tapping into tech
New leadership assessment platform developed in Houston helps nurture top talent
What if executive training and professional development didn't just reach the C-suite? A business management company is tapping into tech to bring quality leadership assessments and coaching to all levels with its latest product.
CDR Assessment Group plans to help employees grow at their work, overcome stressors, and increase diversity in management within the workplace with its recently launched CDR-U platform.
"The vision was to extend a deep level of self awareness to all employees," explains Nancy Parsons, president of CDR Assessment Group.
For more than 20 years, the company has developed in-depth assessments and coaching. CDR Assessment Group has now adapted its existing three-pronged CDR 3-D Assessment Suite into CDR-U, a program available to employees throughout an entire company.
According to the company, entry-level employees and mid-level managers make up 85 percent of the workforce. Employers who solely focus on C-suite executives leave behind a majority of their workforce. CDR-U targets these individuals with personalized, AI-style coaching that can be accessed at any time of the day.
"It's really exciting because through this process, now people can really get in touch with their strengths and gifts to a nuanced level. It's not like a Myers Briggs or a DISC, it goes way deeper than that," explains Parsons.
CDR-U features three assessments that ask a series of questions to determine the character, drivers and rewards, as well as the risks of each employee. Rather than a simple report, the program will then offer a personalized debriefing using an AI avatar the employee can choose, which explains the results and coaches the employee through an individualized process.
"The graphics are from your actual results. It's not some generic thing up on the screen," shares Parsons, "We just wanted it to feel like they were being talked to by something that's as close to human as we could get."
After the debrief, employees can access CDR-U's Developmental Action Planning Module to help employees assess their risks "on a deeper level" and "formulate a plan," explains Parsons.
Nancy Parsons is the president of CDR Assessment Group. Photo courtesy of CDR
To Parsons, self awareness is key. "You would be shocked at how often people are not really in touch with some of their best strengths. They certainly don't know the risks and careers go off track quickly," she says, "It's so important that people really know themselves at this level so that they're not under-utilizing strengths."
Understanding themselves also helps employees to "do what they love so they can really enjoy their work," she explains.
At a time when the American workforce has been relegated to a work-from-home model, Parsons feels that the coronavirus pandemic has employees feeling detached. "We're often more stressed or our risks are probably showing more and we feel detached—we feel cut off from our team," she shares, "It's a way to give people some real reassurance."
If team members are feeling especially down, companies can share CDR-U data and create team debriefs to help them through.
"I think it's more important now because people are stressed, they are kind of depressed and this is a way to pull them back," says Parsons.
Aside from a health pandemic, the United States is also experiencing increased racial tensions around the country. Business Insider reports that as companies are speaking out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, some have poor records of diversity and inclusion in their own workplaces. Corporations like Adidas, Estée Lauder Companies, Facebook, and PepsiCo are just a few of the many organizations making actionable pledges to hire and promote BIPOC within its organization, according to the New York Times.
Women have also been historically marginalized in the workplace, with McKinsey's Women in the Workplace 2019 report showing that "women continue to be underrepresented at every level."
When using data from CDR-U, racial and gender biases are no longer in the picture. "This is the best diversity tool out there because the data is race and gender-neutral. This way we can stop screening out so many women and minorities because their true talent will shine through," explains Parsons. As a scientifically-validated and neutral assessment, businesses have the ability to identify potential leaders who may be overlooked due to human biases.
"It's an objective measure against the rest of the population. It is a self-questionnaire—nobody is rating you. It's a snapshot or a fingerprint of who you are," she shares.
Parsons hopes to help people identify their strengths, stay engaged, and find the path that is best for them.
"When people are able to work in harmony congruently with what's best about them, it's going to change the dynamics of organizations and leadership. . .That's why I'm doing this," she says.