The Future of L & D is here – Virtual Assessment Centres

“The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is NOT training them and having them stay.” – Henry Ford

It’s said learning is the only constant that sets winning employers apart and if you want to scale up and grow in this volatile world, you must invest today in the learning capabilities of your talent pool to ensure handsome returns tomorrow.

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, at least 54% of the workforce will require significant re-skilling and/or up-skilling. Of this group, about 35% are expected to require additional training of up to six months, 9% will require re-skilling lasting six to 12 months, and 10% will require additional skills training lasting more than a year*. How can organizations match the skilling speed at this scale and make their human resources future-ready? The answer lies in embracing technology to accelerate the learning & development initiatives with eyes on the future. An ‘Assess to Progress’ approach here will pave the way for ‘Learning & Re-Learning’ given the scale we anticipate. The first step in completing this crucial task is Assessment - to identify talent and capability gaps.

In an era where organizations are embracing AI for embarking on a spiked growth curve, sticking to conventional methods of nurturing talent can prove detrimental. A robust learning foundation for nurturing the talent curve needs to be married to the latest technology. One of the most reliable methods to get it right is to implement a Virtual Assessment Centre (VAC). VACs allow for a smarter and more efficient approach and an improved degree of accuracy by mapping organizational competencies across roles. VACs offer actionable insights for groups & individuals, execute succession planning and put skilling and re-skilling on the fast track without hampering scalability.

While, conventional assessment centers bring in the charm of the ‘offline’ world and human interaction, it suffers from limitations that have made them obsolete and fostered the adoption of VACs across L&D and HR teams.


Top 5 reasons you should move beyond traditional assessment centers

  1. Lack of Scalability: Physical spaces have a finite capacity and therefore, can accommodate only a limited number of candidates for evaluation at a given time.
  2. Compromised Cost Efficiency: The entire process of evaluating candidates using traditional assessment centers is filled with unpredictable variables, high shoe-leather costs and heavy dependence on “availability” of the assessment centers. Qualified evaluators also add to high resource cost and managing them is an extremely time-consuming task as well. It doesn’t end here; traditional ACs encompass high overhead costs that often de-stabilize the actual budgetary projections made by L&D teams. Managing spaces and assessors also brings in a certain unpredictability that increases costs, making the offline approach unviable with scale.
  3. Loss of Productivity: A participant on an average spends at least 2 to 2.5 hours in commuting to the physical center and another 3 to 4 hours in taking the assessment. This arrangement definitely impacts the daily potential and productivity of employees and is contrary to an organization’s larger interests. On one hand, skilling is being undertaken, and on the other, a leakage happens. Not a smart move we say!
  4. Not One Size Fits All: Often group settings tend to have an adverse effect on participants, especially the shy ones. Introverts in such cases avoid participation out of fear of embarrassment. Hence, traditional Assessment centers do not ensure a level-playing field. This can significantly impact the evaluation results.
  5. Assessor Bias: Assessors often inadvertently gauge participants subjectively, and this bias can alter the end-results. It is also observed that scoring often relies on the assessor’s perception and judgment. As a result, the scores are not standardized to historical data captured across an analogous target pool of participants.

There’s no denying that with evolving business landscapes and organizational needs, traditional ACs are not sustainable for mass, recurring talent requirements that command scalability, speed, accuracy, efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Thankfully, sophisticated AI powered Virtual assessment centers built by Aspiring Minds – one of the pioneers in talent assessments, allow employers to leverage the right blend of assessments to select, nurture and progress the talent curve. Having made the job for L&D folks as easy as breathing, we bring you some of the pertinent reasons on why it is high time that you should ‘get real’ with VACs.


Benefits of VACs

  1. Stress-free employee experience – VACs offer organizations a consistent, transparent and objective way of managing training and development needs. With cloud based, on-demand assessments, employees can complete the assessment anytime, anywhere through a uniform experience to every participant. In cases where physical presence of an assessor might adversely impact a particular candidate’s performance, VACs arrest such unpredictable variables and offer a comforting evaluation experience.
  2. Holistic assessments - Employers can harness the power of integrated automated assessments to evaluate candidates across Cognitive, Behavioural, functional and Language functions. Multinational organizations across four continents today use Aspiring Minds’ AI powered VAC to holistically evaluate key competencies of candidates that directly impact on-the-job performance. This exhaustive evaluation approach has empowered L&D professionals to ascertain training and leadership development needs and build individual development plans.
  3. Scientific Approach - Automated assessments at VACs lend extreme clarity in objectively evaluating a candidate’s potential. With exhaustive evaluations mapped against holistic competencies, the insights delivered to an assessor can help to remove any bias and enable L&D teams to make prudent data driven decisions. One of India’s largest retail companies recently used Aspiring Mind’s scientific competency based approach and delivered a purely virtual assessment centre experience to promote 700+ employees across various levels (from executives to cluster managers). The entire exercise saved days of travel, logistics, assessor arrangement and cost, and helped the client save millions. All this while maintaining a scientific, reliable and scalable methodology.
  4. Comprehensive Reporting - New-age VACs provide a detailed report to both - assessors and employees that paint an objective picture of an employee’s strengths and areas where improvement is needed. This also allows organizations to get a closer view on how a cohort performed and develop competency clusters. The repository of data at hand helps the employers in analysing the potential-to-performance gap and draft individual development plans for progression.
  5. Enhanced HR Experience - The chaos of managing assessments at a physical AC reveals a very significant insight- the HR experience also matters. After all, they are also a part of the talent pool that needs to be nurtured. Tech driven VACs offer a comforting experience to L&D teams by offering logging details at one place on the cloud, creating an audit-trail, providing remote assessments using auto-proctoring and an opportunity to extend the experience to all levels of talent.

Data is the new oil they say, but how to capture, analyse and make sense out of the numbers is still a mystery to many in the HR learning & development ecosystem. The bedrock of assimilating this data and understanding the patterns is the job of the real differentiator – AI. There are no doubts that AI is the future and it is going to be the norm very soon. With AI driven, new age VACs, offered by Aspiring Minds, quantifying the finer aspects and getting a holistic view of the real potential of an employee can be done faster and with greater precision. The question here essentially is not ‘why’ to adopt a VAC, but ‘when’.

In case you are finding it difficult to answer this question, we will leave you with this thought by legendary author Jack Welch – “An organization’s ability to LEARN, and translate that learning into ACTION rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” – Jack Welch, Best-selling author, Ex- G.E. CEO”


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