Predicting Success at Entel Begins with Trustworthy Assessment Results
Entel, one of Chile’s largest telecommunications firms serving both the consumer and commercial sectors and with more than 12,000 employees across its extended enterprise, provides a broad range of mobile and fixed communications services, IT and call center outsourcing and network infrastructure services. The 127-meter-high Entel Tower rises above central Santiago and is one of the city's best-known landmarks.
Success in the highly competitive mobile and telecommunications market takes more than world-class infrastructure, great connectivity, an established dealer network and extensive range of retail locations. It also depends on skilled, knowledgeable sales and customer care professionals who can proficiently represent products and services – and who can solve a customer’s problem on the first call. Achieving optimal on-the-job performance yields a competitive edge in the form of satisfied customers, increased revenues and lower costs. Yet actually accomplishing this objective is no small feat – especially for an industry job role notorious for high turnover rates.
With these challenges in mind, Entel embarked on an innovative new strategy to enhance the predictability of the hiring, onboarding, training and developing practices for its nationwide team of 6,000+ retail store and call center representatives.
Entel conducted an exhaustive analysis – a “big data” initiative that mapped correlations between dozens of disparate data points mined from various business systems, HR systems as well as assessment results – to develop a comprehensive model of the factors contributing to employee performance.
“This model identified several measurable behaviors as indicators of performance potential,” explained Ives Vidal Oyarzun, Entel’s director of performance. “Moreover, our analysis revealed that certification testing was one of the major factors in predicting future success of both new recruits and current representatives.”
Program planning and development included job task analysis, in which each task required by the job role was analyzed to identify and set benchmarks for required knowledge and skills, optimal behaviors and performance metrics. To implement and ensure the ongoing success of the program, the team at Entel knew it would need best-in-class technologies.
Entel selected Questionmark OnDemand to create the valid and reliable tests and exams necessary to measure and document representatives’ knowledge, skills and abilities.
“We needed to find a proper tool that checked off three important boxes,” said Vidal. “1) Killer data analysis; 2) User-friendly tools for the reps taking the tests; and 3) A robust assessment system that would allow us to create a defensible certification program.”
The rich feature-set for authoring and delivering a wide range of question types has also provided benefits. “With Questionmark, we have had the ability to create tests with competency questions — video and audio — along with knowledge-based questions,” Vidal said. “So we know that our employees really know and understand the subject.”
To monitor success and fine-tune the program, assessment results data from Questionmark assessments are analyzed along with data from SAP SuccessFactors, which Entel uses to manage and monitor performance against many of the key behavioral aspects of the program.
As a condition for employment at Entel, all newly recruited representatives are required to pass a certification exam following completion of a training program. Another compulsory test follows during the representative’s first two months of employment to affirm the ongoing success of the onboarding process.
Given the high stakes of the exams, the testing is conducted in proctored test centers at university campuses throughout Chile and Peru. Questionmark’s delivery platform enables test and exam delivery to be restricted require monitoring and meet other security requirements, helping Entel ensure the integrity and defensibility of exam results.
Testing and certification are more than one-time requirements at Entel. Representatives are tested annually to renew their certifications -- a practice that helps Entel monitor and ensure the ongoing knowledge and skillsets of its workforce. Employee response to this strategy has been overwhelming positive. Rather than looking at annual testing as an inconvenience, “representatives take pride in passing the exam and achieving re-certification,” commented Vidal.
Vidal sees testing and assessment as playing a growing role in future product launches, providing Entel greater ability to align product knowledge and ensure the sales-force readiness. Assessments may also play a role in broadening the metrics available for determining the success of new product rollouts after-the-fact: Questionmark’s capabilities to delivery and analyze employee attitude surveys offers the potential to gain new insights into the effectiveness of pre-launch preparations and communications, providing lessons-learned and guidance for optimizing future releases.
In addition to potential new initiatives, Questionmark will continue to play a vital role as Entel continues to fine-tune and improve the quality and reliability of its predictive analytics. “With Questionmark we have the tools to deliver valid and reliable assessments that, in turn, provide results based on solid data we can trust and build upon,” Vidal added. “We’re a business — we need to predict behaviors — and now we have the tools to do that.”