Richard Davis: Find first-rate employees

Monday, April 30, 2007

Whatever you pay an employee, plan on spending three times that in turnover costs if you have to replace him, says Richard Davis, a long-time human resources professional who now heads the HR department at Barnes Healthcare. That's why it's critical that providers identify and hire top performers who are a good fit for a position. Davis will offer pointers for finding and keeping first-rate employees in his session "Identifying and Retaining Top Performers" at Medtrade Spring. Here's a first look at his presentation:
HME News: On a scale of 1 to 10, how are providers doing when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent?
Richard Davis: Probably a two or three because most companies--especially the smaller ones--either go with their gut feeling or tend to hire the first person who looks good. Most people involved in hiring aren't trained interviewers and don't use tools to help them find top performers. As a result, turnover is a real problem in our industry.
hme: What are some of the tools you're referring to?
Davis: Here at Barnes, we use Profile XT created by Profiles International. It measures the candidate's thinking and reasoning styles, non-behavioral characteristics and occupational interest. We can compare a candidate's score against top performers to see if they are a good fit for the job. The investment you make in an assessment tool will pay off. The cost of turnover is three times what you pay for that position. When people actually measure the effects of losing four or five people a year, they're really surprised.
HME: What are some other negative effects of not having top performers on your staff?
Davis: If it's someone in sales, you're not getting the sales a top performer would, and you might be losing existing business. If it's someone delivering equipment, you run the risk of damage to your equipment or losing sales because of their poor service. If it's a manager, you run the risk of driving employees away. There's a whole litany of risks posed by not having top performers--decreased productivity, higher risks, increased liability and lost sales. One study showed the difference in productivity between below-average performers and superior performers is 70%. There are real dollar effects of not having top performers.
HME: Of those two or three out of 10 who are doing a good job, what traits or characteristics do they share?
Davis: They've invested in tools to help them identify employees that fit in their position. They've taken care in hiring rather than just finding warm bodies. They provide training for people who interview candidates. They've also gotten out of the thinking of only being able to pay in a certain range. Sometimes, to attract top performers, they may have to look at their compensation package in a different way. As a company pursues top performers, there may be some employees they will have to let go. The goal is to have every employee be a top performer.
Richard Davis
Title/company: director of human resources for Valdosta, Ga.-based Barnes Healthcare Services
Session: "Identifying and Retaining Top Performers"
Date: Thursday, April 26, 8:30 a.m.
Contact: (229) 245-6039 x1455 or