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SHL’s History Tells the Story of Our Past and Provide Fuel for Our Future

How SHL continues the legacy of innovating psychometric assessments to help companies make decisions that are good for their people and business.

Some believe that when you understand who you are and from where you came, it is easier to know why you are here and where you need to go next… So here is the story that I read and was told, so that you can learn or be reminded of the original vision of our SHL founders and their dreams of progress for better humanity.

Psychometric testing & personality questionnaires took off in the Second World War when they were used extensively in the armed services to assess personnel.  By the 1960s, it had failed to catch on elsewhere as most companies recruited staff based on highly subjective interviews, graphology or through the "old boy network".

The founders of SHL felt this was unfair because they knew it led to poor and expensive decisions for most businesses. They became convinced that psychometric testing could be developed to assist companies in selecting suitable employees. In 1977, SHL was born -- a company to develop and promote psychometric testing in the business community.

From its beginnings in a spare room, SHL expanded rapidly, profiting from growing demand for the tests from large firms seeking to identify their own "corporate culture" and recruit staff to fit that mold. SHL actually became the first company to develop tests for other organizations than the army!*

SHL became the first company to develop tests for other organizations than the army.

In 1984, SHL created the first Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) and released it on the market. It quickly became regarded as state-of-the-art and still is today. Drawing on an aptitude for languages and love for diversity and cultures – SHL expanded into more than 30 countries by the beginning of the 21st century.

SHL’s Legacy is Relevant for Today’s Challenges

The belief that we can help companies make better decisions managing their human capital and bringing more fairness with non-biased, scientific and objective solutions to support employees in their professional life cycle from recruitment to development and succession planning. In its essence, SHL founders had genuinely this purpose in mind -- putting the “HUMAN” at the center of our care & thoughts.

The legacy of our founders resonated even more than ever this month when we announced our offer for free access to our Virtual Solutions suite and the new RemoteWorkQ, helping companies and their employees as they adjust to a new workplace reality during the COVID-19 pandemic!

Visit our Virtual Assessment & Development Centers page to learn more.

* The above text contains extracts from the following articles: 


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Roxane Hentz

Roxane is Operations Director in Northern Europe at SHL. She has worked in the field of talent assessment and selection for over fifteen years as an online Platform Expert before making a career change in Finances and Operations. Prior to joining SHL in 2004, Roxane worked at Cegedim, a French health technology company, and Pearson VUE, one of the global leaders in computer-based-testing.

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