by Tim Rowan, editor
What would you think if a new technology could support your hiring process in such a way that you reduce the number of new hires who disappear, never accept a shift, after you have put them through orientation and training? If a technology that matches applicants to your company culture and weeds out probable failures were available, what would it be worth to your home care agency, keeping in mind the average $4,500 you spent to find, interview, and train them, followed by the estimated additional $4,000 it will take you to replace each one?
Such a technology does exist will be described in these pages in the coming weeks. First, it is important to understand the underlying science.
According to Manu Rehani, an engineer and self-described "Semantic Scholar," cognitive linguistics has it's roots in the science of Embodied Cognition. Prior to the development of embodied cognition, cognitive processes, including language, were thought to be primarily mental and conscious processes. Words were assumed to have rather fixed dictionary meanings and language followed rather fixed syntactic rules. Research in this field over the last 30 years has now proved what was common sense all along - that the meaning of a word, sentence or part of text depends on what was written before and what follows - the cliché "it depends" - really does hold true.
?Computational cognitive linguistics is a set of algorithms that use shifts in the micro and macro framing of the context to define meaning at each point in a piece of text or conversation, as perceived by the people behind the words. One of the parents of this science has taken it in the direction of understanding people through their writing. James Pennebaker's Ted Talk, "The Secret Life of Pronouns," summarizes the theories in his book of the same name.
Briefly, the University of Texas professor asserts, having people write about their most traumatic experiences for as little as 15 minutes per day for three or four consecutive days brings about positive changes in their physical health and immune function. His experiments led to studies that found such writing could be analyzed to learn about an individual's physical and emotional health, as well as certain personality traits.
If Rehani and Pennebaker are correct, it should be possible to custom-design a handful of questions that might prompt a person to write narratives that can be analyzed to help a Human Resources professional evaluate a candidate's likelihood of success within a particular company at a particular job. One might be able to customize prompts to get insights to fill a daycare worker position, or a police officer, or a home care personal services caregiver.
This has been done. The abstract, hard-to-describe science (we tried) inspired a new product that will be available in January.
Next week, we will introduce you to the technology company that has written these prompting questions and patented the algorithm that presents the insights to home care employers.
©2020 by Rowan Consulting Associates, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO. All rights reserved. This article originally appeared in Home Care Technology: The Rowan Report. homecaretechreport.com One copy may be printed for personal use; further reproduction by permission only. firstname.lastname@example.org