For any company going through a period of dramatic growth and having to employ a lot of new staff there is a great deal of risk to the business if it gets its hiring decisions wrong. For Retail Africa, one of South Africa’s foremost property development companies, mitigating that risk was made much easier using the PeopleMaps personality profiler.

In 2007 Retail Africa expanded its property development business with the decision to retain and manage the centres it built, which includes regional malls, local convenience shopping centres, lifestyle centres, and value centres.

This decision meant that staffing levels would have to increase considerably and quickly if the company was achieve its strategic goals.

“We have more than doubled the size of our workforce in the last 12 months to cope with the expansion in the business and it had to be done in a very short timescale,” explained Gus Thompson, Group Director of Human Resources and Strategy at Retail Africa. “But most importantly we needed the right people. Our corporate culture of creativity combined with business acumen is very important to us and we had to make sure that this was not damaged by the influx of new staff.”

With so many people to hire as quickly as possible, and with the aim of ensuring ‘cultural fit’, Retail Africa used the PeopleMaps profiler to effectively evaluate candidates’ natural preferences

“I’m not a great believer in interviews; I find them to be too superficial most of the time. You can’t learn enough about a person in that environment. That’s why we use the PeopleMaps profiler to give us that guideline when recruiting new people.

“The accuracy of the reports always amazes me and others. And with the success we’ve had using it for recruitment it is now being extensively used in-house by everyone all the way up to the founding partners.

Retail Africa has also found that by sharing the profile reports with the recipients it has helped the new employees to become part of the company and the team quicker.

“We’ve found a great benefit in giving people’s reports to them and they in turn share it with others. It’s a great help in understanding each other as well as for individuals themselves. I think it would be unethical not to let people see the results and they are amazed at what the profiler can discover in so few questions,” said Gus Thompson.

“But most importantly we’ve got the right people in place. We’ve got seventeen retail centres alone up and running with at least another ten in the pipeline and we’ve retained the corporate culture which has been so instrumental in the company’s success.