Over 70 years ago, the first pre-employment integrity test was used by organizations to identify job candidates at risk to engage in counterproductive workplace behaviors. The goal? To provide a simple, low-cost, scientific approach to mitigating high-risk employee behaviors by screening out at-risk candidates before they are hired.

Today, personnel risk and talent management assessment solutions have evolved into a broad array of tools designed to help organizations compete profitably in the ever-changing marketplace.

FifthTheory, LLC is a Chicago-based limited liability corporation. This new risk management organization has been granted minority-owned business status by the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

- Sponsors -

FifthTheory was founded by:

  • Andre Allen, MBA, managing member and executive VP of operations and information technology
  • Eric Hutchison, MBA, member and executive VP of sales and marketing
  • John Jones, Ph.D., MBA, member and executive VP of research and development
  • Catalina Soto-Jones, JD, MA, member and executive VP, general counsel.

These leaders keep the strong risk management tradition going that they were committed to when they were executives at Reid Psychological Systems, London House Management Consultants, and Vangent, Inc.

“FifthTheory aims to be the leading provider of online personnel risk, talent management, and organizational development assessments,” said Allen. “Our top brands include the Reid Report, our new Background Survey line, and the Employee Safety Inventory, among others. We also have a proprietary library of over 400 pre-validated measures that is used to develop custom risk assessments. I am especially proud of the fact that FifthTheory is a minority-owned business.”

FifthTheory offers workplace assessments that help organizations to improve their competitiveness by reducing personnel risk factors and strengthening overall talent. FifthTheory offers both off-the-shelf and tailored assessment solutions through its proprietary online and mobile assessment technology platforms. In fact, FifthTheory is considered a pioneer in mobile testing (i.e., administering assessments through smartphone and tablet technologies).

Some of the leading FifthTheory assessments designed to help organizations hire reliable, safe, and service-oriented employees include:

  • Reid Report Series: Risk & Talent Management
  • Background Surveys: Retail, Government & Healthcare
  • Employee Safety Inventories
  • Campbell Leadership Development Series
  • Thurstone Tests of Mental Abilities
  • Managerial Success Profiles
  • Sales & Service Potential Assessments
  • Tailored Risk & Talent Management Assessments
  • Law Enforcement & Protective Services Screens

Retail Background Survey

FifthTheory’s new Background Survey suite of assessments was designed to address a wide range of contemporary organizational risk exposures that may not be effectively addressed by traditional background checks. These tools can either be used to complement a traditional background check or to serve as standalone screening tools for organizations that do not currently use background checks or drug screens (See Table 1).

Comparison of Background Screening Procedures

The risk exposure dimensions in Figure 1 form the core of the Background Survey. The Retail version of the Background Survey also assesses job-relevant behaviors and characteristics critical to protecting and retaining valuable retail assets including personnel, money, merchandise and property, and digital assets (i.e., confidential information). The Retail Background survey includes an expanded behavioral admissions section related to self-control, ethics, theft, illegal substance use, and turnover risk. The following scales are included on the Retail Background Survey.

FifthTheory Risk Exposure Matrix
Figure 1. Risk Exposure Matrix

Core Scales:

  • Identity & Credential Accuracy – Helps identify job candidates who may be at risk to misrepresent their credentials during the employment process in an attempt to exaggerate their work skills or educational accomplishments or conceal past issues such as termination for cause.
  • Collusion Avoidance – Helps identify job applicants at risk for colluding with organized crime rings or similar external threats in the theft of an employer’s merchandise, cash, and/or other assets (e.g., customer information).
  • Cyber-Threat Prevention – Helps measure a job candidate’s propensity to violate an organization’s information and data security policies and procedures.
  • Risk and Danger Avoidance – Helps assess tendencies to engage in high-risk, dangerous and thrill-seeking behavior at work.
  • Workplace Non-violence – Helps measure the likelihood that a job applicant is prone to violent and excessively disruptive behavior at work.

Supplemental Retail Scales:

  • Self-Control – Behavioral admission items related to not controlling temper, taking dangerous risks, and intentionally damaging company property.
  • Ethics and Theft – Behavioral admission items related to policy violations, untrustworthiness, giving unauthorized discounts, and overcharging customers.
  • Substance Use – Behavioral admission items asking about the recent use of illegal drugs at or before work.
  • Turnover Risk – Behavioral admission items related to poor attendance record, tardiness, and reasons for leaving previous jobs.

Next-Generation Assessments

FifthTheory is also well-versed in creating tailored versions of their personnel risk assessments. Many organizations are seeking out tailored assessment instruments that tie closely to their strategic needs and corporate values. Recent examples of client-driven custom development include the development of a next-generation service knowledge scale (Service Judgment) to be included in a tailored risk assessment event for a large supermarket chain, the development of tailored versions of The Reid Report for a large retailer, and the development of a tailored safety assessment for a transportation company.

FifthTheory has also developed a suite of next generation versions of The Reid Report that can be used in states or other jurisdictions where recreational and/or medical use of marijuana is legal.

“FifthTheory provides professionally compliant personnel selection systems that address contemporary risk exposures like retail theft collusion, cyber-threats, on-the-job violence, and identity misrepresentation, to name a few. Most importantly, their valid assessments also address the ongoing risk of employee theft and counterproductivity,” said Wayne Hoover, vice president, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates.

Organizations often prefer to work with FifthTheory because this services organization addresses contemporary risk and talent management challenges and strives to document the impact of its programs on key business indicators. Five key reasons for checking out FifthTheory include:

1. Leadership Experience – FifthTheory’s leadership team has over 100 years of experience. This team has helped to invent and define the online personnel selection market space, especially in the area of preemployment screening for employee counterproductivity and insider threats.

2. Risk & Talent Management Focus – FifthTheory addresses new and emerging risk management challenges (e.g., business ethics, organized retail crime prevention, information security) with cutting-edge, 21st century assessments. It also addresses core talent management needs such as service orientation, sales efficacy, workforce productivity, and management and leadership potential.

3. Robust Technology Platforms – FifthTheory’s value chain is built around proprietary technology platforms and critical third-party technology integrations that meet customers’ demands for user-friendly online and mobile-based assessment technology. FifthTheory also works with organizations to ensure high levels of data security and privacy protection.

4. Impact on Business Indicators – FifthTheory has always maintained a very active Program Evaluation Unit that documents the business impact of its assessments. This service helps organizations document the impact of FifthTheory’s programs on key business indicators like customer satisfaction, turnover for cause, shrinkage, and earnings, to name a few.

5. Legal and Professional Compliance – Finally, FifthTheory’s assessments are fair to protected sub-groups of the population and help clients avoid negligent hiring claims. FifthTheory assessments can also contribute to safe work environments.

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