From Culture Index: Reducing Turnover with Analytics

by Sumeet Chahal, with Culture Index 

Reducing Turnover Starts with Hiring 

Any efforts a company may make post-hire to influence an employee will pale in comparison to the influence of their past life experiences as well as their own personal traits. Given this fact, it’s surprising that only the most innovative companies have grasped the power of screening for turnover risk. Far too many companies focus solely on screening for the traditional factors (performance-related criteria, culture, etc.) when leveraging people analytics to create a hiring process and screening for turnover is far more effective.  


Behavior is inherent. Studies indicate that our traits and behaviors start to cement between the ages of 8 and 12. After that, they become ingrained. Therefore, if you demonstrate certain behaviors by the age of 12, the conduct will remain intact when you are age 82.   


The more people have to alter or modify their behaviors the more stress they will face.  Whether people have to or want to, they can often times be unaware of changing their conduct to fit the people they are with or the environment they are in. When people find themselves in situations that are stressful, it is the subconscious telling them, mentally and physically, that they are in a demanding situation that is not an effortless fit. The more this happens, the more likely these people will end up leaving organizations.  


If 80% of your turnover is the result of bad hiring decisions, the most important thing you can do is to focus on hiring people who have the right traits for the role so that you can limit stress.   

By utilizing behavioral surveys as part of your hiring process you can hire people with the right traits to fit into your culture and perform without stress in the roles you hire them for. Ultimately this is the key to reducing your turnover while increasing your organization’s productivity. 


The Importance of Utilizing Behavioral Assessments to Reduce Turnover  

A startling number of applicants lie on their resumes, interviews, and during reference checks, yet organizations hire them anyway, says a new Checkster study of ethical standards in the hiring process. In a new survey of 400 applicants and 400 hiring managers, HR professionals and recruiters, Checkster found that 78% of applicants misrepresent themselves.  


The applicant survey revealed widespread willingness to misrepresent information during the hiring process, with 60% of applicants claiming mastery in skills of which they only possessed basic knowledge. Over 50% reported working at some jobs longer in order to omit an employer. Other inflated claims included: made-up relevant experiences (42.25%), false reason for leaving a job (45%), using a director title when the actual title was a manager title (41.25%), and a degree from a prestigious university instead of their own (39.25%).  


Rather than relying on resumes that often include falsified information, many organizations are implementing Behavioral Assessments into the hiring process to more accurately gauge workplace behavioral traits that aren’t always evident on a resume or in an interview. Behavioral Assessments provide data-driven results. You can determine the things an individual values most personally and professionally. An Employee may excel during the interview, but their behavioral assessment could throw warning flags that might affect job performance.  


You can also use the assessment to judge whether they would be a good fit within your existing team or determine if they possess any skills your team may be currently lacking.  Knowing their behavioral assessment results before the interview can allow you to prepare strategic interview questions for further insight into the area of interest.  


The return on investment for any assessment is calculated by how much it costs versus the benefits of doing it. If you hire a candidate who is fully engaged in their role, you can save yourself plenty of money in the long run. There will be no need to recruit again for that role any time soon and the person in it will make your company more money. The bottom line is that performance is predictable. 


Analytics Over Instincts  

Dr. Jon Sullivan, dubbed the ‘Michael Jordan of hiring’ stated that, “The top 1% of a company’s workforce produces 5% of that company’s output. The top 5% of produce 26%.Top producers are a bargain without regard to their salaries and losing these key employees can be crippling for an organization of any size.”   


A study done by HIRC notes that forty-six percent of new employees FAIL within 18 months, a staggering statistic that perpetuates mediocrity as companies have to constantly fill the operational voids created by these departures. Organizations, particularly rapidly-growing organizations, cannot cut corners on recruiting.  


The same study says that 75 percent of decisions made during the hiring process have been found to be based on intuition. By using a Behavioral Assessment, you can objectively align behaviors important for success in each role. Before you even schedule an interview, you can benchmark your best and brightest employees and compare each candidate’s data to the trend. Knowing what behavioral traits are needed to be successful within a given role is crucial when it comes to hiring ‘A’ Players.  


Having behavioral data of candidates can help you develop structured interview questions based on their behavioral tendencies. As Dr. Sullivan again notes, “Employers need to test the thinking ability of candidates.” His extensive research has revealed that high GPAs, test scores and stellar resumes were NOT actually good indicators of success. In fact, the best indicators are found by looking at peoples’ traits. Great recruiting is data driven in nature and can be updated as additional data is accumulated.  


Hire ‘A’ Players. ‘A’ Players need to be a priority because ‘A’ players are only attracted to workplaces where they see other ‘A’ players. If you were to hire a ‘B’ player, not only would it not attract‘A’ players, conversely it would attract ‘C’ players. According to Dr. Sullivan, “'A' people smell ‘B’ people from a mile away,” and in a startup, weak hires have a much bigger impact.They learn slowly, have a high error rate, slow down product development, and aggravate the top performers.  



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