ROI for Selection Services in Financial Institutions.

Desjardins Group

Desjardins is one of Canada’s largest financial institutions, offering banking services for individuals as well as corporations. The Desjardins Group currently operates throughout Canada, offering investment, insurance, and payroll services. EPSI has been providing them test correction services since 1992, and more in-depth selection services since 2003.


The Challenge

Desjardins was looking for a more cost-effective way to hire a workforce who would fit a new culture geared towards proactive sales supported by customer service, as opposed to the old passive customer-service culture. The banking giant also had the additional challenge of having to implement the same solution across offices spread throughout Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick.

The Solution

Competency modeling was used in order to determine the profiles required for each client-facing position. Using these profiles, we provided custom-validated, psychometric tests corresponding to the competency profiles. These tests were hosted on EPSI’s Online Testing Platform in order to facilitate test administration for all of Desjardin’s locations.

The Benefits

A utility analysis study showed that, over a 10 year period, EPSI’s intervention contributed to the following results for Desjardins:

  • An 18% increase in their workforce (from 38 128 employees to 45 219 employees)
  • A 100% increase in revenue (from $106 billion to $212 billion)
  • An 88% increase in profits (from $816 000 000 to $ 1 530 000 000)
  • Named the 2nd best bank in the World by Bloomberg in 2014
Why We Were Involved

In 2003, Desjardins was looking to change the culture present in its Credit Unions. They were moving away from a model by which employees served as reactive customer service representatives, to a more proactive culture in which employees also served as sales representatives. Desjardins decided that in order to make an organizationwide change, they would need to start with the way in which they selected their employees.

How We Helped

EPSI consultants began by overhauling the financial institute’s selection process. In order to better frame all selection activities, EPSI employed competency modeling for all client-facing positions, resulting in profile identifying the key competencies for each of these positions. Next, standardized tests were provided to assess for those same key competencies, such that all candidates for the same job family would undergo the same tests ensuring that they could be objectively evaluated for the most important competencies for the positions being filled.

In addition to selecting competency appropriate tests for each position, EPSI also conducted organization specific validation of each test, such that top and mid-level performers within Desjardins took the selected tests to determine what scores and responses differentiated top-performers. EPSI then took this information and updated the scoring guides in order to favor these responses to ensure the selection of only the candidates most suited to Desjardins’ specific needs.

The third major contribution by EPSI was hosting all custom-validated tests on the EPSI Online Testing Platform, which allowed the client’s HR team to register candidates for tests at a distance, and also allowed candidates from all around Canada to take their tests.

How Did Things Change

At the onset of this project (2003), EPSI conducted a utility analysis to provide an Estimated Economic Utility of $37 094 400 per year after operationalizing EPSI’s products and services. This figure was calculated based on the fact that in 2003 Desjardins had approximately 38 000 employees, and had a revenue of $106.2 Billion, with a profit of $816 million for the year. EPSI also factored in the cost of implementation of the new selection process at $4 million, this figure included the time spent by employees and managers and $1 000 000 spent on the testing tools.

A follow-up study conducted in conjunction by EPSI and Desjardins in 2013 found that the cultural shift that was facilitated by the revamped selection process resulted in the following gains from 2003 to 2013:

  • An workforce increase of approximately 7000 employees
  • Revenues almost doubled from $106.2 billion (2003) to $212 billion (2013)
  • A $ 714 000 000 increase in profits from $816 000 0000 (2003) to $1 530 000 000 (2013)

To place these numbers in greater context, Bloomberg named the Desjardins Group the 13th best bank in the World in 2013, from which it moved up to tie for 2nd place in 2014. As such, Desjardins and EPSI were able to show that the change in the organization’s performance was not simply due to changes in the North American and global markets, as they were outperforming the majority of their competitors.