Clients | Healthcare System


The Challenge

A nine-hospital healthcare system wanted to ensure that its pre-employment screening system addressed the people skills and work orientations necessary to successfully enact the organization’s Vision and Values. The system needed to be appropriate for hiring into a broad range of jobs, from custodians to therapists to nurses. The system also needed to provide for the efficient processing of candidates from distant locations.

The Response

This client had previously developed an in-house “service orientation” test. Polaris Assessment Systems worked with job experts to evaluate which of the organization’s Values were reflected in the existing test and which needed to be addressed by additional components. Modules from the Polaris Test System were chosen to cover the additional values, i.e., personality, attitudes and beliefs, and ability. (See Figure 1 for the dimensions covered in the Polaris tests.)

A sample of 134 incumbents took trial tests. Statistical analyses verified that their test scores exhibited statistically significant and very strong relationships with performance on-the-job. Based on the validation results, the testing system was streamlined into a 35 minute test battery. A six-month field trial was initiated in which most facilities administered the tests but did not use the results. Statistical analysis of the field trial results confirmed the findings of the original validation study.

For example, Figures 2-4 show the increasing proportion of Outstanding employees–and the decreasing proportion of Weak employees—among high versus low test scorers. The follow-up study also showed that use of the tests would have reduced employee terminations by over 90%.

Based on the success of the field study, the test was modified to create an on-line interview that candidates could access from off-site computers at virtually any location. This “design of convenience” turned out to be much friendlier than traditional testing. Computerized reporting procedures were also created to provide interviewers with “flagged” responses to test items. This significantly facilitated the interview process.

The Result

The on-line selection system reduced total candidate processing time, even with the addition of the testing component. Additionally, the testing component saved interviewer time by screening out inappropriate candidates at the same time it helped ensure that new hires were a match to the Values of the organization. Finally, the conversion of the test into an on-line interview convinced both members of HR and line management that the system could provide value and an open and friendly candidate experience.