each relevant component of digital IQ with a series of psychological constructs that will be quantified depending on the candidate’s performance in the game.
This way innovative thinking may be associated with constructs such as innovation potential, learning agility and creativity, while openness to experience and a positive attitude to change can be measured in the game through constructs such as managing uncertainty and cognitive skills.
Another positive aspect of gamification is that it can be tailored to the needs of companies and the components that they consider relevant to increase their digital IQ.
Updating careers support
Given that these advances in recruiting are already a reality, whose role is it to enlighten today’s university students? As technology replaces human roles with automation, workforce paradigms are created which require new skills. Imagining future jobs calls for a different kind of education today.
There is an assumption that students should naturally be able to find satisfying work, though for some it is difficult to carry out a realistic self-assessment in order to know where to direct their energies.
Even when they eventually arrive at a reliable notion of the kind of career that would ideally suit them, it won’t necessarily be the end of the challenges and obstacles they face. These will include labour market demands, which may stop them from advancing towards their goals.
In the world of higher education and more specifically in the area of talent and careers, I believe it is universities’ responsibility to help students find out who they potentially are in the world of work: what they can bring to and what they need from a job and what their true underlying ambitions really are.
At IE Business School we work with our students to make them aware of the importance of career development from the start of their degree programme. We provide them with career education and insights about the resources and tools available, such as the United States-based Pymetrics, a technology which is five times more likely to deliver the right candidates as traditional recruitment processes.
In a typical recruitment process 25% of the applicants would be suitably qualified, whereas a system such as this ensures that the qualified applicant rate increases to 100%.
We have also seen the interviewed candidate rate skyrocket from 5% all the way to 25-50% and consequently, the hiring success rate rise from 1% to 5-9%.
Furthermore, on a positive note regarding retention, the three-month employee churn has decreased from 30% following a typical process to 10-20%.
Finally, if we consider the pool of candidates that the company can tap into, the reach is infinitely scalable with such innovative systems, while in a traditional process companies are limited by the number of recruitment staff they have. All of this is within the reach of students in the form of a modern, 21st century mobile app.
It is important that university students across the board are made aware of such platforms as a mixture of game-based assessments are being implemented in a diverse range of industries, including the legal sector, banking, advertising/media, rail/engineering, technology companies, retail, property/estate agents and construction. They are in use across several functions across these industries: human resources, IT, supply chain, finance, R&D, etc.
If universities do not equip their students for the way recruitment is changing, they will be doing them a disservice.
Dr Amber Wigmore Álvarez is executive director of career services, IE Business School – Talent and Careers, Spain. Twitter and Instagram: @wigmorealvarez.