What does the future hold for Assessment and Development Centres?
Reading Time of Article: 8 min
With the arrival of revolutionary technology that broadens the possibilities, all stakeholders agree that major upheavals are expected in the field of human resources. So, what lies ahead for skill assessment and management techniques? How will new interfaces change the situation in terms of assessment through role play? Will this at last make such techniques accessible to all?
Virtual reality, part of tomorrow’s assessments
You must have spotted the ostrich who managed to fly after training with a virtual reality headset (in an advert for a phone company almost as famous as Apple!). So, what can we expect from this new technology? Firstly, virtual reality is a means of creating an artificial environment using IT software and hardware. The compulsory headset creates a rather immersive experience; if the user accepts it as a real environment, then they become totally immersed in a new world. As technology progresses, virtual reality has been able to integrate the user’s hand movements into the created environment. The quality of sound and image is now fluid thanks to high definition. Increasingly realistic, this responsive environment offers minimal discomfort. However, the technology remains relatively expensive. The content is expensive to produce and the necessary hardware requires high investment. This approach consequently requires state-of-the-art IT skills, together with restricted changes in a closed environment. The user is confined to a specific area, next to the devices that create this virtual reality. For assessors, role-play in a virtual reality environment can be observed “from the outside” without having to be party to the created reality. However, this inevitably means a loss in the accuracy of the assessment of an individual’s skills and potential. The assessor is not physically involved in interactions with the candidate or employee and is therefore undeniably cut off from part of the exchanges experienced and the alchemy that forms part of the relationship between two individuals.
Augmented reality to complement role-play
This technology is expected to become part of our professional everyday life. Augmented reality builds on the “real world”. This technique superimposes digital information on an image. This visual superimposition technique requires work a screen or smart glasses (the best example being Google Glass). It produces a “mixed” reality combining reality and digital images. Augmented reality now offers the possibility of combining visual and audio effects. The advantage of this technology lies in its affordability due to lower hardware and design costs compared to virtual reality. However, the world it creates is much less immersive, especially as the user’s field of vision is limited. For assessors, role-play in an augmented reality world can really work as long as they are included in the same environment created for the assessment. Quite often, we see that the assessed individual’s level of immersion considerably depends on the immersion of the assessment team in the role-play.
Artificial intelligence: can Siri be an answer?
Artificial intelligence is a means of simulating intelligent behaviour. Numerous research teams are trying to create a machine and software capable of imitating the thinking and acting processes of human beings. What’s the situation today? A few computer systems can simulate aspects of human intelligence. They can learn, adapt and generate knowledge. However, these systems are not really autonomous and are currently only applied to specific fields.
Innovation for the Assessment & Development Centres of tomorrow
To conclude, we do not yet have the technology. But above all, how does that technology satisfy the needs of Assessment Centre users? With regard to the objective of the assessment, as long as a manager or salesman needs to communicate, convince and federate human beings, they will need to assess their abilities through role-play involving other individuals who feel, react and interact. As far as the process goes, is this technology usable by and accessible to assessors and candidates/employees? As a reminder, the Assessment Centre is the number one method to assess potential, using the predictive validity and suitability of the employee.
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