October 24, 2022

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Standing out – finding and retaining HS talent

A new recruitment profiling tool aims to go beyond a CV to build a richer, in-depth picture of potential candidates. Here, SHP finds out more about its development.

The sector continues to struggle to attract a new generation of talent and with an older, current generation eyeing retirement, there exists the strong possibility of a dangerous knowledge gap developing. Profiling for talent has never seemed more crucial, with new innovative approaches to filtering talent. The use of psychometric tests in this search has developed significantly – not so long ago, potential candidates may have been given a clipboard and pen and asked to tick a few boxes that best describe their strengths, offering little insight – “If anything, I’m actually too much of a team player,” was often reported back leaving employers and employee no further forward.

But getting real insights into a character takes more than a few personal questions and of course, the human side still needs to be drawn particularly in a sector as nuanced as health and safety. One approach is a new profiling tool developed by Shirley Parsons it takes a multi-dimensional approach, beyond traditional psychometric tests to achieve the perfect fit.

Shona Paterson (pictured) is Director at global HSEQ talent experts, Shirley Parsons, and was heavily involved in the development of the firm’s new Return on Investment (RoTI) tool – a candidate profiling system that goes beyond a CV, biro and clipboard. SHP Editor, Mark Glover, caught up with Shona to discuss the tool’s workings and how it came about.

SHP: Firstly, why is it so vital to recruit and retain HSEQ talent in today’s competitive market

We have seen a shift in candidates’ motivators and aspirations, possibly as a result of self-reflection following the pandemic, which has seen candidates re-evaluate their aspirations and question if the role they currently do enables them to achieve these. We have seen an increase in job movers who have cited this lack of aspiration as a reason for moving on. We have even seen an increase in people leaving roles without another role to go to again citing reasons around aspiration.

Shona Paterson, Director at Shirley Parsons, oversaw the tool’s development.

Retention is important in any market (competitive or not) and it remains a key focus for many businesses as they aim to attract and retain top talent within the sector. Here, engagement is key in and to engage successfully it’s important to understand and listen to individuals’ drivers and aspirations. Of course, it’s also important to consider our changing workforce and the next generation entering the workplace and understand their drivers and how you can engage them.

SHP: How did the idea come?

SP: We wanted to give our clients a tool that provided them with richer insight into a candidate, not just a CV. Our tool focuses on highlighting a candidate’s notable personality traits, strengths, and areas for development but the extra value add is that it captures the aspirations, motivation drivers, and values of the individual.

SHP: Why did you base the tool on The Five Factor model of personality?

SP: When looking for a partner, our key consideration was the scientific validity and reliability of the tool we were using. We wanted to ensure that it was successful in highlighting an individual’s notable traits but avoided putting people into boxes and classing them as a ‘type’ of person. The tool we use looks carefully at how different traits interact with each other to give you fuller insight into the individual.

SHP: You carried out a robust validation study. What did you draw from the process?

SP: The validation study was carried out on existing working teams. Here we were able to identify traits common in higher-performing candidates. We were able to identify these as a benchmark while also taking into account a client’s culture and challenges when looking at candidate fit.

How do you hope the sector will utilise the tool going forward?

SP: We want to influence the creation and continued growth of high-performing HSEQ teams. Not just through understanding personality traits but also understanding changes in candidates’ motivators, drivers, and aspirations and we ultimately want to work with clients to ensure they attract and retain HSEQ talent within their organisations.

This year’s 2022 SHP Awards are in association with global HSEQ talent experts, Shirley Parsons, who have kindly offered all winners use of its ROTI tool.

More information about the awards can be found here. y

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