Why Hold Management Responsible For Growing Employee Engagement?
“Sure, management has a role to play in building employee engagement, but the evidence is clear – a large part of the load rests in who gets hired, ” says Dr. David Jones, Author of Million-Dollar Hire.
March 6, 2013 – Recently, Dr. Leaetta Hough, Chief Science Officer with HirePayoff™, produced an enlightening release on the topic of employee engagement in Employee Engagement – A Two-Way Street. Using volumes of research, Dr. Hough reported, “It’s really clear – employee engagement is a two-way street, and in most cases, how it plays out depends as much on who gets hired as how they’re treated.”
According to Dr. Hough, “Special recruitment and selection tools can be used during the employment testing process to predict whether new hires will become engaged – involved with, committed to, and satisfied working with an organization. Results are showing more and more payoff in finding candidates with an inclination to engage, resulting in, among other things, a reduction in the business’s employee turnover rate.”
Recently, Dr. David Jones, founder of HirePayoff™ and author of Million- Dollar Hire: Build Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time (Jossey-Bass, April 2011), created a project to put Dr. Hough’s ideas to the test. He and the HirePayoff™ team set out to see how using a hiring process that included employment testing to hire candidates likely to become engaged might actually confirm Dr. Hough’s ideas. According to Dr. Jones, “The goal was simple – see whether the ‘predicting employee engagement’ concept presented by Leaetta actually confirms itself in quantitative employment testing data.”
As Jones explains, “The HirePayoff™ team framed its online selection system to drive the recruitment and selection process of a major retailer. Then, we laid out a project to determine whether the hiring process not only predicted employee engagement, but also other bottom line outcomes, such as sales performance, turnover rate, and the ‘Can Do Will Do’ behavior of those hired by the organization… what we call executing a test validation.”
What was unique about the project was its approach to assembling both recruitment and selection data, using the HirePayoff™ employment testing tool, as well as employee engagement data from the same employees.
Jones expands, “In the world of recruitment and selection, we use the HirePayoff™ employment testing tool to assess competencies that jobs such as Retail Sales Associate demand. Parts of the tool tap ‘Can Do’ competencies, the cognitive skills and abilities a job demands to drive learning and solving problems. Other parts tap ‘Will Do’ competencies often referred to as personality testing or personality assessment, although we expand the makeup of the employment testing process much more broadly than classic personality testing.”
In fact, the HirePayoff™ employment testing tool produces scores on candidate competencies that include Skill at Learning and Applying What’s Learned, Drive to Succeed, Dependable Commitment, Team Play, and Taking the Lead. Most important to this project is the HirePayoff™ scale entitled Engagement. The scale produces a score focused on predicting the likelihood that a candidate will develop strong commitment and employee engagement once employed by the organization.
Jones describes how the HirePayoff™ Engagement scale put Dr. Hough’s ideas to the test. “First,” says Jones, “we scored the HirePayoff™ scales, including the employee Engagement scale, for a large number of Sales Associates, nearly 300. This laid the foundation for learning whether the Engagement score would actually predict the associates’ level of on-the-job employee engagement.”
Jones adds, “Second, we assembled the same employees’ answers to a set of classic employee engagement survey items, ones used by many survey vendors to calibrate the level of employee engagement for individual workers, as well as for an overall workforce. For example, we used traditional formats to collect answers to items including:
- I am proud to tell people I work for my organization.
- Overall, I am extremely satisfied with my organization as a place to work.
- I would gladly refer a good friend or family member to my organization for
Jones continues, “Third, we summarized the answers to the employee engagement questions, and used the results to assign each employee to one of four groups, as shown in the chart below. The groups ranged from those whose answers indicated them to be Fully Engaged, to those categorized as Enrolled, followed by Disenchanted, and then the lowest, Fully Disengaged group.” Jones points out, “These are much the same labels used in a Towers Perrin global study of employee engagement executed within the past five years, a study gathering data from more
than 88,000 people.”
“Of most note to our project were the Sales Associates in the two most extreme groups, where our numbers were quite close to those reported in the massive Towers Perrin study – just over 8% in the Fully Disengaged group, and nearly 30% in the Fully Engaged group,” says Jones.
“If Leaetta’s conclusion is true and, more importantly, if the Engagement scale of the HirePayoff™ employment testing tool really ‘earns its keep,’ the scores on the scale should show a payoff in helping to avoid hiring those likely to end up Fully Disengaged, while accepting those likely to become Fully Engaged,” says Jones.
So the big question – If the Engagement scale of the HirePayoff™ employment testing tool had been used to screen the Sales Associates included in the project, what would have happened? Answer:
- Scores on the HirePayoff™ Engagement scale showed a highly significant relationship with answers to the employee engagement
questions; a correlation of nearly .45.
- If the HirePayoff™ Engagement score had been used to reject only about one-quarter of those who completed the employment test, a full two-thirds of those who ended up Fully Disengaged would have failed the screening.
- Further, more than one-half of the combined Fully Disengaged and Disenchanted groups would have been rejected.
- Finally, the qualifying standard would have rejected less than 2% of the group who ended up Highly Engaged.
“This is where the concept of payoff enters the discussion,” says Jones. “By using the HirePayoff™ Engagement score to reject only about one-quarter of those tested, the makeup of the remaining group changed substantially. In the group that “passed” the assessment, there was an approximately 35% reduction in the number of Fully Disengaged or Disenchanted employees. The percent of those Highly Engaged
increased by nearly 27%,” adds Jones.
“If an employer could achieve this level of ‘hits’ by rejecting only about one- quarter of those assessed, wouldn’t it be worth inserting a simple, 30-minute, online selection tool in the recruitment and selection process to gain such a result?” “Seems like a pretty simple answer – yes,” states Jones.
“Importantly,” Jones continues, “we’ve already demonstrated that HirePayoff’s™ 30-minute on-line selection tool predicts bottom-line salesperson performance in other projects. But now,” adds Jones, “it’s possible to put a third leg under the stool. Dr. Hough was right – HirePayoff™ employment testing for ‘Can Do Will Do’ competencies predicts bottom line sales performance and it forecasts
David Jones, PhD, author of Million-Dollar Hire: Building Your Bottom Line, One Employee at a Time”, published in April, 2011 by Jossey-Bass, is among the few Business Psychology professionals to found and grow a major international consulting and HR recruitment and selection process outsourcing business. In Million-Dollar Hire he explains how, even in a slow economy, U.S. employers make millions of hiring decisions every month… and in today’s demanding environment, companies no longer have room to get it wrong. Every hire is an investment… every decision carries risk. Done well, every one can pay a return. Using practical, real world illustrations, Jones uses the book to show there are tools that help treat every hiring decision with the same focus a business follows in acquiring other high-value assets.
Today, Jones is president of Growth Ventures Inc., whose HirePayoff™ division works with employers to tap candidates’ ‘Can Do Will Do’ competencies. Through HirePayoff™, Jones helps companies re-invent their online recruiting and hiring process. The target – find new hires with employee engagement, strong sales performance, solid employee retention, and bottom line drive. All the HirePayoff™ online recruitment and selection tools are supported by sound test validation and uniquely driven by Six Sigma continuous improvement. For more information, visit www.hirepayoff.com.
Dr. David Jones
President & CEO