Benchmarking: A digital guide
What data is
Bringing it all
The 5 stages of
benchmarking with Thomas
About the author
Paul is a Principal Consultant in the Psychology team at Thomas. Paul joined Thomas in February 2014 and is responsible for applying best practice advice on the design and development of talent benchmarking and psychological consultancy projects. He manages stakeholder relationships with key academic partners and industry bodies as well as working on new product
launches and internal upskilling of technical knowledge.
Paul specialises in applying behavioural science to maximise performance in organisations and has a background in employee engagement and employee wellbeing.
Paul ReinPrincipal Consultant Psychologist Thomas International
About the author
Paul specialises in applying behavioural science to maximise performance in organisations
Talent benchmarking is a data-driven approach to guide your people decisions. Using an evidence-based method, you are able to uncover the associations between psychometric assessments and specific outcomes such as job performance or employee turnover. This insight empowers you to implement informed and targeted processes or interventions to improve recruitment processes, drive performance and increase engagement across your organisation.
What is benchmarking?
A specialist furniture retail company conducted a benchmarking exercise on their
non-commission based sales team, comparing their sales conversion rates with behavioural preferences (Thomas PPA) and emotional intelligence (Thomas
It was revealed that Self-Motivation, Assertiveness, Optimism and Empathy were meaningfully related to higher
performance. Based on these findings, ideal profiles were created for recruitment, a custom interview guide was
tailored around these key traits and a bespoke service-led assertiveness training course was
developed for current employees.
What are the benefits? As a result of conducting a benchmarking exercise, you will gain an understanding of what good looks like in your organisation. By identifying the specific traits, characteristics or abilities that relate to better performance, an ideal profile or optimal zones can be generated and incorporated into the recruitment process. This helps with the sifting process, supports you in creating a more targeted line of questioning in a structured interview and gives you an insight into potential future training needs. The data-driven recommendations and bespoke solutions that come out of these exercises can help you significantly:
Increase quality of hire
Reduce cost of hire
Reduce employee turnover
Increased quality of hire If an organisation can identify the key common characteristics in top performers that significantly distinguish them from low performers, it is possible to replicate this when bringing in new talent or upskilling existing talent.
By hiring employees who are considerably more likely to perform well and are behaviourally compatible with the role they are in, they are more likely to get up to speed quickly, have greater levels of ongoing engagement and require less upskilling or training on the job.
Reduced cost of hire Once you have created optimal zones for key characteristics or an ideal profile for a specific role, you will be able to implement a much more streamlined recruitment process. This can include a robust (and legally defensible) sifting process as well as targeted interviews. This can significantly reduce the cost to hire as the likelihood of putting through
top candidates to the interview stage will be increased and the likelihood of a poor hire is greatly reduced.
Reduced employee turnover We all know that employees who are in the right role, highly engaged and performing well are less likely to leave. Knowing the key traits, characteristics and abilities that relate to performance, engagement or attrition can help you to recruit employees who are more likely to do well and stay longer. The outcomes of a benchmark can also provide early insight into training needs for existing employees. Proactively understanding employees areas of development and strengths in a role can both help reduce attrition and increase internal promotions.
The Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue) was developed, and is continually updated, by K. V. Petrides, PhD at his London Psychometric Laboratory, currently based at UCL. It is one of the worlds best researched and most widely applied psychometric instruments. For more information about the scientific pedigree of the TEIQue, go to www.psychometriclab.com.
The 5 stages of benchmarking with Thomas
Collecting data The next stage is to collect the data. This is both the psychometric data and the performance data to compare it against (this could be sales figures, absenteeism rates, engagement scores etc.)
Data analysis Once the data has been gathered, it is then statistically analysed by one of our expert psychologists to show what characteristics are associated with better performance. There are a range of statistical methods that are used, depending on the nature of the data. Statistical findings dont necessarily mean much on their own its all about the interpretation and contextualisation in relation to your organisation.
Recommendations Based on the findings, we will then provide you with recommendations that are tailored to the specific needs of your organisation. Using knowledge of the organisation and culture, actionable insights and bespoke solutions are presented back.
Follow-up The follow-up involves supporting the implementation of any recommendations within your business and demonstrating return on investment over time. The process can (and should) be updated and re-calibrated as the organisation grows and changes or implements new processes.
Planning The first stage in the process is to understand the challenge that your organisation is facing and looking to resolve. This could range from wanting to increase levels of engagement, to developing successful leaders. This is a collaborative process between you and us that requires an in-depth understanding of the organisation to effectively scope out the project.
What data is used?
With a sufficient sample size (ideally of 100+ employees within the same job role), statistical analysis can be conducted to compare performance metrics with psychometric data. Performance measures can vary from categorical data such as Top Performers, Average Performers and Poor Performers, to ranking performers by proportion of targets hit. The best data to use is data that is comparable on an evenly distributed scale (such as sales revenue), as this allows for more powerful statistical procedures to be used. Collecting appropriate and accurate performance measures is fundamental to the benchmarking process. It is important that all employees within the sample are in the same job role, as different jobs will have different demands with different psychological constructs being beneficial.
There are two principal approaches to conducting a benchmarking study (or criterion-validation study) predictive or concurrent. In a predictive study, assessment data is gathered during an
early stage of the recruitment process and then compared to performance data of that individual at a later stage, for example job performance after having been in the role for one year. In a concurrent study, the assessment data and the criterion (performance) data are collected at the same time.
A predictive study can in many ways be considered a superior means of evaluating the power of an assessment to predict the future performance of an individual, however due to time constraints or commercial demands a concurrent study is often preferable.
How is it used in recruitment? Every employee has two roles at work: a functional role, and a psychological role. A functional role relies on the technical skills of an individual, and will often be the main reason that an individual is hired (e.g. relevant experience/qualifications etc.). The psychological role is the nature in which the individual completes their work
and how they interact with others. Talent benchmarking can help to predict the best performers, taking into account both roles.
When faced with hiring someone from a choice of two candidates with identical experience and qualifications, information from their psychometric assessments can be used to inform the decision. A benchmarking exercise can help to identify the ideal profile in terms of the behaviours or necessary aptitude in order to do the job most effectively. It can also identify what other behaviours or personality traits are optimal for team cohesion within the specific context and culture of the organisation that would promote effective working relationships. The right blend of profiles that complement each other can be established in order to augment diversity of perspectives and approaches.
A telecommunications company conducted a benchmarking exercise in order to guide their graduate recruitment programme. Graduates cognitive aptitudes
(GIA) were measured and compared against promotion and turnover rates.
Using the GIA results, it was established that individuals with higher speed of learning tend to get promoted sooner and were also less likely to leave the organisation. This project provided the client with insight to guide their recruitmen
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