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Validation: Overcoming Inertia to Prove the Value of Staffing as a Profit Center
Posted By Dr. Charles Handler On January 8, 2013 @ 6:45 am In Advice and How-Tos | 2 Comments
Talk is cheap. Proving the real value of something is often an exercise that requires intention, dedication, focus, and effort. When it comes to demonstrating value, data and money are among the best pieces of proof one could ask for.
Clearly showing the value of hiring remains a perpetual challenge for those in the staffing game. While it is easy to talk about all of the great things we are doing, it is much harder to turn this talk into the hard proof that business leaders expect (i.e., money).
My research  and experience clearly demonstrate that organizations fail to take the proper steps to evaluate the impact of their hiring processes. This is especially true when it comes to the use of pre-hire assessment tools . In fact, the proper evaluation of pre-hire assessments is actually the exception rather then the norm. This is unfortunate because a lack of effort in this area can keep a company from realizing its potential while costing it big time.
The reason most companies consistently fail to evaluate the impact of their pre-hire assessments is both simple and complex. The simple answer is that many companies just don’t care enough or aren’t willing to put in the effort it takes to make it happen. We all know that proving the value of your hiring process is not easy, but what things of value truly are?
The complex answer has to do with to the geeky side of things — specifically the methodological issues that accompany “test validation” and the science of hiring (for a through discussion of this see here ).
Validation is important because it is the avenue via which staffing practices demonstrate value. While there are several types of validation, the most effective type for demonstrating real-world impact of the hiring process involves a systematic investigation of the relationship between pre- and post-hire data. This is known as “criterion related validation” — an analytics-driven process that is essentially business intelligence applied to the hiring process ). We I/Os have been doing this type of work for a good five decades now and have found results we can really be proud of.
Despite our success with it, validation is tricky and presents some inherent difficulties that can obscure its value and therefore its popularity. These include:
Making the leap from validation statistics to dollars is not easy. For example, when one is relying on subjective performance ratings that are competency based (i.e., supervisory ratings of subordinate communication skills) as an expression of job performance value, it is extremely hard to express the results in dollars. This is a problem because dollars and cents is what business understands. Failure to speak this language has served to marginalize us I/Os and staffing professionals and leads to incorrect perceptions of our value.
While all of the above are legitimate reasons why validation can be a hard row to hoe they do not mean we should give up trying. The rewards of striving to do it right are worth fighting for.
The good news here is that we are living in an era marked by unprecedented levels of analytical ability, and there is an increasing body of evidence that demonstrates that companies across the globe are finding ways to show the value in their hiring processes. For those brave enough to keep pushing to overcome the inertia of the situation, here are some things that can make a difference.
Any of us who have been working in staffing can find a million reasons why showing real value is not an easy thing to do. But just because something is hard does not mean it is not worth doing. Keeping your eyes on the prize and taking on hard challenges is what differentiates the pretenders from the contenders.
photo from Harbor Freight Tools
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URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.ere.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Screen-Shot-2013-01-05-at-2.07.24-PM.png
 research: http://www.ere.net/2009/08/03/results-from-the-6th-annual-rocket-hire-online-assessment-usage-survey/
 pre-hire assessment tools: http://www.ere.net/tags/assessments
 here: http://www.ere.net/2009/09/24/validation-practical-information-for-staffing-professionals/
 applied to the hiring process : http://www.ere.net/2011/10/12/notes-from-the-hr-technology-show-assessment-and-the-rest-of-hr-hits-the-jackpot-with-data-analytics/
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