SilverStone Group’s employment assessments help franchisees and other business owners
find and keep the right employees.
By Jim Harris
Frequent turnover has a deep impact not only on a company’s employee morale and culture, but also on its bottom line. Regular turnover can cost a company roughly $2,500 per front-line employee, a figure that includes onboarding and recruiting costs as well as uniforms, reference checks and administrative costs, SilverStone Group Regional Director Merle Riepe says.
One way many franchise owners and other small businesses prevent frequent turnover is to screen employees before they’re hired. SilverStone Group, an Omaha-based risk management firm that includes a human capital consulting practice, can give companies tools they can use to ensure their resources are not being spent on short-time workers. “We offer ways to screen employees, and, once they’re hired, train them so they stick around,” Riepe says.
SilverStone’s consultancy is staffed by organizational psychologists who have developed a screening assessment based not on a prospective employee’s personality but on biographical information, or biodata. The company’s assessments are offered through its online portal, HireForward®. Assessment questions include questions about education level, work history and the number of hours per week they’re willing to work. In addition, employees are asked about activities they have enjoyed in the past.
“Our assessments ask questions that have verifiable answers based on an employee’s history as opposed to typical ‘strongly agree/agree/disagree’-type questions,” he adds. “Because we are psychologists, we go through a large amount of rigor to confirm an assessment is valid.”
SilverStone’s assessments are customized based on the role the employer is trying to fill as well as the environment in which they will be working. The HireForward platform also allows hiring managers to compare jobs candidates against the company’s best existing employees. “Our assessments help predict whether someone will stay around or not, and helps companies determine the odds that prospects will be loyal, reliable employees over the long run,” Riepe says.
SilverStone Group last year introduced assessments specifically geared toward in-home caregivers. The Caregiver Aptitude Readiness Evalution (CARE) Series is designed to select caregivers and match them to clients. The series followed a study conducted by the company in response to a rise in workers’ compensation claims among caregivers. “An insurance carrier came to us and said they were seeing losses; we thought that if companies were able to hire better caregivers who are conscientious and care about safety, that could reduce claims,” Riepe says. “This is the most robust study of caregivers that’s been done to date.”
SilverStone Group met with business owners, franchisors and caregivers to determine the most desirable qualities for a caregiver, then developed the assessment based on its results. The CARE Series includes two main components: CARE Series Select, a 20-minute pre-hire assessment designed to select caregivers, and CARE Series Match, a post-hire assessment designed to match caregivers with clients based on common personality characteristics and interests.
The CARE Series Select assessment uses biodata, situational judgment tests and behavioral-based interview questions to determine a candidate’s likelihood of retention as well as their attitudes toward safety and integrity. Behavior-based questions are generated based on concerns identified from assessment results. The CARE Series Match assessment is taken by the caregiver and then matched against a paper-and-pencil needs assessment answered by the client or their family to “identify the most important characteristics needed for a successful pairing,” SilverStone Group says.
CARE Series assessments are used by 13 of the largest in-home caregiver franchises to hire and place caregivers. More than 6,000 caregivers take the assessments monthly, Riepe notes.
‘A High-Quality Product’
In addition to its work in the caregiver industry, SilverStone Group has developed assessments used in the security, hospitality, retail, education and technology fields.
SilverStone Group continues to improve its assessment products. The company recently made enhancements to the CARE Series that include incorporating questions about personal integrity into the screening. The company also recently added a dashboard to the HireForward system that can provide clients data from assessments they can use in hiring decisions.
“We offer a high-quality product that is extremely effective,” Riepe says. “We also offer a high level of service when it comes to interpreting reports and data, and can help people make better hiring decisions even beyond the assessment.”
At a Glance
SilverStone Group has grown significantly from its humble origins as a two-person insurance office when it was founded in 1945. Today, it employs more than 200 associates encompassing a variety of services, including investment and risk management. The company also serves as a broker of medical, property and casualty insurance.
All of the company’s offerings are united by a single philosophy. “Our business was built on the Midwestern ethic of hard work, honesty, integrity and fairness, and on the idea that the client’s needs should come first,” the company says. “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s just good business, whether you are an investment company, risk management services provider or employee benefits expert.”