Improving Performance and Safety with SAM

Improve the manufacturing workforce quality by reducing safety risk

The Situation

A global leader in advanced materials is dedicated to improving the quality of their entry-level manufacturing workforce. This organization partnered with PSI to implement an in-depth, high-tech selection assessment system, for entry-level production and skilled trades positions at its performance alloy plants. Its goal was to improve the safety and performance of its workforce.

The Solution

The organization implemented the Select Assessment® for Manufacturing (SAM), an in-depth online assessment that measures the key competencies for success in a manufacturing environment. In the years since the implementation, PSI has implemented many improvements to SAM which prompted the organization to make the decision to switch to a more enhanced version. The newest version of SAM was built to maximize validity and increase candidate engagement while shortening the assessment and reducing technical requirements. The changes were right in line with the needs of the organization and it decided to conduct a validation study with the newest version to improve its selection process.


To evaluate the effectiveness of SAM, a concurrent validation study was conducted to determine the relationship between the assessment tool and key organizational outcomes. 226 current employees, some production and some skilled trades, completed the new SAM assessment. Supervisors provided job performance ratings and safety incident information on the same individuals. The assessment scores were compared to the key outcomes variables and the results show strong evidence that the new SAM assessment provides great value in predicting employee performance and safety-related outcomes.

The SAM overall scores were linked to supervisor job performance ratings. In the graphs below, the average performance percentile was calculated for the top and bottom SAM performers. A percentile below 50 means below average, a percentile at 50 is average, and percentiles above 50 are above average. In the case of overall performance, production employees who scored in the lowest 20 percent on SAM are in the 38th percentile on performance, too. Skilled trades are in the 33rd percentile. These are far below average performers on the job. Alternatively, high SAM scorers are all above average performers – 59th percentile for production and 64th percentile for skilled trades.

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Similar patterns are seen with reports of safety related incidents and supervisor ratings of promotability. Top SAM scorers are involved in far fewer safety incidents. Due to the low frequency of safety incidents, we used top and bottom 30 percent for this analysis. The graphs show that a lower percentage of top assessment scorers are involved in at least one safety incident. In the case of skilled trades workers, where they are exposed to more safety hazards, the top SAM scorers were more than three times less likely to be involved in an incident.

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Additionally, top SAM scorers are much more likely to be recommended for promotion. When supervisors were asked if the employee would be recommended for promotion, 73 percent of top scoring production employees and 75 percent of top scoring skilled trades employees would be recommended. Only 33 percent and 48 percent of low scoring employees would be considered. Once again, the assessment is able to clearly identify the highest caliber employees in the organization.

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For this organization, the updated Select Assessment for Manufacturing accurately identifies high performing and safe individuals in the entry-level production and skilled trades positions. This assessment will aid this organization in improving the quality of manufacturing workforce by boosting performance and reducing safety risk. And, they can do this while simultaneously reducing their time to hire and improving the candidate experience!

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