Juhani Karjula, Country Manager for Cubiks Finland, recently spoke at a conference in Moscow on assessment best practice with Cubiks’ Russian partner CASE HR. Here, Juhani gives us his report from the event, highlighting the key topics he discussed with Russian HR professionals.
When I was asked to present at a Russian HR conference it was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. St. Petersburg is only 300km from where we are based in Helsinki, yet there are more people living and working there than the entire population of Finland, so the Russian HR landscape has always been of interest to me.
Reflecting the key issues for the industry, the conference focused on trends in personnel assessment, competency modelling and talent identification. As we see elsewhere in the world, competencies, efficiency and quality are the buzzwords for the HR community in Russia. Aside from these common topics, the conference highlighted for me some challenges that are more specific to the region.
The geography of Russia, combined with the fact that the country is home to some of the world’s biggest businesses leads to all kinds of issues for HR professionals. Managing a massive workforce that is based in locations thousands of miles apart poses problems. Identifying talent and competency modelling were two prominent areas of concern that were discussed in the conference sessions.
Ensuring objectivity when identifying talent
Talent identification in Russian organisations is generally based on line manager ratings, so the criteria used can vary greatly from one manager to another in large businesses with operations based hundreds of miles apart. This means that the process can end up lacking transparency and objectivity.
Many employers are seeking new, fairer methods for identifying talent and in particular for measuring potential. This is where online systems come into play. There was significant interest at the conference in our ‘Talent Index’ tool, a bespoke online questionnaire for detecting individuals who display a combination of high performance and high potential. This product can be implemented across a whole organisation to ensure a consistent standard in the approach to identifying talent.
Competency profiling: standard or bespoke?
Historically employers in Russia have been in favour of a bespoke approach to competency frameworks. They spend a huge amount of time and money on developing unique competency frameworks that ‘speak their language’. Discussions at the conference showed that HR professionals in the region are increasingly finding this approach problematic. These highly customised frameworks go into too much detail and end up being confusing for users as the concepts of competencies, capabilities and skills get mixed up.
Some organisations in the region are starting to see the benefit of using established competency frameworks which can be adapted and tailored to reflect the culture and objectives of a business. Coupling this with online competency profiler tools, which allow job experts from various locations to contribute to the process, some Russian employers have begun to make significant cost and time savings when managing competencies.
A growing market embracing online solutions
The HR market in Russia is developing quickly, and ‘modern’ practices such as online assessments and personality questionnaires are starting to gain popularity. Online tools such as these help employers ensure a consistent approach for their staff in all locations. The war for talent is even more severe in Russia than in many Western European countries, so organisations are making considerable investments in developing HR practices driven by quality and efficiency.
Cubiks and CASE HR have been working together to provide such solutions; co-delivering competency-based assessment centres combining personality questionnaires, ability tests, case studies and interviews.
For more information about HR products and services in Russia please contact us.