Is the increasing world-wide popularity of Competency-Based HR Management justified?
Within the last few years, the economic environment has challenged organizations to unearth solutions that seamlessly integrate effective human resources planning with business planning in order to achieve their mission, mandate and business goals. Granted, this is already a common practice in some parts of the world; we have seen an increased proliferation of organizations globally, in the public and private sector, implementing competency-based HR management (CBHRM) systems in order to achieve their strategic plans.
While this approach has evolved and been adopted globally by major organizations, its continued embrace has been hindered by a lack of clarity and a uniform definition of what CBHRM is and the multitude of approaches and tools associated with it. Unfortunately, these challenges are also compounded by promises of spectacular and immediate changes, which leave organizations wondering where to start.
Although the benefits are clear and the results undeniable, when looking to implement a CBHRM system, it is crucial to turn to valid and reliable sources. For example, companies that offer this service should have a proven track record of supporting organizations that implement successful CBHRM approaches with the appropriate tools and have resources to remain abreast of new developments in this rapidly evolving field.
In keeping with this edition's theme, we will provide you with an intriguing article written by Philippe Longpré on the importance of considering P-O fit in a recruitment strategy, while Mathieu Durivage explores the role of social media in the field of human resources. We will also present expert advice from our president, Dr. André Durivage, regarding a question we received concerning the use of assessment tools in succession planning. In addition, our "EPSI Expert" section will highlight our Client Support Team and will focus on how technological evolution has changed the manner in which advice and recommendations are provided, as well as how your organization can benefit from quality client support.
As in every edition, we would like to thank you for your continued readership and the loyalty you have demonstrated in EPSI and our Compmetrica assessment products.
Director, Consulting Services and Business Development
The Importance of Person-Organization Fit in Hiring
A recent survey1 conducted with the help of LinkedIn HR shows that employee commitment to the organization and the identification of talented individuals are two of the greatest concerns for HR specialists today. These results are not particularly surprising, given that commitment to an employer affects a number of important variables at the individual level, such as the intention to stay, absenteeism and job satisfaction, as well as at the organizational level, in terms of profits, stock market value and sales figures2. Finding and identifying talent is just as important, when one considers how the global demand for talent is on the rise while high-potential candidate pools in Western countries are shrinking. As well, the retention of skilled employees is challenging, as they manage their careers very aggressively nowadays, but the compatibility between the person and the organization, or P-O Fit, makes it possible to predict a candidate's level of commitment and forms the basis for the characteristics used to qualify an employee as "talent."3
P-O Fit is a measurement of the compatibility between the characteristics of an individual and those of an organization4, based on a number of theoretical foundations5. The dimensions, or components, of P-O Fit differ from one author to the next6 (expectations, needs, personality, objectives, interests and beliefs), but there appears to be a consensus for placing values at the heart of this concept. It is important to specify here that the term "value" refers primarily to organizational values, which represent the means and the ends that are most important to the organization. In other words, organizational values are lasting preferences that guide organizations in the hundreds of decisions that they make at every level7.
In practice, measuring P-O Fit consists of using a test like the OVT8 to compare a person's primary values to those of the organization (generally established by upper management), thus obtaining an index of similarity ranging from 0 (very different) to 100 (identical). Numerous studies9 have shown that person-organization fit makes it possible to partially predict employees' attitudes (commitment to the organization, job satisfaction and intention to stay) and behaviour (performance and corporate citizenship) in the workplace. Yet these same studies also lead to the conclusion that P-O Fit is slightly better at predicting specifically attitude-related criteria and that it provides the most valid measurement in value-related dimensions. Moreover, it is clear that its contribution in terms of predictive validity and incremental validity, beyond the results obtained by cognitive skills testing, for example, are enough to justify its incorporation into the hiring and performance evaluation processes.
To summarize, this relatively recent concept has led to the development of new assessment tools that provide useful information to complement the data already available to human resources specialists. This information may be used for a variety of purposes, such as affecting the fundamental level of commitment to the organization or helping identify high-potential individuals, regardless of their origin.
By Philippe Longpré
Consultant, Organizational development and evaluation
1 C. Wildermuth (2011), LinkedIn HR Research Report: "HR Concerns in 2011," March 2011
2 K. Tyler (2011) and Kristoff-Brown, Zimmerman & Johnson (2005)
3 Robinson, Fetters, Rieters & Bracco (2009)
4 Kristoff-Brown & al. (2005)
5 D Morin (2007)
6 Arthur & al. (2006); Hofman & Woehr (2006); Kristof-Brown & al. (2005); and Verquer & al. (2003)
7 C Enz (1986); Schmidt & Posner (1983) and D.M. Rousseau (1990)
8 Organizational Values Test, EPSI, 2010
9 Arthur & al. (2006); Hofman & Woehr (2006); Kristof-Brown & al. (2005); and Verquer & al. (2003)
WHAT WOULD THE DR. DO?
Dispensing expert HR advice from EPSI's President, the highly respected author André Durivage, Ph.D.
Q: My organization is in the midst of trying to adopt a succession planning model so that we can make sure we have people trained to move into key leadership positions when needed. We know there are many benefits to implementing a process, but now we are looking at how to pick who gets to participate and how to see whether people are actually improving, or are really ready to take on those key leadership positions. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Congratulations, your organization is one step ahead of the game! It is great that you are already discussing a model and are serious about implementing it. As you mentioned, the benefits of succession planning have been made clear, and the time for implementation is now (although yesterday would be even better). However, individuals and organizations are now pondering some very good questions: who gets to participate and how exactly do you tell if those participants are improving or are ready to take the next step?
These are two excellent questions and unfortunately there is no certain answer to the first one, as it is very much dependant on your organization. Some companies may open the opportunity up to all employees and let employees themselves initiate the process of participating in succession planning programs and development. On the other hand, this option may not be realistic for many organizations -too many participants may be unsustainable and not a viable financial option. In order to keep your people happy, but still ensure that the "cream of the crop" get developed, it would be desirable to offer all employees career planning and opportunities for advancement, while focusing your executive leadership development on employees who have been selected.
Usually, the selection process follows two steps. First, a recommendation is made by superiors, either the employee's supervisor, one or many managers, or by a board which indicates that the employee has demonstrated a solid performance over the years and is ready to assume more responsibilities. Next, these employees undergo a thorough psychometric evaluation geared toward identifying their managerial potential. This process of selection can take other forms, but to foster a sense of fairness and trust in the process, using psychometric assessment tools as part of the process is vital.
Incorporating an assessment strategy into the selection process is important for a number of reasons: 1) As mentioned prior, it engenders a sense of trust in the process, there is no one individual who may be prone to bias choosing who gets to participate, 2) Through psychometric assessments such as personality tests, in-basket exercises and strategic planning exercises, you can identify, with a much higher degree of certainty, the individuals who already demonstrate the sought after competencies for key leadership positions, 3) Using certain assessment tools, you can identify who has the potential to further develop these essential competencies.
Now, question two: how to determine if individuals participating in the succession planning process are actually improving and developing? Luckily, assuming that you have used psychometric assessments in your selection process for the program, you are already half way there. Using the results from the initial evaluations, you have key insight into what learning opportunities your succession planning participants require or, in other words, what exactly it is they need to develop. After providing them with leadership training, learning programs and development opportunities, re-administering those psychometric assessments provides you with a clear picture of how far that individual has progressed and what they may still need to improve on.
Of course, psychometric assessments aren't the only part of the whole succession planning model, but they are an imperative section that is oftentimes left out. If you don't know where someone is starting from, how do you know how far they have to go, how far they have come, or whether they ever get there?
To submit a question to be answered by EPSI's president André Durivage, Ph.D., please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Question for the Doctor' clearly marked in the subject line.
Read about what is new at EPSI and our experiences participating in various conferences across North America.
Our first Montreal-based symposium is quite a success!
EPSI would like to thank you for your interest in our first symposium on new trends in skills assessments, held on Friday, May 6 in Montreal. Topics addressed included organizational values, managing cultural diversity, assessing succession possibilities and hiring production and maintenance staff. This was a unique opportunity to demonstrate our expertise before both longstanding and potential clients.
After the success of this first symposium, we would like to thank you for your participation and we look forward to seeing you again at future EPSI events.
SQPTO Conference Report
Friendly interaction abounds at the SQPTO Conference!
Hospitality and sociability - two words that describe the atmosphere at the recent SQPTO Conference in Montreal on May 26 and 27. The conference, organized under the banner of "Dare to re-establish the relationship between the individual and the organization," allowed us to network with labour psychologists and to speak with them about our mutual experiences.
EPSI participated in this conference as both an exhibitor and as a presenter, as well as main event sponsor. We were able to showcase our expertise by presenting a conference on integrating competencies in the "War for talent" culture practised by many organizations. Our experts Sabrina Poirier and Philippe Longpré outlined the emergence of new hiring practices and demonstrated a set of cutting-edge tools and technologies that we implemented in a large French company. The conference participants were very enthusiastic about this innovative approach. For more information on this conference, please visit the "Library" page of our website.
GRHMQ Congress Report
EPSI demonstrates its expertise to HR Managers from across Quebec!
EPSI President, André Durivage, PhD, was a speaker at the recent congress organized by GRHMQ (Municipal Human Resource Managers of Quebec), which took place June 1-3 at the Château Montebello in Outaouais.
Speaking on the subject of "Hiring and psychometric testing," Mr. Durivage reviewed the most up-to-date professional and scientific knowledge in the field of recruitment and the usefulness of tests in predicting future employee performance. This gave EPSI the opportunity to promote our products and services to a target clientele with great potential.
Relay for Life Report
Together we can beat cancer: EPSI is fully committed to the Relay for Life!
Following the success of the inaugural event in 2010, EPSI participated in the Relay for Life for a second consecutive year. A cause close to our hearts, the Relay for Life has since become an important component of our corporate social responsibility effort. Management and staff joined efforts to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society leading up to and during this event. Follow our blog to find out more about this exciting venture!
By Pascal Leguerrier
Consultant, Marketing Support
What's Happening in HR!
Is there a place for HR in the world of social networking?
Some say they are just the trend of a single generation; for others, they are merely a marketing tool, yet one thing is certain - social networks are here to stay!
Whether we want to join them or not, the importance of this communication medium cannot be denied in both our personal or professional lives. That said, can this tool be of use in human resource management (HRM)? The HR environment often seems to lag when it comes to adopting technological developments - developments that are so successfully incorporated by other departments. The time to change this trend is now - with just a few clicks! Consider the impact that social media could have on an environment focused precisely on the human aspect of organizations. Social media can have a positive effect for your HRD and for the professionals that it employs.
For some time now, workforce shortages have been the subject of many discussions in the world of human resources and organizations in general. The decline in natural growth means that attracting and hiring top talent is more and more difficult. Organizations are facing ruthless competition in recruitment, stealing these rare pearls from one another in order to meet their needs for qualified staff. Social networks can help attract candidates with the desired potential and skills. Not only are they a venue for posting job vacancies, they also provide the opportunity for you to express yourself and to start a discussion with those who represent the future of your organization.
Today's organizations can make many uses of social media, primarily by demonstrating that they are up-to-date in a society which shares information instantaneously. So why not reap the benefits? 21st-century organizations can boost their image and show employees of today and tomorrow why their companies are great places to work. Contact between employer and future employee is now direct, thanks to blogs and other social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Social media can be used to communicate relevant, interesting information to the general population about the organization and its business, while at the same time serving as a venue to field questions and comments from online job seekers. Traditional recruitment methods are losing ground to the web; i recruitment primarily takes place online now, through sites like Jobboom and Workopolis, LinkedIn and Twitter, where openings are announced and posted for all interested parties and professional communities to see.
This new communication medium is so powerful that professionals can now converse with one another and participate in a community, directly from their offices. We can get answers to our professional questions through discussion forums, blogs and more. Opportunities to share knowledge and professional experience are readily accessible and applicable to all professions, including HR! Today, scientific studies are easy to conduct, thanks to fast, simple access to networks of professionals looking to develop and advance their domain.
Is there truly a place for HR in the vast world of social networking? The answer is clear, but unfortunately, HR is underutilizing this medium and is thereforce not exploiting its full potential. It's up to HR professionals to accurately target those social networks that can have a positive impact on their profession. Follow our lead: join now and take advantage of this growing movement!
By Mathieu Durivage
Assessment and Evaluation Consultant
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EPSI experts provide valuable, informative perspectives on various aspects of HR.
Many would say that quality customer service is like the heartbeat of any successful organization. As front-line staff, those involved in customer relations have access to a very valuable source of information in the form of customer feedback, whether it is positive or negative. If EPSI, as an organization, can act upon this feedback, then we become a learning organization that continuously improves upon its products and services and emerges ahead of the pack. Allow me to quote the words of Tony Alessandra, Ph.D and marketing whiz, "Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game."
On that note, the newsletter team would like to take this opportunity to catch up with our own Client Support Team in order to get some input from those who know perfectly well how important customer satisfaction is to the bottom line of the organization. They've provided us with some perspective on the topic, as well as some interesting tips to help provide customers with the best possible experience.
Sarah Coutts and Frédéric Laflamme are only two of the experts among EPSI's Client Support Team. Not only do they have a keen sense for exactly what it is that customers want, but also they are constantly on the lookout for ways in which we can improve ourselves! They interact with clients and candidates on a daily basis, whether it is to provide hiring managers with guidance as to what tools may be appropriate for their needs or, to offer fast-track support, technical expertise and training to customers and candidates using COMPMETRICA's online platform. The Client Support Team helps users interpret the tools they have purchased in order to use them appropriately within their respective selection processes and responds to common enquiries regarding products, services and various other demands. EPSI's Client Support Team is committed to providing our clients with an experience beyond their expectations. In addition to their routine duties, our representatives also support the firm's operations by providing various complimentary services in support of the company's activities. They are compassionate, dedicated and knowledgeable and we are proud to highlight their efforts this month.
What does customer service mean to you?
Customer service is much more than just problem solving. To us, customer service entails being proactive; it means establishing personal, cooperative and healthy relationships with our customers and going that extra mile to make sure that we are meeting their immediate and future needs. It means providing those individuals within our organization with the information they need to better serve our customers. Customer service should be focused on the needs and satisfaction of those who trust and invest in us.
In the context of the bigger picture, what do you think your team brings to the table?
As mentioned, we believe that part of our responsibility is to help the company evolve and grow, much like our customers' needs. We have the privilege of interacting with the customer on a daily basis and we take advantage of the opportunity to provide feedback to the organization about the client's perspective in regards to our products and services. You know, it's easy to get caught up in our own world, given we work so hard to provide quality goods and services, but at the end of the day, satisfaction relays to what it is the customer gets out of using these tools and that's where we come into play. Customer service, in the "bigger picture" is a means of continuous improvement and an important source of information and competitive advantage.
What is it that you enjoy most about working directly with the customer?
Generally speaking, our team consists of people who genuinely enjoy helping others. By being knowledgeable and with the experience and expertise we have fostered over the years, people can better appreciate the quality of what it is that we offer. We have established some very positive relationships with longstanding clients, so when one of us can help make their job easier, we know that we have accomplished something. We all take pride in helping people understand our tools and technology and in providing them with the solutions and guidance they need to better take advantage of the myriad of functionalities and benefits our products and services have to offer!
How do you think customer service has evolved over the past decade?
Customers expect more from the companies they work with. Everything needs to be faster, easier and more efficient. That being said, customers also want that "human" element, which so many companies have left behind in favour of fully automated self-service systems. At EPSI, we offer the best of both worlds: an easy-to-use automated service for those who know exactly what information or support they need and a personalized customer service approach that allows those outside the organization to deal one-on-one with a knowledgeable representative when they need direct support. We provide them with a tailored, personalized service which makes them feel valued and at the end of the day, we can better meet their needs because of this approach.
By Ashley Bourque
Assessment and Evaluation Consultant
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