“Engagement”—the key to attracting (and keeping) the best talent

September 5, 2013

Like many companies, GardaWorld’s staffing efforts used to take a “post-and-wait” approach. That is, we would post a job to our website’s careers page and other online recruiting sources and wait for candidate responses. But with an impending shortage of good talent and wanting to find and engage the best available people from the start of the recruitment cycle, we needed a fresh, more proactive strategy supported by better tools and information.

Note: Nadine Lecomte is GardaWorld’s Vice President, Talent Management, Canada, with 15 years of international experience in talent acquisition and business management.


For example, “Talent Indicator” is one of the tools we’ve deployed on our website for the Canadian market. It’s an easy but revealing, five-step psychometric test that asks a candidate to rank specific words as they apply to the candidate’s personality. Based on those inputs, the tool will suggest the GardaWorld business division that best matches the candidate’s personality. In effect, this interactive exercise actively engages the candidate, provides an initial personality screening and helps move the recruitment cycle forward by directing the candidate to the GardaWorld line of business that will best suit him or her.


Designed around best-performers.  It’s worth noting that we designed the Talent Indicator’s psychometrics based on having the best-performing employees in each of our business divisions take prototype tests, so the tool would reflect their psychometrics. Interestingly, we found that our best security guards showed that their analytical tendencies were primary traits, while their take-action tendencies were secondary. Of course, we want more “think-then-act” personalities in our guarding ranks versus the “act-then-think” personality that can dominate in other guarding services.


Another example of engaging candidates early in the recruitment cycle is posting one-minute videos of actual employees—not actors—sharing why they enjoy working at GardaWorld in the role they do.


Retention starts with recruitment.  By engaging job candidates much earlier in the recruitment cycle using these tools and information, we get a better match of their personalities with job opportunities. This is a big first step to them enjoying and excelling in their work—two important keys to retention.


During the application process, another online tool—our Application Tracking System—provides an easy-to-use way for our HR staffing teams, as well as hiring managers, to see where any particular applicant is in the hiring process. We never had this kind of visibility before. The tool also helps us determine the best sources of candidates vis-à-vis our specific outreach efforts. This way we can better target our resources to where we are getting the best candidates.


Training also helps retention.  After hiring, new employees receive extensive training in classrooms and online. They’re trained in GardaWorld’s own policies and security protocols as well as in those of our clients. The latter can be quite extensive. Our Aviation Services personnel, for example, must provide security and safe passage through 27 Canadian airports, so they need the in-depth and refresher training to help them provide those vital services. In the end, well-trained employees are confident employees, who tend to be happier in their jobs, perform at higher levels than unhappy employees, and ultimately stay in their positions much longer (although GardaWorld provides many opportunities for lateral moves and upward advancements).