An agricultural labour workforce company contacted People Solutions as they were wanting to develop an assessment tool for screening purposes when they were hiring new personnel. Initially the company wanted to use this assessment tool for labour hire sourced from certain countries outside of Australia. This was because the organisation was finding the most variation in performance from these selected candidates. The recruitment team were spending a significant amount of time sourcing and then screening applicants from these countries, by reviewing applications and conducting one-on-one interviews. They would also spend time ensuring the selected candidates could transition successfully to Australia and work (i.e. providing visa and migration services), only for many of them unable to perform the role to the required standards.
The company had easily identified which employees performed well in their job, those that were competent and those who were performing the role below standard. What they didn’t know were the reasons/drivers/qualities that lead to the differences in performance. If the organisation could identify what these were, they would then be able to determine these factors at the point of selection and screen out unsuitable candidates early in the recruitment process.
The organisation wanted to develop this assessment tool themselves as they wanted to keep the rights of its use for their organisation (not for other similar companies to use). They also wanted to manage the cost of development as there wasn’t a specific budget for this. What they found was they weren’t getting the time to do this and they also didn’t know where to start in developing a bespoke assessment tool such as this.
People Solutions discussed this development with the company to ensure we could work together with them and both parties’ needs were met. People Solutions suggested the initial phase of the development of the assessment tool could be managed by a Psychology Master student under the supervision of People Solutions. This would ensure the process was rigorous and followed best practice, but would be cost effective for the company. Further, the first phase of the project would be completed within a short time period with a transition of the next phase of development back to the company to then manage further validation studies once is was being used.
Further the two parties negotiated who would own and use what IP once an assessment tool was developed. It was decided the company would have sole ownership of the finalised assessment tool that would be created as part of this initial phase of the project. Any other questions or methodology used as part of this project will remain accessible to People Solutions for continued use.
The company now has a personalised assessment tool designed for their citrus workers which is being used as part of the screening phase of their recruitment process. Over a 12-month period, close to 600 applicants had completed the assessment tool, saving the recruitment team time in screening and shortlisting applicants. It is now being used successfully for all horticulture piece workers recruited from the specific countries targeted.
The job analysis, research, pilot assessment and validation of this version of the assessment tool occurred within a 4-month period. Through this approach, the company identified the qualities that directly linked to the performance criteria they were measured on. The company was given a technical and user manual and were supported in the implementation of this assessment tool into their recruitment process.
The company valued the student involved in the project. The student was on-site for most of the 4-month period which helped in gaining engagement and buy-in from key stakeholders into the development of the assessment tool. The student had regular check-ins with an experienced psychologist, and therefore the company was getting the cost effective, but useful solution. The student also benefited by having a placement where they gain both theoretical and practical experience.
The company’s future plan is to continue to validate this assessment with a large group of people as well as for workers in other areas of produces to identify if this same assessment tool could be effectively used as part of the recruitment process.