Competition for talent in Kenya is heating up—and to help its clients hire and develop top candidates, Armada Human Capital wanted to empower them to perform in-depth assessments cost-effectively.
Armada Human Capital deployed IBM® Kenexa® Employee Assessments, cutting its cost per assessment by up to 86 percent and enabling its clients to run detailed assessments on larger pools of applicants.
Up to 86%lower cost per assessment enables clients to assess large pools of applicants
Up to 70%shorter time to insight helps clients make informed talent decisions faster
50%efficiency boost helps Armada Human Capital grow without increasing headcount
Business Challenge story
Pinpointing the top candidates
Business in Kenya is booming. As startups spring up and multinational enterprises establish regional offices in the country, demand for talent is skyrocketing. Enter Armada Human Capital, a leading provider of recruitment process outsourcing services based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Vivian Mimano, Founder of Armada Human Capital, explains: “Our mission is to connect talented applicants with the opportunities that best match their unique skills and personalities. We see that finding the right fit leads to satisfied and engaged employees, who are in turn more likely to go the extra mile for employers and their customers—a win-win situation for our clients and jobhunters alike.”
She continues: “Kenya’s business environment is especially favorable to smaller players—in fact, around 85 percent of companies here are small and medium-sized businesses [SMBs], many of them start-ups. These companies often face challenges around identifying and attracting top talent, as they often find themselves vying with multinationals for the same pool of candidates.”
Armada Human Capital recognized an opportunity to deliver strategic recruitment services targeted at SMBs. To lay the foundation for the service, the company built an online applicant tracking platform.
“Finding jobhunters can be a particular challenge in Kenya, because platforms such as LinkedIn tend to have fewer members than countries in North America and Europe,” says Mimano. “We successfully launched an online applicant platform that attracts more than 30,000 hits from jobhunters per month—putting us level with the job ad site of one of our major newspapers in terms of web traffic.
“With so many potential applicants, assessing candidates is vital to find the best matches for each job opportunity. We have long recognized the value of behavioral science approaches to employee assessments, and we have offered an online assessment service for many years. However, the time and cost of running these assessments meant many of our clients would only use them for their final few candidates—by which time they’d usually made up their minds about who the strongest applicants were.
“We realized our clients could be filtering out candidates during the shortlisting process who might have been even better fits for their organization than those they invited for final interviews. To enhance our strategic recruitment services, we looked for a cost-effective way to deliver deeper insights into large numbers of applicants during the shortlisting stage.”
Delivering cost-effective talent insights
Armada Human Capital embraced IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments—an analytics-driven platform that uses behavioral science techniques to measure traits, skills and culture fit of each candidate, and help predict their suitability for a role.
“In the past, we would go through a long- and shortlisting process for all the resumes we received for an opportunity, followed by pre-screening over the phone and face-to-face interviews,” explains Mimano. “If our clients wanted to perform a behavioral assessment to test the candidate’s responses to real-life situations, we needed to work with a third-party provider to run the assessment and collect and analyze the results. As well as requiring significant amounts of manual effort, this approach meant that it could take up to a whole working week to deliver our findings to the client.”
She continues: “When we started evaluating IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments, we quickly realized it would solve all of those challenges. With the IBM solution, we can manage the assessment process from end to end without the need to rely on third-party providers—enabling us to turn the results around in a fraction of the time than before.
“Crucially, the solution enables us to deliver assessments more cost-effectively than ever. In addition to offering a significantly lower cost per assessment compared to our previous provider, IBM Global Financing helped us to design a payment structure that minimized our need for up-front capital investment.”
Working together with a team from IBM, Armada Human Capital deployed IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments as a managed service and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution.
“Many of our SMB clients want to test the waters before they invest in our assessments platform,” comments Mimano. “By offering clients the flexibility to purchase assessments as they need them with our managed service solution, we can build their confidence in behavioral-science led approaches to recruitment. When our clients are ready to make surveys an integral part of their recruitment strategy, they can transition to our PaaS offering—which also includes dedicated Armada Human Capital resources to help interpret the assessment data.
“Working with IBM has been a great experience—and the team bent over backwards to help ensure our project was a success. Whenever we needed support, the IBM team connected us with the global resources we needed, and we always knew that expert assistance was only an email or a phone call away. IBM even helped us to personalize the assessment results dashboards with our clients’ logos—and we really appreciated their commitment to building a solution that met our unique needs.”
Helping businesses hire smarter
With IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments supporting its strategic recruitment service, Armada Human Capital is helping its clients gain insights into more candidates than ever—helping to shine the spotlight on applicants with the right skills and cultural fit earlier in the recruitment process.
“We can now deliver surveys at up to 86 percent lower cost, enabling our SMB clients to perform talent analytics at scale without breaking the bank,” explains Mimano. “One of our clients has already switched from assessing only their final five candidates to assessing everyone on their shortlist—and without IBM Kenexa Employee Assessments, it simply wouldn’t have been possible.”
She continues: “We see that assessing the largest possible pool of applicants is the best way to find the candidates with the best fit for a role. By answering questions like: ‘Does this candidate have strong logic and reasoning skills?’, ‘Does this candidate have an authoritative management style’ and ‘Does this candidate’s personality fit our corporate culture?’, we can help our clients see beyond qualifications on paper and predict how each person is likely to perform in the real world. We see that better-informed hiring decisions lead to more productive and engaged employees—and thanks to our IBM solution, we’re helping our clients to achieve just that.”
By reducing the time and manual effort involved in its assessment process, Armada Human Capital is supporting its own business growth.
“Because we’re no longer dependent on external resources to drive our assessments, we’ve dramatically reduced the time it takes to deliver results to our clients,” Mimano says. “In fact, we’ve shrunk our time to insight from one week to as little as 12 hours in some cases—up to 70 percent faster than before.
“These efficiencies mean that our team can reduce the amount of time required to complete the shortlisting process. We estimate that we have improved our operational efficiency by 50 percent—enabling us to expand our services into additional countries while keeping our headcount flat.”
She concludes: “Our IBM assessment solution is already empowering our clients to identify, onboard and retain top talent. We see assessments becoming a crucial differentiator for our business—and looking ahead, we aim to help our clients use the insights to develop their talent into future business leaders.”
About Armada Human Capital
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Armada Human Capital is a global recruitment process outsourcing business. Focused on delivering exceptional, cost-effective and timely talent management solutions, Armada Human Capital employs 23 people and operates across Africa and North America, with offices in Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and the USA.
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