"Within one year of using the assessments in Operations, our staff turnover was down by 12% and there continues to be improvements year on year. In fact, since introducing the new recruitment process turnover has almost halved. This has been thanks to attracting and selecting candidates that are of the right calibre to begin with."
Opus Energy is a leading independent business energy supplier in the UK. Starting out in 2002, they now have a customer base of over 200,000 business sites and have consistently earned a place in the Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 250 league. Opus Energy began working with Thomas International in 2012 to address challenges arising from their growth and have now changed the face of their strategy for both recruitment and development.
In 2011, Opus Energy were growing dramatically and needed a strategy to manage that growth.
As Annamarie Petsis Jones, HR Director at Opus Energy explained, “Our biggest challenge was around recruitment as we needed a lot of new recruits but had no systems and processes in place to filter candidates. We were struggling with a high level of turnover, particularly among new recruits whom we were often losing within the probation period, suggesting we were not attracting and selecting the right candidates. It was clear we needed to turn our current approach on its head and start to control the numbers. We were receiving large numbers of CVs and needed an approach to filtering that didn’t require manual intervention. Introducing Thomas assessments was the best way forward. However, before we could guarantee success, we needed to secure the buy-in from recruiting managers.”
With no previous background in assessments, recruiting managers were suspicious as to the benefit of assessments and were concerned it would take away their autonomy when recruiting.
“To overcome the reluctance, we decided to run a pilot in the Customer Operations department to demonstrate the difference they could make. This included profiling, through the Thomas PPA and aptitude testing through the Thomas GIA.” explains Annamarie. “We started internally by gathering average GIA scores to help set a benchmark and ran PPA with model employees to identify similar profiles when recruiting.”
“This helped us to establish patterns as to the types of employees that suited the vacancies within our organisation.”
Every candidate was tested over a six month period providing the evidence needed to establish the GIA scores and PPA profiles that flourished within Opus Energy. This demonstrated how the results of the assessments could greatly reduce the time spent on recruitment and the training of new starters. Interestingly, although managers were given the autonomy to discount the results if they wanted, following the pilot, not one manager, when recruiting new employees, chose to ignore the assessment results.
“In fact, we have since extended our use of the assessments to include 360 review to gather individual feedback internally for personal development.”
Annamarie explained. “As feedback is delivered by a trainer, it’s easier for managers and employees to have a conversation about next steps. As a result, TEIQue (measuring emotional intelligence) is now used as a development tool internally for department managers too."
Three years ago, emotional intelligence would not have even been considered by the business; now it is a core competency ingrained in our processes and invaluable to our overall performance.
Annamaire Petsis Jones, Opus Energy
The Thomas assessments have enlightened people in ways they wouldn’t have expected and are now widely used across the business. “In three years, the business has gone from never using any form of assessment and fostering a high level of scepticism towards them, to it now being an established and fixed form of the recruitment, retention and development processes throughout the business. GIA aids the filtering and shortlisting process whilst PPA is used for recruiting managers and specialist positions including HR, Marketing and Finance. It is also extensively used for development, particularly for the development of our management.”
Within one year of using the assessments, turnover in Customer Operations was down by 12% and there continues to be improvements year on year. In fact, since introducing the new recruitment process turnover has almost halved. This has been thanks to attracting and selecting candidates that are of the right calibre to begin with.
Annamarie Petsis Jones, Opus Energy
“But it's not just about selecting the right people,” stresses Annamarie, “it's also about developing our people. We now run team profiling, ensuring better team fit; have eased the interview process by enabling managers to dig deeper in interviews thanks to the questions provided through the profiling and aided managers to have difficult conversations and/or address differences of opinion particularly with the use of TEIQue and 360.
In fact, the business is so trusting and passionate about the assessments, as they have seen the benefit of them time and time again, that the challenge now is holding them back!”