Sustainable Trends in Talent Assessment

Hear from our panel of talent assessment experts discuss the trends influencing the roadmap for talent assessment.

trends in talent assessment

Talent assessment provides an essential component when building your talent strategy. Without the objective, fair and insightful information it offers, understanding the talent already in post and those skills and attributes candidates can bring is a big ask.

We brought together a panel of experts from across the Aon’s Assessment Solutions world to share their observations of sustainable talent assessment for the coming decade. They share some of the innovation in talent assessment brought to our clients in recent years. Also, they shine a light on what is current and will go on to influence how individuals and organizations work in the future.

To kick off the webinar [watch the webinar here], each panelist summed up, in three words, what they see as drivers for change in the use of assessment. Their responses:

  • Lifespan. Skills. Learnability.
  • Technology. Diversity. Quality.
  • Disruption. Data. Engaging.

We are living longer

“People will be living longer. They will be able to work longer and there will be a need to continuously re-educate oneself.” So comments Tarandeep Singh, Regional Director APAC at Aon's Human Capital Solutions. It will force us to think more about careers and career progression, collecting experience across a range of jobs and consider the role that the self-employed and the wider gig economy will play in our lives. People will need to upskill and reskill. They will need to embrace constant technological change and different ways of working.  

We also see the current focus on individual career ownership continuing and, with it, the need to be a lifelong learner. Singh says that it will be important for organizations “to create a learning ecosystem that encourages ongoing learning behaviors”.

Changes in perception of career progression and employment

The greater ownership of careers and the gig economy will change how talent assessment is perceived. Results will become owned by the individual rather than the hiring organization. It will mean that the individual will be able to give access to their information and data only to those they wish.

Some may argue that it will be less important for firms to assess these self-employed workers. However, the right mix between skills and experience, balanced with personality and behavioral style will become increasingly important.

“Ultimately, we try to match people to tasks,” says Andreas Lohff, CEO Aon's Assessment Solutions. “While there may be a tendency for looking at certain skills rather than behaviors, there will still be a need to focus on getting the right person for the job.” After all, the self-employed worker needs to be, as Ernest Paskey, North America Practice Leader, Aon's Assessment Solutions. comments: a “brand ambassador.”

Agility, curiosity and learnability: behaviors of the future

Technology is shaping the skills people need and we will need to rethink development. Organizations will seek out those capable of acquiring new skills and learning new approaches. For those going through a transformation, they are faced with options around their workforce. These include letting people go who do not have the new skillset or reskill and redevelop them for the new way of working. The latter, Paskey comments, is “engaging, informative and positive. It helps to drive change management and saves money by reshaping the workforce.”

It will be our ability to learn, rather than simply apply what we already know, that will be crucial in the years ahead. Assessment can help to identify such learnability in people.

Assessment will be needed not only to assess new skills, but also to look for the future-ready competencies required. Curiosity, agility and learnability will all become essential behaviors. We will also need to understand what motivates ourselves and our co-workers.

Increase in quality of data and data privacy

There are two strong trends relating to data and talent assessment. The first is concerned with the volume of data that HR and talent leaders now have access to from both employees and candidates.

Paskey comments: “The big challenge for all organizations is that, if there is all this data, which data do we look at and how do we look at it?” Essentially, we need to be more discerning about which data we focus on. “As we move into the future, it will be about how we analyze the data and use that data.”

The second challenge relating to data is the recent tightening of data privacy legislation in many territories. Organizations must be more aware of what they can and cannot process with regards to data. Indeed, individuals have a far greater ownership of and responsibility for their data.

Paskey continues: “We have been looking after data for quite some time. Privacy has always been high up on the list for us as a vendor and it is very important that the data subject has full control over their data.”

Continued and sophisticated advances in AI

Artificial intelligence continues to disrupt work and personal life. Lohff comments: “There are tremendous benefits to be gained from using AI; however, there is also unintended consequences that we are seeing publicly.”  

One of the challenges is ensuring that the AI used is fully explainable and defensible. With the ‘black box’ approach to AI decision-making, decisions are made based on an algorithm that is obscured from the user. This makes it hard to explain or defend a decision.

Aon’s Assessment Solutions follows a different path: a glass box approach. Paskey comments: “It’s a simple scientifically-based database and is transparent.” It means that decisions are understood, explainable and defensible and Aon “strongly advocates the glass box approach.”

Without a doubt, AI will remain a significant influencer on talent assessment, on the recruiter’s role and on candidate engagement.

Shorter, mobile-first assessment for a better candidate experience

Innovation in talent assessment will be evident in how the assessment is presented to candidates. A shorter, more attractive, more engaging, mobile-first assessment with the candidate experience at the core - while offering the robustness of proven and science-based assessment. There is though, “always a balance” that needs to be achieved.

Advice for the next 10 years?

The clear talent assessment message for organizations for the coming decade is to be effective in embedding objective assessment within their selection processes. It will help them to develop a stronger, more diverse and more promotable workforce. Learnability and life-long learning will be essential to the workforce.

However, be warned. Do not get sidetracked by, what Singh calls: ”shiny apps than can do various things.” Talent leaders need to be asking “what’s going to work in my context?” says Singh. HR and talent decision-makers need to look at what will work in their organizational context.

If you would like to talk about how you can get your talent assessment ready for the future, call us.


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Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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