Signs, signs, everywhere are signs…It doesn’t matter where you go – grocery stores, shopping malls, even factories, and medical offices – you see Now Hiring signs. It seems that no employer can find enough workers. There is no doubt that today’s employment challenges are like none the U.S. has seen in many years. Beginning with the shutdowns due to COVID-19, millions of people left their jobs – some were laid off, while others took buyouts or voluntarily quit. But now, many have not returned.
Now that the economy has rebounded, and effective COVID-19 vaccines are readily available, workers continue to be in short supply. While many things have changed in the past three years, many employers are following the same old process for evaluating candidates and then hiring new people – beginning by requiring college degrees, certifications, experiences, etc. that are oftentimes irrelevant. Over the past several years, the Rework America Alliance has begun to help millions of workers from lower-wage roles move into positions that offer higher wages, more economic mobility, and better resilience to automation (Hancock, B, Higgins, C., Law, J., Olson, S., Patel, Nikhil, and Van Dusen, Katie. Taking a skills-based approach to building the future workforce, McKinsey & Company, 2022). This has been accomplished by focusing more on the skills that a job truly requires.
For example, companies such as Boeing, Walmart, and IBM have begun to recognize that through a “skills-based” approach, they can attract a broader pool of candidates who are better suited to fill many of their positions. This approach opens opportunities to nontraditional candidates – including people without specific, or typical, degrees/credentials.
For years, E.A.S.I.-Consult® has assisted a wide range of companies in implementing various skills-based pre-employment assessments. However, these “skills” tend to be “broader-based” than those provided by the Rework America Alliance. Rather than simply looking at specific technically-related skills such as computer programming or computer systems analysis, our approach includes both applicable technically-related skills coupled with “attitude-related” capabilities such as teamwork, customer service orientation, and/or dependability.
Coupling the types of technically-related skills that Rework America Alliance has identified with the more attitude-related abilities that we have evaluated over the years, has resulted in significant improvements for many organizations across numerous industries. For example, in a large healthcare organization, a combined technically-related and attitude-based pre-employment assessment was developed and implemented. Using this combined approach, the overall performance of persons hired into nursing assistant positions improved significantly. Looking closely at this improvement, it was driven by both an increase in the more technically-related requirements of patient-oriented knowledge and the ability to learn and apply new knowledge, coupled with the attitude-related competencies of teamwork and adaptability. More importantly in today’s world, this combined assessment approach led to a first-year reduction of 17% in employee turnover.
In another industry – manufacturing – a combined technical skills and attitude capabilities assessment increased the ability of newly-hired operators to effectively operate the production line, demonstrating better teamwork, and of great importance, consistently using safer work behaviors. And, as with the healthcare organization, there was a significant reduction in employee turnover.
If these examples of positive results have been shown in various industries, why haven’t more companies adopted this new approach? Two reasons seem to explain the resistance among corporations to make this change.
First, as noted by the Rework America Alliance, many companies are hesitant to change from an approach that they have used for many years. This includes requiring a college degree and/or certain certifications to even apply for many jobs.
Second, as E.A.S.I.-Consult has often found, companies are not fully aware of the recent advancements that have been made in pre-employment assessment. This includes the fact that we are one of the few companies that have designed and validated these combined technical skills and attitude capabilities assessments. By contrast, more consulting/assessment companies offer some type of technically related assessment, while very few provide attitude-oriented evaluations.
As the requirements for most jobs continue to evolve, we anticipate that general, static requirements such as degrees, certifications, etc., will continue to become less relevant as predictors of the capabilities of job applicants.
Therefore, the companies that are most likely to succeed in the “continuous battle” for the best employees will be those that adopt this combined skills and attitude approach. Now is the time to make this change and adopt this proven approach to successful hiring.
About the Author
For years, E.A.S.I.-Consult® has been helping companies identify – and develop – persons who possess the most important abilities/attributes that lead to the successful performance in specific roles. As a leading company in researching and identifying key capabilities necessary for many positions – across a wide range of industries – we assist organizations to reach their full potential.
Joseph Gier, Ph.D. is Vice President – Consulting Services at E.A.S.I-Consult and is a licensed Psychologist. E.A.S.I-Consult works with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and mid-sized organizations to provide customized Talent Management solutions. Utilizing scientific approaches, E.A.S.I.-Consult provides superior results for a wide variety of businesses. Our specialties include customized skills assessment, online employment assessment, leadership and leadership potential assessment, competency modeling, leadership development, executive coaching, 360-degree feedback, online structured interviews, and EEO hiring compliance. To learn more about E.A.S.I.-Consult, visit www.easiconsult.com, email ContactUs@easiconsult.com, or call 800.922.EASI.