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How to Get HR and Operations to Agree on Employee Assessments

February 2, 2016

agreement.jpgThe epic battle wages on as two sides fight tirelessly in an effort to impose their will and dominate the corporate landscape. Are we talking about Google vs. Amazon? No, this battle is between operations and human resources, and although these should be two symbiotic groups that work together towards their common goal, often times they are not.

Operations can often feel overwhelmed by all of the policies, practices, and procedures that HR puts into place, while HR can often get frustrated by the shortcuts of operations to circumvent these practices. One area where I have found this to most often be the case is with the selection of new employees and the decision on who to hire. Even taking a step back, a tough question can be: How does the organization select new employees into the organization?

Operations often like to have a say in employment decisions either via resume/application reviews, interviews, sometimes more informal meet-and-greets. In fact, HR professionals sometimes indicate this is one reason why they don’t feel pre-employment assessments will be accepted as part of the hiring process. Specifically, HR is concerned that hiring managers will feel that they have been removed from the decision-making process and have less ownership and confidence in the process.

However, there are steps that can, and should, be taken to involve operations in the implementation of a new assessment process, both so that they can provide their valuable input, and so that they understand the positives that will come from the new selection tools. Providing education around the benefits expected from an employee assessment process can go a long way.

Here are a few points to consider about assessments:

  1. Assessments can decrease time to hire. There is not an operations manager out there that has not felt the pinch of an overworked staff. Often, HR is required to identify and hire people quickly to meet demands of production. Assessments can allow you to do so effectively, such that you interview quality individuals and focus efforts on potential high performers.

  2. More hires, fewer interviews: win-win. By creating a more robust process that screens out individuals who are not likely to succeed on the job, hiring managers can focus their attention on a smaller, more capable pool of final candidates. An effective hiring system should lead to a smaller number of interviews with a higher yield for those interviews. This will reduce time to hire, reduce hiring manager time commitment, and increase overall satisfaction with the process.

  3. Objective decisions are a legal teams' dream. Have you ever wondered what type of interview questions Bob the hiring manager is asking behind those closed doors? Have you ever cringed at hearing some of the reasons why the hiring manager does not want to hire someone? Hiring managers tend to create their own schema around what makes a successful employee and this is a problem. Candidates should be compared against established and consistent criteria and the best way to measure all candidates on the same criteria without bias is to use an objective form of measurement. Assessments offer this form of measurement which is also a major reason why they are more effective than interviews; everyone gets the same questions and is measured with the same ruler, a lawyers dream.

  4. Effective selection can increase performance and reduce turnover. Assessments objectively measure the specific characteristics that are considered to be important for effective performance on the job. They are scientifically designed to predict important work outcomes, and thus you can benefit by seeing improvements in these outcomes.

  5. Your competitors are doing it. The percentage of companies that are using employee assessments, particularly Fortune 1,000 companies, is growing by the day. Companies are understanding the value of accurately hiring the best possible employees for their situation. Maybe you have great interviewers, but maybe you don’t, should you be taking that chance of allowing your competitors to capitalize on the gains and increases in top talent, while you allow Bob the hiring manager determine the future talent within your organization?

Every organization is different and has different needs; however, one constant is that they need quality individuals to provide a quality product to their client. Unfortunately, companies often have trouble investing early in the selection process because it is difficult to quantify the return on investment downstream. It may be simplest to think about it like this; if it was not worth the money, why are assessments and robust selection procedures so common in successful organizations?

5 Steps to Getting Started with Manufacturing Employee Assessment

Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. Steven Jarrett, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. He has extensive experience developing, implementing, and validating legally defensible selection solutions for organizations. Steven has worked in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, healthcare and education.