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The aim of this guide is to share our knowledge, increase learning and understanding and help our clients make informed decisions on talent management
Psychometrics refers to ‘the psychological theory or technique of mental measurement’ – (Merriam-Webster 2018). Getting a better sense of a candidate’s personality and behavioural traits is much more difficult in an interview than learning about their skills, education and experience.
As a result, many employers include psychometric testing for assessing current or potential talent and as part of their recruitment process. This is helpful as it gives a better overall evaluation of the candidates and allows you to make a more informed decision about who best fits a role. Not everyone believes that this type of testing is valuable, however those that have used it believe that they get a more objective overview of a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, character and style of work.
How does psychometric testing help with decisions?
By carrying out psychometric testing, you can learn a lot more about a candidate’s skills, motivation and culture fit.
During the assessment process, interviewers generally assess both skills and experience quite accurately, however it can be slightly subjective, and a lot of the decision can be left up to gut instinct. Psychometric testing however, provides objective data which can help you get a better sense of the candidate’s overall suitability. Some point out that by using psychometric testing, a ‘scientific’ credibility and objectivity can be brought to the recruitment process. If all applicants are given the same standardised test, it may be a more accurate, as well as fair, way of assessing candidates. These tests for the most part, are no longer in the form of pen and paper questionnaires and are becoming more digitised. This makes the process even more efficient as they can be easily integrated into any stage of the process and can be taken anywhere at any time.
Aptitude testing – Verbal and numerical reasoning
This form of testing indicates how capable a candidate is at processing verbal and numerical information within a set time. Today these tests are usually carried out online either before or on assessment day.
Typically these are used at the beginning of a recruitment drive, large organisations tend to use this testing as a way of screening and then eliminating a high volume of candidates. In cases such as these, psychometric testing can massively reduce the work of the hiring manager and the selection of suitable candidates is smaller.
EQ- Emotional Intelligence
This form of testing measures a person capability in understanding their own and other peoples motivations effectively mapping out their relationship management ability a key part of leadership.
It can be very useful to get an insight into the intrinsic motivation of a potential leader. What truly they are interested in and will be drawn towards focusing on. not always be the best way to assess these types of skills.
The most common version of this type of testing is the Myers Briggs 16 personailty factors. This type of test is usually taken online in 20-30 minutes and results are process very quickly. It gives a breakdown of how a person will behave and so interact with others. This of course is very important in understanding how a person will “fit in” with their team and other colleagues.
When it comes to onboarding new employees, the majority of employers have a to-do list which focuses on paperwork, meeting the team, a tour of the office and other similar tasks. However, what is not included is a plan which focuses on making the new employee feel included and welcome. Your organisation only gets one chance at making a good first Impression and the first few days will have a lasting impression on your new hire. If you make your new employees feel welcome, high employee retention and loyalty will follow. There are a number of things an organisation can do to make new hires feel welcome and appreciated:
1 – Have a welcome strategy: Everybody from management down, who is directly involved with the new employee plays a part in making them feel welcome. Current employees who will be involved should be asked how they felt on their first day and if there was anything other employees could have done to make you feel more comfortable and accepted. Once you have these answers you can then brainstorm and come up with a detailed plan for welcoming the new employee. Ensure that the plan is written down it will remind the staff of its importance, it also emphasises that everyone has an important role to play
2 – Even executives need individual attention: Often managers assume that new hires at executive level can just figure things out by themselves. This way of thinking leaves new hires feeling unclear about key decisions, undervalued and unsure about how best to work with their manager. Therefore it is important to take time to speak with the new hire one on one, even if it is just a 5 minute walk to another floor. This builds rapport and shows the new hires how the company works.
3 – Have a collage of immediate staff: One of the main aspects of starting a new job which creates anxiety for the new employee is wondering how they are going to fit in with the team. On the first day you meet a lot of new people and find it hard to remember everybody’s names. Instead of just giving the new hire a standard organisation chart with an employee’s name and title, give them a collage which contains personal information of the employee and photos. This could include some personal information such as family or hobbies. This type of information takes the pressure off the new employee in relation to remembering faces and names and will also make them feel like they are joining a family.
4 – Mentor/buddy system: When a new employee is hired, another employee should be assigned to show them how everything works, spend time with them and offer support or guidance when it is needed. This could be one set employee who will take on every new started or could be rotated amongst staff who volunteer. Whilst the buddy would be mostly responsible for looking after the new starter, other employees should also be involved and do their bit to make the new employee feel welcome.
5 – New member = new team: When a new member joins a team, it can be very easy for existing members to carry on as usual and don’t really think about team dynamics. Team integration is not just the responsibility of the manager and new hire, it is also the responsibility of the existing team.
Ensuring that new hires are properly onboarded and feel welcome if hugely important and has a huge impact on retention. Get off to the best start possible by being aware of this and following our steps to ensure your new hires feels included in the team and company as a whole from the outset.
Deutschendorf, H (2014) 5 Ways To Make New Employees Feel Welcome [online] https://www.fastcompany.com/3039232/5-ways-to-welcome-your-new-employee-to-the-workplace
Nawaz, S. (2019) How to Make Sure a New Hire Feels Included from Day One [online] https://hbr.org/2019/02/how-to-make-sure-a-new-hire-feels-included-from-day-one
We are currently living in the era of customisation. There are many different ways people today can personalise their experiences, whether it be using recommendation engines or tailoring apps. It would of course make sense in the current climate for companies to start customising employment offers.
In most companies, recruiting for a role usually means starting with a standardised job description and hiring someone who can do these tasks. As time progresses, people get stuck in these roles and if they cannot grow in the position, they become disengaged. Leaders often try to combat this problem through teamwork, perks etc. however they are missing a simple solution, employees are engaged when they have engaging jobs!
Job personalisation is one of the best ways to maximise engagement. You should ask candidates or even current employees to describe themselves and their career. This way you can find out what they are particularly good at and passionate about, and what they are not good at or dislike. It is possible to create roles which will accelerate their personal progress whilst at the same time benefiting the company.
When it comes to potential candidates it is important to think about the type of employment package you can offer them. When negotiating employment packages, companies very rarely ask for anything other than salary requirements. This however is not always the right thing to do. A salary requirement is going to change based on other aspects of the offer. For example, if a company allows an employee to work from home one day a week they may accept a lower salary because this flexibility is more important to them. Another example would be if a company offers a significant amount of equity, the salary requirement may change. If the company would like the employee to travel for a week every month, the salary requirement may also change. There a many other different factors that could influence the salary requirement.
A number of different studies have suggested that people who are happy and fulfilled are better employees. A study from the University or Warwick found that employees who are happy are 12% more productive. If a company takes the time to learn what is important to a candidate, they could tailor their offer in order to make it more attractive to the candidate. In some cases, this could allow the company to save money as well as give them the opportunity to see if there is a culture fit.
Most companies would make the same offer to each of the candidates. This could in fact cost the company the perfect candidate. If you think about it the same offer is not going to be attractive to both a single 25 year old and a married with kids 36 year old. If they were going for the same position they would more than likely be made identical offers. If, however you took the time to find out more about the candidates you could make a more customised offer which would entice the candidate, for example the 35 year old may accept a lower salary if he could work from home one day a week.
Customisation in the workplace is a challenge. However, if tailored job descriptions keep employees motivated and engaged it would be worth the challenge. In the current era of customisation, instead of having one generic offer for each potential hire, organisations need to start tailoring the offer to each individual candidate. Each of the candidates will have different wants, needs and motivations and so it is hugely important to take this into account when making an offer.
To find out more about recruiting for cultural fit click here.
Solomon, N (2018). Why you should customize your job offer. [Online] https://www.tlnt.com/why-you-should-customize-your-job-offer/
Bapat, V. (2018) Why you should let employees personalise their job descriptions. [Online] https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/let-employees-personalize-their-job-descriptions.aspx
Oswald, Andrew J. , Proto, Eugenio and Sgroi, Daniel. (2015) Happiness and productivity. Journal of Labor Economics, 33 (4). pp. 789-822.
There are a myriad of reasons why employees decide to leave a company, see our article https://www.rfc.ie/research/talent-acquisition-retention/. These include a promotion or a higher paying more challenging position, but the most destructive, and by far the most preventable reason employees move on is a lack of engagement. Not all turnover is bad, but there is a balance to be struck between bringing new people with freshideas and ways of thinking into the company and keeping your current employees engaged and happy.
Hidden costs include:
Lowered productivity: The person who has left was filling a specific role within the company with a complementary set of tasks assigned. Even if you spread the workload out among the remaining staff the chances are that the most important stuff will get done but ancillary tasks will fall by the wayside.
Overworked remaining staff: Farming out the workload can result in employees being stretched thin as they contend with their own workload and pick up the slack left by their departing colleague. The more people have to do, the more the quality of their work suffers and this will have an impact on company performance down the line.
Lost knowledge: While there are many people who can do the job that the former employee did, they won’t have the specific knowledge that he or she possessed. This knowledge is built up over a period of time and is industry, company and even team specific. This is lost when an employee abandons ship.
Training costs higher: Beyond the obvious costs associated with a training course which the new employee may need to complete there are hidden costs associated with the informal training and onboarding of a new colleague. The most obvious of these hidden costs is time. Someone will have to show the new employee what to do and how to do it, possibly multiple times. Someone will have to check their work until they have proven themselves capable. This all takes the ‘trainer’ away from their day job.
Recruitment process costs higher: Leaving aside the obvious costs associated with this process, posting on job boards or using a recruitment agency or headhunter there are serious time costs involved in the recruitment process. Some businesses may have a dedicated HR/ recruitment team who deal with this on a daily basis, but in a smaller company the onus may fall on one person who will have to define the role profile and the type of person sought, go through CVs, perhaps conduct screening calls with potential candidates, schedule and organise interviews and then negotiate and close with the successful candidate.
Hiring the right people from the start is the best way to combat employee turnover. Design your recruitment process to ensure that not only do candidates have the right skills but that they fit well with the company culture, management style and with co-workers. Cultural and motivational fit involve innate characteristics that can be difficult to develop.
Onboarding should always be a priority for HR as data complied by Tanya Bauer, Professor of Management at Portland State University from the US highlights how half of all senior outside hires fail within 18 months of starting a new position.
What is Onboarding?
There are as many ways to describe the process of “bedding in” new leaders as there are processes to implement it. Each tend to be specific to a given organisation and reflect the cultural norms.
Terms including induction, on-boarding, transition or the more academic term of socialisation are used but what exactly do they mean and what impact has the process on the success of a newly appointed leader?
Two definitions describe a process that:
“enables newcomers to acquire the knowledge needed to successfully adjust to their new work surroundings and function in their new roles” (Scott, Montes, Irving, 2012).
“the process by which a person secures relevant job skills, acquires a functional level of organisational understanding, attains supportive social interactions with co-workers, and generally accepts the established ways of a particular organization” (Taormina, 1998).
The processes used to deliver on this are wide and varied. At one end of the scale there is no formal process with the leader thrown in at the deep end and left to left to sink or swim. Typically though, it involves some form of formal program with policies and procedures.
Impact of Onboarding:
The cost of retention is high….. The cost of employee turnover can be up to 150% of employee salary (the equivalent of 6-24 months salary).
When surveyed, organizations perceive effective onboarding as improving retention rates (52 percent), time to productivity (60 percent) and overall customer satisfaction (53 percent) (Aberdeen Group, 2006).
New hires should help an organization accomplish specific goals, and the degree to which they do this can be helped or hindered by onboarding.
In summary, research on new employee onboarding (Ashford and Black, 1996) shows that when onboarding is done correctly, it leads to:
Support Tools and Processes
Both during and after the orientation, readily available support tools, such as those discussed below, are invaluable for onboarding success.
For more information on the onboarding and socialisation of leaders see the following articles:
Taormina, J. (1998). Employee attitudes toward organizational socialization in the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 34(4), pp. 468-485.
Scott, K., Montes, S. and Gregory, P. (2012). Examining the Impact of Socialization Through Trust: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Personnel Psychology, 11(4), pp. 191–198.
Ashford, S. J., & Black, J. S. (1996). Proactivity during organizational entry: The role of desire for control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 199-214.
Aberdeen Group. (2006). Onboarding benchmark report. Retrieved on April 26, 2010, from www.aberdeen.com/Aberdeen-Library/3393/RA_Onboarding
Bauer, T. N., & Elder, E. (2006). Onboarding newcomers into an organization. Invited presentation at the 58th Annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference & Exposition
Research by non profit research firm TalentBoard has highlighted how the candidate experience can be improved simply by communicating in a clear and open fashion. People want to feel that they have been heard and that the time they have put into applying for roles and attending interview is appreciated and valued.
The candidate experience begins even before an individual has applied for a job and the TalentBoard research suggests that candidates want to know more about:
The research also highlights that most job openings today can receive upwards of 100 applications depending of course on the company and the role. How can a positive candidate experience be maintained as you sort and screen such a high volume of applications? TalentBoard believe it all comes down to technology which enables you to track and keep account of applications and open roles. The problem occurs however, when it comes to regretting unsuccessful candidates with 40% of companies failing to respond at all to applications. We’re not even talking about constructive feedback here, just common courtesy.
The rise of sites like Glassdoor, where you can leave anonymous reviews and criticism about employers, means that it has become a risky business to ignore applicants as it can damage your employer brand. If you have the time and capacity to provide detailed feedback all the better. How you communicate with jobseekers says a lot about what it’s like to work for you. Candidates want to know the outcome of an interview, even if it’s not good news. A recent survey by Tribe (http://blog.tribeinc.com/) on hiring practices in the US found that 78% of respondents would discourage someone they knew from applying for a role in a company where they had previously been treated badly during the hiring process:
“I realize companies get many applicants to positions, but it would be appreciated if they let those not selected for a position after an interview know, rather than leaving them hanging.”
“Contact people one way or the other, instead of just ignoring them.”
“Nothing’s worse than not hearing anything at all.”
The solution? Communication- plain and simple. You should always respond to and acknowledge applicants even if it is just via an automated response from an HR software package, although ideally it will be via phone. Candidates want updates and feedback during the hiring process and if they are not selected they want to know as soon as possible. Clarity in the hiring process is crucial if you want to protect your company’s reputation and build positive word of mouth.
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