Why Investing in Assessment Tools and Technology Is Critical for HR Strategies

brought to you by WBR Insights

HR in financial services is quickly learning that it needs to be more strategic in developing talent for the future. For a long time, the financial services industry existed in something of a human capital bubble. Leaders in the industry largely didn't have to worry about things like defining an employee value proposition, managing and differentiating pay and performance, attracting the best talent, and succession planning. Times were good, revenues were soaring, and with plenty of pay to go around, there was a line of great talent tripping over each other ready to take on any vacancy.

But things have changed. Pay is now more competitive between industries. Regulation is tightening. Negative media attention has damaged the industry's reputation. There are disruptive technologies changing the face of the business. And competition for talent with top tech firms and exciting new startups is fierce.

The long and the short of it is that the workforce is transforming. Employees have new expectations, and leaders in financial services are left asking: How do we go about competing for top talent with more industries than ever before? What does the millennial employee really want from their career and employer? How do we change our culture to meet the needs of a younger workforce?

HR has a big role to play in answering these questions, and assessment is key when it comes to elevating talent strategies.

Getting Recruitment Right the First Time

Attracting talented individuals is a top priority across the financial services industry - especially now that the competition is so alive between sectors. Somewhat surprisingly, however, only 47% of firms use any formal assessment tools for hiring, according to the McLagan Talent Pulse report - an Aon study of talent trends and practices at financial services firms.

(Image source: insights.humancapital.aon.com)

Today's talent assessment tools - such as those provided by the likes of Aon, Oracle, Workday, SAP Success Factors, ADP, and Kronos - are able to predict key outcomes, including performance, engagement, potential, culture fit, and retention. They also improve the speed and efficiency of the hiring process, and help firms find diverse talent and new skills that are required as financial services roles continue to change.

Firms need to be utilizing these latest technologies if they are to gain a competitive advantage in the increasingly combative hiring market - not least because they present a user-friendly candidate experience from the start and thereby serve as great employment branding.


It's not just firm-side technology that financial organizations should be utilizing in the hiring and assessment process. Mobile phones are now a fundamental part of all our lives, and practically all of today's candidates carry a smartphone in their pocket at all times.

And yet, of those firms that do utilize assessment tools for hiring, only 7% are using mobile assessments, according to the McLagan Talent Pulse report. For millennials, in particular, mobile phones are central to their lifestyle - much more so than desktop computers or even laptops. Considering the fact that this generation is on track to make up 46% of the US workforce by 2020 (and 75% of the global workforce by 2025), it's imperative that hiring firms do everything in their power to attract, recruit, and retain them - and smartphones are their device of choice.

(Image source: bentley.edu)

Unless financial organizations are equipped to enable talented candidates to take assessments on the devices they expect to be able to take them on, they risk losing those candidates to organizations that are - especially tech companies, which are already right at the top of many graduates' job application lists. Mobile provides a slick and easy assessment experience and will impress candidates by showing them that you are embracing technology and that they will be working in a modern, digital environment.

Identifying Future Leaders and Succession Planning

Less than half (40%) of the firms surveyed for the McLagan Talent Pulse report formally manage succession, and only one third (32%) designate a percentage of employees as high potential.

(Image source: insights.humancapital.aon.com)

It was also found that while a majority of financial services firms have some sort of leadership development program in place, most (65%) do not complement these programs with talent assessments. This makes it extremely difficult for organizations to understand how their leaders are performing and identify any gaps in desired skills and traits.

(Image source: insights.humancapital.aon.com)

Assessments allow financial services organizations to both develop existing leaders and select internal candidates for succession planning. Because assessments enable firms to identify both strengths and weaknesses in the leadership talent pool, meaningful leadership development opportunities can then be provided to cultivate the specific leadership traits needed for an individual firm's specific needs.

Today, sending people to generic leadership programs is no longer good enough. Instead, both present and future leaders must be developed according to the particular needs of the firm. This will create a ready pool of future leaders, ensuring that the next generation is ready when needed, thereby reducing the risk of critical positions going unfilled.

Assessments - and the data that results - are critical here. What makes someone successful in one role doesn't necessarily mean that they will be successful when they move up the ladder. Assessing for specific competencies and qualities, therefore, is essential for robust business continuity planning.

Assessments and hiring technology are set to be hot topics at HRFS 2018, taking place this December at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.

Download to agenda for more information and insights.

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