Digital HRPsychometrics are changing our understanding of people in the workplace: Rob Newry, CEO & Founder, Arctic Shores

Psychometrics are changing our understanding of people in the workplace: Rob Newry, CEO & Founder, Arctic Shores

In this installment of our HRD Tech Founders Q&A series, Rob Newry, CEO & Founder, Arctic Shores, reveals how neuroscience and new technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of how people and business function together, and paving the way for a new generation of workforce optimization. 

What is the true potential of HR and how can technology help us to achieve it?

In this installment of our HRD Tech Founders Q&A series, Rob Newry, CEO & Founder, Arctic Shores, reveals how neuroscience and new technologies are revolutionizing our understanding of how people and business function together, and paving the way for a new generation of workforce optimization. 


Rob Newry, Founder and CEO, Arctic Shores

What is Arctic Shores?

Arctic Shores is an innovative and disruptive recruitment tech business. Our psychometric assessment platform combines neuroscience, artificial intelligence and game technology to generate data-driven people insights for more predictive and less biased hiring.

Founded in 2014 by Robert Newry and Safe Hammad, Arctic Shores was established to bring greater objectivity and fairness to the recruitment and career development process. Since then we have assessed more than 500,000 candidates and helped over 100 clients in 50 different countries differentiate their hiring process, engage prospective talent, and make fairer selection decisions.

Why was it necessary to create Arctic Shores?

The psychometric industry has barely changed in 40 years! The last major innovation was to move paper-based questions to an online format. As a result, the recruitment process was boring and overly reliant on cognitive tests, many of which disadvantaged certain groups in society. With the typical female graduate having to make almost twice as many applications as a male one, we felt there had to be a better way for companies to find the right talent and for people to identify careers they were best suited to.

Our goal is to democratise the use of psychometric assessments, making them more engaging, data-driven and open to all levels of employment. We saw no reason why candidates couldn’t be given instant feedback by removing some of the jargon and making psychometric feedback relevant and easy to understand.

Why is HR technology crucial to a business’s success?

Many companies state that their staff are their greatest asset, yet HR has been one of the last departments to get any technology investment other than Applicant Tracking Systems or HR Management Systems. It has been about efficiency rather than engagement and effectiveness. The good news is that in the last 5 years or so, there has been a significant growth in HR tech offering to fill the gap around engagement and effectiveness. The challenge is to understand which of the offerings are suited to your organisation and what the ROI will be for each one.

How can an organization most effectively implement new HR technology?

The most important element, after the initial organisational benefit has been established, is to understand how any new piece of tech fits into the current IT infrastructure. With so many different options, any new solution must easily integrate into the existing HR tech set up. Ensuring effective project management of the implementation is equally important, if not more so. Introducing new tech often fails because of organisational resistance, rather than because of technical issues. As such, devising a change-management plan and getting stakeholder buy-in are crucial. Training is another component that makes a huge difference in making employees comfortable and encouraging them to use the tech to its full potential.

What do you think is the biggest challenge affecting organisations today?

Adapting to innovation in their sector and being open to trying new technologies.

Which emerging technologies do you think will transform HR in the future?

The talk at the moment is all about artificial intelligence and machine learning but we are more excited by how gamification and neuroscience will continue to influence areas like e-learning, employee assessment and employee engagement. There is so much to come in terms of multi-user and team-based insights, business simulations, and how these can be linked to workforce planning and change management.

I also expect to see more and more of the existing solutions being made available to a wider audience as the popularity of true SaaS models extends to HR as much as it has done for finance; for instance, for the first time SMEs will be able to benefit from our innovative solution through our self-service platform, launching in 2020.

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