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A Benchmarking Study To Improve Hiring Processes In Public Safety

April 28, 2021

The employees that you hire are at the heart of your organization's success. So how do you ensure that you are selecting the right candidate for the right role? It's a simple formula in theory: you figure out what success looks like in any given job and then select future candidates based on that criterion. While it sounds straight forward, we've all experienced the disappointment and cost that comes from working with someone who was a perfect match on paper, but in reality, is a poor fit for the job. Utilizing tools like a benchmarking strategy is an effective way to avoid such hiring challenges by basing your hiring practices on the best practices and successes of similar organizations.

Benchmarking to Improve Hiring Processes in Public Safety

By evaluating your organization’s environment (e.g., similar organizations, competition, industry leaders) and comparing your current organizational practices to industry trends, your organization can obtain the data needed to inform and guide organizational strategy and mission. More specifically, such data can be used to monitor internal quality and performance at individual moments as well as over time (e.g., year to year) to provide insight into where your organization stands on a wide variety of programs and initiatives.

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One tool that helps with this process is benchmarking. At its core, benchmarking is the process of comparing something against a standard. For organizations, benchmarking is the process of comparing products, services, or processes against similar organizations or industry leaders to gain a better understanding of where your organization stands within the field. Because the benchmarking process can be tailored to address specific needs and requirements, it can produce a wide array of both qualitative and quantitative data that can address a wide range of questions. This can help organizations ensure they are meeting acceptable minimal standards and can demonstrate general acceptance within a profession as a “best practice.”

Surveying Metropolitan Police Departments

PSI, as a leader in public safety assessment, recently conducted a benchmarking study that involved collecting data on the employment practices of nearly 30 of the largest police departments within the United States. The study was conducted as a part of our work with a large metropolitan police department that was interested in improving their hiring and retention processes, including ensuring the wellness of their officers.

Specifically, one of the agency’s requests was for PSI to conduct a national review of available entry-level hiring assessments and the psychological screening standards in use among other police agencies.

The goal of this benchmarking survey was to gather information from police departments regarding their selection and wellness practices including the psychological assessments used in pre-employment and Fitness for Duty evaluations. PSI developed a targeted, 25-minute, online survey that was completed by individuals overseeing each agency’s human resources programs. The results of the survey provided a comprehensive look into the participating agencies’ employment practices and helped inform our client of the current hiring and retention practices in place among police agencies across the United States.

We've just released the full summary of the study showing how benchmarking helped this law enforcement agency improve its hiring process, available for download below. 

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Janet Echemendia, Janet Echemendia, PhD, is Vice President, Safety Solutions at PSI.