Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

Psykologitoimisto Crescon uusi blogi löytyy nettisivuiltamme osoitteesta www.cresco.fi/fi/blogi. Lämpimästi tervetuloa!

Our new blog (mainly in Finnish) can be found from www.cresco.fi/fi/blogi. Welcome!


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We at Cresco Metrics (a spin off from Cresco Psychology Agency, Facebook: Cresco Metrics) have been exploring some personnel assessment methods that are intended to be more interactive, enable instant feedback, can be done on-line and hopefully are also more fun. We have been doing this because we want to know, if this type of method could function as a tool in personnel recruitment. With this new method we’ve attempted to measure different aspects of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and emotional stability in stressful situations 

Why develop this kind of method even though the current ones are reliable and valid? Because we have been thinking about the younger generations, meaning generation Z and generation Y. They tend to choose employers that give them instant feedback, offer generous possibilities for learning and development, freedom regarding time and space and also the possibility to use latest technology. To invite the talents of generation Y and Z, assessment should have same qualities: It should enable learning by instant feedback, it should be done by sitting on your sofa at home, on-line and shouldn’t be time consuming. And furthermore an additional bonus would be if the tasks in the assessment take place in some unusual and exotic environment. The assessment process itself should mirror the values and culture of the future employee.

In two words, next generation recruitment and assessment should be fun and fast. Our traditional paradigm about personnel assessment is that by using quite serious and tedious assessment methods, we have a great way to measure the candidate’s motivation and tenure. Even though the relevance of this point can be understood, we have begun to suspect that it is outdated. Nowadays employers have to be attractive and fun and the assessment methods have to support the image of the employee.

The results of our experimentation with this new method have been encouraging. Compared to more traditional personnel assessment methods some areas can be assessed as well or even better with the new approach. Areas that could be measured well or better were for example conscientiousness, activity level and helpfulness. This suggests that some areas of organizational citizenship behavior can be measured in a novel way. Both traditional assessment methods and this new method showed similar patterns. 

However, results with emotional stability were problematic to interpret. According to both methods – the traditional ones and the new one – all our test takers were very stable emotionally. In other, words, we didn’t get big enough differences between individuals. This might mean that both the traditional method and the new one have failed to measure this or simply that our test-takers all indeed were very stable. In this respect, we have to keep on experimenting.

Rethinking recruitment continues. If you want to stay tuned with the progress please follow us on Facebook: Cresco Metrics.

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Recruitment process is by nature such that it awakens expectations and hope in the candidates. Every step in the process of being applied, being interviewed and finally having a personnel assessment makes the candidate hoping of being recruited to the position of her dreams. It takes time for the candidate and for the HR-person or manager involved to run through this laborious process – and sometimes the not-so-fitting candidate is chosen.

Only one candidate experiences a positive outcome – she gets a new job. The rest of the candidates will be probably frustrated even if the recruitment process was excellently organized. They might already have imagined themselves in the new position – how they could get some new inspiration and motivation to their career, how they could proudly tell their neighbors and relatives about their new job, etc. This is the name of the game and we all know it, but still on an emotional level this disappointment can harm the image of the recruiting company. We cannot disguise our emotions, even though rationale tells us that this is just life.

So, what to do to lessen disappointment or even prevent it? Recruit all? Of course not, but give everyone something and make this tedious process more pleasant for both the company and the candidate. And remembering that pleasant can also mean more accurate.

Usually the process on the candidates part begins by sending an application and then waiting. And waiting. And waiting more, as the recruiting manager and HR are nearly overwhelmed by the incoming applications. So, why not let all the candidates do something while they wait. Something that would benefit them immediately and give them transparency (read also realism) about the process. The benefit would be immediate feedback about their competencies and how they are doing in the recruitment process: Is their fit good the company and position? Also general feedback about their competencies could be given.

Furthermore, though there are good IT-systems to help screening the applications and CVs, it is still has been nearly impossible to set criteria for prescreening that would really tell us about the potential of the candidates. It is a fair possibility that some of the most potential candidates are left out because they for example have not enough of work experience in a specific area.

Why not use assessment tools for all candidates that are interested and give them feedback. Feedback along with a possibility to learn are usually very rewarding on a personal level. Both feedback and transparency in the recruitment process would in the long run build good corporate image. Furthermore giving the candidates a possibility to show her talent already in the beginning of the process would give a fair chance to every applicant and prevent companies from errors due to irrelevant cutting criteria in the application phase. Besides this the whole process would be speeded to match the clock speed of modern business.

Give everyone a chance to show their talent, give everyone feedback, and ensure that your best candidate is in the process all the way through.

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Within a turbulant economy and in the midst of an individualist culture, people feel the pressure to find different ways to make themselves an appealing investment for a company. When the social loses its significance in joint creation of wellbeing, people turn to themselves for help. People seek to better themselves in a number of ways during their free time as well as at work. A somewhat ridiculous example of the pressure for self-development and self-help on the modern information worker are the gyms offering treadmills not with TV shows to lookat but simultaneous brain training games. Sounds appealing, enhance your cognitive capacity AND do your cardio at the same time!

Extremes aside, people do invest a lot of time and effort into becoming better and feeling better at what they do. In essence, this is a positive trend, highlighting personal responsibility and ability in self-development. However, with all the offerings and help for self-improvement out there, one may get a little lost, like in the gym example above.

How do you know when and what type of self-development is needed? A simple answer is: when contentment ends. When viewed from an environmental perspective, sometimes there are rules in play that force action that is not good for you or at the end for the environment. This is the case for instance when an employee has to work in an organization according to rules that she feels are not supporting her best efforts; lord knows how many people are at the moment doing for example work in a manner they know is not their best, in unsatisfactory circumstances, or with people they feel are not helping. However, there is no need to succumb to the situation. These are moments where the rules have reached their limits, they are inadequate and do not serve a purpose. These situations open a window of possibility for change: the possibility to take a step back, observe the situation, revise and transcend.

It is quite easy to notice rules and restrictions in your operating environment that make you unhappy and inhibit your success. Discontent about your own actions or thought processes is however easily subdued or avoided. Noticing what inhibits yourself from being better in your surroundings as well as in your own thoughts is vital for going forward. There is no reason people could not step back, observer, revise and transcend in their own minds as well.

What is it that separates highly successful individuals, excellent performance or wellbeing from their opposites? Luck or circumstance, the predispositions caused by individual genetic makeup and the environment, such as the networks we choose to belong to and build, all play their part. However the individual is not a dummy but a willful agent in the world. What are the actions that a person can take that help reach excellence and be better?

It seems that in the end te answer is very simple – reaching good quality and continuing development require: 1) challenging your own views about what you are doing 2) recognizing points of discontentment 3) making a conscious effort to do things better and 3) using your time correctly. Seems pretty manageable. But when looking at the popularity of services and consultation telling people to do just this, it also seems we need some help in the process.

The thing that connects most self-development programs, psychotherapies, meditation, yoga, life-coaching and career counseling, basically anything that promises you development, wellbeing, problem solving is that they aim at making use of the mind is “a combinatorial and recursive system” with the metacognitive capacity to have thoughts about thoughts as well as thoughts about thoughts about thoughts (you can continue this sentence for as far as your metacognitive capacity permits).

Recognizing and developing this particular cognitive capacity would be the first step for any person aiming at developing either outer or inner faculties. It would help in all the steps needed: noticing where and how things could be better in your own actions, understanding what is needed for improvement, what you do not yet know and how you could find this information as well as finding ways to motivate yourself into action. It seems that the power for becoming better is an innate faculty and one that to a great length defines human nature. Without clear and insuperable environmental or deeply rooted genetic obstacles for development, we find there are no more excuses…



Thank you Linda Nordberg and Vesa Putkinen

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Learning ability is one of the most crucial elements that build personal and organizational success in constantly changing environments and hypermedia contexts. How can learning ability be measured and more importantly, how can it be developed?

IQ measurement typically contains a set of tasks that reflect different aspects of intelligence, such as speed, accuracy, working memory span, verbal reasoning or visuo-spatial ability. Many correlates to IQ have been formulated and manifest in practice as tests of logical or verbal reasoning. The idea in using these tests to predict learning ability is that people who can efficiently handle abstract and concrete information and make correct judgments based on it are also good at learning new things and act sharply in a work setting. This kind of measurement and concept of learning reflects the idea that it is a fixed characteristic. However, if learning is viewed in light of what is known about brain function, the development of learning theories, different pedagogical models as well as the characteristics of hypermedia work, it poses new demands on measurement and even definition of intelligent functioning.

When applying the connectivist view of learning to measuring and defining intelligence, it is not important how much information is in store, but what kinds of connections you are able to create within knowledge frameworks and in useful contexts. Instead of focusing on memory of static information, it would be more sensible to concentrate on the ability to form enriching connections, be it with technology or people. Learning ability as a concrete characteristic should be redefined as something more dynamic, such as readiness to connect in a meaningful way which truly reflects the ability to learn.

However, as the huge amount of information and media available leads at times to redundancy, so can new connections be value creating or a pure waste of energy. Creating learning that is of some use requires that a person experiences a sense of meaning in the learning situation / connection. An important quality of someone who wishes to learn more would then be to be more aware of things that are personally meaningful. There is no sense in building connections and learning things that have no personal purpose. This is a fabulous thing, because it means that to develop their learning, people should only do things they honestly find interesting and that take them towards their personal goals.

If learning and intelligent function exist only temporarily and morph with context, they seem quite difficult to grasp with psychological constructs and traditional methods based on their operationalization. Evaluating or measuring learning ability should thus always happen in a reasonable context. Simulations as assessment methods have long been used to elicit intelligent context-based action and interaction and continue to be a functional tool for assessment of complex activities such as learning. Also, taking the importance of context out of the picture, measuring the precursors to intelligent function and successful connectivism such as executive function, working memory and attention would give more valuable information about human capacity than an IQ score. Within an individual, the development of learning ability involves growth of awareness, pursuit of personal happiness and increase of internal and reciprocal connectivist activity.

Thank you Jarkko Mylläri

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This is the company blog of Cresco Psychologist Agency. Our employees will be writing here articles about organizational learning, wellbeing and self-knowledge.

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