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  |   India

Revolutionizing people decisions for a global IT-services leader

The client is a leading IT-service provider with 42 global offices and has a digitally empowered workforce of 19,407 employees, collectively working toward solving everyday complexities through smart technological interventions, human creativity and intellect.

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Industry

 IT

Use Case

Communication assessment using SpeechX and Writing Simulator

What the client achieved

Identified communication-centric training needs

Overcame gaps in internal communication


Business Challenges

The company needed solutions to address the following concerns:

  • Lack of proficiency in English communication

As a firm active in the BPO sector, the company continually sought a workforce with excellent proficiency in the English language. The company’s employees needed to possess exceptional communications skills, considering global clients and external stakeholders. Hence, the company wanted to test its teams’ ability to receive, process and share information in English, clearly and concisely.

  • Inadequacy in effective client communications

In tune with the concern mentioned above, the L&D managers also observed a lack of efficiency in their teams when handling client groups- both Indian and international. They wanted to address concerns related to intelligibility, grammar and culturally appropriate language. The BPO sector is largely dependent on building a good rapport with clients. Therefore, the company mandated a workforce adept at processing information, maintaining the essence of messages and avoiding miscommunication.

  • Gaps in internal communications

A significant portion of the workforce did not pay close attention to the content of their emails. Apart from mistakes in spelling and the lack of an appropriate format, articulation and efficiency of internal business communications were equal concerns. The L&D managers sought a medium to identify groups within the workforce who required training in email etiquette.

  • The absence of a tool to identify training needs

The most significant concern was adopting the right tool that could help further identify communication-centric training needs in the organization. While it had clarity on the challenges it sought to overcome, the company did not have the ideal methodology to deal with them. The company wanted to focus on evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of its employees to nurture and strengthen them holistically. The idea was to create training and development plans that could help empower every individual in the organization.

 

Winning the client’s trust

 

As established above, the company’s L&D team was strong and highly involved in the process of employee growth. Even the leadership was dedicated to boosting their L&D initiatives in the best possible manner. Hence, it was not easy to convince the organization about adopting a communication tool that it had never tried before.

 

The company had been using a different method to assess the communication skills of its employees. Even though the client was not completely satisfied with it, it was familiar and comfortable using it. Mercer | Mettl reached out to the company’s L&D head with pilots and discussions, highlighting the USPs of SpeechX. Mercer| Mettl put in additional efforts to understand its concerns and devised custom solutions that the client could add to the standard SpeechX evaluation. Multiple pilots and discussions ensued. Ultimately, features such as proctoring, CEFR rating and modifications tailored to its specific needs convinced it to partner Mercer | Mettl.

Solution

The client’s collaboration with Mercer | Mettl was set in motion after a few trials, customizations and additions to SpeechX. Mercer | Mettl created a complete package of communication skills assessment to measure all attributes, such as speech, listening and comprehension, writing abilities and reading.

 

Mercer | Mettl blended its Essay Writing Simulator with its Communication Test to create an ideal solution for the client’s L&D team. Mercer | Mettl also replaced the original robotic voice with a freshly-recorded human voice to further enhance its comfort with the tool to test listening skills. The audio questions were now easier to interpret because of the human touch.

 

Holistic evaluation of oral communication skills using SpeechX

 

Mercer| Mettl used the AI-powered English speaking assessment technology of SpeechX to comprehensively assess the candidates’ spoken English on parameters such as fluency, pronunciation, grammar and listening comprehension. SpeechX is powered by Carnegie Speech’s world-class speech evaluation and recognition technology that ensures test results’ high degree of accuracy. It also enables delving deeper into the sub-parameters of language proficiency, including intonation, rate of speech, fact and inference-based understanding, etc. It also enables us to delve deep into the sub-parameters of language proficiency like intonation, rate of speech, fact and inference-based understanding, etc.

 

Besides, SpeechX also offered:

A holistic assessment of all major aspects of communication skills

Unmatched accuracy ensured by AI

Ease of use and administration

Remote proctoring, augmented with a portfolio of anti-cheating features

CEFR validation

Assessment of grammar, spelling and punctuation using Writing Simulator

 

Mercer | Mettl’s Writing Simulator automatically grades and evaluates a candidate’s written piece based on grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, and more. Mercer | Mettl used the tool to gauge whether the client’s team could translate complex information into easy-to-understand written correspondence. And whether the team could understand and follow detailed instructions to create accurate content.

 

Actionable reports for T&D

 

Mercer | Mettl’s assessment tools helped the client identify critical errors in sentence correction, sentence reading and impromptu speech. More importantly, the assessment reports offered a detailed overview of the trainable errors vis-à-vis non-trainable mistakes. The L&D managers could also overcome the critical challenges of conducting mass assessments for customer-facing roles in the BPO industry.

 

The cut-off points for speaking and writing assessments were kept different to help an easy understanding of an employees’ current proficiency levels in both areas. These arrangements cumulatively helped the client devise an effective program to address communication problems and train or develop employees based on accurate, factual and analytical data.

The Impact

Mercer | Mettl’s set of products enabled the IT-service management company to improve its current people-centric processes by augmenting them with contemporary tools. Both platforms’ insightful features helped nurture an environment of focused learning and growth. These could be possible because the tools provided the management with substantial data to work upon and offer structured growth plans. This paved the way for highly advanced and holistic developmental strategies to improve the employees’ written and oral communication skills.

Training and retests

It was easier to identify people needing the training to improve their communication skills. Once the target group and their training needs were identified, based on the assessment results, the client initiated L&D programs and encouraged candidates to retake tests after completing their training.

The mandate for performance appraisals

The company has now compulsorily mandated clearing SpeechX and Writing Simulator tests for considering employees’ performance appraisal cycles. They can seek training sessions for whichever test they are unable to clear at first and reattempt it every six months. The client has taken this initiative to advance employees’ T&D initiatives further.

The impact of these assessments and how they have transformed the company’s L&D program promise a lasting improvement in the overall communication skills of its workforce. Thus far, Mercer | Mettl has helped it conduct about 15,000 assessments successfully, and the numbers are expected to grow.

 

The Way Forward

 

Given the immense value added by Mercer | Mettl’s platforms to the client’s L&D programs, the management plans to continue with these evaluations periodically. The company has also incorporated SpeechX in its hiring assessments and made it compulsory for its existing employees to clear both the assessments- speech and writing. The focused nature of Mercer | Mettl’s communication test reports and the consequent training initiatives have enabled the team to address all concerns related to email writing, client relations and general English proficiency incredibly well.

Explore the possibilities offered by holistic communication assessments 

Mercer | Mettl’s SpeechX and Writing Simulator helped a global IT leader refine its L&D strategy

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