I am a believer. I have been for years and it has really paid off for my company.
What I believe in is behavior and values (B&V) interviewing. Since 1998, it has significantly improved our ability to find the right qualified executives for our clients. It is one reason we offer a three-year placement guarantee with minimal risk for having to do replacement searches.
As the US economy evolves, and as businesses see a shift in their models, hiring too many average performers can be a death knell. If you cannot find and retain people who can outperform your competitors day in and day out you might to seriously rethink your human resources strategy. While the cost of turnover is not widely reported on monthly financial statements, in those industries facing extraordinary reductions in revenue the result of regulatory changes like healthcare, you can bet it will be in the future, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
While the B&V approach to interviewing has caught on in many sectors, it is always a little surprising when I find an industry that hasn’t figured it out — that it will dramatically improve results. I recently spoke at a national meeting in Washington, DC where I asked how many companies used B&V in their hiring. Only four or five in a room full of some of the top industry performers raised their hands. Not a good sign.
There has been ample research over the years to support my point. One that caught my attention came from Ann Rhodes, who served as Chief People Officer with Southwest Airlines and JetBlue before she retired in 2015. She referred to a study at Loma Linda Medical Center that said, prior to using B&V interviewing, they had experienced an 18 percent turnover in the ICU. After they changed, turnover declined to one percent and their patient engagement jumped to 99 percent.
People ask me how I am able to begin a search and in short order have a fairly accurate grasp of the organization’s culture. I have always responded, “good instincts”, and I do feel I have those, honed during my years as a crime writer and investigative reporter early in my career. But the secret is to spend time with the “A” employees — the top performers. They get it and they are usually only too happy to explain it.
Organizations that use their top performers in the interview process with a structure built around Topgrading or any of the other well established B&V interviewing tools are far more successful in improving their hiring performance and reducing turnover than those that rely on “this is the way we have always done it.”
Southwest Airlines, Ms. Rhodes says, did a regression analysis during her tenure and found that their most successful employees were the ones who could express behaviors and values that more closely matched the values of the airline. That is key to their success.
In tough, competitive markets like airlines, healthcare and hotels, for example, sustainable success will come down to the quality of people delivering the service.
Check out my podcast on Tuesday, April 26 for some tips on how to excel in behavior and values interviews.