Bert Goos, Founder and CEO
The dawn of the 21st century not only marked the beginning of a new era but also brought forth major shifts in the world of science and technology and, admittedly, our entire culture. From Bluetooth technology to Facebook and iPhone—some of today’s most popular products and services got their start in the noughts. It is safe to say that the 2000s was a decade that helped shape the world we live in today.
It was around the same time that Bert Goos, working as a senior HR consultant at an assessment and consultancy firm in the Netherlands, envisioned a similar course of technological disruption for the HR industry. He wanted to upgrade the offline assessments realm that was using models from the 1950s. His vision was to transform the space by moving the candidate assessments and personality tests online. Although Goos’ colleagues loved the idea, his firm did not approve of the concept as they feared it might scathe the offline assessments market. However, undeterred by the initial setback, Goos persevered and kickstarted his entrepreneurial journey. Shortly after, Online Talent Manager (OTM) was born in 2002.
But the HR realm was yet to discover the transformative power of the online assessments visualised by Goos…
During his early years in the thick of the online assessments space, Goos met Robert Quinn, an American professor and researcher. Notably, Quinn developed the highly-acclaimed ‘competing values’ model to nurture effective and productive managers. He also played an important role in the movement known as ‘positive psychology.’ Harnessing the power of Quinn’s competing values model, supplemented by psychological test theory, Goos and his co-developer Dr Tjoa were keen to develop more workplace-oriented tests. This led to the rise of the Octogram, OTM’s innovative work style and leadership test. A key aspect that makes Octogram the linchpin of the OTM system is the fact that it is based on a management model and how people interact and work in the real world. Over the years, the company improved its Octogram test while also introducing new tests in its online assessment portfolio. Today, the list comprises a group of 30 tests, including personality, career values, communication styles, learning styles, entrepreneurship, emotions, integrity, agility, burnout, and more.
“By combining the Octogram leadership styles, career values, and personality, we can obtain a clear picture of a candidate’s potential for different roles and management positions, and help organisations predict employees’ success in their new roles,” states Goos, founder and CEO of OTM. Today, in its 18 years of service, OTM, along with its partners, has efficaciously assessed more than 300,000 candidates.
Today, to further strengthen their assessment portfolio, the company has created yet another instrument for development assessment, Presence Q
What unfolds the full potential of OTM’s test modules is the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). On that front, the company is leveraging various software solutions—powered by AI and ML—to provide better predictions about the candidates for specific positions. Moreover, OTM’s AI system tools use its historical data as a benchmark to facilitate highly reliable results. “For HR managers, this means fewer mis-hires and lower staff turnover—thereby increasing cost savings,” highlights Goos. The proven correlation between OTM’s reports and an organisation’s productivity and profit also makes OTM a ‘trusted advisor’ for every CHRO interested in redefining the antiquated online assessment methodologies. “Not only CHROs, even CFOs and CEOs are interested in the outcomes as they directly draw a parallel to monetary profit,” says Goos.
Elaborating on OTM’s unique approach further, Goos notes that his company provides a detailed candidate performance report to an employer after their employees have taken the test. Additionally, OTM guides the company on how to interpret the results and choose the right applicant. And since OTM’s tests are validated psychometric test instruments at their core, it makes them even more unique and reliable. Notably, the company’s validation studies are public and available for review. OTM rigorously analyses and refines new test instruments before publishing them.
“One of our most interesting products came about when we passed the 100,000 candidate milestone in 2008 and had enough historical data to create our Competency Indicator report,” mentions Goos. This report correlates data from several tests (Octogram, Career Values, and Big 5 model) and gives an accurate view of how easy or difficult it is for a candidate to develop particular competencies. It is not just a 360-degree competency rating system (although the company offers that too) but an actual predictive model that OTM has been constantly developing and refining for 12 years.
Presence Q: The Next Level of Development Assessment
Today, to further strengthen their assessment portfolio, the company has created yet another instrument for development assessment, Presence Q. It establishes a clear picture of a subject’s mental wellbeing based on several sub-areas: imbalance, overwork, burnout complaints, and risks of eventual burnout. “Most burnout tests only ask questions regarding work and neglect a candidate’s personal stress factor,” mentions Goos. Therefore, Presence Q looks at an individual’s stress factors in their work and private lives, personal experience, and the impact of today’s demanding society.
Powering Successful Assessments amidst the Pandemic
These proven capabilities have also empowered OTM to help businesses stay afloat during the current pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak, and the ensuing lockdown, are forcing many organisations to work remotely. Describing the present scenario, Goos notes, “All of a sudden, the imaginary line drawn between workspace and personal space has disappeared.” People are required to work from their homes. And, at the same time, because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, they have to deal with job insecurity and mental health issues arising from the isolation, and the only way they can interact with fellow colleagues is through video conferencing and other forms of digital communication. Needless to say, this is also changing the role of leaders. Remote leadership is becoming the new normal today. “Remote working in itself is highly challenging, let alone the difficulties of remote leadership due to lack of direct supervision,” says an understanding Goos. Against the backdrop of this changing landscape, OTM’s online assessments are helping remote leaders understand which employee requires extensive monitoring based on the test results so that they can have better control over their teams. The aim is to make the job of remote leaders and their teams very easy and effective.
“By combining the Octogram leadership styles, career values, and personality, we can obtain a clear picture of a candidate’s potential for different roles and management positions”
With such innovative offerings, OTM has scripted success for a multitude of organisations. Goos highlights an instance, wherein his company helped a client hire efficient salespeople. Before OTM stepped into the picture, the client was recruiting misfits or low performers, which led to high staff turnover. The implementation of OTM’s Octogram, Career Values, and Big 5 tests—powered by AI—helped the client amass valuable insights about the candidates to choose the right fit for their organisation. OTM earned accolades from the client for delivering superior results. “We helped them save thousands of dollars, which they were losing due to high staff turnover,” informs Goos.
The Passion to Remain the Springboard of Organisational Success
Striding ahead with many similar success stories, OTM is now laser-focused on becoming a global leader in the online assessment realm. To that end, the company is providing its services in Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, Singapore, and many other Asian and Middle Eastern countries. OTM is also planning to make its entry into the U.S. in the coming months. Working towards that goal, the company is seeking to grow its alliance with local strategic partners that can tailor OTM’s offerings according to the client’s demography. With such an ambitious outlook, OTM is perfectly positioned to transform the online assessment landscape around the globe.