Focusing a Spotlight on Corporate Social Responsibility
Although we may be immersed in our daily business activities, if we listen closely we can still hear the door of corporate disengagement, dishonesty and greed slowly closing. As one door closes, another is opening swiftly,
presenting an opportunity for organizations to demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities in which they operate. As recent studies have shown, individuals no longer see organizations as separate entities from society but rather it is expected that organizations operating in their communities be actively involved in ensuring a healthy, safe and effective society. Businesses all over the world are taking notice and corporate social responsibility (CSR) has slowly been integrated into corporate culture.
While no one definition exists, CSR is the manner in which corporations seek to integrate beneficial economic, social, and environmental aspects into business activities. While the popularity of this concept has risen dramatically in the last few years, other companies have been integrating these elements into their business practices for many years.
Although EPSI has recently won an award for Small/Medium Enterprise of the Year and our Vice-President, Julie Thibault, has been nominated in the category of Young Entrepreneur of the Year for a Small/Medium Enterprise, we as a company are also very proud of the positive impact the firm and its employees have made in our community. As a firm, we choose not only to donate financially to charities and causes that mean a great deal to us, we ensure to volunteer our time and resources as well. While the management team firmly believes in the concept of CSR, it is the actions initiated by our employees that make it successful.
In keeping with our theme, in this edition of the EPSI newsletter, we identify the advantage of moving away from administering paper-pencil tests to a greener online testing platform. Our featured article discusses the use of assessment tools and products in ensuring a successful and meaningful career for our employees, which helps them and ultimately their employer, be successful. We also present the expert advice of our president André Durivage, Ph.D, a highly respected author and HR specialist in regard to a question we received on how to explain the importance of using appropriate assessment tools to a non-receptive audience. This edition will also highlight the EPSI employees' Relay for Life team as our "EPSI Expert" and will provide readers with an insight into their motivations for volunteering their time to such an important cause.
Once again, we would like to thank you for your continued readership and the loyalty you have demonstrated in EPSI and our Compmetrica assessment products.
Online testing: an efficient, cost-effective, and green solution!
Today, the notions of organizational culture and social responsibility are part and parcel of sound strategic planning. The era is past when organizations were not held responsible for adverse effects resulting from their operations. In this context, the search for environmentally friendly work tools has become standard practice in any occupational environment.
A large number of organizations on the lookout for efficient and cost-effective tools to manage their staffing and evaluation of potential have already adopted Compmetrica's Online Testing Platform, and it has proven a very environmental solution.
Traditionally, the tools used for staffing and evaluation of potential candidates necessarily involved a significant waste of paper, ink and resources used in paper assessments (pencils, pens, erasers, etc). The amount of paper required in a large-scale staffing process for a single position is already considerable (testing notebooks, participant notebooks, scrap paper, assessment reports, etc.), and the fact that assessment tools are often non-transferable causes this effect to grow exponentially. Compmetrica's Online Testing Platform is a practical and efficient method for reducing waste while increasing the profitability and efficiency of your systems. Whether you are looking for the elimination of paper use through online administration, the ability to transfer results from one process to another, one-click access to a vast selection of assessment reports covering every level of job position or requirements, or even the possibility of modifying test content without the need to reprint, it is clear that online testing, such as that provided by the Compmetrica platform, is a green solution and part of a responsible corporate policy.
Aside from the issue of wasted paper, the Online Testing Platform also addresses an environmental issue that has been much debated by global leaders. As countries take responsibility for their greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of pollution from transportation becomes an important factor. In addition to the greenhouse gas emissions from the various modes of transportation (car, bus, train, plane, etc) used by candidates to participate in the staffing process, the shipping of the paper tests, often by priority mail, must also be taken into account. However, by providing the ability for results to be transmitted instantly over the Internet and, in a non-controlled testing scenario, for candidates to take their tests at home, it is easy to see how Compmetrica's Online Testing Platform contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In conclusion, there are generally many advantages to justify the implementation of online testing. At a time when efficiency and profitability are often synonymous with the durability of an organization, it is impossible to ignore the time, money, and effort saved by Compmetrica's Online Testing Platform. And in addition, this green testing platform delivers added value by showing a clear commitment to do more for our planet!
WHAT WOULD THE DR. DO?
Dispensing expert HR advice from EPSI's President, the highly respected author André Durivage, Ph.D.
Q: I'm the Director of Human Resources at a small company and I have been trying for years to convince our management team to introduce standardized tests in our hiring practices. How can I convince my colleagues that the initial investment is worth it?
- M. Jamieson
You are definitely on the right track when considering investing financial resources in standardized assessment tools in order to select the right personnel.
Increasingly businesses are beginning to realize that regardless of the services or products they offer, their most crucial resource is their human capital. With the dawn of this realization, whether you belong to a small or large organization, the need to move towards more strategic human resources management has increased exponentially. Like any other sector of an organization it is important to ensure that there is a significant return for the time and effort invested in initiatives. Frankly, given the compounding negative impacts of not hiring the right employee, an organization cannot afford to refrain from investing in appropriate and effective assessment tools.
Utility analysis estimates the monetary savings to an organization when they adopt a valid standardized tool in a selection process. In order to assess utility the following formula is used:
U = N x T x Sr x Rxy x Ps
There are a number of elements in this equation; below you will find a short explanation of each:
N = Number of positions to be staffed in a year: The more often that an organization engages in hiring employees the more that the quality of the selection process will have an impact on the organization.
T = Average tenure: This element corresponds to the average number of years that a selected candidate remains in the position, as their individual performance will have an impact on the organization throughout the time that they are an employee.
Sr = Selection Ratio: The proportion of candidates who need to be hired in relation to the number of candidates who applied to the process.
Rxy = Validity Coefficient: This term expresses the validity of the assessment tool; in this case whether it can be psychometrically proven to predict future job performance, job related learning and other criteria. Selection tools that have been statistically analyzed and have a high level of validity are more likely to provide you with the ability to predict which candidate will function best in the position for which they have applied. Regardless of the position being staffed, it is essential to use assessment tools and processes that can provide you with high predictive validity as it is the most important characteristic of personnel selection.
Ps = Performance vs. Salary (Good vs. Mediocre employee): When measuring an employee's productivity as their mean output, studies have shown that a superior worker in a lower level job produces 19% more than the average worker, a superior skilled worker produces 32% more than an average skilled worker and a superior manager or professional produces 48% more output than their average counterparts. These percentages of increased productivity have a direct impact as studies have shown that when output is expressed in dollar amounts, the average employee typically generates a minimum of 40% of their salary. Thus, if the average salary is $40,000, then the employee generates $16,000. This number increases exponentially when applied to employees who exhibit superior job performance. (Schmidt & Hunter, 1998).
The numbers of positions to be staffed in a year, tenure and selection ratio are all variable elements that are dependent on the organization and the type of positions for which they hire. The aspect that uniformly applies to all organizations and drastically affects the utility of a selection process and consequently the financial implications is the validity coefficient. A higher validity coefficient directly increases utility and results in selection of employees that will engage in higher productivity output. In order to increase the validity coefficient an organization must use assessment tools that have been validated using acceptable professional psychological standards and are proven to have high predictive validity.
Take an organization that selects 20 people each year for one type of position, with an average tenure of 5 years, and a selection ratio of 2.1. If the salary for the position is $75,000, then we can expect each employee's minimum output to be $30,000 (40% of salary).
Now, let us assume that the organization chooses a selection process that uses an assessment tool with less predictive validity, thus a validity coefficient of 0.33. Using this information in conjunction with the utility formula, we arrive at a sum of $2,079,000; meaning that the organization would save approximately two million dollars over five years by using that particular assessment tool.
In contrast by retaining the same characteristics and simply changing the validity coefficient to 0.60 (achieved through use of assessment tools with greater validity) the utility is equal to $3,780,000, meaning that the organization saves nearly four million dollars over the course of five years.
Therefore, by simply investing in a more valid assessment tool the organization will save on average nearly two million dollars more than if they had used a less valid tool and nearly four million dollars more than if they had not used any validated assessment product.
In order to convince your colleagues to introduce standardized assessment products the important aspect to highlight is the practical value; the fact that the initial venture results in a clear return of investment in aspects such as lower turn-over rates, increased productivity and job performance, and higher employee satisfaction. In order for an organization to remain competitive, utilizing valid standardized assessment tools is not only advantageous it is imperative. The ramifications of not doing so are extensive and the consequences include loss of productivity, profit and resources. Using the utility analysis equation in conjunction with assessment tools with high predictive validity, you should be able to demonstrate to your colleagues that the initial investment is advantageous for the entire organization. By simply choosing an assessment tool with high predictive validity you can potentially save your organization millions of dollars.
Not a bad argument.
To submit a question to be answered by EPSI's president André Durivage, Ph.D, please send an email to email@example.com with 'Question for the Doctor' clearly marked in the subject line.
Executive coaching programs
Valuable tools for workforce retention and competitive incentive for future employees.
Many organizations have trouble with human resources shortages and find it challenging to recruit and retain management personnel. Even if only some industries are affected right now, many more will be in the future.
How can organizations react to this epidemic? While at first glance, it would appear to be a matter for human resources management, many experts also place the responsibility on senior management.
Let us consider the case of Stephanie. A specialist in her field because of her expertise and qualifications, she was offered a mid-level management position in the organization where she had worked for the past seven years. At first, everything seemed to be going well. She was a valuable resource, had passed all of the selection procedures, risen through the ranks in her organization, and obtained a promotion. It seemed a perfect match. And yet, two years later, Stephanie resigned and left the organization. Her employer was disappointed at the outcome of this appointment.
We all know cases like this; proficient and high-performing professionals who obtain mid-level management positions and yet end up going on sick leave due to burnout or nervous breakdowns, or are even dismissed for poor performance. Careers ended in a deteriorating work environment after a new appointment. How can we encourage peak performance in employees appointed to managerial positions? How can we boost the success rate for this job transition?
If an organization wishes to develop the talents of its employees, it must invest time and resources to support their success. An employee cannot become effective in his or her new role overnight or even in a year, simply by wanting to succeed in a position. The promoted individual must have support in this new position and in the introduction and follow-up of new responsibilities, and this will happen through a close relationship with his or her immediate supervisor. Nevertheless, this raises some questions. Are supervisors equipped to support new employees in their positions? Do they have the time? Does the organization value structured feedback to guide new employees? These questions must be considered if we want to ensure a smooth transition.
From our work with organizations, we have found that the following key factors must be considered in order to ensure a smooth transition to supervisory positions:
- Support and commitment of upper management;
- Communication and involvement of immediate supervisors;
- Process for employee identification and objective evaluation;
- Programs for group development and customized training plans;
- Opportunities to apply skills;
- Coaching and supervision;
- Performance monitoring for supervisory personnel.
1. Support and commitment of upper management
In our experience, the drive of human resources directors and the support of senior and upper-level management are crucial for the introduction and implementation of a succession development program. As all supervisory personnel are affected by this initiative, it is essential that upper management be involved and committed to this initiative. In a job coaching program, challenging discussions give rise to structured feedback and expanded opportunities for new employees to demonstrate their abilities. A program of this nature directly involves immediate supervisors. They must be brought on board and convinced of the importance of this process. It is the responsibility of upper management to develop the vision of a transition program and make it a priority. The role of the HR Director is to support the action of employees and immediate supervisors by providing best practices. A "program lead" must be designated to ensure effective follow-through.
2. Communication and involvement of immediate supervisors
Within the context of this process, a communications and information plan should be developed for employees and their immediate supervisors. Begin by explaining how the process meets organizational objectives. Then present the program objectives and show that the organization is committed to supporting the employees and supervisors in their own work environment. Finally, follow up by distributing information to support this program within the context of continuous self-improvement. For this step it is crucial to fully understand the background and the role of everyone involved to get them actively involved in the program.
3. Process for employee identification and objective evaluation
While coaching employees in transition, we recommend an objective evaluation of each targeted employee, based on a specific competency profile, in order to come up with an employee profile. In a feedback session on the evaluation results, the individual's strengths and the main factors affecting performance are discussed. This first conversation focuses on the skills to be developed, on the basis of the employee's and supervisor's interests and in line with professional and organizational needs. This approach will start the program on solid footing. Upper management will then have a greater understanding of the abilities, characteristics, strengths, and challenges of their employees. In this way, we avoid basing the process on personal perceptions and judgments.
4. Programs for group development and customized training plans
Our approach is based on the analysis of group results and suggested shared training activities. We provide opportunities for group training by targeting the development of joint competencies. This analysis allows for the awareness of common deficiencies, but more importantly, it offers solutions for improvement. The meetings develop communication skills, and allow for frank discussion of subjects which point out weaknesses in the organization and are therefore difficult to tackle.
Furthermore, an analysis of employee results enables the creation of a customized training plan which concentrates on the employee's professional needs and challenges. This work tool guides his or her professional development and targets the most suitable training activities. These processes are directly focused on job performance improvement and personal development, ensuring employee fulfillment and job satisfaction.
5. Opportunities to apply expertise
Personalized training plans, group training sessions, seminars, activities and reference materials are attractive teaching methods, but without implementation the majority of these resources will have little effect on individual performance. In fact, research indicates that traditional training has little effect on the development of leadership abilities. It is therefore essential that employees in management be given opportunities to use their abilities in organization projects or team management to reinforce theoretical training. We must carefully match the opportunities and the employees in order to encourage achievement, provide realistic challenges to consolidate their skills, allow them to build their credibility within the organization, and nourish their success.
6. Supervision and coaching
The supervision and coaching approach provides support throughout an employee's career. Immediate supervision allows for the establishment of a close relationship between supervisor and employee and encourages a type of communication which is, too often, lacking or nonexistent. During these informal meetings, it is possible to set clear expectations for sensitive assignments, discuss how to prioritize, schedule and follow-up. In this way, the supervisor guides the employee in his or her role and offers support at key moments.
Some organizations turn to coaching by a third party to start the process and structure discussions. The employee and immediate supervisor are both given guidance in their respective roles. For more sensitive meetings dealing with difficult subjects, the presence of a coach can offer valuable support. This third party can also provide assistance by phone in order to guide an employee in making a decision in a specific situation.
7. Performance monitoring for managerial personnel
This type of coaching program ensures the monitoring of employee productivity is more consistent and allows for continuous adjustments during an employee's career. We increase communication between supervisors and employees, and provide secondary support to the employee as the immediate supervisor is best equipped to do so. This helps to avoid deteriorating situations which cannot be salvaged by the employee.
Our company has noted positive returns from the coaching of new executives. On multiple occasions, clients have told us that candidates reported accepting their offer of employment because this type of program was available to them and there was a support plan within the organization. This program also enables new employees to network within the organization. Group activities create synergy within the team, help employees to integrate in their new role and prevent them from feeling isolated. This coaching program delivers a suitable working environment for employees and assists in their professional development.
Read about what is new at EPSI and our experiences participating in various conferences across North America.
Celebrating 30 years of the SQPTO
The SQPTO *, [Quebec association of workplace and organizational psychology], celebrated its 30th anniversary, and EPSI was a proud sponsor of the event. The conference gathered practitioners, managers and innovative researchers in the field of workplace psychology with the theme: Specific Solutions to Today's Challenges.
The participants discussed ways in which workplace psychology can contribute to today's organizational efficiency and a positive work environment. In this context, we had the opportunity to promote our new Compmetrica assessment tools such as our managerial level multiple-choice tests (in-baskets) and the Organizational Values Test (OVT). We also networked with our existing customers and partners and were able to meet people interested in the newest trends in assessment tools.
We would like to congratulate the organizing committee of the Workplace Psychology Conference and we wish the SQPTO another 30 years of success.
For more information, visit
SQPTO 's website.*
SHRM CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION
San Diego, California
The premiere HR conference in the world
EPSI is eagerly preparing to participate for the third straight year at the prestigious Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference.
This year, the 62nd Conference will take place in beautiful San Diego from June 27-30, 2010. SHRM welcomes over 600 exhibitors and almost 10,000 human resource specialists from all over the world and is currently the largest international human resources event. The SHRM conference provides a unique opportunity for participants to update strategies, meet industry leaders and academics in the field, and examine new practical tools and learning methods that will be beneficial in the future.
It is also an excellent opportunity for EPSI to shine on the world stage and create valuable connections to promote its Compmetrica assessment tools to the American market. Look for a report of this event in our next newsletter.
For more information, visit SHRM 's website
WORKSHOP CONFERENCE IN PARIS
The president of EPSI, André Durivage Ph.D, will be in Paris on July 6 to chair a lunch conference session. During this event, André Durivage will tackle a current topic in the world of selection and evaluation. The participants will discuss issues which they face and Mr. Durivage will answer questions. For more information on the workshop*.
Space is limited. Reserve your seat today!
*(Paris workshop available in French only)
EPSI WEBINAR WORKSHOPS
New information platform
The human resources field is constantly evolving. EPSI aims to use the latest technology to promote its products and services. That is why EPSI's team of consultants set up its Interactive Webinars to inform clients of the latest trends in human resources. Our Webinars cover various subjects such as:
- Succession identification by management and rapid review of candidate potential;
- The COMPMETRICA competency model - the foundation of strategic and operational Human Resources Management (HRM);
- Practical implementations of online testing in the organizational setting;
- Creating a COMPMETRICA structured interview - key technology for effectively identifying high-performing employees.
These Webinars are an excellent information platform for elite HR strategists. You can access the content of these Webinars by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. One Thursday a month from 1 pm to 2 pm, EPSI's team of consultants invites you to join them as they share their knowledge of the fascinating world of HR. You won't want to miss this monthly meeting.
EPSI was named "SME of the Year" by the RGA and the Vice President of EPSI was nominated as "Young Entrepreneur - Small Business" of the year by ARISTA
EPSI was the proud recipient of the "SME of the Year Award" at the RGA (Le Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la Capitale nationale) Gala. In awarding this honour to EPSI, other businesses and clients in the National Capital Region acknowledged the quality and range of EPSI's products and services. The renowned Regroupement des gens d'affaires de la Capitale nationale brings together nearly 600 entrepreneurs and managers who conduct business in French in the Eastern Ontario and Ottawa regions. Leading the economic dynamism of the Francophone region, these business professionals hold several billion dollars in purchasing power. A driving force behind regional economic development, the RGA protects and supports the interests of its members with advice and recommendations on major issues affecting the region.
EPSI is also very proud to announce the nomination of its Vice-President Julie Thibault, in the ARISTA Provincial Competition* for "Young Entrepreneur of Quebec -Business" category. This provincial competition is organized by the Jeune Chambre de commerce de Montréal (Montreal junior chamber of commerce), which recognizes, encourages, and promotes the success and the excellence of young managers, professionals, and independent entrepreneurs aged 18 to 40 years old. ARISTA means "excellence" in Greek. The slogan of EPSI is "Expertise for Excellence." Coincidence? No, rather this shows that businesses acknowledge the quality of services offered by our company and our commitment to produce the best assessment tools and processes.
In light of the honours mentioned above, EPSI would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients for their loyalty and commitment over the years. We are grateful for the confidence you have displayed in us and proud that you have chosen EPSI as a valuable partner. We will continue to strive to provide our clients with a level of service and products that not only meets, but exceeds their expectations, as it is in part through your support that we were recognized for these prestigious awards.
André Durivage, EPSI President and Julie Thibault, Vice-President.
EPSI GOES TO GENEVA
In light of its recent activities in Switzerland, EPSI is headed to Geneva to host a conference presented by the company president André Durivage. This event is intended to provide organizations in Geneva and other Swiss regions with evaluation and selection tools. It is also a valuable opportunity for EPSI to introduce its Compmetrica product line to the Swiss market.
In October 2009, the Canadian company EPSI and the French company D2RH CONSEIL entered into a partnership which allows them to benefit from their mutual expertise and offer a worldwide Human Resources consulting service to Europe and America.
To strengthen their partnership, the two companies are sharing their human resources expertise and competencies in areas such as recruitment and employee and competency management. They are also making human resources systems available to companies worldwide. Their partnership also involves sharing of human and material resources. A consultant has been appointed to work in conjunction with both firms. The availability of contact persons in both countries sets the groundwork for an international network to efficiently and effectively guide companies in the European and American markets.
AGREEMENT WITH GrDF
EPSI recently reached an agreement with GrDF in order to provide assessment tools and services. GrDF purchased a Compmetrica Competency Model to focus evaluation and selection activities on a comprehensive model. EPSI has also created profiles for some professions and positions within GrDF and developed electronic assessment reports to make detailed assessment data readily available. Finally, GrDF has introduced online testing via the Compmetrica Platform, enabling them to access the full range of Compmetrica tests and administer their evaluations via the Internet. This process has given GrDF independent use of Compmetria products to access candidate applications, manage testing sessions and view results. EPSI and GrDF are expanding their business relationship by exploring additional opportunities. Look for more news on this subject in the coming months.
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN HR
" 70% of employees rate their first day of work at a new employer as the most stressful experience of their adult lives. "
Recruitment of new employees is a practice that all organizations engage in. Once the right candidate has been chosen it is imperative that the organization take the right steps to implement an effective integration plan in order to make the new employee feel welcome, informed, and provide them with the tools necessary to become a productive member of the company.
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for a new employee's induction into a company to be seen as an inconvenience of time and to be handled in a disorganized and hasty manner. A rough introduction to a new organization can have serious consequences; a study conducted by a UK firm found that one in 25 people will leave a new job just because of a poor employee induction program, and 93% believe that a poor induction has had a continual adverse effect on their productivity at work1.
As American management guru Professor Chris Argyris said, "I ask managers how long it would take them to learn to play a moderate game of tennis. They say 'oh about two years'. Well then, how come they don't have that sort of commitment to developing people's learning2?" The first day of employment can be very difficult as evidenced by the fact that 70% of employees rate their first day of work at a new employer as the most stressful experience of their adult lives3.
Developing and implementing a dynamic and efficient induction process for new employees can not only ease their preoccupations and make being "the new person" more enjoyable, it is also beneficial on an organizational level. A survey undertaken of 158 employers with a combined workforce of almost 534,000 employees found that effective staff induction boosts retention rates and productivity levels amongst new recruits. In addition, the effective induction can also determine an employee's commitment to the job; create an enhanced 'psychological contract' resulting in increased employee engagement, and establish a greater organizational reputation4.
There are a number of ways to take advantage of these positive outcomes and provide a proper induction to new employees such as informal on-the-job training, workplace tours to meet colleagues, group presentations, information packs, buddy schemes, and mentoring or coaching.
While each organization's approach will vary in terms of length, flexibility, scope and delivery, there are a number of key elements that contribute to the success of employee inductions5:
- A face to face delivery provides a greater sense of belonging and may make a new employee feel more comfortable, buddy schemes and coaching take this aspect into account;
- A clear and flexible approach that is outlined to the new employee, for example when possible providing the employee with information prior to their start date;
- Training for those who are conducting the induction process so that they do so in the most effective manner using appropriate techniques as not everyone can explain things simply;
- Linking the initial induction to the new employee's personal development plan;
- Engaging the involvement of senior managers;
- Regularly reviewing the induction process to ensure best practices and the ongoing effectiveness of the program.
Implementing a well-planned induction process for new employees will ensure that on their first day of work their first impression is a good one, as well as allow newcomers to more quickly and efficiently contribute to their new organization, something that is beneficial for everyone.
1 Dr. Kathryn Owler (2007) The art of induction: a process not an event, Human Resources Magazine
2 Martin, David M..Familiarization: A to Z of Employment Practice, 2004, p213-219, 7p
3 Martin, David M.
4 N. Willams, (2009) Effective staff lead to broader benefits: Personnel Today, p.26-29, 1p
5 N. Willams
EPSI experts provide valuable, informative perspectives on various aspects of HR.
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