Insights from the Sova Innovation Board

Against a backdrop of digital and organisational transformation, the nature and composition of the workforce is shifting. In an illustration of the types of change organisations are grappling with, a few insights from our Sova Innovation Board clients earlier this month:

  • For one company, front-line employees are now focused on experience not sales. The business recognises that customers want to come and ‘touch’ the products, then go home and make the purchase decision online.
  • Another firm is hiring for jobs that didn’t exist three years ago. A new CEO has hastened the transformation journey and the organisation is now hiring 500 tech people, a space which is unchartered territory for them.
  •   A client that knows that some of its roles will not exist in the future. They’re looking for employees with learning agility, those who recognise their job might change and are able to embrace that change.

The launch of the Sova Innovation Board

As a team, part of our commitment at Sova is to be at the leading edge of this change. To ensure that we deliver assessment solutions that enable organisations to lead and embrace change, not lag behind it.  Part of our approach is the appointment of the Sova Innovation Board which met for the first time last month.

Board members who attended the inaugural meeting are senior members of recruitment, talent acquisition, early careers, onboarding and assessment teams from clients including British Airways, HSF, John Lewis Partnership, LexisNexis, Northern Trust and Zurich.

Meetings of the Sova Innovation Board are an opportunity for the Sova team and a group of our clients to think more deeply about building stronger links between talent strategy and assessment.  We invite Board members to think critically about how technology can be used to deliver effective, fair and efficient assessment in a volatile business environment.

AI needs investment in the right tech

Organisations are grappling with change in every industry and there was agreement that the next five years will be unpredictable. In terms of what that means for talent, clients are looking for people who can cope with ambiguity, resilience – being able to move fast, spin plates, respond and bounce back. Coping with ambiguity is another recurring theme.

Although there is recognition that AI and machine learning are the current buzzword favourites of HR, organisations already see AI as an opportunity for continuous improvement, the ability to build scale and efficiency in the hiring process, and the identification of bias in real-time.

Part of the response from Sova is investment in, and adoption of, new technology. Traditional legacy assessment technology will not allow assessment providers to leverage the opportunities afforded by AI such as building constant feedback in to the process, reduction of bias and the analytics capability.

Where are organisations already getting value from assessment tech?

  • Video technology: At one client organisation,  apprentices and graduates are used to record interview questions to connect and engage with applicants. This humanises the video experience, ensuring candidate experience isn’t compromised by the use of technology.  
  • Joined up data: Technology allows data to be connected and analysed more effectively, for example social mobility data. One Board member shared the work they’ve done on social mobility to ensure the playing field is level for all applicants.   
  • Offering a seamless candidate experience: Having a seamless end-to-end process that is also personalised and human is what our clients want to achieve. While putting the focus on candidate experience, this needs to be balanced with other essentials, namely getting the right outcomes for the business and for candidates.   
  • Context is important: There is an appeal in more engaging test formats but whilst candidate experience is high on the list for organisations, candidate feedback can be mixed as some gamified assessments lack context and relevance.

What’s next?

Part of the role of the Innovation Board is to influence Sova’s innovation path based on our clients’ needs. We talked about some specific development areas:

  • Using emergent technology in the right way (not just because it exists), to drive value and business outcomes.
  • Further enhancing the end-to-end assessment process from early screening and assessment, and video interviewing through to digital assessment centre.
  • Providing real-time business intelligence to identify and eliminate bias in the assessment process.

Ultimately, it’s our goal is to set our clients and their people up for success. Improving success rates through the hiring funnel is the first step. Thank you to our clients who took time out to join us.Find out more about Sova’s unique approach to assessment