Working Outside of the Box – Using Psychology and Design to Expand Careers
How SHL helped to develop a fully bespoke career guidance survey for the National Careers Service.
It is no secret that one of SHL’s specialties is psychometric assessments. Our Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) is the market’s most established and well-respected personality assessment. Our award-winning Verify Interactive ability assessment has cracked the code to maintain validity while also providing a great experience, and now we’ve provided the market with the RemoteWorkQ for people and companies to help employees transition to the mass remote working that took place over the last two months in response to COVID-19.
However, we do not stop there. We are always keen to get involved in something a bit different…
So, when the opportunity arose to collaborate with a Digital Design Agency to create a bespoke Career Guidance tool for the National Careers Service in the UK, we jumped at the chance! It is every Psychologist’s dream to create a new assessment from scratch, and to do so alongside User Experience Designers, Web Developers, Agile Project Managers, Scrum Masters and User Researchers presented a unique opportunity.
Collaborating to combine many skill sets, philosophies, and disciplines towards a public sector, free of charge service for the general public presented a worthwhile cause that we wanted to be involved in!
The National Careers Service were in need of a new, short, easy to use psychometric assessment to help visitors (43 million users a year) gain self-awareness and insight in job roles. They wanted to be able to empower the user to explore potential career paths they might have not have otherwise thought of.
This was then a call to action for the individual — after they completed the career guidance questionnaire, the user would be encouraged to research the various job families and subsequent roles in the job families such as what salary and qualifications would be needed as well as where and how to gain these qualifications. The tool needed to be robust in terms of the scientific measurements going on under the bonnet, as well as being aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.
The tool needed to be robust in terms of the scientific measurements, as well as being aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.
After consultation, discovery and visionary sessions with the Digital Design Agency and the National Careers Service, we successfully created a 10-minute career guidance questionnaire that tested well-meaning it had strong psychometric properties showing to be a robust assessment. We utilized an agile project management approach and tested the questionnaire with a diverse range of users and iterated it based on their feedback.
It has been so inspiring to work on something that will benefit such a wide range of people in society, from those who have left or graduated from school, to those returning to the workplace after a long break, or those facing redundancy, it has been so great to work towards a wider social agenda.
So why would an assessment that could transparently show you what your preferences mean for the industry you are working in, or aspire to work in, actually help?
It is estimated that 70% of people are considering alternative job opportunities. On average, many individuals will change their employer every five years, with this figure being even lower in younger workers — less than 2 years!
Lack of support at work is the most cited reason for leaving a job, and companies need to consider gifting their employees with workplace practices that will boost more moments of support and recognition.
Some larger companies are recognizing this need to better support their staff in proactive career conversations and internal development opportunities. For example, a major high street bank has recently asked us to design an internal redeployment questionnaire to help with exactly this — it is better to keep talent in the company and help them flourish rather than isolating them and forcing them to leave the company altogether.
Lack of support at work is the most cited reason for leaving a job.
It is easy to lose sight and direction on our career goals which can leave us feeling disorientated and disenfranchised. We all have moments when we think, “how did I end up doing this?” Or “how did I get here?”. Our natural preferences for ways of behaving, our motivations, interests and our values all come together to enable us to thrive in certain workplace environments more than others.
Sometimes it can be hard to take a step back and think about what we want to do and how that would allow harmony with how we like to work.
If there is a need for psychometric robustness in measuring something in your workplace then do not hesitate to include us in these discussions. Whether you are running an agile sprint, would like a psychologist on a working group to help drive internal change, or want to work with a more creative company but want a robust psychological approach at the heart of what the flashy graphics are portraying — we are keen to embrace innovation, willing to show flexibility, and are experienced when working with agility.
Contact SHL if you want to discuss bespoke solutions targeted something a little more outside the box, whether it is career guidance assessments or something completely different, our team is ready and capable of taking on any challenge!
CO-AUTHOR: Nina Muir