Facing the dark art of organisational psych

It is possible to prove the value of HR psychometrics but only if you simplify the results, says one organisational psychology expert.

Facing the dark art of organisational psych
The world of organisational psychology and psychometrics is seen as complex, theoretical and something of a dark art, David Munro, national manager or Davidson Consulting & HR Solutions told HRM.
An experienced organisational psychologist and HR executive, Munroe feels that this negative reputation is well deserved, as HR has failed to show how this process is in fact a critical business process.
“Stereotypically, HR professionals are seen as removed from the frontline sales/revenue-generating departments or, as in some cases, an extra cost,” he said. “As HR professionals and psychologists alike, we have failed to connect what we do sufficiently with our customers – we have a marketing issue.”
While assessments and gathering data is a complex science, Munroe said that actually presenting the benefits of these solutions to the executive team was much simpler.
He gave the example of jewellery retailer Michael Hill which recently reviewed their assessments and the impact on the Australian, New Zealand and North American markets.
While the ultimate goal was to optimise sales performance through better manager recruitment techniques, the actual analysis of what needed to be done was complex.
“It involved over five years of assessment and sales data (31,000+ data points) and the results from more than 600 staff across multiple stores,” Munroe said.
The challenge was to take this complex scenario and present it in a simple manner to the company’s executive team. To do this, a two-phase approach was used with the HR team first reviewing their assessment tools and then piloting a new methodology using these results.
These steps helped the HR team map out the ideal profile of a high performer and helped leaders build an ongoing process to identify top applicants, Munroe said.
The simplicity of the results meant that they gained immediate traction with the executive group who decided to employ the new psychometric testing across the business globally.
“The hiring managers are really open to it, as the analysis allowed us to give them a solid profile of someone who would have strong sales success,” Stewart Silk, group HR executive for Michael Hill, said.
“This whole process has helped us validate future decisions around strategic recruitment and development,” he added. “It also adds credibility to what we are doing and has showed the wider group that we are committed to working with them in guiding the business into the future.”
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