The Secret to Good Organisational Health: An HR Perspective

Just as introducing the right diet and exercise routine to your life, creating a healthy organisation begins with what you introduce to it. So what is the secret to good organisational health?

The Secret to Good Organisational Health: An HR Perspective

19 Apr 2018 by  Eddie Chua

Good health is something most of us aspire to have. But what is the secret to good health? The scientifically-proven answer is to have the right diet and exercise. The right amount of nutrition and an active lifestyle increases energy levels and decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, allowing us to function at our very best.

Now, add a word to the question: What is the secret to good organisational health? Just as introducing the right diet and exercise routine to your life, creating a healthy organisation begins with what you introduce to it. From an HR perspective, this begins with hiring the right people—those who are aligned to the job requirements and whose aspirational values correspond with that of the organisation . Only with the right people can the right people practices and work measures be instilled into the organisation, which will subsequently drive business performance.

This brings up the importance of sound pre-hiring practices. New hires usually feel more engaged at work, which leads to higher work productivity, job satisfaction, and feeling committed to the organisation—all predictive of better organisational performance. On the flipside, what happens when a new hire is not the right fit? He/She might experience feelings of dissonance, through misalignment in perceived and actual work expectations, and this can result in lower work productivity, loss of trust, and high turnover rates. More importantly, these negative repercussions are not just self-contained, but can also have sizeable influence on other employees in the organisation, as  new hires tend to engage in organisational socializing more often compared to other employees . Behaviours exhibited by new hires, such as complaining about work experiences and feelings of betrayal and displeasure, might just be the fire starters that spread instability in the organisation.

This is why 100% of Best Employers in Singapore employ a suite of assessment tools for pre-hiring (compared to a market average of only 61%). Additionally, these assessment tools are aligned with the organisation’s competencies. From a potential employee's perspective, hiring practices play an important role as they indicate the start of an employee's experience and expectations of the organisation. According to Aon’s Best Employers 2017 study, employees hired through sound pre-hiring process tend to be more engaged at work, with less-than-a-year employees having higher engagement scores than the market average.

What makes for a ‘healthy diet’?

1. ‘High nutrition’ assessment tools

In a market saturated with assessment tools, all promising high reliability and accuracy, HR professionals like you must discern and pick the assessment tool that works for your hiring strategies. So what makes for ‘high nutrition’ in an assessment tool? Fundamentally, assessment tools must be effective in predicting work performance. Here are a few common hiring tools and their predictive ability (Schmidt, 2016):

It’s also important to constantly question service providers on the test results, listen to the feedback from candidates as well as employees who have undergone existing assessments. You should stay up-to-date with the technical aspects of different assessment tools and be on board with the hiring practices of other organisations to ensure you choose the assessment tools that work best for your organisation. Aon's ADEPT-15 Personality Test, for example, asks where the candidate is being raised for the most part of his/her life, because different cultural upbringing can have different cultural values. We also ask for the country where they are applying for the job. This two-pronged approach ensures all cultural biases are controlled, and hence, the most accurate personality assessment of the candidate can be derived.

2. A ‘well-balanced meal’ approach

Akin to having a well-balanced pyramid diet of fibre, protein, fat, and carbohydrates for a healthy body, HR professionals should also consciously select the right balance of assessment tools to suit their organisation. While different assessment tools have varying degrees of predictive ability on work performance, their effects are amplified when used together. For instance, a combination of cognitive and integrity tests has the highest predictive effectiveness on work performance . Therefore, it is up to HR professionals like you to determine the best balance of assessment tools to use in your hiring practices, all while balancing budget and job level constraints.

3. A ‘take charge of our diet’ mind-set

An individual can have the most nutritious and well-balanced diet plan, but it won’t be effective without the discipline and drive to follow through. Likewise, an organisation can have a suite of assessment tools that are the most valid, reliable and well-researched, but at the end of the day, they’re not the deal breakers; the persons wielding them do. The success of hiring assessments depends on the extent to which hiring managers and HR personnel are invested and on board with the assessment tools. HR professionals need to be regularly updated and well-informed about these assessment tools, know what assessment tools work best for the organisation, and fully invest themselves in the process in order to select and assess the best candidates for a high performing and healthy organisation.

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1 Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005). Consequences of Individuals' Fit at Work: A Meta-anaylsis of Person-Job Person-Organization, Person Group, and Person-Supervisor Fit. Personnel Psychology, 281-342.

2 De Vos, A., & Freese, C. (2011). Sensemaking during organizational entry: Changes in newcomer information seeking and the relationship with psychological contract fulfilment. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 288-314.

Schmidt, F. (2016). The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: Practical and Theoretical Implications of 100 Years of Research Findings. 10.13140/RG.2.2.18843.26400.
Eddie Chua

Eddie is an Associate Consultant with the Talent Practice Team in Singapore, where he focuses on talent assessment and leadership development. His core portfolio includes designing and leveraging different psychometric tools and leadership training across the employee lifecycle, from recruitment to succession planning, to clients from different sectors, including Aviation, Statutory Boards, Manufacturing, and Finance & Banking. His current research interests lies in management trainee programs and psychometric effectiveness.

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Eddie Chua
Eddie Chua