Staffing Industry Facts: One In Eight Workers May Be Risky

As staffing professionals, we all try to bring the best workers to our clients: qualified, motivated and maybe most importantly reliable. Which makes a recent piece of research on staffing industry facts published by SHL, an Atlanta-based talent measurement company, particularly worrisome. The SHL research indicates that a relatively high proportion of managers and frontline staff pose a high behavioral risk to their companies. 

How Is Behavioral Risk Defined?

How individuals behave what they do and don’t do drives organizational risk. Propensity toward those behaviors that drive organizational risk is called “behavioral risk.” SHL defines two measures of behavioral risk: “appetite for risk” and “resilience to risk.” Appetite for risk is measured by qualities such as taking initiative, having the confidence to make hard decisions, and perseverance. Resilience to risk is measured by qualities such as decision quality, communication quality, and following through with decisions. At the frontline level, additional components include compliance, quality, commitment, and teamwork. All of these traits are good ones, of course. The absence of them leads to what SHL calls “behavioral risk,” which is the risk that an employee’s behaviors will harm the organization in some way.

High Risk – The Figures

The SHL research indicates that while only one in fifteen executives pose a high risk, one in eight managers and professionals are high risk, and one in eight frontline staff pose potential problems, too. That’s a lot of risk! For those of us in the industry who staff frontline workers, this means that if we don’t screen for it about 12.5% of the workers we place pose a threat to their organizations due to lower compliance and attention to detail, less commitment to the business, and reduced team productivity. As a recent Wall Street Journal article ( explained, these are staffing industry facts that can seriously affect your clients.

Risk and the Staffing Industry

Of course, you can’t guarantee the behavior of an employee. But you can be aware of potential problems, and you should be prepared to screen for them. If the SHL research shows nothing else, it shows the importance of finding ways to weed out the “less good” apples. There are many screeners ( available. If you haven’t found a good one, now’s the time to search. Your clients may thank you.