A multi-plant manufacturing organization re-engineered its processes to ensure quality and enhance profitability. It then looked at its “People Systems” to ensure the same quality orientation was present there as well.
The challenge posed to Polaris Assessment Systems: ensure consistently high-quality testing and interview processes that meet “world-class” standards across all plants.
Polaris Assessment Systems worked with manufacturing job experts to define the requirements of the organization’s jobs. It then continued to work with the Human Resources department to structure a testing and interview system that (a) incorporated world-class elements the organization already had in place, and (b) enhanced other elements to bring them up to world-class standards. Figure 1 shows the key factors addressed by the testing system.
The tests were administered on a trial basis to 114 volunteer incumbents. Statistical analyses verified that the tests predicted overall performance, as well as key facets of performance such as attendance, at statistically significant and meaningful levels. 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.
Programs were created that supported PC-based scoring of the tests, including scoring on portable computers for off-site testing. Interview procedures were created to allow information from the tests (e.g., problematic answers to certain items; marginal scores on key test dimensions) to be accessible to interviewers. This enabled the interviewers to probe selected areas in addition to addressing the more standard issues covered by the interview.
The organization implemented an untimed test that took most applicants about 45 minutes to complete. The test covered personality components (working productively, quality orientation, working well with supervisors and coworkers), attitudes and beliefs (attitudes toward business, attendance, theft/substance abuse) and workplace aptitudes (reasoning, math and measurement, ability to perceive details). The interview process was enhanced through (a) reducing the need to interview large numbers of applicants due to the test screen and (b) the “pass through” information supplied to interviewers. The result was a system that was “world class” in terms of both efficiency and proven effectiveness.