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Harnessing the power of cognitive diversity in the workplace

In an era of racing for top talent, companies must stay ahead of the curve to improve talent acquisition and retention. A key factor that offers a strategic advantage in this area is cognitive diversity in the workplace.

Cognitive diversity comprises distinctive methods that help individuals analyze available information and exercise critical thinking. When evaluated in a team, people with varied thought processes, ideas, and perspectives come together and succeed at their assigned tasks. This encompasses ways of thinking derived from past education and reflects on culturally acquired thinking patterns from experiences in different racial, class, or regional communities.

A recent Mercer | Mettl,Talent Assessment Practices Report India explained that 53% of companies emphasized cognitive ability as the focus when evaluating potential candidates.

Recruiters turn to cognitive tests because they simplify the hiring process by accurately predicting candidates’ job performance. This reduces bias in the hiring process, allowing recruiters to make fair and objective choices. These assessments are fully automated, cost-effective, and can be conducted online.

Mercer | Mettl, a top provider of talent assessment solutions, makes it easier for companies to measure and promote cognitive diversity with its cutting-edge assessments. Driven by innovation and customer satisfaction, these tests offer a quantitative measure of cognitive abilities, such as attention, reasoning, memory, logic, and processing. Hiring using these assessments allows organizations to improve team dynamics, promoting a more positive, inclusive, and productive environment.

Cognitive tests also assess current employees’ development and identify improvement areas. For this reason, hiring managers use assessments to analyze employees’ intellectual, emotional, and psychological functioning by measuring cognitive responses to specific scenarios.

Mercer | Mettl’s cognitive tests evaluate a candidate’s cognitive skills through various question formats, such as MCQs, guesstimates, case-study simulators, writing and typing simulators, and audio questions. These questions assess candidates’ ability in abstract and spatial reasoning, visual, critical, and logical reasoning, numeric ability, data interpretation, and verbal ability.

According to Siddharth Gupta, CEO of Mercer | Mettl, “Assessments will be the key to gauging the gaps between existing and employable skills.”

Here are some ways in which cognitive ability assessments help build a better workplace:

Better problem-solving

Cognitive diversity helps introduce fresh perspectives and ideas. This is because when individuals work together, they build and improve solutions proposed by others, leading to valuable outcomes.

Harvard Business Review experimented and found that teams that have a high deviation from the standard perspective and are cognitively diverse, solve a problem more quickly than non-diverse teams.

Improved decision-making

A diverse group brings a broader range of perspectives and options to the discussion. Teams containing individuals with different mental processes provide managers with a variety of strengths, allowing them to make better decisions. These teams can consider multiple viable solutions and weigh the pros and cons of the suggestions before deciding. This reduces the risk of groupthink, where everyone follows the favored opinion.

Increased creativity

The more diverse a team's experiences and backgrounds are, the greater the chance of creativity. And creativity leads to the development of new products, processes, and services.

Deloitte finds that cognitive diversity enhances innovation by 20% and reduces risks by 30%, leading to better business outcomes and smoother decision-making.

Better performance

Harvard Business Review states a strong positive correlation exists between cognitive diversity and performance, with higher cognitive diversity leading to higher performance.

It also leads to improved team dynamics, as individuals learn from one another resulting in a positive and productive work environment where everyone feels valued.

Fostering cognitive diversity is a beneficial skill-based candidate hiring approach, which allows access to a wider pool of candidates from diverse backgrounds, bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to the team.

The management can further create a psychologically safe environment, ensuring that associates feel comfortable trying new things without fear of negative consequences. Employees should also be given opportunities to enhance their cognitive skills through training sessions. This improves their ability to bring ideas to the table and supports the organization's overall goal of creating an inclusive work environment.

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