Looking for Staples DNA: the ideal employee for each Staples shop

The employee makes the difference at Staples, the market leader in office solutions. The global operating company employs 90,000 employees, of which 10,000 are located in Europe, and therefore invests a considerable amount of time and money in training. The use of HFMtalentindex in the Netherlands during the selection of sales and management candidates has substantially reduced staff turnover and training costs. The online selection assessments are now being introduced in the company’s Germany and UK branches.

Challenge

In the words of Frans Kools, HR director of Staples Europe, ‘Personal attention and service are our trademark. They are the added value of our shops and complement the option of ordering online. Our employees genuinely engage with customers to ensure that each one leaves with the right product. A satisfied customer returns, not least because of the person who provided excellent service and assistance during the customer’s last visit. We therefore invest more than others in training and coaching on the shop floor. At the same time, no one wants to spend time and money on training someone only to see that person leave after a short time. Proper selection is essential. We therefore prepared a profile of the ideal employee based on our most successful employees and managers. We look for people who have good communication skills and seek to build relationships rather than merely sell a product.’

Solution

Since 2013, Staples in the Netherlands has used HFMtalentindex to select future account managers, team leaders and store managers on the basis of the ‘Staples DNA’ profile. According to Kools, ‘Each shop previously considered candidates from its own particular set of perspectives. The choices made therefore differed. The profile that we defined has made our selection process clear-cut and the online assessments predict whether or not people will be successful. In principle, the same kind of candidates emerge for the same kind of positions. Staff turnover indicates that the right people are indeed ending up in the right places. In the past, a large number of account managers left within a year because we were not sufficiently able to select on the basis of the right competencies. It’s now rare for an account manager to leave after a short period of time.’

Staples benefits more from talent, thanks to HFMtalentindex

HFMtalentindex has now been introduced in other European countries in the language of the country concerned. In Germany and the UK, pilot projects are in progress. To familiarise themselves with the instrument, managers are completing the tests themselves, discussing the outcomes and receiving training on how to read the test results. ‘HFMtalentindex is making them feel more confident about their choices. It is a properly thought-out system based on proven experience and it is really helping to further professionalise our organisation. There is sometimes discussion about a certain part of the DNA profile adopted, but such discussion is about the bandwidth of a particular characteristic. The ideal profile has not been altered. This consistency is logical in that an ideal employee is an ideal employee for every Staples shop, regardless of whether the shop is in Oslo or Albufeira. That employee determines who we are and how the customer sees us. The selection of high-quality employees is too important to leave to chance.’