“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”– Lawrence Bossidy, GE
Business and HR leaders are convinced that the customer experiences the company’s brand through interactions with the frontline employees of the organization—be it the customer service teams who address complaints, sales managers at stores or service agents who reach out to customers. As the services sector in India Inc. continues to grow, leaders are unanimous in their opinion that hiring and developing frontline employees is a key focus area of their people strategy. The customer, after all, chooses to become the company’s evangelist or detractor depending on how she/he experiences the company’s brand through that smile, courtesy or the promptness of the frontline executive.
This realization is as significant for CHROs as for the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) of any organization. More and more recruitment and HR leaders are taking actions to ensure that employees are hired and developed to consistently represent the brand values of the company. There is a sea change in terms of how companies hire frontline executives. Earlier, they focused on the technical aspect like the resume, past experience and role-specific technical skills. Today, organizations are looking at hiring for soft skills, pleasant disposition and other personality traits. The fundamental belief is to hire for attitude, culture and train for coachable job specific competencies.
At Aon Hewitt, we believe that science can play a role in improving the brand experience for customers. Our view is that using a combination of behavioral and cognitive assessments can make the selection process more scientific and robust. While cognitive tests like reasoning, quantitative analysis and communication screen out undesirable candidates, behavioral assessments play the crucial role of evaluating candidates on job and culture fitment.
Although many organizations use cognitive assessments while filtering an applicant pool, they don’t often give as much importance to behavioral assessments. This can be a miss as selecting the right candidate through comprehensive selection assessments is as important as filtering out the wrong candidate through screening tests. Organizations need to invest resources to deploy a combination of cognitive and behavioral assessments to select the ‘best fit’ frontline employee. The trend perhaps of only using aptitude assessments is due to a dearth of end-to-end hiring assessments that address all selection requirements for entry-level positions.
Success with Hiring Assessments
Organizations globally succeed by identifying and selecting people who demonstrate potential for long-term success. Pre-hiring assessments help predict job success, increase employee retention rates, measure job fit and improve success rate of selection. For example, a global quick service restaurant chain partnered with a service provider to target quality hires for their stores globally. An employee selection and assessment framework process was created that gave strong positive business results—the stores that hired high scorers in the assessment observed a 9 per cent increase in their store sales.
Unpredictability in economic scenarios and industry segment is a reality today. As a result more companies expect higher predictability and business impact in every rupee deployed. The science of assessments is a big opportunity for the not-so-stable retail, hospitality and other front facing industries. Because strategy finds value in better brand connects, positive customer experiences and good reviews on customer review websites. All these get impacted with the right assessments for the right candidates who deliver the smiles.