Hunter Warfield Inc., a provider of collection and asset investigations, recently put a strategic human capital model into practice to support the organization’s expansion, as well as improve the productivity and performance of its growing employee population. Developed by Marc Bellas, CLO, dean of Hunter Warfield University, the human capital model is a comprehensive approach that centralizes and aligns every facet of the company’s human resources, organizational development, and training and development departments in order to drive the development, growth and success of the company’s greatest asset, its employees.
“The overall objectives of the model are to define from the recruiting side the best fit for our culture and the position, to fully develop the skills and key competencies of the individual before putting them into a production mode, and to monitor and measure the individual in two ways: one for performance and the other through an IDP (individual development plan) that is based on their career path,” Bellas explained. “The philosophy behind that is people will stay in an environment where they know they can continue to learn and grow. So with those two components, the objective is that we are allowing people to achieve their personal goals that are aligned with the organizational objectives.”
In order to ensure that Hunter Warfield is attracting and recruiting employees with the identified core competencies, Bellas developed an automated two-step process. Prospective candidates first view a realistic job preview at the company’s Web site, which includes the job roles and responsibilities. According to Bellas, if the job roles and responsibilities do not correspond with the candidate’s requirements, many self-select out at that point. If the job indeed coincides with the candidate’s requirements, he or she will be prompted to take a culture-compatibility test based on the Likert scale, a scaling method that measures positive and negative responses to a statement.
“At the end of the questionnaire a percentage of overall fit—their personality, desire, character—to our culture is calculated,” he said. “If they’re a good fit then we move them on; however, we really don’t have a set bottom line on scores. We haven’t said at this point, ‘Look, if you are not 50 percent or better, forget it,’ because we again have found that those people tend to self-select out. But this screening process—from a quality-of-selection standpoint—ensures that candidates hold the qualifications and competencies we are looking for.”
Once employees are hired, they go through an orientation coined New Employee Orientation, which is a formal course presented by Hunter Warfield University. After the on-boarding process, new hires go through positional-development training, which is generally a 90-day blended-learning program provided by the university. “With a 90-day period of development, we have a better idea of not only knowing that they will be comfortable in the position, but also through training them through instructor-led classroom sessions, coaching and mentoring, webinars, external seminars, external networking with professional associations, and on-the-job training, there is not a big culture shock during the transition from training to being on the job. We have found that comfort levels and retention levels have tremendously improved all the way through this process,” Bellas said.
In addition to the extensive positional training for the company’s various job roles in collections, sales, client services, legal, accounting and administrative departments, Hunter Warfield requires employees to be certified by the university. Bellas said that certification ensures that employees are trained to the company’s set standards. Also, after an employee is certified, employees build an IDP based on what they want to achieve within the company from both a performance and training and development perspective. Bellas said the IDP is an opportunity for managers not only to develop relationships with their direct reports, but also emphasize how they contribute to the overall success of the organization.
According to Bellas, the organization has already realized benefits from the implementation of the human capital model in terms of enhanced measurements and analyses, employee retention, increased productivity and improved recruitment. “We have found that this model has helped enable the continued process of analyzing performance, determining performance gaps and addressing gaps. As a result, our hope is that we will be able to become very consistent in our gap analyses and that we can create a culture that drives managers and employees to analyze their business performance as well.
“Furthermore, if you were to look at the two major impact points of our human capital model, it would be retention of the very best people who thereby maximize the performance in all areas of the business,” Bellas said. “Turnover in this industry is horrendous—usually 130 to 150 percent—and for us to have knocked that down to lower than 30 percent is a big deal. We have observed increased referrals from within as well as improved employee morale. So attitudinally keeping that momentum going and building a culture of positive expectation has been a big result.”
–Cari McLean, firstname.lastname@example.org