Impacts of competence development


Prof. dr. Andries de Grip, dr. Frank Curvers, dr. Bert van Landeghem, drs. Jan Sauermann (ROA)

Co-operation with Telcom company, UWV WERKbedrijf (Public Employment Services)

Further information

In this project, we will analyze the impact of innovative HR practices in two field experiments with randomized treatment on individual competence development and the effects of this competence development. Both studies particularly focus on non-cognitive skills, such as workers’ motivation and flexibility, and refer to an innovative practice developed within the organization where we co-operate with.

In the first experiment, Jan Sauermann and Andries de Grip will analyze the causal effects of a one week training on competence development and different performance outcomes, measured at the individual level. This experiment will focus on the improvement of analytical and non-cognitive skills of call center agents in a telcom company. We will measure the effects by both detailed administrative data on several key performance indicators and a pre- and post training survey among agents and their supervisors with questions on skill mastery, and various psychological characteristics such as employees’ motivation and reciprocity. The Telcom company can use the results of our analyses to optimize their training policies.

In the second experiment, Bert van Landeghem, Frank Cörvers and Andries de Grip aim to shed light on which coaching strategies are most effective for which types of unemployed individuals. As is the case in many domains of the labour market in order to offer the same service at a lower price, automation is becoming increasingly popular in the coaching of the unemployed in their searching for a job. It is obvious, however, that there are serious grounds to believe that human guidance and supervision may, in some circumstances, be much more effective than coaching through a computer-based system. A human work coach may be better able to support, motivate and monitor the unemployed.

The impact assessment will not be limited to ‘hard’ indicators such as the average length of unemployment, the wage of the post-unemployment job or the chance of reoccurrence of unemployment within a certain time interval, but will also consider `soft’ indicators such as satisfaction with the customer service, satisfaction with the obtained job etc. In order to adhere to the high standards for impact research which are imposed in economics, the study will be based on a randomized experiment. The randomized experiment will be implemented in close collaboration with UWV WERKbedrijf, which is the Dutch employment agency. It is not precluded that during the course of the project, other departments from the Maastricht School of Business and Economics or from other universities will be involved.