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  • worth the risk

How Evolv Is Arming Companies With Predictive Data On Employees

Big data won’t replace the HR department, but it will make the traditional HR department much more effective at making key talent decisions.

What is Evolv?

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Evolv helps large global companies make better hiring and management decisions through the use of predictive analytics. Our configurable cloud platform takes hundreds of millions of disparate data points on potential or current employees and utilizes these to make recommendations that ensure better job fit and progression. As a result, our customers see a boost in profit because their workforce stays longer on the job and is more productive.

When you were starting out, what did you foresee as the biggest risk to growth?

At first, it was making sure we had the right team to build and grow the specific vision I had for using data to improve the match between employers and employees. I don’t have a deep tech background, but the problem I wanted to solve required highly technical domain knowledge, so I hired other people who were technically proficient to do it.

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Because our biggest initial risk to growth was hiring a great technical team, we focused obsessively on making sure we had the right hiring model. We developed a competency model for success within our specific company environment, enlisting the help of industrial organizational psychologists to objectively identify which technical and behavioral competencies would be critical for success in a company like ours. And we assigned each person on the hiring team to focus on evaluating candidates for each one of these competency areas.

Currently, what is the biggest challenge to your success and growth? How do you manage it?

My biggest challenge is managing the stress and volatility of being the last stop for the most complex problems and decisions in the organization. If one of my talented executives can’t figure something out, they come to me. And when this happens multiple times a day, that’s pretty stressful. The best way I’ve found to manage this challenge is to remind myself—when things get really difficult—that solving problems as a startup executive is trivial compared to most of the larger problems in the world.

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Do you have a risk management strategy? If so, tell us a little about it.

We have very detailed risk management strategies for our technical operations (i.e. establishing multiple points of redundancy in our data centers, ensuring best-in-class data security, etc…). On a broader company level, our risk management strategy is simple and straightforward—we tell our employees that they should feel comfortable making independent decisions and also making mistakes (just so long as they don’t make the same mistake twice). However —any time they feel that the decision they’re about to make could impact company strategy, they need to seek a second opinion. This risk management policy has served us well over the years and ensured that we appropriately anticipate/manage risk while also empowering our people to make effective decisions quickly.

How does Evolv convince companies that big data is key to the hiring process?

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While we believe that big data can truly transform the way companies hire and manage – we let the data itself convince companies that it’s key to the hiring process. Our customers have seen very real, tangible results via their own data. Using analytics to identify the right people for given roles helps eliminate long held human biases and helps companies base decisions on fact, not gut instinct. Companies like Xerox, AT&T and Kelly Services use Evolv, and on average, our clients see a $10 million impact on their P&L.

Will big data replace the traditional HR department?

Big data won’t replace the HR department, but it will make the traditional HR department much more effective at making key talent decisions. At Evolv, we’re in the business of insights, of providing the best information for people to make the right decisions for an organization. We can’t tell HR how to decide on the many complex or nuanced people decisions that they may deal with in a day – but we can help them improve the way they hire and manage, and as a consequence, help employees at an individual-level determine if they’re suited to work in a particular role. We want to help HR move from the tactical to the strategic—to transition from a world of implementing pre-set policies to a realm where they’re interpreting lots of complex information and synthesizing the best recommendation. We can do this by arming them with predictive analytics.

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