How SITRA is improving onboarding and retention using psychometrics
Sitra is constantly on the lookout for future leaders. A truck driver today is no longer just a driver. They must handle numerous safety procedures, which are also constantly changing. "And for that you need people who pick up things quickly and have a certain insightfulness. Transportation is a very volatile industry, especially internationally. There are constantly changing regulations, new or unforeseen elements that require adjustment, and numerous regulations that must be followed precisely, something that our customers rightly require of us.
"One of the sticking points when I started at Sitra was that there was often a mismatch in the first few months that someone started. Sometimes in personality, but mainly in terms of learning ability and capability to overcome the challenges of the job. We wanted to start measuring that,'' Ward said.
"We are not looking for an industrial engineer who is going to figure out difficult processes, but we are looking for profiles who can connect the dots quickly. No rocket science. Product goes from point A to point B. That's not complicated; you don’t need a PHD. However, you must have the ability to move quickly. That's why I suggested working with assessments, partly because of my previous experience with Thomas International. They are user-friendly, offer cost savings, very accurate and fast."
The team introduced an initiative to use the General Intelligence Assessment (GIA) during the application process. This comprises of five online tests including reasoning, perception speed, number speed and accuracy, word meaning and spatial understanding. The results give Sitra insight into a person's mental abilities and how quickly they can understand a new role or policy.
"The outcome of the project was viewed positively by management, and we have been working usig this method for three years, across different sites and countries," says Ward.
Furthermore, Sitra also uses the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), which takes barely 8 minutes. This gives Sitra an overview of people's strengths and areas of concern, their communication style, their value to the organisation, motivators, biggest fears and how they act under pressure. "Especially when we are looking to integrate someone new in a team. Then it is very useful to look at the kind of profiles present, and then look for a profile that aligns well with that" concludes Ward.
Sitra wants to double its capacity within five years, and that includes acquisitions. "In addition to Behaviour and Aptitude, we will also use the Personality assessment to screen the existing workforce to see who should remain in role, who can be moved, and who might be replaced by in-house staff. Of course, we try to retain as many staff as possible."
Since using the GIA assessment, we have seen a marked improvement. Staff turnover in the first few months has dropped dramatically, and we have established better onboarding and follow-up. Thanks in part to the use of assessments that give us the right insights, turnover dropped by as much as 50% in the first few months, a retention rate that continues today.
Furthermore, the insights from the Aptitude assessment are very useful for Sitra. "If we have a very good feeling about a candidate but the assessment results are below par, and we still give them a chance, the same issue always arises later anyway. You see those people struggling, while others can handle the pace, absorb all the new information, and take to the role like a duck to water. To me, that insight is a major plus," Ward believes.
The initial bottleneck – a high frequency of mismatches in the first few months – has been overcome. The stage is set for Sitra to make their expansion plans a reality.
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