Phoenix Consulting's takeaways from the Saville International Conference

27 June 2024 6 min. read

Regional human capital advisory firm Phoenix Consulting recently attended the Saville International Conference in London. Consultancy Middle East spoke with partner Seniora El-Hage on her experiences and key takeaways.

With over 20 years of professional services experience, Seniora El-Hage has been the Head of Talent Management of Phoenix Consulting – and has been “overwhelmed with pride” by the firm’s achievements in the time since. The consultancy first launched in Lebanon in 2010 (founded by Zahi Mimassi), and 14 years later it has five offices across the Middle East, serving hundreds of clients and partners.

One of those partners is Saville Assessment, a talent management consultancy that specialises in providing psychometric tools to employers.

Phoenix Consulting's takeaways from the Saville International Conference

Members of Phoenix Consulting at the event in London

“Saville Assessment’s solutions present a fully integrated talent strategy covering a wide range of functions,” El-Hage explains, “including screening, talent acquisition, employee development, and leadership performance.”

“Additionally, the solutions support employee development by offering assessments that help identify strengths, development needs, and potential career paths, and offer the option to develop and map the organisation’s competency framework, and a wide range of BPS-accredited psychometric training courses.”

As one of Saville’s leading partners in the Middle East, Phoenix Consulting was invited to attend the company’s keystone event in the UK. Taking place last month in London, the Saville International Conference celebrated two decades in business for the group, with a three-day conference at the home of English rugby: Twickenham Stadium.

There, Saville’s representatives were joined by talent professionals from a range of organisations including Sky, Citi Group, British Airways, and Fujitsu, who came together to network and learn from a stellar line up of keynote speakers.

El-Hage notes, “Phoenix Consulting’s presence in the international partner conference was incredibly important. It allowed us to stay at the forefront of the latest developments and updates within Saville tools, questionnaires, and platform, as well as innovations such as AI-driven tooling. Engaging with global experts and peers allowed us to bring back the best practices in psychometric assessments and HR management in various cultures, in addition to some innovative approaches and insights that can be later tailored to the specific needs of our clients in the Middle East.”

Phoenix Consulting's takeaways from the Saville International Conference

Seniora El-Hage (left) and Elissa Fikany (right) at the Saville International Conference

Participation in the conference also reinforced the firm’s position as a leading HR consulting firm in the region, stated to El-Hage, as it enabled Phoenix Consulting to forge closer bonds with the Saville Assessments core team and other international partners. As well as empowering the firm to deliver Saville solutions for clients, and this also facilitated “knowledge exchange and future opportunities for collaboration”.

“Overall, being part of this international conference was crucial for our growth, learning, and ability to provide exceptional value to our clients,” El-Hage added.

Exciting developments

Reflecting on some of the highlights, El-Hage noted a number of evolutions that have enhanced how Saville delivers its services. For example, the company has updated its assessment language from measuring ‘competency’ to ‘skill’, as the term ‘skill’ resonates better with people at all levels “in a way that competencies never did”, and helps underpin “fairer hiring and more targeted skills development”.

At the same time, Saville has also enhanced its candidate experience via its updated platform. It is now mobile supported, with a simplified layout and progress bar to help ensure Saville’s tests are more easily accessible and visually friendly. This can help to reduce the cognitive overload and enhance the candidate experience.

Amid the mounting hype around AI, the technology also featured prominently in the event – far beyond simply how candidates might or might not use it to succeed in psychometric exams. Indeed, many members of the industry are looking to use AI for themselves – either to provide “robust security measures like AI-driven monitoring systems that can help maintain the credibility of assessments”, or to plug it directly into their talent management offerings.

While AI offers significant benefits, such as enhanced data analysis and improved candidate matching, it also presents challenges. “Ensuring that AI tools do not inadvertently introduce bias and that they enhance rather than hinder the fairness of the recruitment process was a critical argument is a big issue – especially as employers look to diversify their workforce.”

Phoenix Consulting's takeaways from the Saville International Conference

Seniora El-Hage (holding the microphone) during a workshop

Future opportunities

Looking ahead, El-Hage is confident in the potential of psychometric testing to help clients get the most from their talent management function. At present, she argued that Saville tools could help reduce the odds of hiring “a poor performer” from “one-in-five to one-in-50”, mitigating financial losses – especially at higher levels.

Meanwhile, the tools could support employee development “by offering assessments that help identify strengths, development needs, and potential career paths.”

But in the future, that impact of more effective recruitment – from “screening out and in, by identifying candidates who not only fit the immediate job requirements but also possess the potential for future growth” – could be even more pronounced in its benefits; reducing turnover rates and associated costs especially at the more senior positions.

El-Hage concluded, “From the business perspective, having the ability to understand people’s talent potential and predict workplace performance helps them ensure that the right people are in the right roles, driving maximum efficiency from their teams. This would allow strategic workforce planning, ensuring that the organisation has a pool of competent leaders ready to step into critical roles as needed. Ultimately, leveraging on these insights will help the organisation align their talent strategy with business goals leading to a better organisational performance and a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”