Case Study: Drees Homes
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Since 1928, Drees Homes has been committed to building exceptional homes, with more than 65,000 new homes crafted in 10 metropolitan areas and 90 years of award-winning experience in custom home building to make the experience easy for every customer. While other companies talk about standing behind their work or standing by their customers, at Drees Homes, that promise is deeply ingrained into their process.
With 12 to 15% annual turnover, 100 plus openings per year in various locations throughout the country, filling openings quickly is a priority. Filling them with high quality customer care professionals is mission-critical.
Single source pre-employment testing to assess tangible skill levels and customer service orientation.
- Saves time for HR professionals and applicants.
- Combines multiple tests for skills and abilities into a single assessment tool.
- Improves candidate experience and decreases time-to-hire.
Drees Homes services has custom-built over 65,000 homes in ten metropolitan areas across the US in its nearly 100 year history. With almost 750 employees across the nation, they hire for a wide assortment of positions. But all of their roles share a common value. Each relies on high quality customer care.
For the last two years, Dress hired over 125 employees per year, while phone screening and interviewing at least three times that amount, for each hire brought aboard. With a mixed variety of pre-employment procedures and testing, they needed to streamline the process, uncover strong predictors of performance and adopt assessments that would assure a quality culture fit for their customer-centric organization.
A LENGTHY PROCESS
Drees employs 740 full-time staffers across its locations, with 12-15% annual turnover within their workforce. Their hiring process was and continues to be lengthy, to make sure that both Drees and the new hire are a good fit for one another.
Following a two-week job posting, the talent team pre-screens applications for hiring managers, who choose three to five candidates for HR to phone interview. Notes and recommendations go back to hiring managers, who then interview the top candidates. Testing occurs after the initial interview, but before an offer is made. The entire process from requisition to candidate acceptance averaged 45 to 60 days, depending on the role. It was a lot to manage for the HR team and they wanted to decrease the time to hire.
With that strong commitment to customer care, Drees first came to EmployTest for customer service skills testing for job applicants. They used these tests for several years, with great results and now all potential hires are required to take the customer service test.
But Drees wanted to bring more efficiency into the selection process and streamline other areas. They didn’t want to streamline just for the sake of streamlining, but instead find places where steps could be shortened (or eliminated entirely), which would allow for a quicker hiring decision. Great talent isn’t available “forever” and the sooner those great candidates could be identified, the quicker an offer can be made.
One area to introduce that efficiency was their process of paper-based testing. In the past, Drees’s pre-employment assessment process included a pen and paper assessment of math, vocabulary and matching skills. It wasn’t great for the candidate, as they had to physically be in a Drees facility, which can have limitations due to distance or other restrictions.
But it wasn’t just those two tests. Two additional written tests of general construction knowledge were also administered. It wasn’t a great process, from an efficiency standpoint.
If that wasn’t enough, the HR team then had to manually score each test, which can be delayed because of vacations or other more critical tasks. Plus, how can you convince a wary applicant that Drees is using “cutting edge” technology, when the applicants are taking paper and pencil tests?
After explaining these issues, the EmployTest team went to work. Led by Account Manager Angela Cook, EmployTest took this test content, converted it to an online question format and was able to streamline these two into a single online test, which made applicants much happier (they didn’t have to show up at Drees, with a pencil in hand, for the test). The same happiness could be found in the HR team, which suddenly had more available time that didn’t need to be spent manually scoring tests. A win for both sides!
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TESTS
There still were opportunities for improvement for the Drees hiring process. Technology is important at Drees and Microsoft Office skills was needed for some roles. EmployTest-er, Angela, provided Drees with topic lists of questions for Excel, Word and Power Point, so that they could choose job relevant questions for an interactive Microsoft Office test, that is specific to their company’s needs. Drees took it a step further and opted to create four separate Microsoft tests with different combinations of questions and skill requirements depending on the position.
Consolidating all their testing into a single-source, online assessment has given Drees the ability to quantify hard and soft skills quickly and seamlessly to find the right fit for every role.
ONE STOP SHOP
EmployTest created a one stop shop of assessments to help Drees simplify their administrative process. In addition to moving away from paper-based assessments that required in-person candidate testing and manual HR administration and scoring, they were able to fully automate the process, reducing HR resources spent. EmployTest’s online system immediately provides Drees with final scores for each applicant (24/7/365), which frees HR time for higher-value tasks.
Applicants who pass the interview process are able to access testing online, at their convenience, which boosts candidate experience. It’s a win-win for Drees and applicants.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COMPANIES?
Rader explains the company moved to EmployTest because a lot of their testing process was paper based, manual and in-person. With “in-person” restrictions, they needed to move to an electronic, virtual process. The result is saving administrative time with remote assessments, as well as not waiting for applicant availability to come back in for testing – slowing time-tohire and increasing the possibility of candidate drop-off.
Testing can even help boost inclusion efforts. Rader advises, “Make sure the tests you are using are pertinent to the job requirements and that you aren’t just testing to be testing; be consistent with administering the same tests to all candidates in the same part of the process – to be fair and equitable.”
EmployTest is dedicated to increasing productivity and reducing costly employee turnover through time-tested, customizable screening assessments. The company has worked with more than 7,000 corporate and government partners across six continents. Our customizable assessment platforms administer more than 60,000 tests to job applicants and help save millions of dollars of hiring mistakes annually.
Customer Service has been exceptional – super responsive and helpful; willing to customize any tests we need to automate which is unique and greatly valued. We’ve saved admin and processing time by testing remotely (online) and not having to schedule someone to physically come in. Pamela Rader Vice President of Human Resources