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Enhancing recruitment and reinforcing company culture through comprehensive talent assessments

Jenn BruscoNovember 14, 2023AssessmentsFinanceQualificationResource

How talent assessments elevated the recruitment process and delivered greater results.

The brief

In the ever-evolving landscape of financial institutions, aligning recruitment with organizational values and culture has become paramount. One leading credit union, serving over a million members, offers a compelling case study of how leveraging talent assessments can revolutionize the recruitment process, ensuring both a fit with the company's values and enhanced job performance.

About the financial institution

With over 1 million members in the U.S., this leading financial institution is a federally chartered entity that provides a broad spectrum of financial services.

Established in the 1930s, the institution's primary vision is assisting members in realizing their financial ambitions. Presently, it stands as one of the top credit unions both in its home state and nationally.

The challenge

Attract and retain employees who match their core values 

Delivering on its promise to help members reach their financial goals, the team prioritizes designing an internal work culture that strengthens the bonds between employees and enriches their work environment. This focus on culture and internal teams not only promotes employee engagement and retention, but also positively impacts the member experience. 

With this in mind, the team sought to introduce their unique culture during the early stages of the recruitment process to attract and engage with talent who not only met the needs of the position, but who also aligned with their core values to best serve their members. 

“A lot of our turnover has been a direct result of lack of culture fit in our high-volume roles,” the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at the institution said. “We needed a solution that would help us better assess candidates beyond their experience to predict culture fit and job performance. Symphony Talent proved to be the right partner for us.” 

The solution

Leverage talent assessments to assess culture fit and success values 

The institution partnered with Symphony Talent, powered by SkillCheck, to deploy an innovative talent assessment to all candidates after application submission, regardless of the desired position. The assessment is designed to measure personality dimensions related to on-the-job performance. Two streams of research were used: personality and item response theory (IRT). 

For personality, the assessment is based on the Big Five Model, which measures general personality traits (e.g., Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability), as well as sub-dimensions (e.g., drive, confidence). The assessment only included those subdimensions that research suggests are related to on-the-job performance. In addition, the assessment leveraged IRT to create scoring algorithm efficiencies without sacrificing measurement coverage, improving the candidate experience compared to more traditional assessment methods. 

The assessment took 10-15 minutes to complete and created an engaging and interactive experience for candidates while capturing key job-related personality metrics. 

Finally, a validation process was conducted to finalize the personality model and ensure the assessment results were indicative of:

  • Several key performance indicators, 
  • Alignment with the institution’s core values, 
  • Return on investment metrics.

“We have specific cultural parameters that we are looking for and Symphony Talent did a great job honing in on those and developing a behavioral assessment to screen for those parameters,” the Vice President of Human Resources added. 

Results: Insight into culture fit, job performance, and advancement potential

The culture-fit assessment was found to be a valid and reliable measure of the institution’s core values, which were statistically tied to performance on the job. 

Additionally, individuals whose managers rated as having great advancement potential within the organization scored higher on the culture-fit assessment. Managers were also more likely to rehire the high scoring individuals if they were to leave the organization. 

Employees scoring in the top 25% were: 

  • 1.78 times more likely to be in a top 10 net new member branch (i.e., number of new members minus any members who have departed)
  • 1.63 times more likely to be in a top 10 net new checking branch (i.e., number of new checking accounts minus any closed checking accounts)
  • 1.17 times more likely to be in a top 10 return on assets branch (i.e., profitability, derived from the interest and fees earned from loans, income from investments, and service fees, minus the costs of operations, interest paid on deposits, and loan losses)
  • 5 times more likely to be in a top 10 rescue volume branch (i.e., the amount of loans in dollars that were refinanced to the institution from another institution with the goal of improving the borrower's financial situation)

“The behavioral talent assessments through Symphony Talent have allowed us to make better employment decisions with greater confidence,” the Chief Human Resources Officer  said. “The candidate insights help us predict not only culture fit, but job performance as well, which is really valuable.”

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