Plant Start-Ups and Expansions: Creating a New Culture

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 By: PSP Metrics Posted In: Uncategorized

Work culture is the way employees collectively think and act in a given company or plant. In a start-up situation, a culture is created from scratch. Savvy companies recognize the unique opportunity this presents to shape the attitudes and behaviors of the new work force.

By hiring employees who seek opportunities to cooperate, take initiative, and improve work methods, a company can achieve a unity of expectations and goals.  With all employees pulling in the same direction, the new work force will train up faster and produce more output. In fact, some authorities believe that a company obtains 90 percent of an employee’s productivity at the time of hiring.

A High Performance Culture

Plant cultures are directly related to hiring procedures. If a company utilizes the “warm body” method of hiring, it hires sub-par workers. Studies show that sub-par workers produce only half the output of average workers. Moreover, poor performers have more accidents and cause more equipment breakdowns than average workers. Poor performers also require more initial training time and more retraining time than average workers. On the other hand, above average workers produce 50 percent more than average workers. They require less supervision time and less human resource time, make fewer mistakes, and produce less scrap/waste.

A culture based on above average workers increases efficiencies in operations, while one based on sub-par workers adds costs in terms of turnover, lost production, and downtime. In addition, when an employee’s desired rewards match up with the incentives available, continuous motivation takes place. This results in a culture where employees give an honest day’s work, display dependability and reliability, strive for continuous improvement, and achieve results.

Screening for Cultural Fit

Surprisingly, many companies squander the opportunity to create a new culture by relying exclusively on job applications and interviews when hiring employees. While these methods have some value, they just don’t provide enough reliable information.

Studies show that job applications and resumes are falsified 25 percent of the time. Moreover, the job interview is an inherently subjective process, often boiling down to interpretations and “gut feelings” rather than hard data. Such approaches minimize the chance of obtaining a unified, loyal, and motivated work force.

A high performance work culture can be realized only if there is standardization and objectivity in the hiring process. Otherwise, the desired culture will be contaminated by dissension, lack of initiative, and turnover in the ranks.  When exceptions are made to standardization and objectivity in hiring decisions, subjectivity takes over and productivity suffers.  Screening for cultural fit requires discipline by hiring managers to avoid the temptation to deviate from the established procedure.

Standardization and objectivity in hiring are best achieved with well-designed employment tests. In fact, of all the employment screening tools available, only employment testing can be truly objective and unbiased.  Employment tests allow industrial psychologists to assess a variety of internal “drivers,” thus identifying people who are motivated to do what employers need.  All applicants are quantitatively measured and compared to a common benchmark. This provides the best pathway to high caliber employees, as well as to a legally defensible screening process.

The Financial Pay-Off

Plant start-ups and expansions enable companies to establish new work cultures with financial impact.  When one considers the wages and benefits paid over the course of an average career, the decision to employ an individual is a million dollar decision. In a plant start-up and expansion, where scores or hundreds of individuals are hired, the importance of hiring right becomes obvious.

Creating a work culture which makes the most of that multi-million dollar investment is a specialty of PSP Metrics. We customize and calibrate our employment tests to match the cultural requirements of each of our customers. Companies throughout the world benefit from PSP’s approach, achieving work cultures that create tremendous competitive advantage.