6 tools for busy HR professionals

Pearson Languages
hands holding a tablet interacting with it

More and more organizations have shifted to hiring remote employees, giving candidates the opportunity to apply for jobs from anywhere in the country and across the world. In turn, this wider net has enabled HR professionals to bring in giant pools of qualified candidates – and of course, more great hires.

But with more job applications coming in, HR professionals know they need to work faster and more efficiently. And the right HR tools can help teams save time and standardize hiring across the board – especially when assessing candidates’ English skills or personality traits from afar.

Need help choosing the best HR software? We’ve got you covered. Here are 6 tools for busy HR professionals – including a number of HR tests for measuring sought-after soft skills:

1. Versant

How it helps you: Test candidates’ English language abilities with AI

Need a fair way to test candidates’ English skills? Versant is an HR test that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to score language assessments instantly. Made by Pearson, the world’s leading education company, the tool tests candidates’ speaking, listening, reading and writing skills to help HR professionals evaluate how easily someone can handle different workplace tasks – like speaking with customers over the phone or writing clear emails to co-workers.

Versant also provides an Intelligibility Index score, which objectively measures how well someone pronounces words or expresses their thoughts – both things that are important for effective workplace communication, but easily overlooked.

The test is available 24/7, with no appointment required, in more than 100 countries around the world.

Learn more about how Versant works

2. Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal

How it helps you: Measure important critical thinking skills

The Watson-Glaser test is a popular critical thinking assessment. In fact, it’s been around for more than a century, helping organizations and institutions measure the decision-making and rational thinking skills of employees, job applicants, and students alike.

The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal tool makes it easy to administer the test on a larger scale. The assessment is timed (it takes 30 minutes) and includes a large bank of questions to help make sure no one ends up writing the same test. The scores are also given as a percentile, based around the following three criteria: whether someone can recognize assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions.

Overall, it’s a great tool to use with current employees wanting to move up in the organization. But best of all? It can help HR professionals screen out candidates whose critical thinking skills aren’t up to par – and save time interviewing people who might be qualified on paper, but not necessarily in practice.

3. Golden Personality Profiler

How it helps you: Assess a candidate’s personality type and how it will affect their behavior at work.

Golden Personality Profiler is one of the most in-depth personality assessments on the market. It allows HR professionals to understand what makes an individual unique. In turn, this leads to greater self-acceptance among employees and the ability to value differences in others—key factors impacting team performance.

So, how does it work? Powered by Jung’s Theory of Type as well as the Five-Factor Model of personality, Golden identifies the most detailed aspects of an individual’s personality. The program presents findings in a clear and concise report to make it easy to understand.

Of course, this is all good information to have in mind. But how can personality tests be helpful for HR? Not only does this test help predict how well candidates will perform at work, but it also helps to quickly identify a team’s strengths and resources and its potential weaknesses and blind spots. Furthermore, this tool can help HR professionals hire people who will match, or help shape, the company culture.

4. Acsendo

How it helps you: Run assessments and improve employee performance

For many workplaces, it can be difficult to keep morale up. Many people have reported feeling overwhelmed, isolated and unproductive working from home. Acsendo, on the other hand, can help HR professionals push employee engagement and measure how everyone’s performing.

Within the tool, HR teams can run company assessments to measure employee satisfaction and how they view their work environment, among other things.

It also enables HR to see if workers’ objectives align with company-wide goals, for example, and helps teams create development plans for employees. Even more, Acscendo advertises that their platform only takes a few days for teams to implement.

5. Odoo

How it helps you: Manage employees and recruit from one place

Odoo is a pretty popular HR platform; they say they have more than 5 million users worldwide. The tool lets users keep track of things like employee leaves, hours worked, expenses and evaluations all in one place – as well as recruit and manage new job applications, for example.

We also like that they’re open source and that more than 20,000 developers contribute to it globally.

6. Raven’s

How it helps you: Assess the skills needed for leadership positions and reduce bias

Raven’s is another HR test to assess an employee’s soft skills. But it takes into special account the unique skills needed for leadership or management positions. These skills include abstract reasoning, complex problem-solving, and observation skills, among others.

HR professionals get a report with the results. It shows how the candidate compares to others in the same role. The test isn’t influenced by language differences, and overall, it gives HR professionals a better understanding of who’s actually best for the job.

More blogs from Pearson

  • Two coworkers stood in a office looking at a tablet together.

    Evaluating the ROI of Language Learning for DEI Initiatives

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 5 minutes

    Businesses are increasingly prioritizing workforce development and implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies to promote social responsibility and enhance organizational success. Language learning has emerged as a crucial aspect of these initiatives, providing companies with a clear pathway to achieving transformative results.

    For HR professionals and trainers, understanding the return on investment (ROI) of integrating language learning into DEI programs is essential for a forward-thinking business strategy and to ensure language training is always on your organization's mind.

  • a group of young business people chatting toether

    Unconscious bias in the workplace: Overcoming DEI barriers through language learning

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 7.5 minutes

    Unconscious bias: it's a quiet murmur in the corridors of our workplaces that can grow into a loud echo, shaping decisions and team dynamics in ways that may go unnoticed. In our collective quest for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), recognizing and tackling these biases is not just important—it's essential.

    By embarking on this path, we create workplaces where everyone feels valued and heard. If you're an HR professional, a leader, or a diversity consultant, it’s essential to always keep this in mind in every aspect of the workplace. Today, let's explore how language learning can be a valuable ally in breaking down the barriers created by unconscious bias.

  • A teacher sat at the front of the classroom smiling at his students.

    Encouraging cultural sensitivity in the classroom

    By Pearson Languages

    Reading time: 7.5 minutes

    In today's classrooms and schools, cultural sensitivity isn't just a nice to have; it's an essential component of effective language teaching. As educators, understanding and valuing the diverse cultures that learners bring into our schools and classrooms can bridge gaps and foster inclusive learning environments.

    But why is cultural sensitivity so important, and how can we practically incorporate it into our teaching? In this post, we explore ways to help language teachers cultivate a more culturally aware and inclusive classroom.

    Why is cultural sensitivity important in language education

    Teaching languages, including English, involves a significant cultural component; therefore, we must proceed with mindfulness and respect. Recognizing and honoring the cultural backgrounds of our students lays the groundwork for nurturing a safe space where everybody feels seen, heard, and respected. This isn't just about avoiding misunderstandings or conflicts; it's about enriching the educational experience for all.

    Language encompasses more than just vocabulary and grammar; it is a conduit of culture, identity, and worldviews. As an educator, you possess the wonderful opportunity to nurture and encourage your students, allowing each voice to soar individually while harmoniously contributing to a greater collective comprehension.

    Students are better prepared for the workplace

    Embracing cultural diversity within the classroom arms students with a set of skills that are invaluable in the workplace. An example can be found in 'Creative Intelligence: Harnessing the Power to Create, Connect, and Inspire' by Bruce Nussbaum. Nussbaum explores how creativity emerges at the intersection of different cultures and experiences.

    In a business context, this creativity is the driving force behind innovation and problem-solving. Students who have learned to navigate cultural nuances are adept at thinking outside the box, making them valuable assets in any professional environment.

    They are more likely to approach challenges with an open mind and collaborate effectively with a diverse team, recognizing that each unique background contributes to a richer, more comprehensive perspective on work and the world.

    It improves social skills

    Incorporating cultural sensitivity into language education isn't just about creating a respectful classroom; it directly enhances students' social skills.

    Numerous studies suggest that culturally diverse classrooms are breeding grounds for advanced social skills. One theory that explores this concept is Bennett's Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), which illustrates how intercultural encounters can foster individuals' cognitive growth and emotional resilience.

    Bennett states that through various stages of cultural awareness, people develop from mere tolerance of difference to integration of diverse cultural viewpoints into their own life experiences.

    Students can develop empathy and stronger communication abilities by understanding and appreciating cultural nuances. This knowledge empowers them to engage thoughtfully and effectively with peers from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of global citizenship.

    Students have better emotional intelligence

    Robert J. Sternberg's 'Cultural Intelligence and Successful Intelligence' highlights a significant research study that supports the idea that exposure to cultural diversity can enhance empathetic development. According to Sternberg, when individuals are exposed to a variety of cultures, it broadens their emotional experiences and perspectives.

    By interacting with individuals from different backgrounds, students' own emotional intelligence can be greatly enhanced. This is because learning to understand and respect diverse emotional expressions and communication styles sharpens one's ability to read and respond to the feelings of others.

    Moreover, it fosters emotional maturity, as individuals learn to navigate and appreciate the subtleties of human emotion in a multicultural world. Through such enriching exchanges, students in culturally diverse settings develop a more refined sense of empathy, becoming well-equipped to engage with others in a considerate, informed, and emotionally intelligent manner.

    It helps their language learning

    Understanding a culture deeply enriches the language acquisition process for students. When they step into the shoes of those who live and breathe the language they're learning, it becomes more than just memorizing vocabulary and grasping grammatical structures.

    Students begin to notice the subtleties in conversation tones, the unspoken expressions that only those privy to the culture can interpret, and the implicit rules of language etiquette.

    This discernment can be the distinguishing factor between being a functional speaker and a captivating storyteller in their new language. As students immerse themselves in cultural practices, whether through music, film, or literature, they are not just learning a language—they are learning to convey emotions and ideas just as a fluent speaker would.

    It helps with classroom friendships

    This new understanding helps to peel away the layers of hesitation. Engaging in activities that celebrate diversity becomes an exciting exploration, paving the way for students to break out of their shells. They're encouraged to be curious, ask questions, and share about themselves, fostering an environment where every student is a teacher and a learner in their own right.

    As the classroom transforms into a supportive space for cultural exchange, students are encouraged to reach out and connect with peers they might not have approached before. With every shared story and every collaborative project, the bonds of friendship are forged, transcending former barriers and weaving a tightly-knit community that thrives on the unique contributions of each member.

    Embracing diversity in your language classroom

    Wondering how to transform your language classroom into a crucible of cultural sensitivity? Here are a few simple yet significant changes you can start with today.

    Get to know your students

    Make an effort to learn about your students' cultural backgrounds. This gesture speaks volumes about your respect for their identity. Use icebreakers or activities that invite students from diverse backgrounds to share their traditions and norms.

    This doesn't just apply to major cultural differences but also the nuanced aspects of diversity within a seemingly homogenous group of students. This research can also help you plan activities and whether they are appropriate for all students in your classes.

    Fostering a community of belonging

    Imagine stepping into a class where every student feels a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is the power of embedding diversity and equity into your teaching methods. This can be done by:

    • Recognizing holidays from around the world.
    • Sharing stories from varied cultures.
    • Encouraging students to express themselves in ways that honor their heritage.

    These strategies are just a few ways to instill acceptance and belonging in your own classroom environment whilst learning a new language.

    Incorporate multicultural content

    Select texts, examples, and materials that reflect a range of cultures and experiences. Familiarity breeds comfort, but newness breeds growth. Ensure your curriculum and classroom materials reflect a world beyond the traditional English-speaking countries.

    By doing so, you're offering students windows into different worlds and mirrors to see themselves reflected in the learning material.

    Representation is also incredibly important in promoting diversity and inclusivity in education. We can create a more inclusive and equitable society by using materials, programs and stories that feature varied representation.

    This not only ensures that everyone's voices and life experiences are heard and valued, but also helps to challenge stereotypes and foster understanding among different communities.

    Foster open discussions

    Encourage open discussion in the classroom around cultural norms, expressions, and idioms. When students understand the context behind language, they gain a deeper appreciation and avoid missteps that could inadvertently offend.

    Use mistakes as learning opportunities

    When cultural insensitivities do arise, it is important to approach them as teachable moments. Take the opportunity to guide learners with a warm and understanding attitude, providing them with the necessary knowledge, resources and context to foster a more inclusive and respectful classroom environment.

    Reflect on biases

    Be aware and proactive about addressing stereotypes and biases present in class discussions. Challenge your own preconceptions and lead by example. Creating brave spaces for learning helps students feel comfortable asking questions and making mistakes, which is where true growth happens.

    Nurture empathy and understanding

    Teach language learning as a journey of empathy. Language is not only about speaking to someone but also feeling with them. Encourage students to step into the shoes of others, fostering a spirit and culture of empathy that transcends cultural boundaries.

    Respect linguistic diversity

    Encourage your students to express themselves in English with pride in their respective accents. Support them in understanding that clarity and communication are the goals, not trying to remove their accent or identity. By doing so, we not only bolster their confidence but also teach the wonderful lesson of inclusivity.

    Practical activities

    Implementing activities and lessons that bring cultural awareness into the forefront can transform your language classroom into a vibrant community of curious minds and hearts. Here are some examples of activities you a teacher could do:

    • A simple yet effective activity is a 'cultural artifact show and tell,' where students are invited to share an item of cultural significance to them and tell its story. This encourages sharing and deep listening, shedding light on the diverse cultural backgrounds represented in the room.
    • Cultural exchange workshops, possibly with guest speakers, can offer students firsthand insight into various aspects of different cultures. These workshops can revolve around traditional dance, music, games, or cooking demonstrations, allowing students to immerse themselves in and appreciate the richness of various other cultures.
    • Having international cuisine days, where students prepare and share dishes from different countries, can be a delightful way to stimulate the senses while emphasizing the importance of cultural traditions tied to food. It's a tasty opportunity for students to express themselves and learn the stories behind international cuisines.
    • Crafting sessions for cultural storytelling allows for the narratives of different cultures to be told through the enchanting medium of stories. Storytelling connects students to diverse societies through emotional and moral threads. The storytelling could be done in the target language you're teaching.
    • A book and film club can open doors to different worlds. Curating a list of international authors and filmmakers for the club enhances language skills and cultural understanding by engaging with diverse narratives and viewpoints.

    The list isn't exhaustive, but there may be other ways to introduce cultural sensitivity into your class, any kind of activity that showcases and introduces cultures or traditions to others in an interesting manner.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, cultural sensitivity can transform our language classrooms and schools into hives of connection and understanding. It takes awareness, intention, and a nurturing heart—qualities that you, as an educator, already possess. Remember, every small step you take has an impact on the young minds you shape and the interconnected world they will navigate.

    Embrace diversity, teach with sensitivity, and watch as your classroom becomes a microcosm of the world we all share—a world of vibrant cultures, languages, and stories waiting to be told and heard. By incorporating diverse narratives and viewpoints from others into our teaching, we can enhance our students' language skills and deepen their cultural understanding.

    So let's continue to strive for a more inclusive and empathetic learning environment, one that celebrates differences and fosters empathy and compassion among all learners.

    Keep developing your understanding

    To dive deeper into creating inclusive learning experiences, explore our free course on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, designed for teachers. To help empower educators to foster classrooms where diversity is celebrated, inclusion is the norm, and everyone feels they belong.

    Craft brave spaces, build a sense of belonging, and instill that all-important appreciation and acceptance of others. Request free course access today.

    On the topic of diversity and inclusion in the classroom, make sure to read our other posts, 'The Importance of diversity and inclusion in your curriculum' and 'Ways to bring cultural diversity into your classroom'.

    We also provide other professional development programs and qualifications for educators; you can check them out here: