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Productivity vs. Efficiency – What Are the Differences?

In any given organisation, productivity and efficiency are highly regarded. Most managers and employees get their feedback based on these two factors. But what exactly do we mean when we say productivity or efficiency? Apparently there are some questions around this topic that haven’t been answered yet.

In order to explain the differences between productivity and efficiency, we must first understand what they exactly mean. To put it in simpler terms, we are talking about differences between quantity and quality. It is nearly impossible to obtain 100% quality, while having productivity levels up at maximum. There should be a middle ground in order to optimise your results.

Both productivity and efficiency are absolutely crucial for building a fantastic work ethic. If you manage to learn how to handle both of them and what makes them distinctly important, you and your business will thrive. As a beginner, you may be tempted to focus too much on efficiency and although this isn’t a bad thing to do, understanding the key variables between efficiency and productivity is imperative.

Given the complexity of this issue, insight is required on what these two factors actually are.

Productivity

At its very core, productivity shows you the rate at which products are being developed or a task is being completed.  When you are measuring productivity things get a little more complex than that. You have to take into account whether it’s physical or office work, if the job requires a certain quality factor or the impact a specific industry’s requirements may have on its workers. Nonetheless, productivity is an integral part of any successful company.

Efficiency

Efficiency is all about the comparison between what is really being produced or performed with what can be produced taking into account the same amount of resources, such as: money, time and labour. In simpler terms, efficiency measures whether there is any waste in your company. Depending on the industry you work in, efficiency may be more desirable than productivity, but usually their importance is proportionate.

Efficiency vs. Productivity

Everyone wants to be as productive as possible, but there are always problems of various sorts that keep us from getting the job done. Firstly, don’t waste more time than necessary when completing a task. Try and set your own rhythm and pace and stick to it. Try and write down every step necessary in order to complete a certain task and follow that process religiously. Once you have the whole process set in stone, you will see that the amount of time you require will steadily decrease.

Many people ask if it is possible to be productive and efficient at the same time and the answer is yes. All you have to do is analyse the task at hand and try and find out what it requires more; whether it is quantity or quality.

It all comes down to the importance of the task. As an example, let’s talk about employee enquiries towards the HR department. We all know they must be dealt with in a respectable amount of time. This type of task is considered to be more on the productive side, due to the fact that it is the same process over and over again, with the same forms and documentation that need to be filled out every time. You can finish all the enquiries quickly and with complete certainty that their quality is top notch as long as you deal with them in the correct manner.

With efficiency tasks, most often than not they do not have a precise and by the book approach. These tasks obviously require more time and a high level of due diligence. In this scenario, quality trumps quantity. Of course, every task has a deadline. But if you happen to have the misfortune of dealing with it poorly, it doesn’t necessarily matter too much. You should always work at your full potential, but given the fact that the assignment doesn’t have a methodological way of dealing with it, you have some wiggle room and the possibility to improve it.

As mentioned earlier in the article, it is very important for both productivity and efficiency to be part of your workflow. It provides you with time, expertise and discipline in order to handle distinct assignments. Balancing productivity and efficiency may seem troublesome at first, but once you find it, certain tasks will stop being such a burden on you.

In conclusion, one more idea that is important to remember is this: never sacrifice your work. If you need to do good, solid work then don’t rush it by any means, and when you are looking for quantity don’t get yourself lost in too many details. With this in mind, you can accomplish anything you want. Do the work you have to do the way it was meant to be done and never compromise. It is essential you know and understand the differences between these two practices in order to ensure your work never has to suffer again.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

We help you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. The GR8 Productivity Gap tool is excellent at showcasing the evolution of any given employee over time. By contrasting two assessments made before and after training, it allows you to analyse both your employees’ development and their involvement in the process as well.

 

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Sources:

www.smallbusiness.chron.com

www.doityourself.com

www.differencebetween.info

www.selfthrive.com

The Workplace of 2020 : A Different Experience Altogether

In the course of the next  few years, the workforce will be comprised of no less than five generations, starting from Traditionalists and Baby Boomers and ending with the all new “Generation 2020” – these being represented by people born after 1997. Given this situation, employers around the world will face numerous challenges in order to recruit, motivate and develop all of these different types of employees. It is believed that by 2020, the office will become mobile in order to accommodate employees worldwide. The best talents will claim imaginative, ingenious new contracts. Organisations unwilling or unable to provide such a shift in their business will suffer greatly in their mission of recruiting the best candidates.

HR departments face an uphill battle in preparing for 2020 and beyond. Large corporations are required to organise themselves globally in order to deal appropriately with employees, consumers, supply chain partners and shareholders who are dispersed worldwide. CSR(Corporate Social Responsibility) is on top of their list, followed closely by learning in terms of wikis, social media and blogs in order to extend their connectivity. Companies must adopt a series of changes ranging from operating processes to employee benefits – and everything must be done with complete transparency.

HR professionals are people too; hence they must continue to develop their skills and social awareness. They should know what is going on in their local communities, and understand its nuances, be aware of global issues and be open-minded in order to use new procedures such as crowd sourcing. By 2020, HR professionals should be proficient in everything digital and here is a list of a few things worth mentioning: video uploads, social networking, blogs, instant messaging, tagging etc.

The example given above isn’t the only change employers will have to face. By 2020, there will be 10 forces that will shape how employers think and act:

 

  1. Shifting workforce demographics” –In comparison to the 2010 workforce data, the predictions for 2020 show that US employees will comprise of even more people older than 55, more women and more Latinos. In Europe and Asia for example, due to a drop in fertility rates, the workforce will consist of even more aging individuals.
  2. The knowledge economy” –As mentioned in a previous article, the skill gap has started to represent a problem and will continue to be one in the foreseeable future. Work is becoming more technically demanding, and it will require skills such as: listening, relationship building, judgement, communicating with colleagues and problem solving.
  3. Globalisation” –For various reasons, a great number of companies included in the Financial Times Global 500, have their headquarters located in the following countries: Brazil, Russia, India or China. In just a few short years, the BRIC countries are said to become economic powerhouses. The workforce is becoming ‘virtual’, with less people on-site and with integrated headquarters operations.
  4. The digital workplace” – The digital space is growing at an increasingly high rate. Companies now require people who can cope with the sheer amount of information, whilst keeping it secure and private. Organisations are also looking for candidates who can generate new and exciting digital content.
  5. The omnipresence of mobile technology” –At a global scale, the number of mobile phones outnumber that of people. Consequently, there are countries where phones trump people.There are over 7,200 education apps already for the iPhone, some of them made by financial institutions, such as Wachovia and Bank of America, who use them for online performance support, sales training, product knowledge and sales training.
  6. The culture of connectivity” –Given the fact that we are always a few clicks away from social media, most people have become ‘ hyper connected’ and that is disrupting the balance and boundaries between home and office.
  7. Participation society” –Consumers are getting involved in improving any type of product, service and business. An example would be Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation, which amasses 24,000 employee users. They have gathered online via various social networks, in order to improve company operations.
  8. Social learning decade” –The period of time between 2010 and 2020 will become known as the time of ‘social networking, social learning and social media’.
  9. Corporate social responsibility” –By 2020, CSR will have become even more important than it is today. At present, 88% of people graduating university wish to work for companies that have CSR ideals complementary to their own. A great example for this is IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. They place members of their staff to work on CSR projects in developing countries where the organisation is expected to grow within the next years.
  10. Millennials in the workforce” – This group of people expect companies to use the same tools they have been using since they’ve become digitally active. Technology dominates every aspect of their lives and it comes as no surprise that 41% of millennials choose to communicate electronically at the office rather than on the phone or face to face. Millennials tend to use their own technology in the office and 75% of them think that access to technology makes them more efficient workers. Nonetheless, technology can be problematic and lead to inter-generational conflict in the workplace. This tension makes millennials feel held back by outdated working styles.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation, can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

“The 2020 Workplace” – Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd

Forbes.com

Skill Gap: Why is it still a Major Concern (Part 2)

This article is part of a series. For part 1 click here.

There is a steady decline in the U.S. system’s possibility of nurturing these midlevel skills, due to the fact that automation is cutting down the need for low-skilled workers. Luckily, there are local initiatives which are trying to address the respective skill gap in their areas.

A good example on how to narrow the skill gap is represented by internships specifically tailored to college graduates in order to meet the more evolving needs of today’s employers. Some university programs include the so-called “cooperative degree programs” also known as co-ops. This type of approach will allow both employers and future graduates to assess the market and their specific place in the world of work. Employers have the chance to evaluate skills such as: employee attitude and work ethic, but also offering their training to their temporary recruits, specifically tailored to the organisation’s needs. These co-ops and internships help students earn their necessary credit in order to graduate, earn proper work experience, and best of all getting them to apply classroom studies in the real business world.

For over 20 years, there has been a shortage of “transferable” workplace skills, and although there have been many initiatives in terms of laws, guidelines and goals, not many problems have been resolved.

These “transferable” workplace skills have represented a real problem for the private sector for the past 20 years. HR managers have stopped putting too much emphasis on skills such as reading literacy and computational aptitude. In today’s workplace, soft skills are dominating the office needs, and they are as follows: interpersonal and intrapersonal knowledge, time management, ethics, teamwork, personal organisation, interpersonal communication, problem solving, anger management and reasoning.

At a global scale, Millennials display unique attributes that conflict with society and the idea of work as it currently stands. This group of people have spent their entire or nearly entire life connected to technology, rapid accessibility of information and a permanent connection with family and friends. Straight from birth, Millennials have been told they are special and they were rewarded nearly instantaneously for even the smallest of accomplishments.

Millennials are much better equipped to handle active learning that can teach them metacognitive skills. Such operating systems are being beta-tested as we speak, in order to assure the teaching of a higher-order and analytical skills. In the United States, the successful applications of e-learning for workplace training are expected to be introduced into the K-12 curricula where they are foreseen to shrink the metacognitive skill gap in public schools. Games and simulations offer a great basis for education and training, with at least 45% of Millennials being active learners.

In approximately 10 years, companies everywhere will move all types of employee training programs towards the online. Nowadays, distance education done through e-learning is just a stepping stone towards a new structure of education.

The level of information a worker can acquire at the workplace takes half the time compared to the classical classroom delivery, thus retention can be increased by 30% and the cost of training can be reduced by 40%. There will be a quick and positive ROI because employee efficiency is substantially increased.

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How to attract and retain great salespeople

In the age of the customer, the consumers have gained significantly more knowledge and control over the sales process than any time in history – they have a huge variety of options available, they are digitally active and they are less dependent upon the sales representatives, and their expectations match up their investment. While the customers’ habits and behaviours have changed, the universal sales strategies have remained basically the same.

In a recent research study done by Cranfield Management School, it has been revealed that 90% of the people working in sales are facing major difficulties in making an effective pitch. That is why good sales reps represent a competitive advantage for every business, if they have them.

Also in regard to people in sales, David Thorp, the director of research and professional development at the Chartered Institute of Marketing had this to say: “First-rate salespeople are focused and can target potential customers effectively. They understand which customers have the money, authority and need to buy from them.” He continued stating that “They also build strong relationship with customers, which is key to customer retention. It is worth investing the time and the money in getting good staff, as they will be able to add much more to an organisation’s bottom line than poor sales staff, which can be a liability.”

The selection you make regarding sales people will determine the success of your organisation. If you are willing to invest time in the selection process, this will solve half of the sales job. Competent sales reps know how to highlight the numerous benefits of your product or service. These people are skilled in detecting possible prospects and quick in surmounting any objections that may come along the way. Sales professionals are able to sell effectively in the most adverse situations and even in the world of cut-throat competition. What makes them so efficient is the fact that they possess an internal drive towards achievement, a fantastic sense of seriousness to sort everything out and accomplish their goals, even when the external factors are detrimental to their cause.

As mentioned above, the selection process is very tedious, but extremely important. This means that even if you find a good sales rep that doesn’t mean you found the most suitable candidate for your organisation. When selecting, there are two key aspectsthat you must take into account, besides the person’s capability to sell:

  1. Is that person compatible with the company’s culture? – If the candidate and the rest of your team do not get along, then it’s crystal clear you do not wish to hire that person. As soon as your sales numbers grow, this will involve support from the other departments in your company. If the departments despise sales, it is absolutely certain you won’t get the profit you expect due to the fact that the sales department won’t receive the help it needs.
  2. Does the candidate understand what exactly are you selling? – If a sales rep doesn’t understand what your organisation is selling, how can you expect them to sell anything? Although they may get lucky a few times, you must be certain that they acknowledge what the company is selling.

In order to get an idea of what a good salesperson is, I recommend you start evaluating every encounter you have as a customer. What are those people doing that makes you feel comfortable about doing business with them? Learning to detect good sales reps represents the first step and it is of upmost importance.

Thoroughly Evaluate your Sales Team

Although sales are an area where results speak for themselves, you must also evaluate the process through which your team does make the sale – it is obviousthat if they don’t have good results, something in their sales process is not working accordingly.

In order to solve this problem, evaluate how your team implements every sales process from start to finish. Afterwards, you can properly assess where they are struggling, why, and help them through coaching. It will greatly benefit them by developing their skills to overcome each step necessary them develop their skills for each step necessary.

Use a Sales assessment for your team

For a proper assessment of your sales force, you need to weigh in your current staff, but also candidates you wish to hire. If you do this in an effective manner, you will know for certain that every sales rep you bring in will possess all the necessary personality attributes to perform at a top level and have high sales results.

One of best ways, if not the best way, to evaluate your staff and candidates is to use assessments such as: GR8 Sales, GR8 Teams and GR8 Engagement. The questions and issues raised by these evaluations will help you determine if the candidates have at least one of these traits:

  • Building Client Relationships
  • Sales Process Management
  • Understanding clients’ needs
  • Enthusiasm
  • Loyalty
  • Respect
  • Perseverance

If the candidates you evaluate score high in at least one of these traits, that means he is a driven individual and there is a great amount of opportunity for success as a “hunter” representative of your sales department. Afterwards, you can have another interview with him in order to be sure that person fits to your organisational culture, thus making an informed decision about a future employee.

How to Improve your Sales Team Results

Offer them as much constructive feedback as possible. You cannot expect your team to improve if they are unaware of the mistakes they are making. This is the reason why it is imperative to have regular meetings with them to offer them support and advice on how they are performing.

When you offer your thoughts on their progress make sure you include both the positive and the negative feedback. In order for your team to improve, they must realise that besides their strengths they also have weaknesses. Nonetheless, keep in mind that negative feedback is for one-on-one meetings only. If you criticise a salesperson in front of his colleagues, he may start resenting you, start working poorly and have a low level of engagement. If this takes place one too many times, high employee turnover is right around the corner, and it can cost your organisation a large sum of money.

Present your team with the best tools and resources for them to thrive

After you evaluate and assess your sales team, by now, you should have a clear idea regarding the areas they are struggling at that moment. Given the fact you have this information, search for the right tools and resources your team requires in order to help them surmount the deficiencies they are encountering.

Let’s say one of your employees is experiencing problems with productivity because he cannot allocate the necessary time for sales calls. For him to overcome this problem, you can research for the right type of scheduling programme to best fit your team’s needs. However, there are situations where your whole team can struggle with productivity. In this scenario, you may have to analyse their working process and establish which tasks can be automated. Implement the automation, leaving your team with more time to sell and less time on unrelated tasks.

The examples I have presented you are just a few ideas of how you can improve your team’s performance, but be aware of the fact that each sales team and person is unique and have their own particular needs. So as to pinpoint the exact problems faced by your team, remember to communicate with them constantly and assist them in finding the best solutions for the best sales results.

Assessing the salespeople, developing them and aligning the sales strategies should become a top priority for the organisations willing to thrive in the customer’s age. Great People Inside helps you find the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

 

 

 

Sources:

www.marketingdonut.com.uk

www.entrepreneur.com

www.nasp.com

www.salesdrive.info

www.quicksprout.com

Overcoming the Recruitment Biases

Do you or anyone you know have a sixth sense when it comes to recruitment? Is that “sense” completely unbiased and effective? If you answered “yes”, then you are definitely lying to yourselves.

While it is, indeed, true that some people have much more success in recruitment then others,  this happens, most of the times, due to their abilities slowly developed over the course of time and multiple errors.

How do you make up your mind when confronted with a decision? Well, people tend to prefer one of the two following approaches:

One of these approaches is using the “gut feeling”, that has been proven to be successful for them over the years. The main problem with this approach is that it can never be reliable enough. No matter how many times it helped you make the right decision, it will still be just a game of dice next time you use it. And, on top of that, have you ever considered what exactly is this gut feeling and how does it work? Bruce Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, defined it as “the subconscious integration of all experiences, conditioning, and knowledge of a lifetime, including the cultural and emotional biases of that lifetime.” This doesn’t sound very professional when it comes to recruitment, does it?

The second approach that people use when facing a decision is what they imagine to be the rational analysis. This approach consists of trying to methodically examine all the available information and data in order to reach a conclusion. This may sound as unbiased as it can get, but is it?

In most cases, even while HR managers and CEOs adopt and implement programs that they believe to be free of bias, they still fall short of addressing unconscious biases. Dr. Banaji, a social psychologist at Harvard University, explains that “discrimination is veiled, not explicit, but rather more implicit, unconscious, because we ourselves are unaware of it”.

In his book, Everyday Bias, noted diversity consultant Howard J. Ross points to many studies indicating that these sorts of blindspots are ubiquitous in our lives.  “Virtually every important decision we make in life is influenced by these biases, and the more they remain in the unconscious, the less likely we are to make the best decisions we are able to make.”

Some of these biases include:

Confirmation bias: The tendency for people to seek out information that conforms to their preexisting views, and ignore information that goes against their views. For example, when an interviewer forms a distinct opinion about a candidate based on a minute piece of information such as the college they attended, before the actual interview, he or she is succumbing to confirmation bias. Great candidates may not make it to the interview or be perceived as less competent than others because of these assumptions. Organizations may decrease their chances of hiring great candidates due to interviewing confirmation bias.

Ingroup bias: The tendency to favor members of your own group (or those that you have more in common with). This bias can result in making poor hiring decisions by choosing a candidate entirely based on subjective criteria such as shared interests, hobbies, education, age, professional background or even similarities of appearance or name.

Selective perception: The process of cherry picking the information that we do like to perceive, while ignoring the ones that would contradict our beliefs. This goes hand in hand with the ingroup bias. When we find a candidate that matches our initial preferences, we tend to notice only his or hers positive features, while unconsciously filtering out all the data that would contravene our viewpoint.

Status quo bias: The fact that we would almost every time prefer the familiar things – the ones that we are already comfortable with. This bias prevents diverse hiring by making us prone to selecting the same type of employees that we have chosen in the past.

All of these could interfere with our reasoning, so what can we do in order to overcome all of these biases and use an objective judgment when recruiting candidates?

Anonymizing candidate selection is definitely helpful, but it’s far from enough. Consider using one of these methods to ensure that your organization’s hiring process is bias-free:

One way would be what Dan Hill, an internationally recognized expert on reading emotions based on facial micro expressions and the CEO of Sensory Logic, told us about at the Great People Inside Conference: The New World of Work in Romania (you can see the whole video by clicking here). “People don’t think their feelings; they feel them. So at Sensory Logic we bypass self-reported, cognitively filtered input by going straight to how people most naturally reflect and communicate their emotions: the face.”

For 16 years now, they’ve been both the pioneer and the most careful commercial  practitioner of applying facial coding as a research tool to help clients lower risks and optimize marketing, products and other business solutions. Facial coding enables them to scientifically yet non-invasively capture, quantify and analyze the emotions shown.

Another great way to make the best decisions would be to use exclusively the assessment systems in order to narrow down the number of possible candidates to only a few before you involve any human judgment. Afterwards, you can make the final decision by consulting with the HR managers that you trust the most.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation, can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

Mlodinow, L., “Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior”

www.wepow.com

www.forbes.com

www.sensorylogic.com/

 

Algorithm vs. Human Instinct

Everyone wants to have the best people in the right positions. But how exactly can you accomplish this?

This is where HR steps in. Most people underestimate its importance, but studies have shown the great hidden impact that great HR can have on any organisation.

Watson Wyatt surveyed 405 publicly traded companies of all types, posing 72 wide-ranging questions on everything from training to workplace culture to communications. In order to come up with a so-called Human Capital Index (HCI) score for each company, a statistical formula was applied (HCI measures how well an organisation makes use of the ability of an individual to perform. A higher human capital index indicates better management of human capital by the organisation. It is measured on a scale of 100). Then the subject companies were sorted into three HCI-rating categories: low, medium, and high. The companies in the high-HCI group delivered a 103 percent total return to shareholders over a five-year period, compared to 53 percent for low-HCI and 88% for medium-HCI companies.

While psychometric testing and performance prediction have evolved considerably over the past 100 years, their value is often under appreciated. In this article from thepsychologist.bps.org.uk,  two critical lessons from this broad field of research are highlighted. Namely, research on performance prediction has taught us the importance of choosing the right people and using the right tools to do so.

As it is mentioned in the article, selecting the right candidates is an important goal, but we must not forget about the one with equal importance – screening out undesirable candidates. The consequences of choosing the wrong people can be extremely detrimental for the company, as they lead to increased turnover rates, higher recruitment costs, and training expenses, along with lost productivity and decreases in morale among all employees. The high costs associated with replacing poorly performing individuals make it all the more important to identify and select the best performers in the first place.

This is where you have to ask yourselves: on what should I base my decision when selecting a new candidate? Human instinct or a pre-employment assessment system? The thing is – people are very good at identifying what exactly it’s needed for a certain position in their company and at extracting information from the candidates, but they are doing poor at interpreting the results. The analysis made by Harvard Business Review (HBR) on 17 studies of applicant evaluations shows that a simple equation outperforms human decisions by at least 25%. This is valid for any situation with a large number of candidates – no matter if the job is on the front line, middle management, or in the C-suite.

There are also several other benefits to the company that an employment evaluation system can bring. It provides leaders with valuable information not only about their candidates, but also about their existing employees. This helps you identify their development needs and their strongest abilities, which you can improve, based on the given feedback.

This doesn’t mean that you should completely remove the human judgment from the equation.

A great way to make the best decisions would be to use exclusively the assessment systems in order to narrow down the number of possible candidates to only a few before you involve any human judgment. Afterwards, you can make the final decision by consulting with the managers that you trust the most.

In order for the assessments to be successful, there are certain rules that must be respected:

  • Understanding the importance of the assessment process and it’s role in identifying the performance levels can lead to the success or failure of the process
  • Respecting the methodology suggested and agreed upon by the company leads to maintaining the objectivity, regardless of who is being assessed
  • Encouraging employees to get involved in a permanent self assessment process and ask for feedback. This leads to self-motivation and engagement.
  • Follow up the assessment. The assessed employee and the assessor will meet for a follow up session to analyse and discuss results, certain situations and evaluate the potential solutions for the identified problems, which leads to mid-term and long-term development.

 If you need more information about how the assessment system works, get in touch with a consultant now!

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