Suchi Pathak is Co-founder and chief psychologist of Aptology. She is also an honorary lecturer at core City University London. She has been a leader in the assessment and consulting industries for over ten years. She was head of psychology for a global assessment provider. And is passionate about leveraging AI and machine learning to ensure organisations select, develop and promote their people with high predictability and no bias.
At Aptology, we look at the behaviours underlying somebody and their natural style and how they present themselves at work. And we map that with performance to make sure that people get the right people in the right job. By using objective performance metrics and underlying behaviour, you can reduce a lot of bias in the hiring process, the promotion process, the development process. Ever heard of that adage “people hire for skills and fire for behaviour?” This is something that we tried to get around. There is a lot of bias involved in a lot of the processes of recruitment selection. What Aptology does is help people to increase their performance. Along with reducing the human cost of diversity and inclusion within their companies.
COVID19 has impacted people in many ways. The extroverts in the world like myself feel strange because our network suddenly seems to have shrunk. But I think what is interesting is people are very uncertain in the world of work. And as it relates to sales, many our clients have turned to us and said, so we’re a bit concerned about our sales team because they used to wining and dining their clients and, it’s not necessarily taking them out to lovely restaurants. Still, it is meeting them face to face, organising events and meeting them at other events or networking to get to know them better. In this new environment, their world has suddenly shrunk, and they feel like they’ve got one of their arms chopped off because they are not able to persuade or influence on moving that relationship along as much as they could have done before. Given that this is the behavioural blueprint of our team, our clients are asking, what can we do?
One of the biggest strengths of COVID19 is that many people have a lot more 1 on 1 time and less distracted. Rather than having a solid relationship with just one person in the client organisation, it is enabling people to branch out their network within the company. The previous issue that they used to wine and dine and get a fantastic relationship with their primary contact of the company. However, if that contact left, they will have to start all over again. What this scenario is enabled people to do is to have more frequent communication with several different people in the organisation and begin to expand their network.
Suchi, says the experience of COVID19 is going to improve sales in the long term.
During these challenging times, people take some time to find their flow. Everybody is handling work in slightly different ways some people may start a lot earlier, take a break in the day or the other way around. This highlights a need that people did not recognise before to figure out their schedule.
One size fits all approach is probably going to be a mistake says Suchi. Managers can assume that their teams deal with things in the way that they are dealing with them. Knowing the behavioural underpinnings of your team is critical currently because some people are going to be doing better than others. Seeing others in the same way as yourself, you can make the mistake of breaking trust, such that after this crisis is over if that person does not feel cared for. This can cause a whole lot of problems because the last thing you need once the job market opens that they go elsewhere.
We help to move the needle on diversity by really focusing on performance. There is an increase the awareness about diversity and benefits to having diverse teams. Companies fall short when people start to view diversity as a box-ticking exercise. Many companies that we work with have good initiatives; they incentivise managers to recruit from a diverse background. A by-product that Suchi has seen is that it can end up discrediting the individual. Focusing on data and increasing performance within a team means performance is excellent, and the sales team becomes diverse.
We advocate focusing on performance and what does good look like for your team? You find people if you are using behaviour that does not discriminate against gender or ethnicity or socioeconomic status, using a predictive tool that helps to counter bias. Then what you have is the right people for the right job, but those people happen to be from a diverse background recruiting from non-traditional sources.