Predicting top sales advisors success at SSQ

Case study - 2021 | 03 | 02

SSQ is a growing company providing individual and group life and health insurance as well as savings and investment products throughout Canada.

The sales advisor, a key role for growth

The key issues impeding profit at SSQ were time to hire (for key positions) and the high cost of turnover. The HR management team identified the sales advisor position as a role that generates significant revenue and represents a high cost when employees leave. Each year, as many as 500 people apply for each of the 70-80 sales advisor positions that are available to support growth and replace those who left.

Once hired, a sales advisor spends 90 days in training at a cost of $20,000 to the company.

SSQ felt there were improvements to be made in the selection process as well as opportunities to better predict which candidates were likely to be successful in their role and stay with the company for longer.

The objectives the human resources team wanted to reach

The human resources team had three objectives in mind when they started to work with the SuccessFinder team:

  1. Improve the hiring process so it will be more efficient, objective, and accurate
  2. Hire more top performers in the sale advisor role
  3. Improve the retention rate in this role


SuccessFinder’s unique method to meet SSQ objectives

SuccessFinder’s team worked on building a specific high performer benchmark for the sales advisor role. The model was constructed based on a large data set of high, mid, and low performers. The result was a personalized profile that was specific to this role and that would be used to predict sales advisor success. The pilot lasted 18 months. Following their training, and after 12 months in their role, the new hires from the past year were evaluated to see if the SuccessFinder’s custom benchmark solution had led to the desired outcome on actual performance.”

" Sales and financial services advisors play a critical role, and SuccessFinder has given us a tried and tested way to predict who the high performers will be in these roles. It’s having a material impact on our bottom line. "

Martin Robert

Senior Director HR Partner & External Communication - SSQ Insurance

The business results

Based on 80 people, who were part of the benchmark, the results were compelling.

93% of SuccessFinder’s recommended hires met or exceeded performance expectations.


For performers below this bar who were hired, over half proved to not meet expectations in actual on-the-job performance. These strong predictive results impressed SSQ management and the project was approved for expansion.

SuccessFinder is helping SSQ meet its business objectives. The company is improving the efficiency of its mass hiring process, making offers more quickly, and “saving” candidates with strong SuccessFinder results who would have otherwise not progressed in the interview process. Turnover has decreased due to better fit candidates and sales are up because there are higher performers in this role who are also staying longer at the company.

  • Faster, more effective hiring
  • Lower turnover
  • Increased sales

SSQ is looking to expand the use of SuccessFinder to include financial advisors and call center managers in the next phase of the behavioral assessment rollout.

The predictive capacities of SuccessFinder have proven to be so strong that the executive team is also considering the implementation of SuccessFinder for top managers across the organization as they look to hire and promote executives who embody the cultural values that are so important to the growth of the company.

More personalized onboarding experience

In addition, they are looking to help managers with an onboarding handbook based on a new hire’s SuccessFinder profile. For example, if the new hire has strong communication and interpersonal skills, but lacks closing skills, this would be an area the manager might choose to include in that person’s coaching plan. The team feels like this would provide a real benefit to managers by equipping them to provide specific and impactful coaching.


Prevent mismatches

As part of analyzing the test pilot data, the team noticed a side finding that proved quite interesting. There was a set of candidates that were let go by the company during the first few months of employment because of a cultural mismatch.

The profiles of these candidates were analyzed and there were 6 behavioral traits that these candidates scored highly on. This provided a “red flag” profile that gave managers additional insight to not only evaluate candidates against the benchmark for the role but also factor in the fit of the candidate for the company culture.

Next steps

The results of the pilot ran by the SuccessFinder were so convincing that SSQ planned to deploy SuccessFinder into other key human resources initiatives such as:

  • The expansion of SuccessFinder benchmarks and profiles to other pivotal roles
  • Coaching and onboarding
  • Career guidance
  • Cultural fit
  • Manager and executive succession

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SSQ Financial Group at a glance

SSQ Financial Group is one of Canada’s leading financial institutions with over 3 million customers and 2,000 employees. In addition to offering quality financial services, they stand out for their excellent customer service and their commitment to offer the best possible client experience.

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