Previously, the best way to assess future success was to look at past performance. However, IBM is changing all that thanks to Watson. Now, employees at the company are judged on their past failures and success as well as their future performance.
Through artificial intelligence (AI), Watson Analytics focuses on employee’s projects and experiences in a bid to identify the potential qualities and skills that each may have to serve IBM in the future.
What’s more, Watson goes through IBM’s internal training system in an attempt to check whether an employee has acquired new skills. In turn, managers consider Watson’s assessment rating, mainly when making promotion, pay and bonus decisions.
Nickle LaMoreaux, IBM’s vice president for compensation and benefits, said that if traditional models considered you as a strong performer in your present job, then that was a sure way to get a promotion.
She said that even though IBM is still concerned about performance, it also now cares about hypothetical performance in the future. In fact, according to the company, Watson boasts a 96 percent accuracy rate in comparison to IBM’s internal evaluation with HR professionals.
According to LaMoreaux, employers back in the day used past successes as the sole determinant of compensation decisions. This approach was effective when job activities were somewhat static over some time.
She added that nowadays the half-life of skills is becoming shorter, which means that what employees could accomplish yesterday is not important as what they may do tomorrow.
Nowadays, more employers are beginning to concentrate on the future during assessments in a bid to motivate employees to acquire or learn new skills. Willis Towers Watson’s survey involving over 2,000 organizations revealed that more than 40 percent of respondents are planning to change the focus of performance management to include future possession and potential of skills.
The recent shift to skills-oriented performance management is motivated partially by employers who claim to be struggling with a gap in the level of skills. Based on findings from a recent study, the National Federation of Independent Business revealed that over a third of small enterprises boast open positions.
Even though employers say they cannot get the ideal people for the job, they are yet to increase wages, which means they are not making a lot of effort.
IBM claims that it cannot get adequate candidates with the ideal skills to fill its job vacancies, particularly those relating to technology.
As such, the company currently shows its existing employees the positions that need filling and the required skills for such vacancies to allow them to know the kind of training they need in an attempt of getting high-performance ratings. According to IBM, its employees consume nearly 60 hours of education each year, on average.
Not all employers utilize analytics to predict its employees’ performance in the future. In fact, The Intern Group ranks its 80 employees based on 15 skills including communication, flexibility among others, which it believes are needed for success in the next century.