BrainGauge FAQ

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BrainGauge® - FAQ

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1 BrainGauge Technology
1.1 WHAT IS COGNITIVE LOAD?

The human brain has a certain cognitive load capacity. This is related to the amount of working memory available to perform tasks, process information or communicate with other people. Everyone has a different cognitive load capacity.

Cognitive load refers to the demands placed on our working memory as we perform tasks. Difficult tasks, complex information, busy user interfaces, intense concentration, demanding interactions with other people and multi-tasking all cause higher cognitive load. Other terms used to describe high cognitive load include cognitive stress and mental workload. These terms are all used when multiple tasks are competing for limited brain resources.

The symptoms of high cognitive load include making mistakes, having difficulty taking in new information and feeling "stressed".

1.2 WHY IS COGNITIVE LOAD IMPORTANT TO EMPLOYERS?

Some work environments impose higher cognitive load than others. Call centres are good examples of high cognitive load work environments. Demanding customers, complex user interfaces, time and performance pressures all compete for the brain's limited resources.

In the short term, individuals experiencing high cognitive load make mistakes, have difficulty taking in new information and may begin to feel "stressed" or overwhelmed. For the employer this results in reduced agent performance and customer satisfaction.

Sustained cognitive overload over longer timeframes (weeks or months) can lead to mild or severe emotional depression and increasing levels of absenteeism and attrition. Organisations will typically want to avoid the costs associated with rehiring, and retraining and the associated disruption that this causes.

1.3 HOW CAN COGNITIVE LOAD BE MEASURED?

Until recently measuring cognitive load has been both difficult and costly. For example electroencephalograms (EEGs) can be used to measure cognitive load but require electrodes to be placed on the individuals head and are clearly impractical for most organisations.

BrainGauge has developed a new and non-intrusive way to measure cognitive load through analysis of the human voice as an individual is speaking.

1.4 HOW DOES BRAINGAUGE ACTUALLY WORK?

One of the physiological symptoms of cognitive overload is the effect it has on the muscles in the vocal tract. Researchers have found that muscle function becomes impaired under high cognitive load resulting in subtle variations in the human voice. These variations are detected by the BrainGauge software and used to determine the level of cognitive load.

1.5 IS BRAINGAUGE THE SAME AS SPEECH RECOGNITION OR SPEECH ANALYTICS?

No - BrainGauge is different from speech recognition and speech analytics. Unlike those technologies BrainGauge does not interpret the actual content of words spoken, Instead - it uses patented techniques to analyse the acoustic qualities of the voice to detect the signs of high cognitive load. Speech analytic technologies do not measure cognitive load.

1.6 IS BRAINGAUGE THE SAME AS AUTOMATED EMOTIONAL ANALYSIS?

No - BrainGauge is different to emotional analysis. Although emotion is useful in understanding customer interactions it does not indicate whether a person is becoming cognitively overloaded. In fact in many cases elevated levels of emotion are desirable as they indicate that an individual is engaged with the task at hand.

1.7 DOES BRAINGAUGE USE OTHER BIOMETRIC TECHNIQUES IN ADDITION TO VOICE ANALYSIS?

BrainGauge has been designed to correlate a number of different biometric inputs including voice, skin electrical conductance and eye movement detection. All of these can be used to obtain valuable information about a person.s cognitive load state.

2 Recruitment Assessment for Call Centres - Product Functionality
2.1 WHY IS COGNITIVE LOAD MEASUREMENT USEFUL FOR AGENT RECRUITMENT?

Individuals have different cognitive load capacities. Two people performing identical tasks or jobs may experience significantly different levels of cognitive load. The ability to measure a candidate's cognitive load capacity allows the hiring manager to get a more complete understanding of how well an individual will be able to cope with the demands of contact centre work.

2.2 WHEN IS BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT USED?

The BrainGauge Assessment for Call Centres is typically used as a recruitment screening and selection tool. A cohort of candidates undertakes the assessment and BrainGauge scores the candidates against a reference set of agents. Those with the highest scores have a higher cognitive load capacity and thus most likely to perform under the demanding load of a call centre. Those with the lowest scores have the lowest cognitive load capacity and therefore the most likely to suffer absenteeism and attrition if hired.

2.3 WHAT IS A BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT TEST?

A BrainGauge Assessment consists of several short web based tests that exercise the cognitive skills typically required by contact centre agents. These include verbal and numeric reasoning, speed of processing information multi-tasking and the like.

As the candidate takes the tests they must speak test responses into a microphone or headset connected to the PC. BrainGauge analyses these responses to determine cognitive load levels. In each of the tests, the difficulty level is increased from easy to extremely high. BrainGauge monitors the candidate's speech and detects patterns in the voice indicative of high cognitive load. The cognitive load levels are compared with a reference set of cognitive load scores and a percentile ranking is generated for each candidate.

The individual test scores and percentile ranking are and stored on the BrainGauge server and then available to the hiring manager.

2.4 HOW DOES BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT COMPARE TO OTHER ASSESSMENT TECHNIQUES?

There are four basic qualities that hiring managers look for in call centre representatives. All are well known to hiring managers but to date only the first three have been effectively assessed during the hiring process.

Skills - they must have the necessary skills to use the tools they have available . for example phone, keyboarding and computer applications. There are a range of skills tests available to verify this.

Reasoning abilities. These include the ability to remember information and process numbers and words. Psychometric testing, aptitude tests and cognitive ability tests are all used to assess reasoning abilities.

Attitude . having the right attitude is clearly important. Interviews are often design to determine this.

The fourth quality is Cognitive Load Capacity - the ability to cope with the demanding workload expected in the contact centre. Individuals with high cognitive load capacity can cope wit this load. Those with low cognitive load will suffer stress, performance issues, absenteeism and attrition. BrainGauge Assessment is the only reliable non-intrusive method available to test for this.

2.5 WHAT DO I NEED TO RUN BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT?

The BrainGauge Assessment tests runs on common PC hardware and software:

  • A PC with Windows XP or later, Linux or Mac OS-X
  • Recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari web browser
  • An internet connection. Low connection speed will not impact results but will cause some delays while tests are loaded.
  • If not already loaded on the PC Microsoft SilverLight runtime will be installed by BrainGauge. Silverlight is very similar to Adobe FlashPlayer.
  • A USB headset (for example the Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 or similar).

Feel free to contact us you need specific advice on PC hardware or software configuration.

2.6 HOW ARE ASSESSMENT TESTS ADMINISTERED?

After your order is received we will email you an administrator user ID and password. This ID enables you as the hiring manager to login to the BrainGauge administrative website. Once logged in you can create or import candidate records, schedule assessments, view reports and view your account details.

2.7 CAN I IMPORT CANDIDATE DETAILS FROM MY HR APPLICATION?

Yes - candidate details can be imported into the BrainGauge Administration system from a HR recruitment application using HR-XML or CSV file formats.

2.8 DO I NEED AN ASSESSMENT CENTRE FOR BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT?

No - this is not necessary. BrainGauge Assessment tests can be taken wherever there is a suitable PC available. This can be onsite, at an assessment centre or the candidate's home. All we suggest is that the room used be free of high levels of background noise.

2.9 WHAT TESTS ARE AVAILABLE? HOW LONG DOES ONE SESSION LAST?

Currently BrainGauge Assessment offers a standard test battery for contact centre agent recruiting. This consists of seven independent tests and takes about 15 minutes to complete. These tests measure Cognitive Load levels while exercising the candidate's memory span, multitasking and reasoning skills.

2.10 WHAT CAN WE GET FROM ASSESSMENT RESULTS?

A comprehensive report is available for the administrator immediately after a test session is finished. The report includes raw score, percentile score compared to a reference group, subscores for each test and a recommendation of job fitness. The recommendation is based on specified cut-off score that can be modified according to specific needs.

2.11 HAS THIS ASSESSMENT BEEN VALIDATED?

Yes. The core voice-based measurement technology behind BrainGauge assessment has been trialled and evaluated in a large number of tasks in different scenarios, in road traffic control, air traffic control, bushfire management, defence, and many other emergency services.

When used for call centre agent assessment we compare candidate performance against a reference set of call centre agent scores. The reference set was collected by a live call centre and calibrated against actual attrition rates.

2.12 CAN TESTS BE CUSTOMISED?

There is limited customisation available for the standard BrainGauge Assessment. Essentially this is limited to branding of the assessment tests and reports with your company's logo.

The tests themselves however cannot be customised as that may impact the predictive validity of the assessment and require re-calibration of the results. This type of customisation is available on a custom engagement basis - please call us to find out more.

3 Recruitment Assessment for Call Centres - Ordering
3.1 WHAT IS THE PRICING MODEL?

BrainGauge Assessment is licensed on a "per test taken" basis. There is no subscription fee or other additional costs. Simply purchase tests as required.

Tests are available in standard bundles of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 tests with volume discounts for the larger bundles. Customised pricing is available by negotiation for large volumes.

3.2 HOW DO I ORDER?

Ordering details can be found on the BrainGauge website at https://www.braingauge.com.au/contact.php

3.3 WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER PLACING MY ORDER?

PYou will receive two emails from BrainGauge. This first confirms receipt of your order. The second email will contain everything you need to get started using BrainGauge including:

  • an administrative user ID and password that you will use to access the administrative pages on the BrainGauge website
  • getting started guide
  • BrainGauge support contacts

3.4 HOW CAN I TRACK TEST USAGE?

Simply logon to the BG site to access usage tracking history and account information such as how many remaining tests are available.

3.5 WHAT I HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED TECHNICAL SUPPORT WITH BRAINGAUGE ASSESSMENT?

If you need further information, advice or technical assistance feel free to email or call. Contact details can be found at https://www.braingauge.com.au/contact.php

4 Call Centre Monitoring
4.1 WHAT IS BRAINGAUGE MONITORING?

BrainGauge monitoring uses the BrainGauge Cognitive Load Measurement technology to analyse cognitive load levels of agent interactions with customers. This is used in two ways:

As a quality monitoring tool. The agent.s voice is analysed in real-time to alert supervisors when agents experience high cognitive load. An excessive number of high cognitive load events during a call indicate an agent experiencing difficulty coping. The supervisor can then intervene or assist as appropriate to turn a potentially unsuccessful call into a successful one. This may also lead to coaching and training opportunities for the agent.

As an employee retention tool. BrainGauge monitoring tracks agent cognitive load over time to identify those most at risk of absenteeism or attrition. Call centre managers and workforce planners can then undertake coaching, job reassignment or other proactive actions before it becomes a problem.

4.2 HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

Please email or call us to find out more about BG Monitoring. Visit https://www.braingauge.com.au/contact.php for contact details.

5 Other Applications of BrainGauge Technology
5.1 UI ANALYSIS
Cognitive load levels are significantly higher when individuals interact with complex or poorly design user interfaces or with complex workflows.

BrainGauge has been used in User Interface design projects to monitor individual cognitive load levels as individuals interact with IT systems. UI designers use the cognitive load information to redesign UIs to minimise cognitive load.

5.2 CUSTOM ENGAGEMENTS
BrainGauge has applications outside the call centre. We work with a number of commercial and government enterprises particularly in fields where cognitive loads can be high and the impact of cognitive stress overload is significant.

Examples of these fields where BrainGauge has been used to date air traffic control, pilot training and assessment and emergency services.

In these cases we can engage on a custom basis - using the BrainGauge software to address specific business issues.

6 More Information
6.1 WHO IS NICTA?

NICTA (National ICT Australia Ltd) is Australia's Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence. Our primary goal is to build and deliver excellence in ICT research and commercial outcomes for Australia. NICTA aspires to be one of the world.s top ten ICT research centres by 2020.

Since NICTA was founded in 2002, it has created five new companies, developed a substantial technology and intellectual property portfolio and continues to supply new talent to the ICT industry through a NICTA-supported PhD program. NICTA has five laboratories around the country. With over 700 people, NICTA is the largest organisation in Australia dedicated to ICT research.

For more information on NICTA visit www.nicta.com.au .

6.2 HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

For more information contact us by email or phone. Our contact details are at https://www.braingauge.com.au/contact.php