The relationships between employee assessment scores and critical outcome variables, such as job performance and turnover, are not always clear cut. It is important to understand that such relationships do not always follow the linear pattern that most assessment vendors assume. There are certain situations in which we are more or less likely to see that linear trend.
For example, as the economy continues to improve, we are seeing turnover rates on the rise. The reason being, there are more alternative employment options available to employees and they are often easily accessible via the internet. Employees literally have these alternatives at their fingertips. Under such conditions, we cannot make broad claims that hiring individuals based on top assessment scores will always lead to reductions in turnover.
Rather, we need to be more conservative and take into consideration all of the factors that could impact the nature of this relationship. Specifically, since more (and better) options will be available to top performers, it may be unwise to suggest that organizations choose only from the top scores on an assessment if their goal is to reduce turnover because top scorers also tend to be top performers.
Therefore, if you are selecting employees only from the top of the distribution of assessment scores you may potentially be setting yourself up for a bigger turnover issue down the road because the relationship between employee assessment scores and turnover is no longer a linear one (i.e., both bottom and top scores are turnover risks).
Additionally, for organizations that are not employers of choice, it is unlikely that the relationship between assessment scores and turnover is a linear one since again, top talent will have better alternatives available. As such, if you are not an employer of choice, top performers will likely leave for an organization that is.
If your organization is an employer of choice, you may not need to worry quite as much about these issues, as even the top of the top will be unlikely to leave your organization because they are already working for the best option available. In other words, the linear relationships between assessment scores and performance/turnover are more likely to be accurate for employers of choice. However, this is not to say that employers of choice are safe from potential non-linearity.
We know that as the economy continues to shift in a positive direction it will be more difficult for organizations to maintain their employer of choice status and relationships between assessment scores and turnover will likely shift as well.
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