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Talent assessment tool helps restaurants save in hiring and training

Restaurant operator American Blue Ribbon Holding uses cloud-based OutMatch pre-employment tests to predict candidates who will increase sales and remain on the job longer.

It's not a magical approach to hiring, but talent assessment tool OutMatch is helping a restaurant company find tolerant and positive staff that will help increase sales and stay on the job longer.

American Blue Ribbon Holdings, based in Nashville, Tenn., uses cloud-based OutMatch to assess and select candidates for hourly and management positions, said Bill Streitberger, chief people officer at the restaurant operator, which runs O'Charley's restaurants and the Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub chain.

Streitberger said OutMatch can help predict good hires, though it is not a silver bullet.

"We don't use them necessarily as a decision-maker but [it is] a good tool for managers in evaluating their applicants," said Streitberger.

ROI study examines benefits

Streitberger said a study helped confirm that the talent assessment tool is increasing sales.

At the company's O'Charley's restaurants, an ROI analysis compared annual new hires during years before and after the use of OutMatch.

Bill Streitberger, chief people officer at American Blue Ribbon HoldingsBill Streitberger

The company increased sales by $2.7 million a year, or 31 cents per check for 7,700 servers, and reduced turnover by 9% among 12,500 hires of hourly workers, saving $2.5 million or a $2,225 replacement cost for each employee.

Streitberger said he likes OutMatch because it integrates well with the company's Hirebridge Applicant Tracking System (ATS), allowing for a streamlined online hiring process. Equifax, used for onboarding, is also integrated with the ATS.

OutMatch helps in revitalization

The talent assessment tool helps find servers who are friendly, tolerant and dependable.

Applicants are tested against a "job success profile" and given a fit score for the job, along with a personality report and an interview guide to help hiring managers address potential problem areas, according to a case study for O'Charley's.

The holding company went live with OutMatch more than two years ago after acquiring O'Charley's in 2012. Streitberger said OutMatch was selected over People Answers, now owned by Infor.

The talent assessment tool was part of an effort to revitalize the restaurant's identity and guest experience. By reducing turnover, the tool saved on recruiting and training costs, according to the case study.

A report from OutMatch Select, for example, scores applicants for wait staff as "avoid" or "good" on personality, integrity and work ethic, and "avoid," "OK, " "good" or "better" on traits associated with performance on the job such as energy, accommodation of others, frustration tolerance and positive service attitude.

Tool screens thousands of servers

About 25,000 applicants each year take the assessments, which require about 15 minutes to complete. The restaurant holding company hires 6,000 to 7,000 servers a year.

The talent assessment tool is also used for promotions, Streitberger said. If a manager at a restaurant, for example, wants to be promoted to general manager, the manager can take the assessment and be matched up against a profile for the higher post, he said.

The company also uses the analytics available in standard reporting from OutMatch. These include an analysis on the demographics (gender, race and age) of an applicant pool and assessment pass and completion rates. Other standard reporting includes the percent of people who began the assessment but did not complete it and the percent completing it on a mobile phone.

Streitberger also uses Service Management Group (SMG) for annual employee engagement surveys of all workers. He said he measures that data against sales trends, turnover and guest feedback reports.

"There is always a trend," he said. "We want to learn from good ones so we can replicate them at another restaurant."

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