Downer Group: Data-driven people insights to inform recruitment and people decisions
Tools like those provided by Thomas International have helped our team become integral to the long-term solution for the business.
The HR team at Downer aimed to deliver more value as a trusted partner to the business in meeting various challenges. The team’s objectives included:
- Developing a truly integrated approach between talent sourcing and leadership development to facilitate succession planning within the Downer business.
- Ensuring that new starters thrive in their role by building a competitive employer brand, delivering engaging onboarding and continuing to optimise employee motivation.
- Identifying quality candidates throughout the attraction and selection process in a competitive recruitment market, whilst navigating the shift to hybrid recruitment.
Focused on achieving these objectives, the HR team needed tools that would supply data-driven people insights to inform recruitment and people decisions. The team was also keen to eliminate unconscious bias from its recruitment processes, so sought an objective and scientific means of sifting candidates.
Downer layered a suite of Thomas assessments on top of its established tools and processes, which included rigorous reference checking and structured interview methods. The suite of assessments employed by the business includes the Thomas Behaviour, Aptitude, Emotional Intelligence and Personality assessments.
All the data points supplied by these assessments are then used in combination to create a robust and inclusive recruitment process. Profound insights into candidates’ preferred work and communication styles, motivation, strengths and risk areas allow Downer’s sourcing team to probe far more deeply at interview. This data-driven approach aids the team in identifying true compatibility with the organisation and team, whilst avoiding the traps of unconscious bias.
Taking the use of behavioural insights further, the team at Downer also applies the ‘DISC’ report to its existing teams. This gives team leaders a means of understanding the makeup, strengths and gaps in the team, which acts as a blueprint for how they can develop a higher performing team.
As a result of introducing Thomas assessments, Downer has seen a direct correlation with improved post-hire activation and an increased employee retention rate overall. The business has now also been able to create benchmarks for key roles by combining the insights from Thomas Behaviour and Aptitude assessments with reference checking and structured interviews.
The recruitment team can now seamlessly and accurately identify leadership needs, assess capabilities and skill gaps, and develop leadership pipelines. This has enabled HR to offer the business a more advanced level of support, not only with immediate business needs but also with future proofing, increasing the organisation’s resilience and overall capability to deliver.
The impact of integrating Thomas assessments into Downer’s HR processes is evident in the business’ success in winning multiple large-scale government tenders. This achievement is the result of the team’s diverse approaches to problem-solving, and optimal range of talents and ways of working. It has a marked impact on Downer’s bottom line.