Hiring Employees to Fit your Company Culture



Jim Gregory
03/21/2011

Assessing an individual's personal culture is often the underappreciated "X" factor that can play a key role in finding those that will be great fits and naturally thrive in each company’s unique environment. Finding talent that fits a company's culture can help reduce unwanted attrition and increase productivity. With labor costs often representing 60-75%+ of a call center’s expenses, there is significant financial merit in including assessment for a cultural fit as part of the talent acquisition process.

Assessing Culture

Going being job compatabilty, companies need a process that includes consideration for a "cultural fit" for their unique environment. One approach is to include the use of third party validated tests to identify common skills and characteristics of existing call center associates who are model employees.

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Learn from existing Top Performers

Learning more about existing top performing employees is a good place to start. There is value in having informal discussions with these top performers to gain insight into what they like about their job, the company culture, and their specific department’s culture, as well as why they believe they’re successful in their role. To compliment the discussion, employees can also be given validated assessment tests to gain additional insight.

Validated, Quantifiable Assessments

Originally developed by industrial psychologist Eldon F. Wonderlic, the Wonderlic tests are recognized as one of the most respected and widely used cognitive ability tests in the world. One or both of the following testing tools are helpful: Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test (CCAT), formerly called the Wonderlic Personnel Test, and the Comprehensive Personality Profile (CPP).

  • The CCAT measures cognitive ability so that employers can match individuals with jobs. The philosophy behind the CCAT is that every individual can be ideally matched to an occupation that makes the best use of his or her intelligence without exceeding his or her abilities. The goal of the test is to determine whether the abilities of the candidate are suited for the job.

As a cognitive ability or aptitude test, the CCAT provides you with powerful, objective information to help you make the right hiring decision. The CCAT can add value to pre-employment screening processes, as it measures a candidates ability to:

  • Learn a specific job
  • Solve problems
  • Apply knowledge to new situations
  • Benefit from job specific training
  • Be satisfied with a particular job

Using the CCAT as part of the overall sourcing process helps match people with positions that leverage their natural strengths, while reducing turnover due to employees being over or under-challenged within a position.

  • The CPP is a personality test administered in an attempt to maximize person/job fit. It helps in hiring, managing, and motivating people for positions that require significant client interaction, such as customer service, inside sales, and outside sales. The CPP measures seven Primary Personality Traits which we compare to the common traits of your top performers:

Recognition motivation

  • Emotional intensity
  • Intuition
  • Sensitivity
  • Assertiveness
  • Trust
  • Exaggeration

Other characteristics measured by the CPP include: decisiveness, drive towards immediate results, energy level, people skills, sales potential, goal orientation, ability to perceive buyers’ needs, and others.

Customizing the Recruiting Process Based on Results

Once profiling of existing top performers is completed, common traits and characteristics are identified. This can then drive the customization of skills testing and in-person behavioral interviews to include evaluation of those traits shared by model employees.

Finding people who fit with your customers

Call Center Representatives should have traits that are a natural fit with the customers they serve. For example, an auto insurance claims center will be dealing with people recently involved in car accidents, so empathy will likely be a critical skill. Telecom Customer Service Representatives will benefit from having a different mix of traits than 90 day Collectors or Debt Recovery Representatives. Including consideration for a culture fit provides additional insight into the characteristics of individuals who are, and are not, likely to be a good fit with your customers.

The bottom line is when employees are a strong fit with the culture and are able to relate well to end user customers, they naturally enjoy their job more. Employee satisfaction translates to customer satisfaction and increased employee retention. These are the key objectives for every call center operation.