A Critical Analysis on Pros and Cons of Incorporating Psychometrics in YKK Bangladesh

Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (YKK)

is a Japan based transnational company,which has offices in 70 countries and 269 plants around the world that are divided in six regional blocks. It manufactures two categories of products: fastening products and architectural products. YKK is the top ranked company in the world in fastening product category and is a strongly dominant manufacturer of this category around the world.

YKK ASAO, one of YKK’s six blocks is located in Singapore, runs its operation in Asia in the name of YKK Holding Asia. In 1996, YKK Holding Asia, Singapore opened its subsidiary in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the name of YKK Singapore Pte Ltd – Dhaka office. As a result of increasing demand and to provide prompt and speedy services to the customers, it opened another office in Chittagong, Bangladesh in 1998. Further demand of YKK products in Bangladesh, YKK Holding Asia planned to establish a new comprehensive assemble factory in Bangladesh that was built and gone in operation in December 1999. In this factory, only zippers are assembled. All the materials are imported from other YKK factories and assembled in Bangladesh factory to meet the demand of YKK fastening products in Bangladesh.

In January 2000, YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd started its operation with a head office located in Dhaka, a factory in Savar and the other sales office in Chittagong. The HR department is located in the factory office and responsible for all HR related activities – recruitment and selection, training, pay management, performance management and the others taken place in Bangladesh (YKK Prospectus, 2006).

The recruitment and selection process in YKK is carried out following a standard procedure:

• Assessing company needs, job analysis, recruitment opportunities available and inviting applications through advertisement
• Screening and short listing candidates based on CVs and Covering letter
• Written test
• Interview
• Making employment decision and make an offer subject to pre-employment medical examination

It is evident from the process that psychological testing is not involved in the recruitment and selection process in YKK Bangladesh. In a fast paced business world, the importance of involving psychometric instruments is inevitable as they help predict the right fit of people in a particular job role, in the culture of the organization (Bakker, 2006; Harvard Business Essentials, 2003). Corcoran (2005) states that many large organizations are incorporating psychometric tests in their recruitment and selection process due to their increased value in the selection process. Though it is pointed out that the HRM concept is not very old in Bangladesh and organizations are still practicing the traditional recruitment and selection process (Siddiquee, 2003), however, in large organizations like YKK Bangladesh, it is ambiguous why psychometric tests are not incorporated in their hiring process as it is indicated that there are a number of multinational and transnational companies are operating in Bangladesh, who have a well developed HR practices in their organizations, which are imported from their own cultures (Miah et al., 2003) where psychological testing is highly in practice (Phillips, 2007). It is also evident from the advertisements of YKK Bangladesh that they recruit highly qualified candidates who have knowledge on psychological testing, the reason for not incorporating is still unclear. Incorporating psychometric tests in the selection process help organizations understand whether a particular candidate has the relevant attributes and personality in meeting the job role as hiring a wrong person costs the company a huge amount and put the company down the line for at least six months (Lyons, 2006; Wetzel, 2006).

Screening and short listing of candidates in the selection process in YKK Bangladesh is done on the basis of CVs, applications and covering letter. Towler (2005) points out that CVs and applications provide employers an indication of the candidates’ qualifications and experiences but do not provide whether they are suitable for the job or not. Further, interviews help employers understand candidates’ knowledge and understanding on a particular area, not on their aptitudes, personality and motivation (Parkinson, 2008), which can effectively be analyzed and understood through psychometric testing (Hancock, 1998). So, adding psychometric tests in the selection method will definitely assist the company in hiring the right people for the right role.

Bakker (2006) denotes that psychometric instruments can help assess candidates’ capability in coping with organization’s culture and the ability to work well with colleagues. However, it is pointed out by that in culture like Bangladesh psychological test may be biased as they are designed and developed in Anglo-American context and may ignore cultural values of a particular context (Quader, 2005). It is also indicated that some tests are discriminatory on the basis of sex, ethnicity, religion, age and the like (Anonymous, 2006), country like Bangladesh where unemployment is too high (Rahman et al, 2007) and jobs are like water in the desert, it does not provide a different feeling to candidates whether they are discriminated.

YKK Bangladesh can use psychometric instruments in their hiring process as it adds significant value and helps achieve sustainable efficacy.

References:

• Anonymous (2006), “Pros and Cons of Using Personality Tests”, Design Firm Management & Administration Report, Vol. 6, No. 1, pg. 4.
• Bakker, S. (2006), “Ensuring the right fit: Psychometric testing can take some of the guesswork out of hiring decisions”, Canadian HR Reporter, Vol. 19, No. 6, pg. 7.
• Corcoran, C. (2005), “Psychometric Testing: Can it add value to HR?”, Accountancy Ireland, Vol. 37, No. 4, pp. 63-65.
• Hancock, S. (1998), “Psychometric Testing: Solid Fact or Psycho-babble”, Supply Management, Vol. 3, No. 14, pp. 30-31.
• Harvard Business Essentials (2003), Guide to Hiring and Keeping the Best People, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.
• Lyons, W. (2006), “Ability Testing”, The British Journal of Administrative Management, Jun/July 2006, pg. 23.
• Miah, M. K., Mitsuru, W. and Takeuchi, N., (2003), “Cross-cultural Comparisons of HRM Styles: Based on Japanese Companies, Japanese Subsidiaries in Bangladesh and Bangladesh Companies”, Global Business Review, Vol. 4.1, pp. 77-98. • Parkinson, M. (2008), How to Master Psychometric Tests: Expert Advice on Test Preparation with Practice Questions from Leading Test Providers, Kogan Page, London.
• Phillips, L. (2007), “Rise in the Use of Psychometrics”, People Management, Vol. 13, No. 15, p19-19.
• Quader, A. (2005), How Reliable is Psychological Testing for Selection of People for Employment, Daily News Monitoring Service [Online], Available: http://www.bangladesh-web.com/view.php?hidRecord=58803
• Rahman, M., Shadat, W. B. and Raihan, S. (2007), ‘Impact of Trade Liberalization on Employment in Bangladesh’, CPD and ILO Conference, Brac Centre Inn Auditorium, Bangladesh, 09 December 2007.
• Siddiquee, N. A. (2003), “Human Resource Management in Bangladesh Civil Service”, International Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 26, No. 1, pp. 35-60.
• Towler, J. (2005), “Test Before You Hire”, Canadian HR Reporter, Vol. 18, No. 13, pg. 16.
• Wetzel, F. (2006), “In Pursuit of Happiness”, Training Journal [Ely], August, pp. 34-37.
• YKK BANGLADESH PTE LTD (2006), YKK Prospectus, YKK Bangladesh Pte Ltd, Japan.


Posted by: Farid Ahmed
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