Using Data to Make Better Hiring Decisions

By Whitney Martin Founder, ProActive Consulting | March 26, 2017

As new properties explode on the scene and traveler choices abound, hotels know they have to pull out all the stops to make every guest experience a positive one. Are staff friendly are courteous? Are rooms clean? Are meals excellent? Are bills accurate? We rely on our employees to execute their jobs, not just correctly, but with enthusiasm. And, if they don't, business suffers. We do our best to hire good people (in a competitive market), we give them a little training, and then we HOPE they create raving fans.

Ever heard the expression "hope is not a strategy"? This phrase often pops into my mind when talking with HR practitioners about their hiring processes. Lurking beneath administratively burdensome screening systems that create an appearance of rigor, unstructured interviews, "gut feel," and other subjective criteria continue to weigh heavily in hiring decisions-we take our best guess and hope things will work out. However, while strong intuition and a good ability to "read" people are attributes that can prove beneficial in many contexts, they should not be the linchpin of employee selection decisions.

A profound change is occurring in the HR profession: business leaders are calling for HR to adopt a more evidence-based approach to decision-making. The frequency with which the terms metrics, analytics, and big data are creeping into HR circles is a testament to this. "We see CEOs and others wanting better data and not just a headcount report, but how is talent driving business results?" says Scott Pollak, a principal at PwC Saratoga in a Harvard Business Review report. With 57% of companies reporting their intention to have integrated, multi-source analytics in place in the next two years (according to another Harvard Business Review study), there is a push to incorporate more scientific, evidence-based practices in the people-functions in our businesses.

Based on some informal research, I've determined that exactly 98.64% of HR practitioners have, at best, a mild distaste for statistics. Therefore, there's an excellent chance that you may be experiencing some anxiety because of this demand for a more data-oriented approach to executing HR. Perhaps, too, this is why only 14% of businesses currently have data to show the business impact of their assessment strategy, according to an Aberdeen research study. With payroll and benefits representing one of the largest line items on virtually every
company's operating statement, effective selection is one of the principal areas where HR can have a significant impact on the bottom line. But what kind of assessment instrument should you use in order to systematically select the best employees? The answer is a firm it depends. Follow the steps below to create a highly predictive, evidence-based, and quantifiably valuable selection system that works for your organization.

The 4 V's of Hiring

1. Vision

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.