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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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.