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Assessing Culture-Fit: Is This Even Possible?

Workplace Culture – Assessing Culture Fit

High performing organizations can be quite obsessive about their CULTURE as both a market differentiator and as a guiding force for decision-making. These organizations tend to be extremely careful to bring new people in who match the culture well. By “culture”, we can use this definition: “the organization’s vital Purpose, its distinctive and enduring Philosophy and its strategic Priorities”  – the 3 P’s, according to Sheila Margolis [1]. A strong culture will endure and thrive if employees’ own beliefs and values align well with the organizational culture. If there is poor alignment, then the culture degrades and competitive edge may be lost.

Job-Fit vs. Culture-Fit

In the employee-selection world, professional Talent Management staff often focus on understanding the job in question by conducting a Job Analysis (JA). JA typically involves identifying the tasks, duties and responsibilities performed on the job as well as the specific knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) that lead to success. Once the KSA’s are identified, a selection plan can be devised to “test” for these competencies and a “score” or predictor of potential success in the job is derived. The test can include a online assessment to determine probable job-fit. Certainly job-fit is critical to determine to ensure that the candidate both CAN do the job and WILL do the job (i.e. is motivated to perform).

Certainly, ensuring that a candidate has the technical skills, know-how, background, education and even “soft” or people-skills to be successful is critical. What many organizations fail to do, however, is assess for culture-fit. That is, applying assessment strategies to measure the extent to which a individual’s values, beliefs and priorities align with and complement those of the organization. In many cases, culture-fit is is just as important as Job-fit, if not more so.

What is Culture-Fit?

Person-Organization, or Culture-Fit is the congruence of an individual’s beliefs and values with the culture, norms, and values of an organization. Entrepreneur Magazine says that culture is, “the personality of an organization from the employee perspective, and includes the company’s mission, expectations and work atmosphere.” [2]

Employers are now competing hotly for the best and the brightest younger workers. We know from recent research on younger workers that they highly value People and Culture Fit above all else. They want to be comfortable with like-minded people in an environment that matches their own passions, interests and personal and professional values. If the employer can get their culture right, defined and clearly articulated then they are in a much better position to match the employer’s needs with younger workers expectations – a win-win proposition!

What Does it Matter?

Research consistently shows that employees who understand the company culture and are aligned with it outperform the competition by a three-fold factor. Aligned employees:

  • Are happier
  • More satisfied
  • Stay longer
  • Are committed
  • Provide better service

Person-Job vs. Person-Organization Fit

Person-Job Fit, Person-Organization Fit

If we accept the idea that job fit is critical AND that culture-fit also plays a role in an individual’s potential success, then how are these two ideas related? The chart right attempts to address this question. Person-job fit can be determined using skills tests, competency analysis, behavioral interviewing and even resume/application review. Person-organization fit requires asking and getting answers to different questions – mostly about what is most important to an individual both in terms of their engagement as well as their priorities and core values.

Can One Assessment Do Both?

Certainly, multiple assessment methods can accomplish job and organization fit; for example, using one assessment for competency assessment and another one for values and engagement factors could work. This approach is time-consuming, expensive and cumbersome, not to mention a possible “turn-off” to candidates. In a perfect world, we could use one assessment to give us all the information we need in a short amount of time. In fact, such an assessment exists – the Harrison Assessment.

How can the Harrison Assessment Accomplish Both Goals?

Because the Harrison Assessment (HA) is preference-based, and uses forced-ranking as a method, it collects very detailed information about an individual’s work-related preferences in a very short amount of time (less than 30 minutes). Everyone takes the same questionnaire. What changes is the filter, or Success Formula, that is applied to the individual’s data set. In terms of Person-Job Fit, there are thousands of Job Success Formulas in the system that are specific to the demands of unque jobs. In terms of Person-Organization Fit, the system can be set up to filter for core values, engagement factors and motivational triggers. This filter can be applied to the same data.

Culture Mapping and Assessment Example

Let’s apply this process to a real-world example. Consider Company X that has 5 Core Values that they want to make sure new employees have the propensity for and embrace at a personal level. The first of those Core Values is shown below and is called Innovative Ideas and Approaches. The document below shows how this value and its definition was mapped to HA. This work was performed by a trained HA consultant. This was done for all 5 of the Core Values, though only one is shown here for the purposes of this example.

Core Value and Mapping to the Harrison Assessment

Example Core Value and Mapping to the Harrison Assessment with rationale included.

This “culture template” was created in the HA system and could then be run for any or all finalists or new employees to show how much their own personal preferences and priorities stacked up against the ideal. In the partial report shown left, you can see the individual’s match-up against this customized cultural filter (note that this report ran several pages; this is just the first page). The hiring manager, and/or interviewer could use these results to probe areas that may have been weaker for this person, or “out-of-sync” with respect to the cultural values. The report also includes traits-to-avoid that can possibly de-rail success.

Innovative Ideas - Essential Traits

In this way, organizations can use the same dataset collected by one questionnaire in multiple ways; First, to assess fit for the job itself; second, to look at culture fit. It is true that some set-up needs to be done to do the customization work to create the cultural, or values filter, but once set-up, this is a very efficient, effective, time-saver that is also inexpensive.

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[1] Sheila Margolis, Defining Organizational Culture Questions (https://sheilamargolis.com/consulting/organizational-culture-change-initiatives/organizational-culture-assessment-questions/)

[2] “It Really Pays to have a Rich Company Culture”, Entrepreneur Magazine, 10/21/14, (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238640)

Deliberately Developing Organizations and the Harrison Assessment: Soul-mates

Deliberately Developing

I recently read, “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization,” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Kaskow Lahey (2016) and I went crazy highlighting passages. This work is so important, so inspiring, and so intelligent, I just can’t say enough about it; I urge you to read it as soon as you possibly can. And, for anyone who knows the Harrison Assessment, the parallels with the insights in this book are many and deep. Absorbing this work about what it takes to be truly committed as an organization to learning, personal development and a culture of feedback and authenticity instilled in me real hope for the future. Let me tell you a little bit about what I found particularly interesting in light of the Harrison Assessment…

What is Development, Really?

I think we toss around the term, “development” to mean anything from getting better organized to learning new software…

I think we toss around the term, “development” to mean anything from getting better organized to learning new software, but Kegan and Lahey define development as a, “… specific, describable, and detectable phenomena (the growth of our mind-sets, or meaning-making logics; qualitative advances in our abilities to see more deeply and accurately into yourselves and our worlds; the process of successively be able to look AT premises and assumptions we formerly looked THROUGH)” (p.77).

They also say that development has to have a business value; organizations need more employees in possession of more complex mind-sets and that this need will intensify in the years ahead.

Deliberately developing organizations (DDOs) are those that are truly committed to developmental transformation and are favored by those who hold precious, the opportunity to learn and grow. In the book, the authors focus on three real companies as laboratories for these approaches and methods.

DDOs: How are they different?

DDOs are something quite special and there is a common thread running through them; they are not conflict-shy. “DDOs constantly stir things up, troubling the waters; ordinary organizations try to calm things down, instituting repeatable routines(p. 83). If your own organization is too peaceful, it probably is not a DDO.

This is what the Harrison Assessment (HA), particularly through Paradox Theory, offers us if we take our own HA results seriously and allow what we learn about ourselves through the HA reports to permeate our pre-conceived attitudes, beliefs and thought patterns.

The authors help us see that real development involves true self-awareness and questioning faulty constructs to arrive at better ways of being, working, communicating, leading and relating to others. This is what the Harrison Assessment (HA), particularly through Paradox Theory, offers us if we take our own HA results seriously and allow what we learn about ourselves through the HA reports to permeate our pre-conceived attitudes, beliefs and thought patterns. After an HA debrief, perhaps the best possible outcome is to leave the individual who starts to understand his/her results not quite knowing what to do next but thinking in new and different ways about how he/she typically behaves out of habit and impulse. For true development to occur, the individual should feel some pain – pain to question, examine, test, and consider their own limitations and the consequences of those limitations. Kegan and Lahey say, “PAIN + REFLECTION = PROGRESS”.

An HA debrief that doesn’t uncover some pain is, in a sense, a failed opportunity. A debrief that evokes pain but doesn’t lead to further reflection is likewise often a failure.

An HA debrief that doesn’t uncover some pain is, in a sense, a failed opportunity. A debrief that evokes pain but doesn’t lead to further reflection is likewise often a failure. “The process of human development, of seeing and over-coming one’s previous limitations, can involve pain” (p.9). Growth is seldom possible without some pain to motivate it.

They even go so far as to say that, “if you can perform all of your responsibilities at a high level, you’re not in the right job.” In effect, there can be no further progress possible if you are in a job that you can easily do every day. It is time to move on and stretch yourself (i.e. get into pain) for progress to again be possible. Organizations that keep people too long in the same job are rewarding reliability and dependability, not growth and development.

Leaning Arrogant vs. Leaning Insecure

Leaning Arrogant

In HA, we examine the paradoxes of Paradox Theory by looking at the dynamic and gentle traits that constitute each of the 12 paradoxes depicted in the Paradox Graphs. The DDO book does the same thing, but using different language. They talk about someone who has a dominant profile (i.e. preponderance of dynamic traits) as “leaning arrogant” as a result of over-certainty and great confidence, while “leaning insecure” describes someone who has a predominantly gentle profile characterized by chronic caution or tempered enthusiasm. The development path for those who lean arrogant is quite different from those who tend to lean insecure which is explored in the book. This language may be useful to include when analyzing HA results and describing certain profiles and remedies.

How to Set Development Priorities?

In a DDO, there are ways described that help individuals set their development priorities. Problem-identification should result from the biggest road-blocks to success. The authors say that, “Most problems are potential improvements screaming at you. The more painful the problem, the louder the screaming” (p. 43).

Prioritize the most pressing problems – those that are screaming for your attention even if these involve dealing with difficult people, or focusing on communication or leadership problems.

Developing Your Backhand

“Working on your backhand” in the company described in the book became an often-used term that is used commonly and often to help employees confront and conquer weaknesses, or mind-sets, that are holding them back from greatness.

Working on backhand

The authors describe a company in their study who uses a tennis metaphor: the backhand stroke. We all have something like a strong forehand – our strengths and top preferences in HA terms. We all also have our backhands – that is, weaker responses and ways of working that we hope won’t be called upon too often because we don’t prefer to have to use them and in many cases, we actively avoid having to use them at all. In HA, these are the weaker sides of a paradoxical imbalance. When we have to use that weak side, it is like a backhand stroke – the ball is often out-of-bounds or easily returned and our opponent gets the upper-hand. “Working on your backhand” in the company described in the book became an often-used term that is used commonly and often to help employees confront and conquer weaknesses, or mind-sets, that are holding them back from greatness. Employees in the company challenge each other to practice, rather than avoid or hide, their backhands and give each other honest feedback when they miss these practice opportunities. What a great way to talk about developing a trait in HA to balance-out its dominant paradoxical paired trait!

“Working on one’s backhand is practicing to overcome a deep-seated mindset” (p. 19).

Individual Backhand / Team Backhand / Organizational Backhand

Given the power of working on our backhand or in more psychological terms, the traits we possess that are in greater need of development or strengthening, HA, with its rich 175 traits is almost the perfect tool. It can identify not only your own, individual backhand(s) and help you to find different ways to think about each but provides ways to practice and strengthen the traits that are most in need of development. In addition, the tool can readily identify the team’s backhand(s), and even a whole division or entire company’s most pressing limitations. Individual results can be aggregated to show teams and large groups where their strengths and vulnerabilities lie – their collective bench-strength as well as vulnerabilities. Team members can consequently take action in a very focused way to work together to devise strategies and build capability to bridge gaps and become a more cohesive, powerful force. Whole companies can ultimately use HA to check the pulse of the organization at a cultural level and identify specific areas in which management is engaging and retaining their people vs. de-motivating them and even losing talent.

In a sense, you are never really THERE, in terms of self-improvement. Over time, your goals shift as you own behavior shifts, changes and matures.

Another advantage of using HA for development in the systematic way suggested is that it is a continually evolving system of improvement. In a sense, you are never really THERE, in terms of self-improvement. Over time, your goals shift as you own behavior shifts, changes and matures. Because HA is based on forced-ranking in its design, the energy you, the team, and/or the organization is stored in a bank, or “reservoir” — overall energy is finite. If you pull back in one area in order to more fully practice your backhand and develop in another area, you will experience shifts and there will always be some fine-tuning to do, no matter how balanced your profile is at any given time. Similarly, a team or an organization always has challenges and growth available to them. HA offers the consultant, coach or HR professional a system, language and method that goes with DDO efforts hand-in-glove. This means that the Harrison assessment is acting as a coach might do for a tennis player — not only making initial diagnostic determinations but constantly looking to improve the backhands and any other “stroke” worthy of attention on an on-going basis.

Soul-mates

Properly used, HA is the perfect tool for a DDO and an aspiring DDO and can work hand-in-hand with those leaders who truly aspire to developmental transformation.

Manager-Employee Fit: A Match Made in Heaven or Hell?

Manager-Employee Match Made in Heaven or Hell?

Think back to the first manager you had in your own career… was this person a good match for you? Did he/she take time to get to know you as an individual and then train, mentor, and support you? Did he/she give you feedback, correct your performance when this was needed in a fair but firm way? What did you learn about yourself as a result? How committed were you to the job, the organization and the team, as a result?

Way back in 1999, when “First, Break All the Rules”[1] came out, we learned that the research overwhelming showed that People leave managers, not companies, and that the single most important influence on an employee’s satisfaction with their jobs is their relationship with their immediate manager. The manager determines the work environment, sets expectations, trusts you, invests in you – no amount of perks or company loyalty programs can make up for employee/manager mismatch. We have leadership development programs, employee engagement programs, performance evaluation, and a whole host of institutionalized methods for building management bench-strength but we all know that there some managers are simply not fully aware of the impact of their behavior, undermine the culture, and thus drive good people away. In other cases, some managers can be reasonably skilled but simply not a good fit for a particular employee, especially for someone who has specific expectations of what he or she wants in a capable leader.

Use of assessments to determine employee-manager fit

Many organizations use assessments for hiring (i.e. job-fit) but many don’t look at the fit between the potential employee and the manager (i.e. employee-manager fit). We think they should. Think about managers you have had in the past … who “had your back” when you needed it? Who challenged you, helped you to develop, acquire new knowledge and skills, introduce you to useful contacts, help you visibility with key people in the organization? Early experiences with managers are important to all of us, especially early on in our careers. Human Resources professionals should take this partnership (i.e. employee-manager) seriously and help create strong relationships that will benefit the organization long-term.

Case Study: Connie Candidate and Manny Manager

Manager and Subordinate

Consider this potential matchup between a hot prospect (i.e. well-qualified applicant) and the hiring manager. Let’s assume that we have a great candidate, named Connie, who has ticked all the boxes. That is, she has the qualifications needed for success in the job, interviewed well, and has the potential to help Company X soar into the future. If hired, she will report to Manny Manager, who has been involved in the hiring process, also took the Harrison Assessment in the past, and has his own unique profile as an individual and a manager.

Connie took the Harrison Assessment as part of the hiring process and her results show that her top five, work-related preferences include:

  • Optimistic — The tendency to believe the future will be positive
  • Wants Recognition – The desire for positive acknowledgement (from others) related to one’s abilities and strengths
  • Collaborative — The tendency to collaborate with others when making decisions
  • Wants Capable Leader — The desire to have a leader one perceives to be capable
  • Warmth/Empathy — The tendency to express positive feelings and affinity toward others

In other words, Connie:

  • Has an extremely positive attitude
  • Is highly motivated by recognition/praise/feedback from her manager
  • Wants lots of opportunities to collaborate with others (including her manager!)
  • Is looking for a manager who she can respects, finds competent and is supportive
  • Is very caring, warm, expressive and wants a personal connection with her manager

Since Manny took the Harrison himself when he was hired as manager recently, we have his profile, as well. His top five work-related preferences include:

  • Authoritative — The desire for decision-making authority and the willingness to accept decision-making responsibility
  • Enforcing — The tendency to insist upon necessary rules being followed
  • Open-Reflective — The tendency to reflect on many different viewpoints
  • Frank — The tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point, and forthright
  • Wants to Lead — The desire to be in a position to direct or guide others

In other words, Manny:

  • Wants to be the decision-maker
  • Is very willing to enforce rules and correct others’ performance
  • Is open-minded and willing to listen to others’ views and opinions
  • Communicates in a very frank, clear, concise and straightforward manner
  • Enjoys leading others; is very comfortable directing others

Reviewing the life themes of each of these individuals gives us insight into what factors drive each of them in their work, which is useful. We have to go further to determine where Connie and Manny might gel, or not.

Manny has only moderate optimism, whereas Connie has very high optimism. This is a possible disconnect for them as a “match made in heaven.” Connie may become uninspired with Manny’s skepticism, while Manny may find Connie’s soaring positive attitude to be a bit naïve at times. It would be a good idea for them to discuss their different styles when it comes to outlook.

Connie is looking for a deep, personal connection with her manager (high warmth/empathy, high wants capable leader and high wants recognition tells us this). Manny has a moderately low score on warmth/empathy and a high score on enforcing. As a result, Connie may not experience enough caring for her as a contributor from Manny unless Manny understands her needs and makes an effort to provide her with the authentic, sincere, and specific recognition she craves and by which she is motivated. Fortunately, Manny is very frank and so willing to be concise, clear and to-the-point. He is also open-minded. We may be able to sell Manny on the need for him to be on-the-lookout for Connie’s positive contributions and make a special effort to tell her when she does something well. This will play into Manny’s frankness as well as Connie’s need for recognition and a relationship with her manager.

Connie is looking to collaborate. Manny is smart to include Connie’s input when appropriate, so that she feels included in the decision-making process. Further, Manny should look out for opportunities with others on the team or beyond the team for Connie to contribute and collaborate. This will feed Connie’s motivation and also benefit the organization since we already know that Connie is well qualified for the position.

These are just a few of the issues and discussion points we can glean from a good assessment. Taking information like this and talking about it with the relevant parties sets up much better prospects for Connie and Manny’s success, as well as the long-term benefits for the organization.

Assessments are useful to many stages of the employee “life-cycle”

Use assessments early on to examine this match more closely and identify gaps / potential problem areas and be proactive about building this relationship to increase employee engagement, retention and productivity.


[1] First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, 1999, Simon & Schuster

Entrepreneurship: What Makes for Success and Can We Assess for It?

Entrepreneurship / Entrepreneur

What is Entrepreneurship and What’s the Hype?

Entrepreneurship is defined as “the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which typically begins as a small business, such as a startup company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire, and the people who do so are called ‘entrepreneurs’” (1). The financial crisis of 2008 led many people, particularly younger workers, to distrust traditional career avenues (such as the finance industry) as weakened job security made such jobs much less appealing. As a result, entrepreneurship has been on the increase ever since.

A report from the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity shows that 550,000 Americans launch new businesses each month (2). The growth in entrepreneurship – or, as the Kauffman report defines it, “adults switching into self-employed business ownership” – is due to a number of factors, both cultural and economic. Technological innovations make entrepreneurship more accessible to a wider swath of people.

On a practical level, it’s easier to start a new business than it has been in the past. In many cases, the technology needed to launch an app or website is relatively inexpensive and highly accessible. Funding has eased up in recent years, making it easier to borrow money or crowd-source. Millennials also want more than a paycheck; they want meaningful work. The research continues to show that many younger aren’t just looking to cash in — they are looking to make an impact and to solve problems.

Organizations, too, look for and highly value an entrepreneurial mindset for some roles internally – thinking entrepreneurially is highly prized and training and development professionals are called upon to design programs to build these skills and mindset in employees to benefit the businesses’ capacity for innovation, product development and growth.

Entrepreneurship has become highly attractive as a career choice for younger workers. Currently, more than two thirds, or 2,000+, U.S. colleges and universities now offer courses in entrepreneurship due to intense demand from college students.

We all know, however, that many people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs; in fact, MOST of us probably aren’t. What makes for success as an entrepreneur? In addition to a novel idea or business proposition, is there a profile for entrepreneurial success?

Enter, the use of Employee Assessments

Assessment Use

Assessments have been used for decades in business as a part of the recruitment, selection and development processes with candidates and employees to determine job and culture fit and as an aid in the development of core competencies. With the recent rise of entrepreneurship in the U.S. there is a need by angel investors, VC’s, and others to use assessments to profile individuals who seek funding to start new businesses, or to put into critical roles/assignments.

The success rate of new entrepreneurs in establishing profitable, sustainable businesses is critical and due in a large part to the skills, competencies, personality, and even Achilles heels of the person in charge. Some assessments have advanced to the point that they can profile the exceptional strengths and potential blind spots that individuals possess that can help or hinder success as an entrepreneur. In addition to consideration of the soundness of a business plan, the individual him/herself should also be considered in an objective, detailed way. Using an advanced assessment, investors as well as employers can gain an appreciation of the entrepreneur’s style, strengths, liabilities and vulnerabilities and make better informed decisions related to funding, candidacy, and even enrollment in special programs. Likewise, the potential entrepreneur him or herself can learn a great deal of him/herself; looking in the mirror can jumpstart self-awareness and in some cases, the need for behavioral change.

Harrison Assessments has studied entrepreneurial success for the last 25 years and uses a paradox methodology to ascertain the suitability for entrepreneurship as well identify the factors that could hinder an entrepreneur. It uses a unique paradox methodology that distinguishes genuine strengths from strong characteristics. Harrison Assessment’s world-wide research has revealed the following paradoxical issues related to successful entrepreneurs.

Balancing Paradoxical Behaviors related to the risks of entrepreneurship

Risks of Entrepreneurship

Success in complex jobs – whether entrepreneurial, or not – is increasingly dependent upon flexible, versatile skill sets. For new business owners, one such paradox involves being willing to take risks while at the same time, managing those risks with sufficient consideration to predict potential threats, problems and obstacles. Balancing a welcoming attitude toward opportunity (i.e. risk) with a hearty respect for potential pitfalls of plans and strategies is one of the keys to success. A strong appetite for risk without sufficient time spent in due diligence and you have impulsivity that jeopardizes the chance of success. Too much emphasis on the potential problems, on the other hand, can delay progress and result in excessive caution – that is, missed opportunity enabling some one else gets there first.

Add in a healthy dose of optimism and you have the start of a firm foundation for the successful entrepreneurial mindset. An assessment based on paradox methodology can measure an individual’s risk appetite as well as that person’s tendency to sufficiently analyze potential threats. Again, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur based on this criteria alone.

Capacity for Innovation: The Entrepreneur’s Steady Diet

Capacity for Innovation

Another pre-condition for success of an entrepreneur is in the innovation arena. The paradox inherent in successful, sustainable innovation involves “blue sky thinking” (i.e. creative experimentation) combined with perseverance. True invention is the by-product of both of these qualities – great ideas AND the stick-to-it-tiveness to march forward and achieve the goal. Without creativity, we may keep marching but it may be down the wrong road; without perseverance, we may not complete what we started. In fact, many creative people do just that – they have one great idea after another without brining any of them to fruition. The inventive mindset ensures that energy is invested at very high levels to maintain creativity AND perseverance. It is essential to understand how a person balances these factors in order to achieve better odds of success.

Strong Motivation is not Enough: Interpersonal Skills Count, too…

Another paradox critical to entrepreneurial success involves the drive to achieve and people skills. A successful entrepreneur certainly needs to be highly self-motivated. No one else is in a position to generate drive the results that will be necessary for a successful startup. Success is highly dependent upon personal accountability, the willingness to embrace difficulties that will inevitably occur along the way, and clear objectives. At the same time, in order to succeed an entrepreneur needs to effectively interact with others, handling inevitable conflict, building high performing teams, negotiating win-win solutions and inspiring others to achieve the mission. Strong ambition without strong interpersonal skills will result in the alienation of the key partners and stakeholders. On the other hand, strong interpersonal and collaboration skills without sufficient drive and energy to achieve results will also sabotage success. Thus self-motivation and interpersonal skills is one of the key paradoxes that need to be carefully understood.

De-railers Count, too…

Derailers - Traits to Avoid - Entrepreneurship

It is also essential to measure a complete range of potential“blind spots” that could hinder success. In the image left, several “traits-to-avoid” are shown that can cripple success if extreme. In some cases, like this one, a single result can better inform the individual of where he/she may need to devote some time and attention. We are all capable of change if properly motivated. Change starts with self-awareness, then reflection, and finally, the motivation to get started with a plan to make some personal changes. An aspiring entrepreneur is not doomed to failure based on a single blind spot. Nor should VC’s or investors decline support when a result is found that can be improved upon given time and proper attention. Assessments inform as well as predict and a good assessment will help an individual come to appreciate his/her strengths as well as areas in which he/she can improve.

Entrepreneurial Success Can be Measured and Potential Success Predicted

Considering the risks related to entrepreneurship, we need improved tools, systems and methods to increase the chances of success. A good assessment holds up a mirror for us to see what we are best suited to pursue. It also identifies and clarifies the personal changes that will enable us to be more likely to succeed.

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1 Definition of Entrepreneurship, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneurship

2 The Christian Science Monitor, Why Entrepreneurship is on the Rise, Aug. 5, 2016

What Physical Injury taught me About Paradox Theory

Physical Injury and Paradox Theory

I broke my left wrist recently. Fortunately I am right-handed and since I am not a bricklayer, I thought, no big deal, right? My right hand can carry the load while my left hand recovers; hardly a recipe for disaster for someone who works at a desk. In fact, I was coping quite well for the first week or two, but then I started to get really irritable and fed-up. It was as if my whole right side (not just hand!) developed a kind of angry resentment while the left side descended into self-pity and victim hood. I could “hear” my right hand exclaiming, “back off! I feel used – stop taking advantage of my strength and competence – leave me alone!” while my left was saying, “help me … I am hurt, weak and pathetic.” I became exhausted and confused as a result of what seemed to be a relatively minor inconvenience.

So, this got me thinking about how the physical body resembles the mind and psychological patterns of thinking and behavior. The right and left sides of the body work in compliment much as do the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Through my work with the Harrison Assessment I understand Paradox Theory as a psychological construct that sheds light into both constructive and destructive behavior in our lives and work. Paradox Theory teaches us that a strength is not really a strength without the support of its paradox. For example, having a highly analytical approach to decision-making is great, but without exercising intuition to provide balance, the overall quality of one’s decisions will ultimately suffer. An analytical (or left-brained) approach focuses on logic, data and the many details involved with making decisions. The paradoxical trait to analytical is using one’s intuition (or right-brain) to see a problem or situation in a holistic, or big-picture way. Both are involved with strong decision-making; you can’t use one without the other without some down-side. When both are strong the result is formidable – this is called Logical Intuition in the Harrison system. When only one side is strong then an imbalance results that often cripples one’s overall effectiveness in making sound decisions.

Taking this example further, if a trait such as analytical is taken to extremes without balance from its counter-point – intuition, in this case – the effect is likely to carry-through to other aspects of the person’s profile. That is, having a strong tendency to be “laser-logical” (a dynamic imbalance in the Harrison system) may show up in other parts of the profile, as well. Someone with this imbalance might tend to interact and/or communicate with others in a laser-logical way (think Spock or Data in Star Trek), sacrificing the finer-points of relationships that intuition supplies. The way in which someone who is laser-logical manages and leads people may not be optimal as a result, as well. And so it goes …

Similarly, our amazing physical body relies upon symmetry and complementary strengths to perform at optimal levels. Currently, my right side is practically crying out, “pull your weight, you slacker,” while poor lefty is hiding out in a wrist guard. I hurt all over as a result of an irritating wrist injury; it is hard to sleep, dress, cook, work – everything I took for granted as easy and normal in my long life so far. The skill of my right hand and whole right side is amazing to behold during this trying time, but not without a cost. My overall effectiveness, despite my right hand working overtime, is highly diminished and weary much like a psychological imbalance hampers individual performance in significant and complex ways. We may not “see” it happening the way we see a physical limitation impeding physical performance, but psychological rigidity and other destructive patterns of behavior keep occurring if imbalances are not revealed, understood and ultimately addressed.

In my case, my wrist will heal and likely be back to normal soon so I can go about my life unthinking about every little physical challenge. This experience, however, helped me better understand how the mind and our behavior patterns need continual attention, as well, to diagnose, comprehend and with work, patience and creativity, find better balance, versatility and capability to excel in our lives and careers. Paradox Theory has a lot to teach us about finding and developing greater balance in our lives and in our work.`

When Stress Turns Normally Stable Employees into Raving Lunatics

Stressed Raving Lunatic

Everyone has their limits, however, some people reach them much more quickly than others. When employees are stressed, they often behave in ways that are quite unlike them under normal circumstances. They may act out in ways that are puzzling to their co-workers and make themselves literally sick with stress and pressure. Later, they may be embarrassed, attempt to build bridges, or simply turn-off or retreat. It is painful to watch. For managers and HR professionals, we are often called-upon to deal with the collateral damage and/or counsel the formerly-stressed employee to get him/her to a better place and repair damaged relationships. Or, worse, we may have to put them on warning or even terminate them for this kind of disruptive behavior. All this effort, time and drama – who needs it and is there a better way?

Absolutely. The first thing to know is that people are stressed by different things. One employee may be stressed by having to speak publicly or interact at conferences with others too often; another might be stressed by deadlines or busy schedules; yet another by having to “serve” or be helpful to customers at the expense of their own needs. Wouldn’t it be great to know what these triggers are so that we can help people remain composed and stable, rather than spiraling out of control and going over to the dark side?

Using a good assessment tool can help in several ways. First, a good assessment can measure stress-related traits, such as:

  • Manages Stress Well – The tendency to deal effectively with strain and difficulty when it occurs
  • Relaxed – The tendency to feel at ease or calm while working
  • Pressure Tolerance – The level of comfort related to working under deadlines and busy schedules

A multi-dimensional approach to considering the stress response really helps. For example, I happen to be high in Pressure Tolerance, which means that I perform best when under-the-gun; if I don’t have a challenging deadline, I tend to put off starting on a project until a deadline appears and then I feel energized to meet the target. On the other hand, I have low scores in both Manages Stress Well and Relaxed, which means that I tend to be a bit “wound” and, sad to say, easily stressed. Taken together, you might say that I am rather neurotic – I get stressed out but perform better when there is a moderate amount of stress on me because I respond well to pressure. Weird, but true… Everyone is a bit different and knowing how your employees are wired can really help you manage them better.

Power Paradox Chart

Using an assessment can then help you take the ball further down the field if it incorporates Paradox Theory, which looks at the balance/imbalance with respect to a paradoxical pair of traits. Consider Daniel’s result below on Power (left). He is very motivated by helping others get their needs met and achieve their goals (i.e. service-oriented), but he is less likely to look-after his own needs (lower score on assertiveness). Thus, becoming Dominating is his stress response (top left part of the grid). This can be confusing to his co-workers. They are used to Daniel as a very nice, helpful person and yet, Daniel may be under too much stress, which turns him into a raving lunatic because he cracks under the pressure and lashes out in less-than-attractive ways when it gets to be too much for him. Later, he feels embarrassed, exhausted and very, very sorry for his outburst.

Only where an individual has imbalanced paradoxes is a flip likely to occur. For example, for Daniel, he may have balanced and strong scores in paradoxes such as Communication, Innovation, Decision Approach, Delegation, etc. These areas are unlikely to be susceptible to “flips” because they are balanced –hence you are unlikely to see “raving lunatic” behavior from any of these domains. Because he has the imbalance he has (from Self-sacrificing to Dominating under stress), we can predict how he will react when perceives that he has been taken advantage of one too many times – he’ll exhibit dominating behavior and we can expect others to experience him as perhaps selfish, self-centered and uncaring when he is really stressed out.

Self Paradox Chart

Here is another example … consider Kim’s scores on the Self quadrant. She has the highest possible score in Self-improvement and a low score in Self-acceptance. This means that when she is her normal self, she shows up as perhaps humble, self-contained, somewhat self-critical (primarily an internal state), and very interested in learning, growing and developing. When under stress, however, the “storm” shown in the top left part of the grid (right) under Defensive indicates that she can flip to the other side of the paradox and become Defensive. This can take the form of rejecting feedback, shutting down lines of communication, and generally acting out in a defensive way. Frustration builds up and has to find an outlet once the stress is unmanageable.  Acting defensively can be a real problem for Kim because it means that under stress she is not likely to be able to learn, grown and develop as is her normal state.

A good assessment reports on an individual’s stress-related traits AND will depict many paradoxical combinations of traits that can give insight into the kinds of situations that will elicit a “raving lunatic” response. We can all learn how to both manage our stress better as well as balance our imbalanced paradoxes through greater self-awareness, growth and personal development.

Looking for the 100%-Fit Candidate? Dream on…

Perfect Candidate

Don’t hold your breath. Practically no job candidate has exactly what is needed for the highest level of success on the job. As a hiring manager or HR professional, you are always compromising. Hiring is like dating – if you get close to what you really want and need then you find ways to live with the rest. The key to successful hiring is to know what you are getting so that you can decide if you can live with the other stuff, like it or not.

Using a good workplace assessment can help determine how close you are getting to hiring the perfect candidate. Just know that Mr. or Ms. Right is a dream you had last night – a beautiful but totally unrealistic fantasy. A good assessment absolutely has to be job-specific – what works in one job certainly doesn’t work in another. If you are hiring an auditor, you want precision, accuracy and quality above all else. Perhaps you can tolerate some quirkiness in the interpersonal arena if you get the other stuff right. If you are hiring a customer service person, you want a decent level of quality, sure, but your emphasis is likely to be on responsiveness, helpfulness and diplomacy. You might tolerate some gaps in precision if you get the people-part right. So look for an assessment that is highly job specific.

In addition, look for an assessment that will give you the information you need to decide whether you can live with identified gaps. For example, if you learn that Susie Smith has low pressure tolerance and the job for which you are considering her is often high-pressure, think about what, if any, adjustments can be made for Susie to keep her cool, calm and productive? What questions can you ask her in the interview to follow-up on your concern that pressure tolerance might de-rail her success in this job? Use the other information in her profile to help you better understand her triggers so you can make an informed decision about her overall effectiveness. Can you (or someone else on the team) coach her in this area to up her comfort level with the kinds of pressure that this job entails?

Assessments that measure a wide variety of essential and desirable traits, or factors are best. Even better, look for one that includes “killer” tendencies (i.e. de-railers) that can capsize overall performance in a particular job. Don’t settle for a personality test that only gives you “types” or broad categories of behavior; these will not give you the detail you need to figure out if you can live with Mr. 80% right, or not. In fact, Ms. 75% right might be a better bet, depending on what the identified gaps are and whether you can live with them, or not. Choose wisely, with good data and be prepared to settle if the right core elements are there and you can support further on-the-job development and learning.

How Do You Teach Delegation?

Delegation

One of the fundamental learning objectives in most leadership development training programs is delegation. But how exactly do you go about teaching delegation? Most emerging leaders are identified as top prospects because they excel at performing specific tasks. Their competence is what fuels their success; but when promoted, they are suppose to let go and stop doing the very tasks they have been rewarded for performing well. For some, delegating those tasks to others is is easy; and for others, it is a perpetual struggle.

The challenge for HR and training professional is determining how easily someone will learn to delegate tasks, especially under a stressful environment.

Delegation, which is a mix personality and skill, highlights the value of job personality assessments in leadership development. It is important to recognize a job personality assessment is not the same as general personality assessment. The fundamental difference is that a job personality assessment focuses on the behaviors related to the critical skills required for a specific job, whereas general personality assessment is much more general and lacks the specific job context.

An example of a job personality assessment is the Harrison Assessment. The Harrison Assessment was developed in 1990 and utilizes a proven mathematical model that measures 175 factors but includes a filter that enables you to select the specific job. This enables the user to focus of the key relevant traits. It also includes twelve key personality paradoxes that measure how people’s personality traits change under job stress. Dr. Dan Harrison, the creator of the Harrison Assessment, refers to this as the Paradox scale.

Delegation Paradox

The graph above is an example of a Paradox Graph for the personality trait for delegation, which is a combination of Authority and Collaboration. This specific paradox graph is for an Associate Account Manager who was promoted to an Operations Manager. What this Paradox Graph shows is that this individual is naturally willing to delegate tasks. However, when under stress or when she feels a project is stalling, this individual becomes authoritative and falls back to her old role and does the tasks herself. This shift under stress is referred to as a Paradox Flip.

For the recently promoted Operations Manager, her Paradox Flip to authoritative was holding back her development. She went from being a “team player” to being perceived as a “mini-Napoleon”. However, with the help of her Harrison Report, the management team gained a better understanding to the cause of her behavior and a personal development plan was put into place to help her manage her reactions under stress. A few months later she was recognized with the quarterly “most improved” award.

By calculating the personality traits when someone is at a point of calm and at a point of stress, the Harrison Assessment provides managers and employees the behavioral awareness and self-awareness they need to improve their ability to communicate even when under stress.

Delegation is one of twelve paradoxes the Harrison Assessment measures. To learn more about the Harrison Assessment and its Paradox Technology,  visit the Harrison Assessment website and download a sample Paradox report.

Improving Accountability within the Workplace

Accountability

Forbes Magazine published an article on Accountability titled, “7 Ways to Build Accountable Organizations”. Within the article, the author posses the question:

Where do you need to invest your time and attention to build an environment of accountability?

This is a question many organizations ask themselves and consistently struggle to find the answer. A significant reason so many organizations are struggling to answer the question on accountability is because their primary focus is on process and they do not consider job fit.

The Forbes’ article on accountability effectively covers the core procedural elements necessary to be able to monitor and report on accountability: clearly defined job roles, mutually agreed upon tasks, positive incentives, consistent reviews, etc. However, the article like many other periodicals on accountability overlooks the significance of job fit.

Job fit is about understanding whether or not the job tasks assigned to employees fit their natural behavioral tendencies. Job fit is important to creating an environment of accountability because no matter how well defined the process, people will very likely avoid the tasks they don’t like to do. As a result job fit is important to creating a culture of accountability.

The Harrison Assessment provides an excellent example of how a personality trait assessment can be used to measure job fit and foster an environment of accountability. The Harrison Assessment,founded in 1990, has a key premise that if someone doesn’t like to do a task they likely will avoid doing the task even if it is a part of their daily responsibilities.

Accountability - Organized Job Suitability Factor (JSF)

Precise - Organized Job Suitability Factor (JSF)

The graphs above provide an example of why a VP of Business Development for a large healthcare company was struggling to perform a key task. As the two graphs show, the VP of Business Development was assigned job tasks that require organization and precision. However he disliked such tasks and consequently tended to avoid them even though he was capable of doing them.

The assigned task that was at the heart of the issue was developing, maintaining, and reporting on the leads for the entire organization. This task was a critical task assigned to this individual. Every week, the sales reports were reviewed by the executive team and consistently denounced for their lack of details and incomplete records.

This challenge was ongoing for over a year. It was finally resolved when the executive team and VP of Business Development recognized the lack of suitability and re-assigned the data management and weekly reporting to another member of their team. Almost instantly, the issue was resolved because the task was assigned to someone who was a better fit for tasks that require a high level of organization and precision.

By utilizing personality trait assessments, organizations are able to optimize task assignments among team members. This will help foster and sustain a culture of accountability because the right people are assigned the right tasks. Process alone cannot create a culture of accountability if people are assigned tasks they tend to avoid.

Click here to learn more about how the Harrison Assessment can be used to optimize job fit and to download an example job suitability report.

How a Personality Trait Assessment Helps Improve Communication

Blunt, Non-Diplomatic Communication

According to a recent Harris Poll … a stunning majority (69%) of the managers said that they’re often uncomfortable communicating with employees. Over a third (37%) of the managers said that they’re uncomfortable having to give direct feedback about their employees’ performance if they think the employee might respond negatively to the feedback.”

Effective communication is a core trait of leadership and there is an abundance of training materials, books, and articles designed to help leaders improve critical communication skills. Although communication training is a core emphasis within almost every leadership development program, the recent Harris Poll shows that a focus on effective communication skills alone is not enough to help managers and leaders learn how to effectively communicate. What is not provided in the training is the understanding and awareness of how different people react to critical feedback.

By knowing in advance how employees are likely to respond to critical feedback, managers are better able to prepare themselves and develop a plan that allows them to effectively utilize their communication training. Personality Trait Assessments are a valuable tool that can provide managers the insight they need to feel more comfortable communicating with employees and providing critical feedback.

An excellent example of a personality trait assessment that can help improve communication is the Harrison Assessment. The Harrison Assessment was developed in 1990 and utilizes a proven mathematical model that measures twelve key personality traits; and more importantly, it measures how people’s personality traits change under stress. Dr. Dan Harrison, the creator of the Harrison Assessment, refers to this as the Paradox scale.

Fear of Communicating

The graph above is an example of a Paradox Graph for the personality trait for communication. This specific paradox graph is for a former VP of Business Development who is now the President of a company. What this Paradox Graph shows is that this individual is a good communicator during normal situations. He has a good balance of being to the point while being sensitive to the manner in which the information is communicated. However, when under stress or when he feels a project is stalling, this individual becomes blunt and can be perceived as having an aggressive demeanor. This shift under stress is referred to as a Paradox Flip.

Flipping from a point of balance to a point of aggression was a major challenge for this individual throughout his career. He was seen as stubborn and difficult to work for and with. However, over the past five years, this individual has been working on managing this Paradox Flip by focusing on managing his tone and delivery during difficult times.

After a very challenging international installation in 2016, this individual reported back that the plant manager at the project site referred to him as the “match that wouldn’t strike” because, no matter how badly things were going, he remained calm and kept everyone focused on meeting the project timeline.

By calculating the personality traits when someone is at a point of calm and at a point of stress, the Harrison Assessment provides managers and employees the behavioral awareness and self-awareness they need to improve their ability to communicate even when under stress.

Communication is one of twelve traits the Harrison Assessment measures. To learn more about the Harrison Assessment and its Paradox Technology, click here to visit the Harrison Assessment website and download a sample Paradox report.

Enabling Innovation with the Help of Personality Trait Assessments

Electric bulb in woman handInnovation, Innovation, Innovation. It is hard to read a newspaper or business journal without finding an article on innovation or a reference to how companies must innovate to stay competitive. But the question that few articles address is how does a company become innovative or foster a culture of innovation?

Most will agree that people are the key to innovation, which raises yet another question – how do you know if someone is innovative? There is no easy way to identify innovative people from non-innovative people. Fortunately, there are critical traits found within people who are considered innovative leaders. This creates the opportunity to utilize personality trait assessments to identify those with the most innovative potential.

However, a few innovative leaders cannot transform a culture without the support and backing of the entire organization. Often times, the innovative leaders are already in place but are limited in their ability to innovate because their ideas are being blocked.

Ironically, when it comes to transforming a culture, it is easiest to start by identifying the potential new hires, employees, and leaders within an organization who possess the traits that impair innovation and imagination. Some of the critical traits to avoid include:

  • Overly Rigid
  • Afraid to Experiment
  • Heightened Need to Analyze Pitfalls
  • Lack of Assertiveness in Overcoming Issues
  • Tendencies to Fight against Company Structures

By focusing on the traits that impair innovative development, you begin removing obstacles and creating an environment where the innovative nature of an organization’s existing leaders, managers, and staff can shine. Often times, the only thing holding the innovative potential of an organization back is a few people blocking the creative process.

In addition to identifying innovative leaders, a personality trait assessment is a useful tool to identify those who are likely impairing the creative process. The Harrison Assessment is an example of a personality trait assessment that can be used to help identify champions of and roadblocks to innovation.

What makes the Harrison Assessment ideal for helping organizations foster a culture of innovation is its Job Success Formulas (JSF), which measure the critical and essential job-specific success factors for an organization. With a 25 minute job-specific test, the Harrison Assessment provides a statically validated traits assessment report that will identify those within the organization who are potentially blocking innovation.

Click here to learn more about Job Success Formulas and to download an example report.

Behavioral Assessments Need to Be Job Specific

Harrison Assessments and Job Titles that Differ v1

Why behavioral assessments need to be job specific

Job specific assessments are more accurate and more fair. They identify and develop those people who are most likely to succeed in a particular job for a particular company. However, most behavioral assessments are not job specific and only describe the individual’s personality. This is unfair to the employer because it does not support the analysis of behavior related to the specific job requirements and thus often leads to wrong conclusions. In addition, in many countries, it puts the employer at legal risk. It is also unfair to the individuals being assessed because it usually leads to conclusions that are not based on the behaviors that impact the specific job.

Some personality assessment suppliers have attempted to solve this problem by focusing on general roles such as management or general titles such as project manager. However, this approach also does not take into consideration sufficient detail related to the specific job requirements.

Managers do many different things and the behavioral requirements differ just as much if not more than the requirements for qualifications.

Each organization has its own culture and each job has its own key performance indicators. Any good assessment including behavioral assessments must be able to be configured to weight and rank the importance of those factors to correctly reflect the needs of the job enabling accurate interpretation of the assessment.

Even if the assessment as configured to job titles such as Project Manager, it is not sufficient. While it may seem logical to assess against such a title, it is still too general. project managers can be found in almost every organization within every industry; and the specific behavioral requirements can vary greatly. Some have real management responsibilities such as budget and strategy while others simply coordinate related to the project. Some have much more technical responsibilities while others do not. Consequently, the interpretation of the assessment is likely to be flawed.

Harrison Assessments provides over 6500 specific job templates that make assessment more accurate and relevant to the specific job. In addition, these titles can be further customized to reflect the behaviors necessary for the specific key performance indicators for the job, the specific responsibilities and even the specific culture of the organization and temperament of the manager.

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Who are your HIPO’s?

HiPo (High Potential)

Who are your HIPO’s?

No, I do not have a typo. I am not talking about those big somewhat lovable yet dangerous animals that frequent the waters… the hippos.

HIPO’s… High Potential Candidates. Those job applicants or current employees in your midst that are the potential proactive earners, the successes, the gems.

You can’t tell just by looking at them. They are not wearing a big gold star on their lapel that signifies “I am your best employee to be.’’

An effective tool to use in identifying the HIPO’s is a behavioral assessment or psychological test that is specifically designed for jobfit analysis, such as the Harrison.

Behavioral assessments have a much better chance of gaining insight into behavior/suitability because they have a pre-designed strategy that structures questions and carefully considers interpretations of the questions. However, to be effective, behavioral assessments must:

  • measure a large number of factors;
  • effectively manage lie prevention and detection;
  • produce results related to specific jobs;
  • offer an overall job specific score that guides interpretation.

The best suitability assessments measure a wide range of different types of factors including motivation, attitudes, work preferences, work values, work environment preferences, and interests.

Assessments can give you an indication of a person’s tendencies and possibility of success in a particular occupation. The Harrison Assessment is designed specifically with job performance in mind. With just a short 30 minutes questionnaire, completed online multiple reliable reports can be generated that can not only help you choose the right candidate but also attract them into accepting the position once they have been identified.

It’s not exactly the “gold star on the lapel” however it’s an effective tool that can help you better identify, develop and retain your HIPO’s.

“What do you like to do?”

Office Space Consultants

“What do you like to do?”

Wouldn’t that be a great question for you the job applicant to hear from an interviewer? It would signal to the job seeker that this place, the one you are considering spending eight to ten hours a day for 40-50 weeks out of the year actually cares about you.

It would signal that they understand that if you enjoy doing the majority of tasks your job requires, you will most likely be successful at those tasks. When you take on a new position, your past experiences become interwoven with your new duties.

For example, you probably do about five to ten different types of main tasks related to your job—which you either like or dislike—such as initiating projects, organizing information, doing precision-type tasks, teaching others, presenting to groups, etc.

In addition, there are probably about five to ten different organization criteria related to your job preferences such as the desire for autonomy, the desire for authority, the tendency to be innovative, the willingness to lead others and the motivation related to challenges.

There are also likely to be at least five to ten areas of interpersonal skills that are required for your job. For example, you may need to effectively enforce rules, deal with conflicts, receive corrective feedback, communicate directly and respectfully, be warm and empathetic, be outgoing or be cheerful. If you lacked any of these things, it could easily affect your performance.

If you lacked certain interests related to your job, such as an interest in people, computers, or science, it is unlikely that you will be fully engaged with your work. If you had a strong aversion to any one of numerous different things in your work environment such as excessive noise, working closely in teams or sitting for long periods, your performance could be affected.

Consider also, these issues are different for different jobs. It should be pretty obvious from this reflection that behavioral assessments need to measure many different factors and the results need to be job-specific with an overall score.

There are at least thirty different factors related to success for each job and each job type has a different set of factors. How can we imagine that only a few personality factors can predict behavior of a wide range of jobs? To measure behavior related to a wide variety of jobs, you need to measure at least one hundred factors and preferably one hundred fifty.

From this base, the thirty+/- job-specific factors can be tabulated to effectively predict success and offer optimum growth and coaching opportunities.

By now you might be thinking this is pretty complicated. That the simple question of “What do you like to do” has opened up a whole slew of questions. You are right! It is too complicated to effectively do without a comprehensive and strategic behavioral assessment.

Fortunately, behavioral and personality assessments such as the Harrison are available that have done performance research and formulated sets of factors for specific jobs. You only need to review the suggested factors for your job to confirm that it fits the job requirements. In addition, if you have thirty or more people in the same job, you can even request the test developer to research the key factors for your specific job. Computer technology makes this straightforward.

If you are an employer, the Harrison Assessment can help you ask and get good answers to the question, “What do you like to do”. If you are a job seeker, find the employer who is using the Harrison Assessment to listen to you. That will help you match the task at hand with success.

Don’t throw the Baby out with the Bathwater

Don’t throw the Baby out with the Bathwater

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater

Sam works in accounting. He has pretty good business sense and is very good with numbers. However, every place that Sam goes to work, within two years he gets pushed out. Now Sam is working for you. Unfortunately, nowhere during his reviews from his past employers or during his interview was it mentioned that Sam had any problem. And now he is yours.

He’s a talker. Some would even call him a Walkway Stroller or a Crowd Pleaser. He likes social interaction so much that if he doesn’t get it, he will find a way to get it. This usually ends up in him not completing some of his assigned tasks.

Harrison Assessments guesses that in this case, although Sam’s skill level for the job may be proficient, his suitability may not. If you have a Sam, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Perhaps there is another job within your organization in which Sam can do better and prosper?

In this case, the company employing Sam gave him a Harrison Assessment. A simple online questionnaire that took between 20-30 minutes to complete. Sam’s dominant traits were identified and it was determined that he was only 50% likely to succeed in an accounting position. However, his careers report and corresponding Job Success Functions determined that he was better suited for a customer service, account managing or a sales position.

The company moved him over to his new position and he is flourishing.

Don’t throw the skilled baby out. Just change the water. Harrison assessments can help you determine what baby goes in what tub of water.

(Sam’s real name has been changed to protect the identity of the innocent.)

Bad Egg or Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty was a bad eggBad Egg or Humpty Dumpty

You have that employee that doesn’t quite fit or is not quite up to performance standards. Some refer to them as “toxic” or “pains”. In previous blogs we have referred to them by different stereotypes…. Mini Napoleon, Crowd Pleaser, Emotional Moody, Ego Almighty, Verbal Caustic…. Etc. These employees are disrupters in the work place often hindering productivity and considered to be liabilities.

They are often categorized as “Bad Eggs” and a knee jerk reaction may be to throw them away. However, you may have invested a significant amount of time, energy and training dollars into this person. And, they may have some redeeming qualities that could be developed. It may be possible to correct negative behavior and there may be the possibility to pair them with the right team member could actually lead to positive results. A Humpty Dumpty action of repairing, fixing and putting back together the Egg.

A small investment in the Harrison Assessment and the multiple reports and directional tools could provide instructions on just what is broken and what the recommended fix could be. The Harrison Assessment is job specific and measures task enjoyment and the possible negative behavior triggers. It offers insightful reports that can help you get a better understanding of what challenges your employees and teams are currently facing and how you can fix your Humpty Dumpty’s.

The smart questionnaire takes 20-30 minutes and is administered on-line. A Harrison Certified consultant can help you use the reports to repair your eggs and not throw them away unless absolutely necessary.

Amazing Job Race

Job Race

Amazing Job Race

Too bad you don’t have sixteen weeks of challenges, obstacle courses and road blocks to find the winning Amazing Job Team!

I will admit it. My guilty pleasure is watching “The Amazing Race”. It’s a long running TV show that starts typically with 12 two person teams and follows them as they race around the world, trying to be the first to complete a set of challenges and get to the finish line winning 1 million dollars.

I happily watch the trials and tribulations of the teams as they jump through hoops, complete challenging projects under pressure and compete with each other to win position. I get an inside seat to the behaviors of people under stress attempting to complete tasks. It is interesting to me to watch how well someone completes a task that they enjoy doing… (the surfer lady who excels on all the water, heights and physical challenges…etc)

The Amazing Race is termed a “reality show”. The show is filled with leadership, teamwork, culture and communication lessons. As I watch and learn I wish that businesses in “reality” could put their possible team candidates through a race like this to figure out which candidates are the best.

But in reality businesses do not have multiple weeks of pitting teams against each other. The selection process is limited to evaluating the initial response to inquiries, the resume submitted, the short interview process and reference calls (if possible) of each candidate and then the “guess” as to which people should go together.

There is a better way. Assessments can give you an indication of a person’s tendencies and possibility of success in a particular occupation. The Harrison Assessment is designed specifically with job performance in mind. With just a short 30 minutes questionnaire, completed online multiple reliable reports can be generated that can not only help you choose the right candidate but also attract them into accepting the position once they have been identified. No need to make them run the race, just take the digital online questionnaire and work with a Harrison Assessments certified consultant.

Always Right

has to be always right

Always Right

Do you have that “always right” never in doubt employee in your organization?

We’ve all seen them, some of us have worked with them and most of us can certainly identify a few of them. Those personality types that muck up the atmosphere at work and typically put a wrench in productivity because of their dominance. The very strong type personality that sometimes gets categorized as a bully because of their strong convictions. This person’s wealth of “certainty” may not have a positive effect on your company.

The Harrison Assessment can help you identify and positively develop these personality types.

If the individual scores high in Certainty (8-10) on the Harrison Assessment it indicates a very strong-minded person who gets along well with people with the same beliefs, but often has difficulty with people with different beliefs. This is the case even if there is a balance of a high Open/Reflective score.

However, a high Certain score, combined with a low Open/Reflective, indicates dogmatism. Dogmatism is even greater when combined with other potentially negative traits such as Dominance (high Assertive, low Helpful), Bluntness (high Frankness, low Diplomacy), Impulsiveness (high Risking, low Analyzes Pitfalls), Harshness (high Enforcing, low Warmth), Defensiveness (high Self-Acceptance, low Self-Improvement), Authoritarian (high Authoritative, low Collaborative) and low Organizational Compatibility.

Someone who is always right may end up in a conflict when faced with someone of different beliefs/personality. Excessive need to be right certainty can be a barrier between people. This may indicate the need for emotional intelligence training.

A move towards self- improvement may be a catalyst for advancement. Improving warmth, collaboration and flexibility will help balance this.

You may have invested a significant amount of time, energy and training dollars into this person. If you choose to manage them, give them a work fit personality assessment such as the Harrison. This may help guide you to a developmental plan that may harness some of the certainty and motivate them to work with people that have differing views and beliefs.

 

My NFL Predictions Suck, Imagine what my Employee Predictions Would Be

My NFL Predictions Suck, Imagine what my Employee Predictions Would Be

NFL Predictions

I like professional American football. I enjoy watching the games and learning a little about the players and coaches. I know a little about a lot. Each week, for fun, I compete in a pool with my family trying to predict the winner of each game. There are typically 16 games to predict.

I try to use what I know about each player’s skills, injuries and personal challenges to predict their performance and how it will work with

their team’s performance. I take a little bit of time to listen to the rumors going around about what the weekend play might look like. I feel that I have an intuition as to how they will perform backed by listening to their pregame interviews.

The truth is, I suck at it. Last week I got 7 right, the week before 5. So much for intuition.

It got me thinking… if I am this bad at picking football teams, how can I expect my employee choices to be good? The standard hiring process of application, resume and first and second interviews gives me about the same glimpse of information that I have when I am making my football picks. And if the prediction success probability transfers then I am only going to be successful with 1/3 of my employee choices.

That’s why I don’t gamble and also why I started using Harrison Assessments to help me choose and develop my employees. The Harrison Suitability Profile is designed to measure likely job satisfaction for specific jobs incorporating retention into its suitability score and providing reports that empower managers to identify and hire top talent.

It’s a bit like the story of Moneyball, written by Michael Lewis, and also made into a movie. This real life story is about the Oakland A’s baseball manager who decided to hire a new kind of scout. One who used data to determine who he would put on his team, and ended up with a team that cost 10% of what the New York Yankees paid, but still racked up 90% of the runs that the Yankees ended up with by season end. It is about using empirical evidence combined with a 50 years Baseball sports almanac and computer system to predict which player is more likely to succeed in which game and type of play.

We all can’t afford our own Moneyball scout or his data programs. However, we can afford to use the Harrison Assessment to predict success of particular job candidates and potential promotion prospects. The Harrison Assessment uses an online smart questionnaire to provide a robust tool that can help in the sorting and selection of candidates, as well as provide an interview guide and a roadmap as to what types of compensation and other benefits your winning choice will be attracted to.

Using the Harrison Assessment is not cheating, it’s just smart use of good resources available to save me from having to rely on my poor intuition and prediction skills.

PhD Org. Psych 24.7.365- Harrison

Organizational Psychology

PhD Org. Psych 24.7.365- Harrison

It’s been a long time since I took a Psych class. I know there is a lot of good stuff there that can help me lead my organization forward.

I wear a lot of hats and one of them is the HR one. People and people processes are typically on my mind. Making sure I have the best people in the positions that they are best suited for is a challenge.

But going back to school to learn more about psychology so I can figure out what is really going on inside an employee or a potential hire is not going to happen. Something else that is not going to happen is hiring a PhD to figure it out for me. That is a major expenditure that I cannot afford.

However, there are relatively low cost alternatives that can help me wear this hat well. Job Fit Assessments. The Harrison Assessment Talent Solution is like having a PhD Org. Psych with me 24/7/365.

The Harrison Assessment uses an online smart questionnaire to provide a robust tool that can help in the sorting and selection of candidates, as well as provide an interview guide and a road map as to what types of compensation and other benefits your winning choice will be attracted to and can guide you through development of the winning person throughout the life cycle of employment.

The Harrison Assessment Talent Systems utilize many algorithms to predict job success. The HA System results in a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management life cycle—from recruiting and hiring … to performance management … to learning and development … to leadership development and succession planning … to team building.

I don’t need a PhD on staff, I can consult my HATS reports and work with certified Harrison consultants and coaches at a much lower price than the cost of a full time doctoral graduate. With my own HATS online 24/7/365 system , it’s like I’ve got Dr. Dan Harrison and his very useful tools sitting next to me but with much more perks…

The Best Job Suitability Assessments

Best Job Suitability Assessment

There are bunches of assessments available today. Finding and developing that diamond in the rough employee has become an art, and employers are trying to get all the help they can in choosing the best candidate.

Which assessment is best? There are few things to consider when making the choice. Does the assessment use the same set of factors for every job? If that is the case, it is very unlikely to effectively predict job success. In order to predict job success the assessment must be job-specific.

For example, many personality tests use the same set of personality factors for every job. The majority of these factors are likely to be irrelevant to job success for any one job. How can recruiters or line managers know how to use such information when it is not job specific? Using such assessments is not only counter-productive, it violates hiring ethics and, in many cases, legal guidelines.

The best suitability assessments measure a wide range of different types of factors including:

  • motivation
  • attitudes
  • work preferences
  • work values
  • work environment preferences
  • interests

In doing so, you can capture all the important suitability factors related to job success. A behavioral assessment that focuses only on personality will have significant gaps that will hinder its ability to predict job success. For example, an applicant might have the right personality fit for the job but may dislike some of the tasks required. Or, the applicant may dislike certain aspects of the work environment or lack interests related to the job function. Such things will significantly hinder performance and impact attrition.

A good assessment tool must be able to identify the high performers while at the same time identify any significant derailer traits/behavior. The reverse should also be possible, a good job fit assessment must be able to identify potential poor or average performers.

Many people use simple personality tests that measure only four to ten factors, thinking that they are easy to use. However, these tests are actually very difficult to use because they don’t provide reports related to specific jobs with an overall score.

Consequently, there is no way to effectively interpret the results. In addition, such tests are extremely unlikely to predict job success because they don’t measure enough factors. Harrison Assessments International research indicates that there are at least thirty behavioral factors that impact success for any one job and only a small portion (about 25 to 30%) of behavioral factors that are measured actually relate to success for a specific job.

In order to be effective, hiring assessments must provide a score for eligibility, a score for suitability and a total score. This requires pre-defining how each of the suitability factors and each of the eligibility factors will impact the total score. Otherwise, each interviewer will guess at how each factor will impact job success and consequently, the value of the assessment will be compromised.

The Harrison Assessment Tools take both the eligibility and the suitability of a candidate into consideration. HA is based upon over twenty years of experience. Harrison Assessments has developed a series of unique methods that make hiring choices more reliable and accurate. The methods combine to make online recruitment and employee selection efficient and effective.

Suitability and Hiring Selection Success

Suitability Compass

Suitability and Hiring Selection Success

For most jobs, suitability/behavioral factors are about 50% of the reason people succeed or fail at a job. Therefore, effectively measuring suitability should be an essential part of any job fit or hiring assessment. The importance of assessing behavior during recruitment is evidenced by the fact that most organizations hire people for their eligibility and then try to develop their suitability. And in many cases, they fire them for their lack of suitability. Since behavior is fundamentally more difficult to change than eligibility, it is better to hire people who already have the right suitability for the job.

Suitability/behavioral factors are more difficult to assess because, unlike eligibility factors, there is no objective and verifiable information that is readily available. In addition, suitability factors are much more interrelated, and subtle balances between factors have significant implications for behavior. To make it even more challenging, applicants have a significant incentive to withhold or distort information that might hinder their job opportunity. This is highlighted by a recent study that determined that 80% of resumes contained lies.

In many cases, people are not even fully aware of their behaviors. In addition, the behavioral requirements for each job type are very different. The behaviors required for a technical expert, manager, office administer, customer representative or salesperson are all very different. Not only is it unlikely that a recruiter will have a complete grasp of the combination of behavioral factors related to job success for each job, it is much more unlikely that the recruiter can accurately assess each applicant related to each factor.

Considering the above, it is no wonder that interviews have a low ability to predict behavior.

Behavioral assessments have a much better chance of gaining insight into behavior/suitability because they have a pre-designed strategy that structures questions and carefully considers interpretations of the questions. However, to be effective, behavioral assessments must:

  1. measure a large number of factors;
  2. effectively manage lie prevention and detection;
  3. produce results related to specific jobs;
  4. offer an overall job specific score that guides interpretation

Harrison Assessments International’s research indicates that there are at least thirty behavioral factors that impact success for any one job and only a small portion (about 25 to 30%) of behavioral factors that are measured actually relate to success for a specific job.Harrison Assessments measures a total of 175 traits which are all job related out of which 25% to 30% at most of these traits will relate to job success/performance for a given job. Further to this, traits are categorized into Essential (must haves) , Desirable (Nice to have) and Derailers (negative traits to avoid).

The Harrison Job Suitability Assessment takes all of these factors and much more into consideration when helping you find the right candidate for the position

Walkway Strollers (or Web Browsers)

Prairie Dogging

Walkway Strollers (or Web Browsers)

Do you have a Walkway/Web Stroller at your office? You may recognize the type:

Characteristics: Highly mobile around the office complex and loves peeping into others’ cubicle (workstation) finding out how others are managing their work and life.

This behavior may manifest itself virtually. The walkway stroller may not cruise the actual hallways, they may cruise the web instead. They may take it upon themselves to police the social media sites, peeping into the personal posts of their co-workers.

This person typically thinks s/he is practicing management by walkabout except that s/he forgets to manage his or her own work, deliverables and KPIs first.

Traits to look out for: Highly people-oriented, low tolerance for structure, Low tolerance for routine and rules, short attention span, gets bored with own work quickly, will need to talk to others to regain the “feel good factor” when work hits an obstacle or met with roadblock. Possess tranquil inertia or tendency to be overly laid back, the place you go to relax and get away from work, stress, commitments, disengage. This is often demonstrated by the lack of urgency in their work approach.

Negative side: Low perseverance and lacks initiative or interest to try new ways to overcome obstacles while staying focused at task at hand. Takes longer than others to complete tasks. A procrastinator and has habitual tendency to miss deadlines.

Just because you may have a “Walkway Stroller” doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them. In fact, it may be difficult to pinpoint an exact reason to terminate them. Harrison Assessments understands that sometimes it’s better to correct poor behavior rather than spend a lot of time selecting and training new unproven talent.

How to manage: Let them own up their accountability and publicly announce their key deliverables. Must set deadlines and be firm with setting expectations upfront. Tie the team’s performance and delivery to how each member’s ability or failure to deliver on time will affect the assessment of the team’s performance and incentives.

Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions can help you identify the “walkway strollers/web cruisers” in your organization and can help you manage and hopefully develop them into a more productive team member.

Blind Optimist

Blind Optimist

Blind Optimist

Do you have a Blind Optimist at work? The kind of person who sees good in everything, no matter what the situation? That ever so cheery person who never seems to be living in reality? A little ray of sunshine in the workplace is good right? The sprinkler alarms could be raining water down on desks and they would smile and say… “at least the plants are getting watered”. Okay, that was a bit of an exaggeration but you get the point.

Having optimism is good, but it is also possible to have too much optimism to the point that it is “blinding”. An optimistic attitude is good, especially if you are in a position that requires a little extra positive energy, such as sales or customer service, however if the optimism gets in the way of making accurate strategy analysis or executing or performing a tasks with attention to the possible fail factors the increased level of optimism could become a hindrance to success.

The blind optimist smiling in the raining sprinklers is an over exaggeration. In reality it can be somewhat difficult to determine who in your organization has so much optimism that it has become “blinding”.

The Harrison Assessment can help you identify those people in your midst that have this strong optimistic tendency. We use a simple 30 minute online smart questionnaire that can help you identify these blindly optimistic employees before you hire them or help you to place them in a position that will suit them and coach them to develop and work well in a team.

Don’t throw the blind optimist out. They can see opportunities when others only see doom and gloom. All you need to do is identify who is strong in analyzing pitfalls and trouble shooting and put them in a team with the blind optimist.

It costs a lot to hire and train, why not invest in your employees and identify how to help them and what positions and team members they work best with? Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions has the reports and expert coaches that can help your organization develop and retain their talent.

Harrison’s Job Success Formula- JSF

Harrison Assessments Job Success Formula

Harrison’s Job Success Formula- JSF
Personality tests are increasingly popular due to the importance of understanding how an employee or job candidate will behave. Since poor performance usually relates to behavioral issues, measuring job behavior is essential.

However, personality tests are very general, usually measuring only 4-30 personality factors which are used for every job. In contrast, Harrison Assessments’ award winning suitability assessment is designed to measure engagement, motivation, interpersonal skills and retention factors related to specific jobs.

Ever wonder how Dan Harrison and the Harrison Assessments formulate the success factors for a specific job?

The first challenge is to fully analyze the job to determine the factors that enable job success. Without a comprehensive set of the job success factors, assessment cannot be effective. However, listing of factors is only the first step. The factors need to be developed into a formula that is weighted relative to each other factor in order to reflect the desired level of impact of each factor has on overall job performance. Each individual score for each assessment is then integrated to derive an overall Total Suitability score.

A Job Success Formula includes three parts: Eligibility, Suitability and the Interview.

Eligibility factors can be scored using assessment questions either before the interview or during the interview. If used in a pre-assessment before the interview, the interview can be used to further investigate and confirm the answers.

Suitability factors can be scored using a suitability assessment, using behavioral interviewing questions, or both.

Other assessments such as aptitude tests or manual dexterity tests can also be added to the formula, but must be formulated in the same way to reflect how different result levels will impact the overall score.

If you have an effective Job Success Formula, you final decision is simple. Since you have already defined the exact criteria for hiring as well as how you want to score the different levels of those factors, the candidate with the highest total score should be the best candidate. If that is not the case, you should probably review your Job Success Formula and make the necessary adjustments.

An effective Job Success Formula governs the entire process of recruitment and enables you to effectively pre-assess applicants, interview applicants and determine the best candidate. It not only structures the interview, it structures the entire recruitment process making the assessment much more systematic and accurate.

Another benefit of using a JSF is also job knowledge management. By identifying, weighting the impact and scoring the intensity of each trait that has correlation to overall job performance (Essential or Non-Negotiable s, Desirables (Nice to have) and Avoids (Derailers) , recruiters can track the effectiveness and predictive accuracy of the JSF. Over time, these criterion can be reviewed and fine tuned to achieve that perfect Sweet Spot JSF.

Harrison Assessments can help you find that sweet spot.

A Good Weapon to Use in the War for Talent

War for Talent

A Good Weapon to Use in the War for Talent

Companies today are constantly in a war for talent. Identifying the right targets and having the ability to capture them is essential to winning. We are looking for the innovative leaders of tomorrow and the competition is stiff.

Gone are the days of high unemployment and applicants banging down your door just to get an application. Job boards and matching sites are furiously searching for qualified candidates to post their resumes. Companies are competing against each other to find and attract good candidates.

It is imperative for hiring managers and recruiters to fully understand what truly appeals to the candidates in order to attract and retain the best people.

A weapon that will help you win the war for talent is a job fit assessment that examines more than just the traditional psychological indicators. The Harrison Assessment is work based and focuses on individual work preferences, passion, expectations, interests and designed for organizational applications (not clinical) can accurately and reliably uncover hidden potential, concerns and behavioral aspects which may not be immediately apparent in an interview. Such invaluable insights will allow the interviewer to do a much better job and highlighting the necessary concerns to achieve better clarity in the given circumstances.

Only by appreciating the person’s personal values and life themes, hiring managers will understand how to ‘sell’ the job to the candidate. Many a times, the hiring manager or recruiter only talks about what the job requirements are, what the expectations are but neglects to show a genuine interest about what the candidate finds appealing. In other words, finding ways to pluck the candidate’s heart strings to create that desired emotional resonance.

An organization needs to recognize which phase of the business life cycle it is in when it attracts and hires the best talent money can buy. If the context and readiness of the organization does not match the expectations of the talent, this could lead to many issues that may eventually result in a wrong match. Hence, relevance of the context and timing must not be taken too lightly. Hiring the right person for the right job in the right company (team or manager) at the right time for the right reason.

With a simple 20 minute questionnaire Harrison Assessments can help you win the war for talent.

Missing a Step in the Hiring Process

Missing a Step – Hiring Process

Missing a Step in the Hiring Process

You place an opening on a job board to find the professional employee. This is considered time and money well spent since the position you are filling takes skill and requires a substantial amount of training and investment.

But what do you do with the applicants? How do you know from the resume and their references that they are the right fit for your job? Many past employers are afraid of the legal ramifications of indicating that a person did not work out in the job. Or, they may have an incentive to have you take this bad hire off their hands so they may stretch the truth in order to push the exit.

One of the next steps is typically to choose the top 5-10 and then interview. However, you are “missing a step” in the process. There are job fit assessments, such as the Harrison, that can give you an inside look at the applicant. Investing in a hiring assessment, one that is designed to examine suitability as well as eligibility, can save your organization time and resources. The return on investment in using a good hiring assessment tool can last a lifetime of employment.

There are some job boards who recognize the potential of a good job fit assessment. These boards are incorporating the HATS system in their candidate applications, adding a lot of value to their selection processes.

The hiring assessment step can be the essential foundation for organizational success. A high quality assessment used at the point of hire enables you to have the greatest impact on performance, productivity and retention.

The Harrison Assessment Tools take both the eligibility and the suitability of a candidate or employee into consideration. Eligibility relates to the individual’s previous experience, educational qualifications and various skills or abilities necessary to perform in the job. Suitability relates to behavioral issues such as preferences, tendencies, attitudes and behavioral competencies necessary to perform well in the job. Both are very important for nearly every job.

 

HA is based upon over twenty years of experience. Harrison Assessments has developed a series of unique methods that make not only hiring more successful, HA enables career planning and leadership development as well. The methods combine to make online recruitment and employee development efficient and effective.

Robo Advising HR

Robo Advising HR

Robo Human Resources (HR)Algorithms seem to be the hot topic and “Robo Advising” is one of the newest fads. Algorithms are used for predicting everything from the weather, sports, economic indicators, and financial data to who is the best person to date? Trying to predict behavior is nothing new, people in ancient times used oracles, fortune tellers and crystal balls. Today’s technology uses algorithms and the new age of “robo advising” has begun.

According to dictionary.com an Algorithm is: a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps, as for finding the greatest common divisor.

Even though Algorithm’s are sometimes used in place of a human being, hence the term “robo advisor”, they are ultimately just a very powerful tool that needs to be used with care by human beings in order to accurately predict successful outcomes.

So is there a Robo Advising HR that can choose the right person to hire?

Nothing beats the human interaction when attempting to find the perfect candidate for a job position. Reading the nuances of body language, hearing the indicators of emotions and feeling the energy in the room are all important factors. Using an algorithm assessment tool that helps you conduct the interview as well as give you a basic feel for what the employee is like can make that human interaction even more successful.

Robo Advising? Not hardly. The Harrison Assessment Talent Systems utilize many algorithms to predict job success. The Harrison Assessment results in a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management lifecycle—from recruiting and hiring … to performance management … to learning and development … to leadership development and succession planning … to team building.

Zealous Extremist

Zealous Extremist

Do you have a Zealous Extremist working for you?

Characteristics: Strong personal values and life principles; completely passionate and committed to his own belief system. Can be overzealous in preaching or influencing others towards one’s belief system.

Traits to look out for: High influencing power, highly cause-motivated, highly certain and enjoys teaching and/or making presentations.

Negative side: Can either work with the organization or against the organization, depending on whether their values are aligned or different.

How to assess when you hire: If the interviewer finds the above tendencies through profiling, it is critical to takes the time to fully explore the individual’s values as well as the alignment with the organization’s value and direction.

You may even have a “Zealous Extremist” as an employee.. If they are aligned with the organization’s values and goals, they can be a great asset. However, if they are not aligned with the organization’s values and goals it can poison your organization’s culture. You need to have direct discussions related to how the misalignment is negatively impacting the organization, what can be done to achieve alignment, and what will happen if the alignment is not achieved. Try to clarify their opinions and causes and then explore how their zeal can be channeled or aligned with the organizations mission and goals. Don’t ignore the problem. Face the problem head on through direct discussions the focus on these issues.

The Harrison Assessment uses a simple 30 minute online smart questionnaire that can help you identify these “Zealous Extremist” applicants and determine if they will be assets or liabilities. Or, it can help channel the zeal of existing employees into business results.

Psychological Traits of a Good White Collar Worker

White Collar Worker

Psychological Traits of a Good White Collar Worker

Baby Boomers remember the old days that had set working hours. You went to work and then around five p.m., you packed up your stuff and went home. If there were an emergency you might stay until five-thirty.

Those days are gone! White-collar work, sometimes called Knowledge Work, is never done. Your immediate To Do list might have twenty items on it, but right behind the immediate To Do list is a supplemental To Do list with another forty action items on it and after that list is done, there’s a third one waiting.

Most white collar workers today need to be able to work autonomously (that big college word for trusted to work on your own and get it done without supervision). And yet, they also need to be able to work cohesively as part of a team when the need arises.

But not all white collar jobs are created equal. There are some that require a significant amount of team cooperation and offer very little autonomy. There are some that require a large amount of “alone” time and very little public interaction. So if the job requirements themselves differ, doesn’t it make sense that what traits make up a “good” employee differ as well?

The Harrison Jobfit Assessment recognizes this fact and configures the assessment to the specific requirements of the particular job in question. Research conducted by Harrison Assessments formulates different sets behavioral factors for more than 650 job types. Each job type also has different behavioral requirements depending on the required management level and experience level. Consequently, by uniquely calibrating management responsibility and experience levels, the Harrison system offers more than 6500 “Job Success Formulas” that predict success for the specific job. Organizations can also make adjustments based upon their unique key performance factors.

Emotional Moody

Emotional Moody Employee

Do you have an “Emotional Moody” type person working for you?

Almost every multiple employee organization today has experienced some form or another of a “Bad Apple” employee; someone who, whether consciously or subconsciously, disrupts or hinders the advancement of productivity in the workplace. One type of bad apple is the “Emotional Moody”.

Characteristics: Temperamental and goes through mood swings; difficult to predict the best time to communicate with such employees. Appears distant and can be rather cold towards others; unable to control emotions and finds it difficult to maintain self-composure.

Traits to look out for: Introverted, low self-esteem, easily tensed and poor stress management techniques, intolerant to bluntness, pessimistic, weak in interpersonal skills and display low comfort with conflict.

Negative side: Ultra-sensitive to comments, inconsistent in responding to different people within the organization; others will find it very challenging to relate and engage.

How to manage: If these traits become too severe and to an extent damage personal productivity and the ability to control one’s emotions, then psychiatric advice is needed where a combination of psychological counseling and medical prescription is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There is another aspect that could possibly be related to a person’s unpredictable temperament which could be due to feeling of inadequacy or lacking in competence to perform up to the supervisor’s or team’s expectations. A person’s level of persistency, wants challenge, positive attitude and sound problem solving can either exacerbate or improve the problem. Being aware of what is triggering the mood swings may provide a clue as to how to fix the “Emotional Moody”.

If you determine that the training time and skills of the “Emotional Moody” warrant further identification of triggers and development of emotional intelligence, the Harrison Assessment has many different reports that may help.

The Harrison Assessment uses a simple 30 minute online smart questionnaire that can help you identify and help these “Emotionally Moody” employees. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid hiring these types or help you manage the “Emotional Moody” who is already working for your company.

Suitability and Eligibility- The Win Win Candidate

Winning CandidateSuitability AND Eligibility.. The winning combination in HR that can help you find the win/win candidate.

Choosing the best candidate to recruit and hire is not an easy task. However, hiring right the first time can save you a lot of time and your company a lot of money. Today forward thinking companies are using HSM’s and new tools to choose the best candidates. A successful HR manager will use tools that focus on both “suitability AND eligibility” to attract and retain good candidates.

Some recruiters make the mistake of hiring people only for their qualifications, resulting in bad hires related to behavioral weaknesses.

Other recruiters make the mistake of over-emphasizing behavioral factors by eliminating people only on the basis of their behavioral assessments. Sometimes they even unfairly eliminate candidates based on a single behavioral factor. Behavioral assessments should be part of the overall assessment that includes qualifications such as experience, education, and skills. That’s why the Harrison system provides a unique eligibility assessment that complements the suitability assessment, providing an overall score for better hiring and succession planning.

Sean Kelly, the Accounting, Tax and Business Advisor. HR and Management Advisor. Career Coach, Executive Search and Recruiter says, “ I think many organizations and people focus on only one or the other of eligibility and suitability. I have seen many poor performers selected or promoted based on “suitability” who do not have the technical skills to do the job and require at least one other person to do their job for them. Conversely, many who are eligible and good at technical skills often rely on these skills and fall short on the communication of their skills, expecting others to just know how good they are at their job.

The Harrison Suitability Profile is designed to measure likely job satisfaction for specific jobs incorporating retention into its suitability score and providing reports that empower managers to identify and hire top talent. The Harrison Assessment uses an online smart questionnaire to provide a robust tool that can help in the sorting and selection of candidates, as well as provide an interview guide and a road map as to what types of compensation and other benefits your winning choice will be attracted to.

Mini Napoleon

Napoleon Cartoon

Do you have a Mini Napoleon employee in your midst?

Almost every organization has experienced some form or another of a Toxic Employee; someone who, whether consciously or subconsciously, disrupts or hinders the advancement of productivity in the workplace.

Also known as “walking liabilities”, they say things and they do things that make them a huge liability. Just because you haven’t been sued for it doesn’t mean they aren’t walking around creating liability for you. One type of toxic employee is the “Mini Napoleon”.

Mini Napoleon:

Characteristics: Makes decisions with minimal or no collaboration with other stakeholders or team members and often practices selective listening. Others will find him/her over-bearing, demanding and controlling. He/she has a strong need to be in the driver’s seat with an attitude that it’s either “my way or the highway”.

Traits to look out for: He/she is likely to have traits such as strongly authoritative, highly assertive, a strong desire to be in a leadership role; passionately goal driven, strong influencer or strong enforcer – while lacking the balancing traits or collaboration, helpfulness, enlisting cooperation, stress management, good listening and warmth.

How to manage: Using 360° feedback assessment is one option to give an objective reality check. 360° is an assessment that is administered by trained facilitators, which requires the individual to rate himself, then is rated by a group of peers, direct reports and his direct supervisor. Such assessments are mostly used for development purposes to identify gaps and can be quite revealing. A good 360 combined with some regular coaching sessions can significantly help to develop the badly needed emotional intelligence.

Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions can help you identify the “mini napoleons” before you hire them or if you have already hired them it can provide a coaching aid to identify how to identify and change to key problem areas.

Nobody wants to have to work for this guy.

Napoleon

The Verbal Caustic

Verbal Caustic Toxic Employee

The Verbal Caustic- another Toxic Employee

Almost every organization has experienced some form or another of a Toxic Employee; someone who, whether consciously or subconsciously, disrupts or hinders the advancement of productivity in the workplace.

Also known as “walking liabilities”, they say things and they do things that make them a huge liability. Just because you haven’t been sued for it doesn’t mean they aren’t walking around creating liability for you.

One of those types is the VERBAL CAUSTIC.

Characteristics: Steps on others without even realizing it; blunt and caustic; laser-tongued. Thinks he/she is just being honest, does not know when he/she hurts others’ feelings or doesn’t sufficiently consider others needs while pushing for his/her own. (this is certainly not always the case and is less likely)

Traits to look out for: Very strong traits such as frankness, assertiveness, self-certainty, or self-acceptance while at the same time lacking in the balancing traits of diplomacy, helpfulness, open/reflective, and self-improvement. These imbalance typically reflect an inflated ego. If he/she has low tolerance towards others who are blunt the effects are worse.

Negative side: Thinks there is nothing wrong with own style. Finds it difficult to gain respect from team members and cannot engage others in productive discussion. Has the tendency to say the wrong thing at wrong time.

FLIP – becomes passive, quiet or repressed under stress.

How to manage: Genuine performance feedback combined with a set of monthly coaching sessions from a qualified coach for about 6 months can make a big difference. The coaching sessions can help identify the specific behaviors that are counter-productive.

The Harrison Assessment uses a simple 30 minute online smart questionnaire that can help you identify these verbally caustic employees before you hire them or help you to coach them to develop emotional intelligence.

Paradox Theory and Team Dynamics

paradox theory and team management

In today’s specialized work environment, talent is not enough. Talented people must effectively work together in order for the organization to succeed. HR budgets are tight and finding the right combination of talented people who can work together day in and day out to achieve positive results is difficult. As any good sports team knows, getting the right talent on the team in the right positions working together is imperative.

Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory reveals team dynamics in a way that has never before been possible, enabling individual team members to easily identify how their own behaviors contribute or obstruct the team objectives.

Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory provides a greater depth of psychological understanding because it reveals an entire system of behavior rather than merely offering insights about specific traits. It also predicts stress behavior and provides a framework that facilitates objective understanding of self and a clear direction for self-development.

It provides a step-by-step plan in which each team member can make adjustments to facilitate optimal team performance.

In essence, HA is a team building tool to achieve the following:

  • Create teams with effective interactions.
  • Discover the strengths and challenges of a team including team decision-making potential.
  • Identify the best roles for each team member
  • Assess the potential for cooperation or conflict.
  • Establish clear guidelines for effective interactions.

HA can predict how people will:

  • Communicate, influence and lead
  • Handle autonomy
  • Take personal initiative
  • Resist or facilitate change
  • Handle conflict
  • Seek to learn, grow, and excel
  • Plan and organize…and much more.

Using the Harrison Assessment to choose and develop the right team in the right way is a major step in meeting the overall mission of your organization.

What do Gen X and Gen Y want in a job?

Gen X & Gen Y at Job

Harrison Assessments International recognizes that as the population ages, the competition for attracting good, skilled Gen X and Gen Y employees heats up. Employers are finding that monetary rewards are not enough to attract and retain younger workers.

Jamie Gutfreund  of the Intelligence Group spends a great deal of time examining the differing motivations and preferences of the generations. Gutfreund (herself a member of Generation X) says it’s important to bear in mind that Xers were culturally different from the Baby Boom Generation that preceded them.

While boomers insisted on being heard by the world, “we [Xers] were a smaller generation [less than half the size of the boomer generation] who felt no one was listening to us,” she says. “We felt we had to fight” to have a voice, to make an impact, to earn a seat at the table of power.

“Generation Y was raised with a different perspective,” she says. “Their Boomer parents taught them that their opinions are important. So they have an expectation to have a stake in outcomes.”

1. A Different Concept of Authority
Gutfreund says that Xers view the boss as an expert—someone whose hard-earned experience and skill demand consideration and deference. Access to authority is limited and must be earned.

By contrast, Senderoff says, “Millennials think they can go in on the first day and talk to the CEO about what’s on their mind. The Generation X manager thinks, ‘What are you doing??’”

But she and Gutfreund note that it’s only natural for millennials to feel that way, given how their Boomer parents raised them to believe that their voice matters.

If a manager asks a Generation X employee to jump, the employee jumps and then asks, “Was that high enough?” But if a manager asks a millennial employee to jump, the employee is more likely to furrow an eyebrow and ask, “Why…?”

Senderoff says that even her best millennial employees will react in that manner. She adds that this may feel like a mutiny, but it’s not. The millennial has been raised in an environment in which she’s encouraged to engage and question authority; why would she accept a lesser bargain in the workplace?

Bear in mind again that millennials are the offspring of the Boomer parents who spent their formative adult years questioning authority. Gutfreund says that managers thus need to understand the benefit of shifting from “a command and control style to a more inclusive management philosophy.

2. A Different Set of Motivations
Gutfreund describes Xers as a “very individualistic generation. They were very independent. They wanted to get the corner office and the trappings of success.” Millennials, by contrast, want to find purpose in their toil and their career, she says, which does not necessarily come from getting the highest possible salary or nicest office.

“Generation X lives to work,” she observes. “Generation Y works to live.” Generation Y has multiple passions and is more global than any of its predecessors, as 70% of them say they would like to work abroad sometime over the course of their lives.

“Millennials are focused on making meaning, not just making money.” This may well strike Xer managers and HR personnel as too precious and lofty an attitude for the real world, but that’s the reality that organizations have to come to grips with.

3. A Desire for a Different Sort of Work Environment
Gen X tends to be structured and punctual and linear. Millennials can be unstructured and nonlinear, which can be maddening to the Xers.

Also, millennials are motivated by autonomy. They’re not clock-watching pencil-pushers, and they’re not lazy; they fully expect to be available to work 24/7, Gutfreund and Senderoff say, but they also expect the ability to leave the desk behind and take a walk.

Gutfreund says that, when you ask millennials where they’d like to work, the answer is generally: First, Google; second; Apple; and third, for themselves.

Indeed, both companies project a mission to change the world or at least make it a more interesting place. And Google’s freewheeling but intense and highly productive culture speaks to most millennials, what with the many perks that seem to make the corporate campus more like a college campus.

But Senderoff clarifies, “It’s not about free stuff [like lavish cafeterias and on-site massage therapists]. It 100% comes down to culture.”

She also says you can’t motivate millennials to join your company just by posting a generic job listing that may suit their skills. They want to sense what the larger company is about in terms of its mission and its values and they want to see it modeled by its leaders.

“They want to know,” she says, “how close would they be to executives they can hear and learn from.” They need a vivid picture in their head of how working for you would make their lives and their world better.

4. A Different Concept of Progress on a Project
Gen Xers famously bemoan the “flakiness” of millennials. Senderoff suggests that this is actually a result of speaking a language that millennials aren’t wired to understand.

“Millennials move through things quickly,” she says. “They think very quickly, and they’re used to doing so many things at one time.” The upshot, she says, is that they may deliver a prototype when the Xer manager expects a more polished finished prototype.

In this case, she says the manager needs to communicate her needs more clearly, while also understanding that the millennial appreciates regular feedback and coaching throughout the process.

Are we ready for a change in the workplace that allows millennials to bring their full talents to bear on our organizations?

Gutfreund says we aren’t as far along as we should be. “Many senior execs who run companies are delaying changes that need to happen,” she says, “… such as HR and performance reviews, because of short-term imperatives.”

And she suggests that a focus on long-term growth demands that the necessary culture changes be given greater priority.

Succession Planning- Hire Leaders from Within

Succession Planning

To Hire Leaders from Within, or to bring in Outside Leaders? That is the Question

During these times of high structural unemployment, finding skilled workers to fill open skilled positions is among the top challenges in virtually every organization. As the economy improves, top talent will have more choices and attrition will accelerate. In addition, “X” and “Y” generation leaders will require us to evaluate our approach to career progression/options, work-life balance and global factors. This, along with strategic uncertainty, the impact of social media and data overload, and the increasing velocity of business, indicates mounting people challenges ahead for businesses large and small.

Sometimes hiring external candidates to meet these needs is a sound strategy. However, according to research by the Center for Creative Leadership, an astonishing 66% of senior managers hired from the outside fail within 18 months. Clearly, our historic view of leadership and talent pipeline readiness will have to be redefined.

SHRM and AARP research indicates that many organizations have addressed the near-term challenge with creative solutions such as hiring retired employees as consultants or temporary workers. Others offer more adaptive working conditions such as flex hours, telecommuting, part time and job sharing. While these tactics help bridge the gap, given the statistics above, they do not represent a solid strategic approach to fulfilling the organization’s long-term talent needs.

The Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions outline a fresh approach for mitigating the above challenges and will help redefine the traditional view of succession planning. Years ago, succession planning was primarily focused on the C-suite. In far too many cases, succession planning has been defined by “list management” and subjective “popularity criteria.” More recently, many organizations have identified high-potential (HiPo) candidates at mid-level and above to create bench strength for potential openings in senior positions.

Looking ahead, successful organizations will define their talent pipelines beginning at entry-level jobs—early on identifying HiPos based on a new set of criteria, and increasingly applying technology to manage the process. The strategic imperative will purposefully focus on assessing the talent pool at every level of the organization.

The predictive outcome will be more highly motivated employees, fewer gaps in filling key positions and reduced attrition, all contributing to increased competitive advantage and bottom-line results.

Harrison Assessments believes that careful and informed talent management can lead to successful C-Suite choices and long term profits for your company.

Just DO it!

I Hate My Job

“I HATE my work!” How successful do you think someone will be at a job who says this? “I don’t care if you hate it, just do it”. How long will this company be operating if this is the most often said comment from the team leader?

The Harrison Assessment’s Paradox Theory predicates that performance and enjoyment are closely linked, because when one enjoys doing something in particular, one tends to do it more willingly and often. This in turn makes one very competent in that task and thereby makes one an effective exponent of that particular job. Workers who have a great time doing whatever it is that captivates them, will be effective performers and ultimately add to the company’s success rate!

The key is to find what turns on a particular worker and provide an environment where this is readily found and you’ll have a recipe for employee success for sure!

What differentiates HA from other testing tools in the marketplace? HA’s attraction is that it measures factors such as Task Preference (this includes driving, computers, teaching, researching, manual type of work, physical, numerical preference for finance/accounting) and Work Preference factors (such as outdoors, public contact, repetition) and Interest Factors (such as Finance/Business, Food Preparation, Science, Electronics). What’s even better is that HA measures an amazing 175 factors which in case you’re unaware, is some five times more than the tests offered by other rivals. It has yet another compelling factor to its name, HA boasts an 85% predictive accuracy that is able to measure traits that are correlated to successful performance and at the same time measure the presence of negative traits that can be counterproductive to successful performance.

But what, you may ask is the basic difference between “personality tests” and “job suitability tests”? In HA’s case, personality tests may predict that the person is a “nice and pleasant” person but as you and I know, being nice does not guarantee success or great performance on the job.

Still, what are the ‘must haves’ when picking the right kind of assessment ‘tools’ to aid in the hiring process? A comprehensive recruitment tool kit should include a job analysis questionnaire, a profile analysis, a “Traits and Definitions” report, a behavioral impact graph and narrative, a paradox graph and narrative, positive or counterproductive traits of the applicant and probing for weaknesses in contrary evidence questions.

Okay, so why the need for such a test? The key reason is that the Harrison test helps to narrow down even more, the potential capabilities and areas of natural competence on the part of the job applicant.

More specifically it throws the spotlight on four important areas – ability (what he can do now and after training is given), aptitude (ability to gain a skill after training), power (reasoning ability) and performance (relating to one’s experience). Power-centric tests allows one to test for aptitude while performance-centric tests measure the candidate’s innate ability.

Finding the right candidate for a job is difficult. Using an assessment tool such as the Harrison can help save you time, money and a lot of headaches by helping you find someone who doesn’t say, “I hate this job”. And it will hopefully make it so your team leader does not have to say… “Just DO it”.

Ego Almighty

Huge Ego

There are typically all sorts of various personalities working in an organization. In previous blogs we have reviewed a few. The Drama King/Queen, The Incessant Complainer, etc. Do you have a few “ego almighty’s” working in your company?

Ego Almighty Characteristics: Tends to focus on self-justification and excuses for certain actions or inaction. Does not embrace change in routine and styles willingly. Works well and clicks with those who are like-minded. They are also prone to making decisions or choices according to those who fan their ego and dance to their tune.

Traits to look out for: Egotistical, overly self-confident, has a very high opinion of their own views and decisions. Low intent and lacks need for self-improvement. Lacks progressiveness and is inward looking.

Negative side: Difficult to convince and can be rebellious towards change and new initiatives. Incurs a lot of energy from direct supervisors in their constant efforts of trying to get alignment and engagement for these Ego Almighty individuals.

How to manage: Needs to be given specific performance criteria. There needs to be coaching discussions to identify personal values and direction to establish gaps between company direction and the employee’s own interest. If the behavior becomes too intense to handle, the final option is to manage the person out of the organization.

You may have invested a significant amount of time, energy and training dollars into this person. If you choose to manage them, give them a work fit personality assessment such as the Harrison. This may help guide you to a developmental plan that may harness some of the ego and motivate them to put the company’s interests in front of themselves

Incessant Complainers

Complainer

Incessant Complainers. Do you have this type of employee in your organization?

Characteristics: Non-stop complaining about the company, the working environment, colleagues and customers; does not see problems as opportunities to improve a situation. Complains about things but walks away when called to take up the challenge to change things for better.

Traits to look out for: Low willingness to take up challenges. Has a very strong mindset of what things “ought to be”. Low or moderate technical competencies to perform the job and has a weak desire to improve oneself by taking the necessary actions to learn new skills and adopt a mindset shift to address issues constructively.

Negative side: Does not act on constructive feedback; may tire out managers through the recurring need to reinforce the same messages time and time again. Extreme cases – Does not hold personal accountability and fails to deliver results within own area of responsibility.

How to manage: If the situation is beyond redemption and management is prepared for possible casualties (i.e. the employee leaves), conduct a one-on-one session and tell the problem employee as it is.
The approach must be professional, fact-based and objective, but most importantly explain how his behavior affects productivity, team performance and the company’s overall performance.

In addition, conducting a team dynamics session where others are allowed to give on-the-spot feedback to this problem employee will also be a last resort to create a strong wake-up call. If nothing works, in extreme cases, it’s time to manage out the problem.

While this personality type may already be walking around your organization – and causing stress on the company’s time and resources –it’s important for organizations to take measures to avoid future costly mistakes. And this is where a strategic HR manager comes in; as opposed to an operational HR manager who focuses on processes and compliance, a strategic HR manager looks at the bigger picture in the organization, and focuses on the best strategies and tactics on how to curb toxic behaviors within the organization.

Traditional hiring techniques may not offer the results you’re looking for. What’s more, interviewing as well as other traditional hiring techniques may not be adequate to weed out Incessant Complainers. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid hiring these types or help you manage the Complainer who is already working for your company.

Jump Start Employee Engagement

Jump Start Employee

According to a study by the Quantum Work Place “Employee Engagement” has decline to the lowest point it has been in eight years. Despite the improving economy, employee engagement declined in 2014 across organizations of all sizes and in more than 75 percent of the markets measured through the Best Places to Work program.

Employee engagement among Best Places to Work was on a slow, steady incline, as organizations recovered from the late 2008 recession. However, this past year, engagement dipped to its lowest point in eight years, with 65.9 percent of employees engaged. Prior to 2014, engagement was lowest in 2010 with 66.7 percent of employees engaged.

In 2014, 31.4 percent of workers were either contributing (24.3 percent) or disengaged (7.1 percent), as a result of being less certain about their feelings toward their workplace. Three records were broken in 2014 contributing to this trend. Looking at the engagement profiles over the past eight years, in 2014 we observed:

  1. The lowest percent of engaged employees
  2. The highest percent of contributing employees
  3. The lowest percent of hostile employees

Although the majority of employees were engaged, these record-breaking trends indicate a slight shift toward uncertainty and suggest that organizations have more areas for improvement than in previous years.

A number of themes emerged when examining employee uncertainty about the workplace:

Commitment to Valuing Employees
Almost half of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to how employers value their employees, whether through compensation, recognition, or growth opportunities. Employees should not be treated as a means to an end. Engaged workplaces exhibit a commitment to employees in how they are supported, recognized, and developed.

Global Information
One-third of the items with the highest uncertainty were related to global information, which is how information is shared throughout an organization. Whether it’s understanding their personal future or getting feedback regularly from managers, employees lack confidence in their employers’ ability to communicate.

These areas of uncertainty represent areas of opportunity for employers. By offering clarity and improving in these areas, employers can improve employee perceptions and engagement.

One of the easiest ways to improve employee relations and engagement is through the use of a job specific psychological assessment such as the Harrison. Now you can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement — employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialog between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Take the next step in engagement initiatives! Align employee intrinsic factors with organizational extrinsic factors to maximize engagement. Contact a Harrison Consultant for more information.

Horror Hire

Horror Hire

If you think when you go for a job interview it is a nail bitingly painful affair, imagine what it’s like for a Human Resource manager who has to screen through all the job applications, narrow down the best and then conduct each and every interview himself while his other tasks keep piling up on his desk!

Once the interview is over, all the job applicant has to do is just wait patiently for the call that may or may not eventually come.

The HR manager on the other hand, has the task of deciding who the best among the many hopefuls is. If he is not using a job fit hiring assessment he doesn’t have much to go on. The stakes are high. If he picks the right one, the company profits, if he picks the wrong one it could be a very expensive horror hire and the cost get associated to him.

So how does one pick the person that is exactly the right fit for the job? And how sure are you that that person who ‘aced’ the written test will actually pass with flying colors on the work floor itself, say in a year down the road?

Some might choose to go purely by gut instinct; others will base their decision on the recommendations of family and friends. That can prove to be so very right or disastrously wrong as one small local engineering firm discovered to its dismay.

The firm had hired a manager who was highly recommended and who supposedly had chalked up quite an impressive resume working with multinational companies. The new manager was supposed to help streamline the company’s operations but in the first three months, he behaved so arrogantly and antagonized the lower rung staff, they refused to work with him and chaos ensued. The company was forced to terminate him only to discover that he had obtained the e-mail contacts of all their clients and associates which he used to exact revenge.

He e-mailed allegations against the company to their clients and threatened to cause even more malicious damage to the company’s reputation, unless they paid for his silence! The enraged company was forced to hire outside expertise to investigate his background, counter his claim and fend off his allegations. They paid for a due diligence report to be conducted and forwarded the reports to their clients. Then they hired a lawyer to block further action by the ex-employee.

With so much at stake today, it’s about time that company’s ramp up the assessment process and cull those who misrepresent themselves versus those who are really competent. The Harrison Assessment can help you avoid the very expensive horror hire and keep your organization profitable.

Three Keys to Work Satisfaction

Work Satisfaction

It seems basic. If you like what you are doing it doesn’t feel so much like work. If you enjoy doing something you are more likely to continue doing it and do it well. So shouldn’t a personality assessment being used to measure job suitability include measuring work satisfaction?

Measuring work satisfaction is essential to determine motivation and forecast whether an individual will prosper, succeed and stay with the organization. Most behavioral and personality assessments fail to measure work satisfaction and are therefore limited to predicting personality.

Harrison Assessment’s twenty five plus years of research prove that employees who enjoy at least 75% or more of their job are almost 4 times more likely to succeed than employees who enjoy less than 75% of their job. Measuring factors related to work satisfaction makes it possible to predict job success and therefore hire, motivate and retain top talent.

Harrison Assessment’s Enjoyment-Performance Methodology considers 3 key issues related to work satisfaction and retention, measuring the degree to which a person’s:

  1. Preferred tasks fit the job
  2. Interests fit the job
  3. Work environment preferences fit the job

Enjoyment and Performance are linked because the level of enjoyment that an employee has while performing a particular activity is directly related to the level of their performance relative to that activity.

When people enjoy a task, they tend to do it more, and get better at it. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy, good performance creates acknowledgment and/or positive self-regard which then causes people to enjoy the task even more.

Harrison Assessment Solutions predict performance, work satisfaction and retention. They enable companies to motivate people and increase their performance by assigning the roles and responsibilities that give them the highest degree of work satisfaction. Harrison Assessments also enables companies to show their employees that they care about their work satisfaction. This genuine concern in itself evokes a positive response from employees. This mutually beneficial result ensures that both employees and employers win!

Crowd Pleasers

Crowd Pleaser

Crowd Pleasers- Is there one in your Employ?

We’ve all seen them, some of us have worked with them and most of us can certainly identify a few of them. Those personality types that muck up the atmosphere at work and typically put a wrench in all productivity.

Also known as “walking liabilities”, they say things and they do things in your organization that make them a huge liability. Just because you haven’t been sued for it doesn’t mean they aren’t walking around creating liability for you.

One type of these are the “Crowd Pleaser”.

Characteristics: Plays the populist role naturally, likeable, affable, humorous, a live wire and life of the party; knows what and how to say it to the right crowd at the right time and place.

Traits to look out for: Almost like a drama queen but this character possesses higher emotional intelligence (EQ) and is an effective communicator with good persuasion skills. In addition, they are highly outgoing and extroverted, are able to build rapport quickly, are not shy, highly empathetic, very helpful, diplomatic, confident, high self-esteem and know what to do to gain recognition.

Negative side: Demonstrates inconsistency between what one commits to and how one behaves in order to be politically aligned or correct for that situation. Locally known as ‘reed’ (or weed) bending according to the direction of the wind.

How to manage: Be specific with their deliverables and targets. Have very frank discussions and assign accountability and explain clearly the consequences of inability to meet agreed deliverables or KPIs.

Harrison Assessments can help you identify who the “crowd pleasers” are and can help you manage and develop them. While the job specific assessment is not an inoculation, it can be used as a guide to manage the crowd pleaser and hopefully lead to a more productive work place.

Hire Right the 1st Time

Hiring right the first time can save you a lot of time and your company a lot of money. Today forward thinking companies are using HSM’s and new tools to choose the best candidates. If you are tasked with hiring responsibilities, here are some suggestions from Robert Half to improve your chances of hiring the right candidate:

  1. Know what you want. Don’t recycle past job descriptions because chances are the role has changed. Take a fresh look at your needs and the skills you’d like to add to your team. A detailed job description will help reduce the number of resumes you receive from unqualified applicants.
  2. Look for the intangibles. A candidate’s skill set isn’t limited to functional abilities – it also includes how well he or she works in a collaborative environment. Employers that don’t take soft skills such as leadership and communication into account may set themselves up for a bad match.
  3. Make a personal connection. Hiring is more than just identifying a strong resume or profile – it involves having conversations with applicants to establish a rapport. Interviews, for example, allow you to delve deeper into an applicant’s qualifications while also assessing whether he or she is a fit for your corporate culture.
  4. Use all your resources. Though you may have the final say, hiring should never be a solo effort. Take advantage of the tools available to you at your organization – for example, human resources can help with the job description, and your employees may be able to offer referrals.
  5. Woo your top choices. In any economy, people in high-demand may have multiple job offers. You need to show them why they should choose your organization over a competitor. Sell the benefits of working with your firm, and offer a compensation package in line with – or ideally, above – market rates.

The Harrison Suitability Profile is designed to measure likely job satisfaction for specific jobs incorporating retention into its suitability score and providing reports that empower managers to identify and hire top talent. The Harrison Assessment uses an online smart questionnaire to provide a robust tool that can help in the sorting and selection of candidates, as well as provide an interview guide and a road map as to what types of compensation and other benefits your winning choice will be attracted to.

As the talented workforce continues to shrink, the battle for recruiting and retaining great talent gets harder and harder. It takes a company’s commitment to invest in updating recruiting technology that delivers information on everything from the best hiring sources to team and employee performance. Hire right the first time.

Do You Have a Drama King/Queen ?

Drama King

Do you have a Drama King or Queen? You know the type…. They like to make dust bunnies just so they can vacuum them up in a dramatic fashion?

Characteristics: Wants the whole world to know what’s happening in their lives and ever ready to share openly the ups and downs. Quite similar to the emotional peaks and troughs observed in the characters of soap operas like General Hospital or Dallas.

Traits to look out for: These employees are generally extroverts and highly outgoing. They have strong and inflated egos; are highly frank communicators and direct to the point, possibly curt and definitely assertive. They are also likely to have a strong yearn for praise, acceptance and the feeling of being valued, hence may also be seen as an attention seeker.

Negative side: They take up a lot of their own energy and time to be the center of attention and cause others to be dragged into the drama as well. They tend to make a mountain out of molehill and take constructive criticism negatively.

Drama QueenHow to manage: Drama Queens/Kings need to focus on their priorities and manage performance and have clearly defined milestones set out for them. Last resort– ignore their theatrics and don’t pay attention to them.

While this personality type may already be walking around your organization – and causing stress on the company’s time and resources –it’s important for organizations to take measures to avoid future costly mistakes. And this is where a strategic HR manager comes in; as opposed to an operational HR manager who focuses on processes and compliance, a strategic HR manager looks at the bigger picture in the organization, and focuses on the best strategies and tactics on how to curb toxic behaviors within the organization.

Traditional hiring techniques may not offer the results you’re looking for. What’s more, interviewing as well as other traditional hiring techniques may not be adequate to weed out toxic assets. Using the Harrison Assessment can help you avoid hiring Drama Kings and Queen’s or help you manage the Drama King/Queen who is already working for your company.

Using a Job Suitability Assessment

Job Suitability

There are many types of assessments and each has its own purpose.

A critical consideration in selecting an assessment is to use an assessment that fits your purpose. If you are attempting to hire, develop, promote, and retain talent, the assessments must produce reports that are related to the requirements of the job.

If you use a job suitability assessment, there are several important factors which make the assessment useful. These include:

  • The ability of the assessment to measure different aspect of suitability –
    If only personality is measured, there will be significant gaps in the suitability information.
  • The ability of the assessment to measure at least 100 traits –
    Since behavioral assessments are general only about 25% of the traits will relate to success for a specific job. Therefore more traits need to be measured to obtain a sufficient number of traits that promote or obstruct success for the specific job.
  • A questionnaire that is work focused –
    Otherwise the results will not be as relevant to the workplace and there may be legal risks related to justifying how your assessment is related to the job requirements.
  • The ability to detect false answers and to pierce self-deception –
    Otherwise, the results are not reliable.
  • Performance research that is used to create job success formulas for specific jobs –
    Otherwise, you are just guessing at the behavioral factors that relate to success.
  • Reports that are job specific, numerically quantified and easy to understand –
    Otherwise, the results are randomly interpreted.
  • The ability to weight and integrate the eligibility score and suitability scores –
    Otherwise, there is no effective means to achieve an overall assessment.

The Harrison Assessment has been carefully developed using several psychological methodologies that prevent deception, reveal whether behavioral tendencies are actually strengths or derailers (aka Paradox Technology), and measure both eligibility (education, experience, and skills) and suitability (job related behavior).

Tranquil Inertia

Tranquil Inertia – Happy Place

Do you have a place you go to relax? Get away from work, stress, commitments? Disengage? That’s tranquil inertia.

The paradox theory in the Harrison Job Suitability Assessment identifies “tranquil inertia” as part of the paradox around “Motivation”. Self-Motivation and Stress Management may seem to be contrary traits, however when a high intensity exists in both you reach an area of “Poised Achievement”.

However, if your self-motivation is low and your stress management is intense, you probably have a tranquil inertia place or activity. When the desire to achieve is greater than your ability to manage stress you may develop an underlying desire to have a respite from your hard work= Tranquil Inertia.

Mine is a hot tub, bubble bath and a good trashy meaningless novel. Others have identified

  • Mowing the lawn
  • Tending the cows
  • Playing tennis
  • Sitting on the deck smoking a cigar listening to weird electronic music
  • Beach
  • Video gaming
  • Cooking
  • Long leisurely drive

I can’t always physically get to my tranquil inertia place, however I feel somewhat comforted in knowing it is there and recognizing that if I get enough work done I may be able to go there and relax.

Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions recognizes that most people have a Tranquil Inertia. Our Smart Questionnaire can measure the intensity of the Motivation paradox and identify what is the propensity / probability of you slipping into Tranquil Inertia. Knowing what is likely to flip you into tranquil inertia puts you in control of the situation and not the other way around.

New Role of HR Manager- HSM

Hiring Success Manager (HSM)

Hiring and development of good talent is getting a boost from more sophisticated data management. Forward thinking companies are now utilizing more sophisticated software systems that use data science and predictive analytics to alleviate the menial work.

This new breed of “smart” hiring software is fueling an emerging category called hiring success management (HSM).

As HSM becomes more prevalent and computers take over much of the routine side of recruiting, some industry watchers have expressed concern that recruiters’ roles would become obsolete. In fact, the opposite is true.

The Hiring Success Manager’s role has become one of using the psychological assessment, such as the Harrison Assessment, to pick the candidate who is most suitable for the open job description. The assessment paired with a job board regularly refreshes information and prospect data, allowing the HSM to find and choose the best candidates. And it uses business intelligence to create reports filled with actual, real-time data so everyone from talent acquisition professionals to executives can see which hiring tactics are most effective.

Using these systems now allows the HSM to have a stronger focus on the final interview, capture of the best candidate and the development of the new hire. The Harrison Suitability Profile is also designed to measure likely job satisfaction for specific jobs incorporating retention into its suitability score and providing reports that empower managers to retain top talent.

The Harrison recruitment system provides a framework that keeps interviewers focused on the eligibility and suitability factors that lead to job success. With just a short training course, interviewers are empowered to elicit disclosure and honesty resulting in exceptional clarity for decision-making, positive talent relationships and greater retention. Only recruiters can build the relationships needed to land hard-to-find hires.

As the talented workforce continues to shrink, the battle for recruiting and retaining great talent gets harder and harder. It takes a company’s commitment to invest in updating recruiting technology that delivers information on everything from the best hiring sources to team and employee performance.

Great recruiters mean a great workforce. HSM provides the technology to make recruiters great by transforming recruiting and ultimately, making companies more successful.

New Tech to Manage Hiring

Businessman Using New Tech to Manage Hiring

They say data is king. He who gathers and uses the data the best wins, no matter what the goal. So if your goal is to hire the best suited person for the job, are you optimizing your data?

For the last twenty years, the HR solutions for hiring used slow, inefficient processes to choose the right job candidates. Other departments, such as book keeping, sales and customer service evolved from using static, standalone contact systems to more sophisticated automatic systems. These new systems cut down on tedious entry work and added efficiencies and greater performance. They free up labor to perform more personal and human tasks allowing for better customer and prospect engagement and tighter financial performance.

Yet, HR talent acquisition remained limited to software filled with old data that required manual updating and was difficult to use. Time and space were being taken up with paper application or slow digital storing and sorting processes. With these systems, 80 percent of a recruiter’s time was typically spent performing low-level mindless tasks.

However, hiring and development of good talent is getting a boost from more sophisticated data management. Forward thinking companies are now utilizing more sophisticated software systems that use data science and predictive analytics to alleviate the menial work.

This new breed of “smart” hiring software is fueling an emerging category called hiring success management (HSM).

Harrison Assessments conducted research and formulates different set behavioral factors for more than 650 job types. Each job type also has different behavioral requirements depending on the required management level and experience level. Consequently, by uniquely calibrating management responsibility and experience levels, the Harrison system offers more than 6500 “Job Success Formulas” that predict success for the specific job. Organizations can also make adjustments based upon their unique key performance factors.

The Harrison system has an integrated research engine that enables you to pinpoint the success factors for jobs with 30 or more employees. This highly sophisticated technology performs hundreds of thousands of calculations unveiling the exact success factors and derailers related to specific jobs. The resulting formula is highly predictive for recruitment and highly effective for employee development.  This is an excellent tool that can help a HSM be more effective.

DESP… Pick the Right Employee

ESPMany organizations use various tools and techniques for identifying their talent pipeline. Some use a “nomination approach,” while others use traditional tools such as a performance and potential matrix, a tool used by managers to identify high-performing individuals who are potential promotion candidates, creating lists of probable candidates.

DESP: A New Approach to Traditional Succession Planning Models

We suggest that a more comprehensive and objective approach with four key components, or “pillars,” will provide the rigor and discipline to produce a solid and fluid pipeline of talent. The “four pillars” are the critical components to be considered with any strategy.

Each has its own set of contributing factors, and collectively they produce a solid foundation for execution. We refer to this as the “DESP” model.

Four PillarsThe Four Pillars of DESP

D: When evaluating talent there are many fundamental “Decisions” that must be made
E: For each employee, “Eligibility” for a job must be addressed
S: For each employee, “Suitability” for the job needs to be considered
P: For each employee, “Performance” level must be accounted for

These factors, combined with clearly defined career options, provide a framework for employees to have visibility to their long-term opportunities while providing HR and stakeholders a solid basis for planning and assessment of pipeline strengths or gaps.

Taken collectively, the four pillars provide the essential elements to create a visible, measurable talent pipeline. The first pillar provides the solid foundation for execution and the other three can be automated and driven by currently available technology solutions. If you find yourself in a reactive mode or struggling to find an effective sustaining strategy, we encourage you to investigate and adopt a process that accounts for these four critical elements.

There are available technology solutions that enable and integrate these capabilities, providing you with a mechanism to effectively manage and measure your talent pool with minimal administrative time.

The Harrison Assessment Talent Solutions are an affordable tool that recognize and relate to the four pillars of DESP and can effectively help you develop a succession plan that works.

The Harrison Assessments Talent System® helps organizations worldwide hire, develop, promote, and retain top talent. The system’s unique, fully customizable job analysis and integrated assessment technologies ensure optimum job fit and predict job success. Harrison Assessments effectively address and automate selection, development, career planning, and succession needs to manage talent from front-line to executive levels.

Nervous about Filling Your Talent Pipeline?

Are you getting nervous about how to fill your talent pipeline during the next few years? If you said no, you may want to consider the cold hard facts of what we are facing. According to the Pew Research Center, 10,000 baby boomers will reach retirement age every day from now through 2030. In addition, staggering statistics abound; 50% of U.S. government workers are eligible to retire and 55% of registered nurses can be expected to retire between now and 2020.

While unemployment remains high, finding skilled workers to fill open positions is among the top challenges in virtually every organization. As the economy improves, top talent will have more choices and attrition will accelerate. In addition, “X” and “Y” generation leaders will require us to evaluate our approach to career progression/options, work-life balance and global factors. This, along with strategic uncertainty, the impact of social media and data overload, and the increasing velocity of business, indicates mounting people challenges ahead for businesses large and small.

Sometimes hiring external candidates to meet these needs is a sound strategy. However, according to research by the Center for Creative Leadership, an astonishing 66% of senior managers hired from the outside fail within 18 months. Clearly, our historic view of leadership and talent pipeline readiness will have to be redefined.

SHRM and AARP research indicates that many organizations have addressed the near-term challenge with creative solutions such as hiring retired employees as consultants or temporary workers. Others offer more adaptive working conditions such as flex hours, telecommuting, part time and job sharing.

While these tactics help bridge the gap, they do not represent a solid strategic approach to fulfilling the organization’s long-term talent needs. The Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions can help you attract, retain, and develop for succession the most suitable candidates for your particular company and culture.

Make sure that the time and resources spent filling your talent pipeline are used wisely. Get the help of a psychological assessment that international employers have successfully used The Harrison Assessment.

Win the Race for the Best Employees

Race for Employees

Are you winning the race for the best employees? Today’s labor market is highly competitive. The skills needed to perform the work are increasing and the qualified applicants to fill the positions are decreasing.

Talented workers are mobile and are changing jobs more frequently than ever before. There is a shortage of qualified workers and yet unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels. Improvements in efficiency and productivity within all industries have reduced the number of employees needed to meet customer demands, yet employers are struggling to find employees ready and able to work for the pay and benefits they can afford to offer.

The people who are talented are already employed and many prospecting employers are actively recruiting them to switch jobs.

You need to not only attract but retain the best employees to win the talent race. Pay, however, is only one factor when trying to attract or retain talent, and not, according to most studies, even the most important consideration.

One person may want more empowerment, while another simply wants a steady paycheck or more opportunities for growth, a third person may simply need to be listened to, a fourth may want recognition. These differing goals may require different actions to keep a person “engaged”.

Now you can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement– employee motivators and attitudes! These can be utilized to not only attract but retain the competent worker:

  • Identify gaps between employee expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions can help you increase attract, develop and keep the best employees. The psychological assessment uses a smart digital on line questionnaire to powerfully predict the most suitable candidates and more importantly, help you determine the motivators that will attract the to come to work for your firm.

The Difference Between Ipsative and Normative Tests

Testing

Assessments are tools that are effective and safe (legally, for the employer and for the employee) for their intended purpose when you use the right tool for the right job.

Harrison Assessments is both ipsative and normative. The questionnaire is ipsative in that 8 items are ranked against each other in a group and there are 16 groups. This greatly helps to avoid faking especially since it is supported by a highly sophisticated technological lie detector which determines the exact consistency of their answers via a quarter million calculations. However, Harrison Assessments also includes an overall score related to a specific set of job criteria and these overall scores used to compare applicants. Therefore, it is both ipsative and normative.

All tests, whether they are normative or ipsative have limited value unless the test clearly identifies which characteristics are related to job success and the relative importance of each factor as related to the specific job. Otherwise, the user is forced to guess at how to interpret the results which greatly diminishes the value of the test.

Most tests simply show the results for every factor that is measured. By showing all the factors, the test is implying that they are all related to job success which fundamentally misguides the interpretation of the results. This is especially a problem since more than half of characteristics measured don’t relate to job success at all for a specific job and the ones that do related to job success have very different importance levels.

Normative tests compound this problem by displaying norms related to all factors causing the user to interpret the results in relationship to the norms. The user views all the norms but has no idea that more than half of that information is completely irrelevant to what they are trying to determine. Nor does the user have any effective means to determine which of those factors are related to job success or how important the related factors are in relationship to each other.

Harrison Assessments overcomes this problem through performance research and flexible assessment criteria. Each assessment is analyzed in relationship to a specific set of job criteria and more than half of the measured traits are completely ignored in that analysis. The related traits are built into a mathematical formula that give greater weighting to the more important factors related to the specific job success. This formula creates an overall score which is then used to compare the applicants to each other. Therefore, HA achieves the advantages of both ipsative and normative testing while at the same time focusing on only job related issues. This is a far superior approach resulting in much greater accuracy and usability.

LeBron James, Team Building and Assessments

LeBron James, Team Building and Assessments

The Business Lesson LeBron James Learned (hopefully)

The 2015 NBA Finals went to six games. The day before the sixth game, when asked if Cleveland would win the game and tie up the series avoiding elimination, LeBron James replied “No. Cleveland will win because I am the best basketball player in the game.”

This was a bold statement, but as my father used to say , “It ain’t bragging if it’s true” and I believe LeBron was not bragging. In game six of the 2015 NBA finals, James again poured out with 32 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists, but the Golden State Warriors hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy after finishing and the Spurs clinched the 2015 Finals in Cleveland.

James shot 13-of-33 from the field and 4-of-8 from the foul line. He recorded his 80th 30-point game in the playoffs and 59th game of at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists in the playoffs. James became the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 5,000 career points in the playoffs, joining Michael Jordan (5,987), Kareem Abdul Jabbar (5,762), Kobe Bryant (5,640), Shaquille O’Neal (5,250), and Tim Duncan (5,113).

But the key lesson here is….. no matter how great LeBron played, no matter how much his total statistics increased……….. his team LOST. In business, as in basketball, ultimate success cannot be achieved by one person. You can’t do it all and sustain winning.

Teamwork is required for long term success, on the court and off. Picking the right team members, who will work together to win is essential. Using a job specific psychological assessment such as the Harrison Assessment can help you identify what team members you should choose and how you should develop them for a winning strategy.

The Harrison Assessment offers insightful reports that can help build a winning team.

Have You Made a Bad Hire?

bad hire yelling into phone

Fixing a Bad Hire

Have you hired the wrong person? Fixing that bad hire can become a very expensive repair.

Research shows that hiring the wrong person cost companies far more than the employee’s annual salary. It’s crucial that companies take the time and invest in a thorough interview process using proven assessment tools to find and match the right candidate for the job.

Hiring the wrong person for the job is an expensive mistake companies can hardly afford. Employee turnover can cost the company anything from 50 percent of a low-skilled hourly worker’s annual wages plus benefits, to three to five times the annual salary and benefits of an upper management position. In other words, if an employee in the upper management earns $50,000 a year, the actual cost to the company is actually $150,000! This is based on lost opportunity cost and the loss of business, potential customers and momentum.

Furthermore as the employer, you’re back to square one –looking for a replacement and having to take the time to train another employee.

Brad Smart, author of Topgrading: HowLeading Companies Win by Hiring,Coaching, and Keeping the Best People, asked managers how much time was spent on smoothing things over with irate customers, unruffling feathers with co-workers and support staff, coaching and mentoring, lost opportunities, missed goals, performance meetings, severance packages and other distractions resulting from hiring the wrong person.

Smart found that the average time spent working with a bad hire is 150 hours for an employee earning between US$90,000 and US$150,000.

The question therefore is: Do you have 150 hours to waste on trying to “fix” a wrong hire?

Since your answer is most likely NO, then the question becomes: How do I avoid making the Bad Hire in the first place? Harrison Assessments offers some insight into whether a particular person will be suitable for a particular job description. The HAI assessment will help you select the right candidate for the position.

Already made the wrong choice? The Harrison Assessment may be able to help develop the person or guide you as to what other position in your company they may be suited for.

Stop the Job Hopping

Job Hopping

Job Hopping is the new “normal” for Millennials. The average worker today stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years, according to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the expected tenure of the workforce’s youngest employees is about half that. Ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers.

That means they would have 15 – 20 jobs over the course of their working lives!

The monetary and real costs of training an employee are substantial and the return on that training is lost if the employee exits the company quickly.

So the challenge for those filling the positions in the professional and skilled labor arena is How to keep the valued worker from hopping? How to retain a productive person and how to keep them engaged are the most common challenges employers face.

Engagement and retention is a shared responsibility. It can be more effective with the use of a “cheat sheet”. A good assessment can help you retain, develop and engage your most valued employees.

Assessments specifically designed for workplace behavior can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement– employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialog between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Take the next step in engagement initiatives. Harrison Assessments allow you to align employee intrinsic factors with organizational extrinsic factors to maximize engagement.

Assessment Use is the Foundation

Foundation – Is your foundation faultyUsing a good psychological assessment is the essential foundation for organizational success. A high quality assessment used at the point of hire enables you to have the greatest impact on performance, productivity and retention.

To be effective, an assessment must comprehensively assess both eligibility and Suitability and provide an overall score. Eligibility factors include previous experience, education, certifications, skills, abilities and reference checks, and aptitude. Suitability factors include attitude, motivation, interpersonal skills, task preferences, interests, and work environment preferences.

Some jobs such a computer programmers require a stronger emphasis on eligibility while other jobs such as customer service usually require a stronger emphasis on suitability.

However, regardless of the emphasis, it is essential to assess both eligibility and suitability in order to obtain an accurate overall assessment. Otherwise, you will only be looking at about half of the factors that create job success. If you fail to assess the other half and take both into consideration, it is very unlikely that you can make good hiring decisions.

In order to be effective, an assessment must provide a score for eligibility, a score for suitability and a total score.

This requires pre-defining how each of the suitability factors and each of the eligibility factors will impact the total score. Otherwise, each interviewer will guess at how each factor will impact job success and consequently, the value of the assessment will be compromised.

A good hiring assessment governs the entire process of recruitment and enables you to effectively pre-assess applicants, interview applicants and determine the best candidate. It not only structures the interview, it structures the entire recruitment process making the assessment much more systematic and accurate.

The Harrison Assessment can help you hire right the first time or develop your current team to fit their potential.

I Want My Brain Surgeon to be Nice

Brain SurgeonMost personality assessments take a broad view of what traits make someone good at work. They have a tendency to lump all jobs together as having the same requirements for success.

The buzz words for a good employee are things like…. “has empathy” or “works well with others”. One popular article lists The Top Twelve Traits of a Good Employee  with BEING POLITE, GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE, GOOD COMMUNICATOR and AVOIDING GOSSIP as part of the top twelve.

While I may desire these traits in my brain surgeon, I am not exactly sure if they are the “top” traits that are ESSENTIAL. I would prefer that my surgeon is skilled and also enjoys (is suitable for) doing “precise” tasks. I want Patch Adams….(RIP Robin Williams). I want all the skills and learning a surgeon has AND I want them to be nice and have empathy.

There needs to be a mix of eligibility traits and suitability traits involved in what makes up a good employee.

Eligibility factors include previous experience, education, certifications, skills, abilities and reference checks, and aptitude.

Suitability factors include attitude, motivation, interpersonal skills, task preferences, interests, and work environment preferences.

What the correct mix is DEPENDS upon what each individual job is and the tasks that the job requires for successful fulfillment. The mix will be different for different jobs.

Harrison Assessments are job specific in their analysis. The assessment formulas are based on 20 years of performance research and can be completely customized according to the job requirements. It can be used for recruitment as well as developing performance, engagement, retention and work satisfaction. It can be customized to measure any system of behavioral competencies providing an invaluable tool for developing or screening for behavioral competencies.

Best Results for Workplace Assessments

Workplace Assessments

Workplaces assessments are prevalent these days. Most are attempting to help firms identify employees and applicants who are more likely to achieve the best business results.

What does “best result” mean? Performance connected to profits?

If so, the good results will depend upon what the actual job entails doing. Therefore, a good workplace psychological assessment needs to be geared towards the actual job description.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists over 6500 occupational titles. Most psychological assessments used for hiring are basing their analysis on one or a few standard occupations or job titles. This may keep the results simple and unpredictable.

Companies often hire the wrong candidates or fail to hire the best candidates because they don’t have a systematic approach that measures ALL the qualifications and behavioral competencies needed to predict job success. Although most employers desire predictability, few companies have the time or expertise to create effective Job Success Formulas. However, the Harrison Assessment adapts itself to a wide variety of jobs making its predictability strong.

Harrison Assessments provides more than 6500 proven and pre-configured Job Success Formulas to help an organization easily and accurately assess the eligibility and suitability factors that lead to job success. The Harrison Assessment takes typically less than 30 minutes using an online questionnaire. It utilizes Enjoyment-Performance theory as well as Paradox Theory to gain a deep psychological understanding of what types of tasks someone will be successful and suitable in performing.

Employee Engagement – How is it measured?

A hot buzzword around the corporate water cooler is “Employee Engagement.” So exactly what does employee engagement mean? Employee engagement is that elusive term regarding how “hard” or “motivated” or “committed” someone is to the company, their individual job, a particular project or an activity the employee is required to make. How involved are they? How motivated are they? Are their bodies present but not their minds?

Employee Engagement

One person may want more empowerment, while another simply wants a bigger paycheck or more opportunities for growth, a third person may simply need to be listened to, a fourth may want recognition. These differing goals may require different actions to keep a person “engaged.”

Gallup measures employee engagement by tracking interviews conducted with 7,112 adults working for an employer. Gallup categorizes workers as engaged based on their responses to key workplace elements that it has found predict important organizational performance outcomes. Gallup’s extensive research shows that engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization’s financial success, including productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction. Engaged employees are also the ones who are the most likely to drive innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need.

Now you can measure intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement– employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

Take the next step in engagement initiatives and align employee intrinsic factors with organizational extrinsic factors to maximize engagement. Find out what your employees’ goals and motivators are and line them up with your company’s goals. Get everybody engaged. Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions can help you increase productivity and engagement.

There is No Need to Re-invent the Wheel… Trick it Out

Let's Not Reinvent the WheelToday’s labor market is competitive. Competitive in the sense that good people are hard to find. Gone are the days of putting up a help wanted sign in the window and having highly qualified applicant’s line up to get the job.

Once you do get someone hired, the costs of training and developing them are increasing more and more each day. So what can we do to hire the right people more efficiently? Do we stop putting out the “help wanted” signs all together? And what if the person you hire isn’t quite right for the job? Do you fire them and start again?

There is no need to re-invent the wheel here. Don’t throw out your selection and development processes. Trick them out! Bring them into the modern day. There are psychological tests (assessments) that are designed for the purpose of helping you select the best candidate for YOUR job.

Harrison Assessments offers an online tool that can help you select the “most likely to succeed” person tailored to your open position. They don’t just answer “is this person good?” They answer “will this person succeed in our company’s culture? Our company’s requirements? Our company’s labor demands?” They trick out the application process with a 30 minute on-line questionnaire that will automatically generate custom assessments using your unique job specific criteria while at the same time creating a clear consensus with other hiring stakeholders.

Tricked out wheel

First, the Harrison Assessment identifies the right criteria for a candidate made of the right stuff to have. The Harrison Assessment pre-employment screening targets your specific requirements for qualification. Next, each candidate is assessed and evaluated for these criteria, and assigned a quantified score for their level of attainment of the desired criteria. It measures eligibility factors such as education, experience and skills producing an overall “eligibility score” that saves up to 80% administration time by ranking the applicants according to eligibility. It eliminates the need to review resumes except for qualified candidates. Upon completing the questionnaire, a candidate is instantly scored, and all of the candidates’ scores are presented on a dashboard that recruiters can view and access 24/7/365.

In addition to making deeply informed recruiting and hiring decisions, employers utilizing Harrison’s Talent Acquisition Solutions reduce time to hire and minimize assessment costs. Most importantly, the system provides an overall score as a guideline for each step in the recruitment process ensuring the best candidates are hired.

Now that is a Tricked Out Wheel.

The Fourth CRUCIAL Step of Good Hiring

Fourth Step

Can you learn enough about a person in one interview to make a thoroughly good decision to hire? Most firms go through a three step process to hire someone.

Step 1- Gather Applications and sort to find five to ten good candidates.

Step 2- Run background check and possibly basic skill test.

Step 3- Interview the candidates. Each interview typically lasts less than an hour.

This is where most companies end the process. A supervisor or HR person talks to the person and based upon a short question and answer session decides which candidate they like best for the job.

But can you really determine who the best person for the job is based upon one good interview? Good frank chats are excellent. Most people try to do this during the interview but it is quite difficult due to the applicant having a vested interest in getting the job and the company having a vested interest in candidates they think are top candidates. This is a good part of the reason that interviews have proven to be least effective in predicting job success and job satisfaction.

Step 4 is one of the most CRUCIAL steps. The Hiring Assessment.

The Harrison Job Suitability Assessment measures 175 factors that can impact both job satisfaction and job performance. These are quantified and mapped out in order to obtain employee engagement, job satisfaction and retention. About 40-50 of those factors apply to a specific job.

It is very unlikely that the interviewer would successfully quantify even a portion of the factors during a frank discussion. When it comes to making high stakes decisions, having comprehensive high quality information is the key to success.

Our research and validation clearly show our assessment (has predictability up to 85% if both eligibility and suitability are assessed) to be many times more successful than interviews in predicting job success, retention and job satisfaction. Most importantly, having this important data mapped becomes the foundation for a frank discussion that will lead to a mutually beneficial employment relationship.

Good Team Alignment Might Need a Fresh Set of Eyes

Ever play that game where you are tied to a bunch of people and you have to perform a task or reach a goal together? Or capture the flag at the top of the “impossible for one person to climb” Totem pole game in which the only way to reach the top was to stand on each other’s shoulders?   It’s a difficult thing to get a team to successfully work together.

There needs to be a clear understanding of not only the goal or target of the team but the strategy or path the group wishes to follow to completion. Each person may have a slightly different view of what the goal is or what the process to achieve it looks like. And then there is the difficulty of perception versus reality. What we think we know about each other and our goals and processes may be very different than what really exists.

Given all these intricacies and complexities, you begin to wonder whether it is possible for a team to work together at all. However, we know that some teams do work and gets results.

What’s the secret? Good team engagement and alignment.   How can we achieve it? Bring in a fresh set of eyes and an assessment tool to help.

Harrison Assessments has developed a talent management solution that helps create a culture of engagement. HAI’s Engagement & Retention Analysis provides you with actionable data, based on leading indicators of employee expectations, to plan and align optimal strategies that will motivate employees at the individual, group and organization levels. In addition, the HA Team Paradox Report highlights the work styles of each team member as they relate to Paradox Theory. When these two reports are used together, it is like looking at opportunities for team building and development with new eyes.

A Harrison certified consultant brings a fresh set of eyes to your team development, helping you align everyone’s capabilities and passions with a clear strategy to achieve success.

Quit without Quitting?

I hate my job

You show up to work every day, sit at your desk, and start working. But are you really THERE? Are you engaged? And what about everybody else in your company? We can measure the action of “butt in seat,” but do we think about engagement? Are there people you work with who have quit the job but are still showing up just to occupy their seat? Who quit without quitting?

Culture and Accountability seem to be the latest buzz words in the seminar and leadership circuit. But what about ENGAGEMENT? You can set up a culture of benchmarking, measurement, openness, whatever your company decides is important, but if you don’t get engagement, you will still have stagnancy.

Organizations are continually challenged to identify ways to increase employee engagement. While changes in benefits, rewards, and compensation are often considered the best solution, engagement results seldom reflect significant improvement. Thus, the problem persists and organizations are not achieving their potential for enhanced engagement.

So how does a company drive participation? Harrison Assessments International (HAI) has identified intrinsic behavioral factors that drive individual engagement – employee motivators and attitudes!

  • Identify gaps between employee expectations and motivators
  • Facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager
  • Foster a shared responsibility for engagement
  • Create a culture of engagement

You can take the next step in engagement initiatives. Align employee intrinsic factors with organizational extrinsic factors to maximize engagement. Get your people to quit quitting and get back to productive, engaged work. Harrison Assessments International can help you begin the process.

The Critical 90 Days of a New Hire

Critical Hour - New Hire

Medical professionals talk about the “critical hour.” This is the first hour after someone has a heart attack. How the patient is treated in during the first 60 minutes can determine the difference between life and death.

While the first 90 days of a new hire are not the difference between life and death of a human being; the actions, experience and development of the employee during this time can determine whether the person stays in the job and is productive (lives) or leaves the job or is fired (dies).

According to the Academy of Management Journal in their article “Support, Undermining, and Newcomer Socialization: Fitting in During the First 90 Days“, early support and undermining may lay a foundation for later work outcomes. Whether negative or positive, with employers and co-workers during the first 90 days on the job can have a major impact on the employee experience; and these experiences may determine whether an employee decides to quit their job in the first 90 days or continue working for you.

The study revealed that employees who received high levels of support from both their employers and co-workers in the first 90 days developed a more positive attitude towards their jobs. On the other hand, new hires who felt ‘left out’ during the same time period performed poorly, often called in sick or simply quit.

The effort you put into how an employee is trained during the first 90 days is critical to retention and production. The Harrison Assessment Talent Development Solution can help you retain and develop your employee effectively so that they “live” beyond the 90 days.

The proprietary SmartQuestionnaire™ measures a full spectrum of workplace relevant issues in only 25 minutes. The Enjoyment Performance Methodology builds talent relationships by giving importance to what individual employees want and need, while at the same time identifying a comprehensive set of factors related to job specific performance. This results in accelerated development and increased return on investment.

Contact us to find out more about how the Harrison Assessment can help you look forward to the first 90 days.

All Business Problems are People Problems

All Business Problems are People Problems“All business problems are people problems.” My mentor said this to me. It was one of those universal statements that is used to begin a conversation. I must admit, I nodded my head in agreement and said, “Uh Huh” and blew it off (That Steven Covey selective listening thing).

Yet, this simple statement keeps ringing true. I challenge you to think of a problem your company is facing and prove that it ultimately DOES NOT come to “fixing the people” as the solution.

If there is a bad culture in your organization, it is usually because of someone or a group of people’s behavior. If there is a lack of trust in an organization, check the people involved. A lack of accountability? Check the attitudes and traits of the people working at the company.

Our machinery is old, outdated and is causing back-ups and bottle necks in production… how can that be a people problem? Who chose the machinery? Who is responsible for the capital budget? The maintenance of the equipment? Someone had to make the decision to not invest in new equipment, not budget for the future or not include in the price of the product the long-term capital allowance.

You say you have falling profits during a recession and that’s not a people problem? Check again. There are companies that weather the storm of economic downturns and sustain long term, because of the attitude of their PEOPLE. Innovation and creative new ways to produce a product or service come from THE PEOPLE.

So what is one of the most important decisions you make in the management of company? Who to hire. Finding the right person and putting them in the right position can fix a lot of problems your company has. Make a poor selection and you can magnify existing problems and or create new problems.

Your next biggest decision? How do I develop and retain my talent?

Harrison Assessments International does not take the hiring and development decision lightly. HAI offers a 30 minute online questionnaire that can help you choose the right person for the job and determine a developmental path that will result in success for them and for your company. Contact us to find out more.

Turnover- The Ants are Fleeing the Colony

Turnover - Ants Fleeing Colony

“Why is everybody leaving?” he said as he stomped into the office. “In the last four weeks we’ve lost two of our best middle managers and I just heard through the rumor mill we are going to lose two more!” Is this a familiar scene?

People don’t leave jobs, they leave people. The costs of a bad hire have typically been calculated by valuing the loss of training dollars, severance packages and the investment in the search for a replacement. But what if the “bad apple” you hired doesn’t get fired? What if they don’t quit? What if they STAY in the position?

Maybe your high turnover rate has nothing to do with your culture, your pay/reward structure or your project management and workload. Have you examined your staff? Perhaps someone you hired has QUIT without quitting. Their poor behavior and decision making can cause other GOOD employees to leave the company.

What is the real cost of a bad hire? It may be more than you realize.

Let’s say that as a result of a bad manager, a mid-level high performing executive leaves your team every year. If their yearly salary is $100,000 fully loaded, what does it cost to replace them? Studies estimate that the monetary cost of replacing an executive can be 200% of their annual salary.  That means that in addition to the wage you are paying the Bad Apple, you are paying approximately $200,000 a year.

Even if you don’t agree with the numbers, you get the idea. The bad apples can be hard to see. A jobfit hiring assessment can help you choose and develop your employees wisely. A small investment today can result in a high return of a satisfied, engaged, committed and long term work force. What is that worth? Priceless.

Harrison Assessments offers a host of talent management solutions that can help you find the right hire or develop your talent within.

Blood Test for Sick Employees

 

Blood vialsIf you had a worker who came into your office and said they weren’t feeling well, you would ask him what his symptoms were. If you walked up to their cubicle and saw their head down on the desk you would ask them what was wrong? If they were continuously sick you would send them to a medical professional and that professional would most likely order a blood test to determine what the TRUE CAUSE of the sickness is.

What do you do if you sense the employee is not happy? Not performing well? They don’t have the physical signs of a problem and yet there are warning signs that something is wrong. Perhaps their work performance is declining. Perhaps there are complaints from their colleagues about things they have said or have done that are not quite right.

We have all sorts of diagnostic material out there to measure their “performance”. Benchmarking, project management, accountability measurements, six sigma, LEAN targets and Just in Time goals and scoring. But what do you do when you have identified that you have a problem? Yup, things are declining, things are bad, this employee is not what they used to be… Now What?… What is next?

We don’t have Doctors that can fix the employee/work patient. Okay, we have some people out there who think they can coach and inspire better behavior, but how do they figure out WHAT to coach?

Is there a BLOOD TEST for employee performance and development that can figure out what might be wrong?

There is. Psychological assessments, such as the Harrison Assessment, which are job specific and measure task enjoyment and the possible negative behavior triggers are the Blood Test that can help diagnose the issues. The Harrison Assessment offers insightful reports that can help you get a better understanding of what challenges your employees and teams are currently facing and how you can help them navigate their way towards better health. Learn more or contact us to get your blood test started.

Don’t Judge a Book (Job Candidate) by its Cover (Resume)

Don't Judge a Candidate by their Resume

My momma told me to never judge a book by its cover and to never choose a mate solely based upon looks. If you want someone for show, pick the ones that look good. If you want a reliable, trustworthy person of integrity than you cannot choose based upon looks alone.

Your employment decision works the same way. You can choose a candidate strictly off of the paper resume and how high they score on a skills test….OR… you can take it one step further. Dig deeper into the inside of their book by using an assessment and interview process. Find out whether a particular candidate is going to be reliable, dedicated, and passionate enough. Will she have the integrity to work in your company’s culture? Look beyond the pretty picture of the spiffed up resume and first interview clothing. Choosing the right person can help alleviate the pain of turnover.

Dating sites such as E-Harmony and Match.com understand this principle. That’s why each person is asked to fill out a questionnaire about themselves and what they are looking for in a mate. Hiring assessments are an excellent tool that can help you read the “inside” of the potential hire. They ask the candidate about themselves. They give you a peek on the inner motivations of a candidate and can predict how suitable a person may be for a particular position.

Job specific assessments are even more powerful in that they can predict what tasks a person finds enjoyable performing and whether they will be successful in a current position or one they aspire to having. The Harrison Assessment offers a job specific method that can not only help you hire the right person, but can help you come up with a development plan that will help your current employees improve performance.

8 Best Practices of Job Suitability Assessments

Best Practices

1. Hire for job specific behaviors
Research conducted by Harrison Assessments® formulates different sets behavioral factors for more than 650 job types. Each job type also has different behavioral requirements depending on the required management level and experience level. Consequently, by uniquely calibrating management responsibility and experience levels, the Harrison system offers more than 6500 “Job Success Formulas” that predict success for the specific job. Organizations can also make adjustments based upon their unique key performance factors.

2. Measure qualifications (eligibility)
Some recruiters make the mistake of hiring people only for their qualifications, resulting in bad hires related to behavioral weaknesses. Other recruiters make the mistake of over-emphasizing behavioral factors by eliminating people only on the basis of their behavioral assessments. Sometimes they even unfairly eliminate candidates based on a single behavioral factor. Behavioral assessments should be part of the overall assessment that includes qualifications such as experience, education, and skills. That’s why the Harrison system provides a unique eligibility assessment that complements the suitability assessment, providing an overall score for better hiring and succession planning.

3. Hire for engagement
Although personality can be part of engagement, personality tests do not effectively measure engagement. The Harrison Suitability Profile measures the alignment between the job/organization and the employee’s goals/aspirations. It reveals psychological conditions that translate to engagement for specific jobs enabling organizations to hire for engagement, as well as develop engagement for specific employees, resulting in increased discretionary effort and retention

4. Hire for Retention
Hiring top talent without being able to retain that talent has little value. That’s why the Harrison Suitability Profile is also designed to measure likely job satisfaction for specific jobs incorporating retention into its suitability score and providing reports that empower managers to retain top talent.

5. Enhance the interview
The Harrison recruitment system provides a framework that keeps interviewers focused on the eligibility and suitability factors that lead to job success. With just a short training course, interviewers are empowered to elicit disclosure and honesty resulting in exceptional clarity for decision-making, positive talent relationships and greater retention.

6. Replicate your top performers with benchmarking
The Harrison system has an integrated research engine that enables you to pinpoint the success factors for jobs with 30 or more employees. This highly sophisticated technology performs hundreds of thousands of calculations unveiling the exact success factors and derailers related to specific jobs. The resulting formula is highly predictive for recruitment and highly effective for employee development.

7. Customize for your behavioral competencies
The Harrison system is the only system that can be customized to measure your organization’s unique behavioral competencies and/or core values. The Harrison reports will reflect your behavioral competency names and concepts when hiring, developing, or promoting employees.

8. Legal Compliance and Protection
Don’t settle for legal compliance. Personality tests are a grey area of the law because the general factors are not job specific and their related questions often invite legal challenges. Many recent lawsuits related to personality tests resulted in large settlements. Since the Harrison Suitability Assessment is entirely focused on job requirements and the questions are entirely work related, it clearly meets employment laws and prevents lawsuits.

Measuring Suitability

Measuring Suitability

For most jobs, suitability/behavioral factors are about 50% of the reason people succeed or fail at a job. Therefore, effectively measuring suitability is an essential part of a good assessment.

The importance of assessing behavior during recruitment is evidenced by the fact that most organizations hire people for their eligibility and then try to develop their suitability. And in many cases, they fire them for their lack of suitability.

Since behavior is fundamentally more difficult to change than eligibility, it is better to hire people who already have the right suitability for the job.

Recruiters and line managers often do not carefully analyze how to evaluate the combination of eligibility factors. This leads to confusion and miscommunication, as each party is likely to have a different idea when it comes to selecting whom to interview and whom to hire.

In addition, this lack of clarity makes it especially difficult to use other assessments. For example, if you are using behavioral assessments, unless you are able to know the person’s level of eligibility, how can you make an overall determination?

Recruiters and line managers must be able to determine how these two aspects combine in order to make effective decisions.

Suitability/behavioral factors are more difficult to assess because, unlike eligibility factors, there is no objective and verifiable information that is readily available. In addition, suitability factors are much more interrelated, and subtle balances between factors have significant implications for behavior.

To make it even more challenging, applicants have a significant incentive to withhold or distort information that might hinder their job opportunity.

This is highlighted by a recent study that determined that 80% of resumes contained lies.

In many cases, people are not even fully aware of their behaviors. In addition, the behavioral requirements for each job type are very different.

The behaviors required for a technical expert, manager, office administer, customer representative or salesperson are all very different.

Not only is it unlikely that a recruiter will have a complete grasp of the combination of behavioral factors related to job success for each job, it is much more unlikely that the recruiter can accurately assess each applicant related to each factor.

Considering the above, it is no wonder that interviews have a low ability to predict behavior.

Behavioral assessments have a much better chance of gaining insight into behavior/suitability because they have a pre-designed strategy that structures questions and carefully considers interpretations of the questions. However, to be effective, behavioral assessments must:

  • measure a large number of factors;
  • effectively manage lie prevention and detection;
  • produce results related to specific jobs;
  • offer an overall job specific score that guides interpretation.

The best suitability assessments measure a wide range of different types of factors including motivation, attitudes, work preferences, work values, work environment preferences, and interests.

In doing so, you can capture all the important suitability factors related to job success. A behavioral assessment that focuses only on personality will have significant gaps that will hinder its ability to predict job success.

The Harrison Assessment results in a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management lifecycle—from recruiting and hiring … to performance management … to learning and development … to leadership development and succession planning … to team building.

Employers can strengthen their Decision Analytics even further by tailoring our assessment to their specific jobs. Harrison Assessments makes this easy by providing them with more than 6,500 Job Success Formulas and a Job Analysis Toolkit.

ROI of HATS

ROI

What is The Return on Investment from Using a Good Hiring Assessment?
By Andrew Hodges

Is it worth it to pay for a good hiring assessment? I can only go on my own experience and my answer is absolutely!

In another life I was a General Manager for an Engineering consulting firm. (I had no experience in this field I have purely commercial background) When I started we had 8 staff, after 12 months we had 18 staff. All of the new employees were employed via the Harrison JobFit Assessment. The existing staff had also been through the process as well.

Before I arrived the business was stuck on 6 – 8 staff and stuck on the $0.5M -$08M revenue stream for 4 years prior to me arriving.

Our company went from a revenue base of $0.8M to $2.5M in 12 months. Profits more than tripled! I even got a $20,000 bonus for achieving what was thought to be very stretch targets. We were a finalist for the fastest growing company in 2013. (BDO fastest movers comp – independent data verification process.) We introduced new services, (including Harrison Assessments to our clients) and had the right people in the right role, staff and customers loved our new culture. I drove the business with new systems and processes as well. All this was done on straight cash flow. No outside funding was involved.

Of course not everything about our success can be attributed to HATS; however, it was a major component in the rebuild process.

As you can see, that’s quite a return on investment. HATS allowed me to grow this business fast by helping me put the right people in the right “seats on the bus”. I used all the HATS tools – recruiting, development, benchmarking, and coaching for success. I focused on the tools and learned how HATS works.

I was so impressed by the return on the investment in the Harrison Assessment that I started my own business, Hodges Advisory Services and provide HATS services to a wide range of clients. The ROI for using HATS is priceless for my clients, as it helps them not only in their working lives but in their private lives as well.

 

 

Suitability Tell

Most people who fill out a job application don’t come with billboard signs, banners or instructions. They are also not 100% sure of what they want in a job. So how can you tell if someone is suitable for a particular position?

Suitability/behavioral factors are more difficult to assess because, unlike eligibility factors, there is no objective and verifiable information that is readily available. In addition, suitability factors are much more interrelated, and subtle balances between factors have significant implications for behavior.

Many people use simple personality tests that measure only four to ten factors, thinking that they are easy to use. However, these tests are actually very difficult to use because they don’t provide reports related to specific jobs with an overall score. Consequently, there is no way to effectively interpret the results. Such tests are extremely unlikely to predict job success because they don’t measure enough factors.

Harrison Assessments International’s research indicates that there are at least thirty behavioral factors that impact success for any one job and only a small portion of behavioral factors that are measured actually relate to success for a specific job. HAI measures a total of 175 traits which are all job related out of which 25% to 30% at most of these traits will relate to job success/performance for a given job. Further to this, traits are categorized into Essential (must haves) , Desirable (Nice to have) and Derailers (negative traits to avoid)

This can be confirmed by your own experience. For example, you probably do about five to ten different types of main tasks related to your job—which you either like or dislike—such as initiating projects, organizing information, doing precision-type tasks, teaching others, presenting to groups, etc.

In addition, there are probably about five to ten different organization criteria related to your job preferences such as the desire for autonomy, the desire for authority, the tendency to be innovative, the willingness to lead others and the motivation related to challenges.

There are also likely to be at least five to ten areas of interpersonal skills that are required for your job.

For example, you may need to effectively enforce rules, deal with conflicts, receive corrective feedback, communicate directly and respectfully, be warm and empathetic, be outgoing or be cheerful.

If you lacked any of these things, it could easily affect your performance. If you lacked certain interests related to your job, such as an interest in people, computers, or science, it is unlikely that you will be fully engaged with your work.

If you had a strong aversion to any one of numerous different things in your work environment such as excessive noise, working closely in teams or sitting for long periods, your performance could be affected.

Consider also, these issues are different for different jobs.

It should be pretty obvious from this reflection that behavioral assessments need to measure many different factors and the results need to be job-specific. There are at least thirty different factors related to success for each job and each job type has a different set of factors.

How can we imagine that only a few personality factors can predict behavior of a wide range of jobs? To measure behavior related to a wide variety of jobs, you need to measure at least one hundred factors and preferably one hundred fifty. From this base, the thirty+/- job-specific factors can be tabulated to effectively predict success and offer optimum growth and coaching opportunities.

In order to be effective, personality tests should not repeatedly duplicate the same traits or factors across various jobs. Essentially it fails to differentiates one job to another by doing so.

By now you might be thinking this is pretty complicated. You are right! It is too complicated to effectively do without a comprehensive and strategic behavioral assessment. Fortunately, the Harrison Assessment has done performance research and formulated sets of factors for specific jobs. You only need to review the suggested factors for your job to confirm that it fits the job requirements.

In addition, if you have thirty or more people in the same job, you can even request the test developer to research the key factors for your specific job. Computer technology makes this straightforward. You will need to provide performance ratings for your existing employees in order for the test developer to determine the factors that relate to job success.

The Harrison Job Suitability Assessment takes all of these factors and much more into consideration when helping you find the right candidate for the position.

Measuring Eligibility of a Job Candidate

Measuring Eligibility - Square Peg in a Round Hole

In previous blogs we discussed why assessments should focus on factors related to success for specific jobs and not include irrelevant factors.

In addition, you should consider if the assessment or assessments cover all the important factors that relate to specific job success.If all the important factors are not included and formulated, there will be significant gaps that reduce the accuracy and usefulness of the assessment.

For example, if a person’s typing speed or writing skills are important for a job and you fail to measure them, you will have a significant gap that prevents you from accurately predicting job success.

There are two types of factors that need to be assessed: eligibility and suitability.

Eligibility relates to the individual’s previous experience, educational qualifications and various skills or abilities necessary to perform in the job. Suitability relates to behavioral issues such as preferences, tendencies, attitudes and behavioral competencies necessary to perform well in the job.Both are very important for nearly every job.

Eligibility tends to be somewhat more important for technical jobs and suitability tends to be somewhat more important for jobs that require more people skills such as customer service or sales.

Many organizations assess eligibility factors by setting minimum requirements. This only helps to eliminate the people who don’t meet the requirements, but it does nothing to determine which of the applicants are BEST qualified. By quantifying each candidate’s level of eligibility you can identify the candidates who are most eligible.

For some jobs you also may wish to use specific tests related to eligibility.

For example, you may wish to determine the person’s language ability, numerical reasoning, typing speed or software skills. Such assessments should usually take place later in the recruitment process because they are more expensive to administer and often more time-consuming to complete. However, if the assessment is fairly short and not very costly to administer, then it can be given earlier in the process.

Keep in mind that it is better to avoid eligibility testing or eligibility factors that can reasonably be learned from training. For example, if you need someone to use a specific software package that only takes a short time to learn, it is better not to use that as an eligibility factor or eligibility test.
To assess eligibility, first determine what the eligibility factors are:

  1. What education is required?
  2. What previous experience is required?
  3. What skills are required that are not assured by education or experience?

Make a list of all the core factors. Avoid long lists of small details. Five to ten factors are usually best.

Then weight each factor according to how important it is in relation to the other factors. Review each factor and analyze what it means when the applicant has different levels of that factor.

What is the ideal level of each factor? What is the minimum level of each factor for which candidates should be rejected even if they are perfect in each of the other factors? For each level of each factor that is less than ideal, indicate the number of points you would subtract from one hundred.In doing this exercise before showing the other stakeholders (recommended to avoid lengthy discussions) you will find that there are many things that were previously either vague or not considered in your selection process.  After discussion, these things can become clarified and you will have real alignment with the other stakeholders, as well as an effective means of evaluating eligibility.

Software is readily available to make the process of weighting and scoring eligibility factors easy. You can even automate your recruitment process by asking an online targeted question for each factor. The online questionnaire can score the result and you can immediately see the eligibility score. This also provides an extra advantage of being able to quickly identify the best talent.

In many cases you can start the interview process right away, making it more likely that you can recruit the top talent before your competitors do.

The Harrison Assessment combined with a comprehensive eligibility assessment can help predict the success of a potential hire. The Harrison JobFit Assessments are designed specifically to measure job success probability.

Tell the Truth — Ever Lie on a Job Application? (I bet you did)

Lie on Job Application

Most people who fill out a job application don’t tell the truth.

They may deliberately lie in order to not reveal something they think may disqualify them for the job, or they may not know the truth about themselves enough to even realize they are lying.

A good comprehensive behavioral assessment needs to have an effective means to elicit truthful answers and determine areas in which the person is either confused or giving untruthful answers.

Behavioral assessments have different ways to do this. Some attempt to determine the reliability of answers by offering two words or statements along with a third answer option that always states “in between.” If the person answers too many items as “in between,” the results are considered unreliable.

While this may sometimes give some indication of answer reliability, it is a very ambiguous and questionable method, since in many cases the most truthful answer IS “in between.” For example, “Are you extroverted, introverted or in between?”

There are other much more effective mechanisms that help to obtain truthful answers.

First, focusing on work-related preferences demonstrates a concern for what is important to the applicant or employee and thus reduces the tendency to skew answers.

In addition, if various work preference statements are required to be ranked within a group of other statements, the applicant or employee is forced to give their priorities. If the statements appear more than once but in different groups, it can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to gather extensive behavioral information while at the same time detect the consistency of the person’s answers.

This ranking method can also help to prevent deception if the items ranked are all positive items in which it is difficult to say which ones are better. Even if individuals attempt to give the “right” answer, their own behavior patterns tend to dictate which answers they consider are right.

For example, if a person tends to be very frank and direct, he/she will consider this tendency to be a virtue as well as a desirable answer.

You might ask, “If all the items are positive, how can an assessment determine negative factors?” The extent of counter-productive tendencies can be determined by analyzing the paradoxical relationships between the positive factors without asking any negative questions and without the person having the  extroverted, introverted or in between?”

There are other much more effective mechanisms that help to obtain truthful answers. First, focusing on work-related preferences demonstrates a concern for what is important to the applicant or employee and thus reduces the tendency to skew answers. In addition, if various work preference statements are required to be ranked within a group of other statements, the applicant or employee is forced to give their priorities. If the statements appear more than once but in different groups, it can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to gather extensive behavioral information while at the same time detect the consistency of the person’s answers.

Behavior is typically very tricky to assess due to its paradoxical nature. It might appear that we can look at a single attribute in and of itself in order to determine if that attribute is positive. However, if an attribute doesn’t have other balancing factors, it becomes a negative factor. For example, being highly motivated to achieve is nearly always considered to be a good characteristic. A single trait in itself is never a strength or a weakness. It has to be analyzed relative to its complementary or paradoxical pair in order to gain an accurate insight. However, if it is not balanced with appropriate people skills, stress management and the tendency to explore all important issues before taking action, the would-be positive factor actually becomes a negative factor.

In another example, being direct, straightforward and truthful can be important for effective communication.

However, when not balancing communication with tact and respect, the would- be positive tendency becomes a serious hindrance.

These balances are different for different jobs. For example, customer service jobs require a stronger emphasis on tactfulness whereas managers will generally perform better with a balance between the two. By considering the paradoxical relationship between traits, such imbalances can be accurately measured without having to ask any negative questions.

Employees need to obtain insight into how their behaviors affect their specific job.

From the employer’s point of view, it is essential to obtain an accurate measurement of a wide range of potentially counter-productive factors such as being dogmatic, easily influenced, defensive, self-critical, impulsive, blindly optimistic, skeptical, overly cautious, logical, illogical, stubborn, scattered, authoritarian, defers decisions, under achiever, stressed achiever, permissive, punitive, resistant to change, addicted to change, rebellious, insensitive, blunt, evasive, over sensitive, and many more.This is critical for making hiring decisions and just as important for employee development and team development.

The Harrison Assessment for job suitability helps identify these paradoxical relationships as well as measure suitability for a particular job description.

Consistent Scoring and Accurate Employment Decisions… Through an Assessment?

There are a lot of assessments available today. So how do you choose which one is right for you? Start with what you want to accomplish by giving the assessment.

Skills assessments help answer the question, “Can the person do their specific job effectively?”

Cognitive assessments evaluate a person’s mental ability and aptitude in relationship to a job. Does the person have the intellectual “horsepower” required for the job?

Behavioral assessments answer the question “Will the person behave in ways that generate success in their specific job?” Does the person have the willingness to perform the tasks required to be successful in their specific job.

Multi-rater or 360 assessments gather information about how others perceive an individual’s capabilities and competencies.

It is Ability vs Passion. While all of these assessments can be useful and often should be used in combination, behavioral assessment can have the greatest impact on attracting, developing and retaining talent.

It is essential that the test developer produces an overall score related to likelihood of success for your specific job so that recruiters or line managers can accurately interpret the results.

In order to be effective, behavioral assessments must be job focused and measure job or performance related factors.

Multi-rater 360’s often are over generalized. Furthermore, each factor measured in multi-rater 360’s are not impact weighted to job specific performance.

Assessments that provide only a series of scores without an overall score have little value and lead to poor hiring decisions.

For example, if an applicant scores reasonably well on all of the assessed factors but one, should the recruiter eliminate the applicant or consider it to be only a minor hindrance? If this is not provided by the test developer, recruiters and line managers can only guess. This is often the case with behavioral assessments.

An overall score also enables others to determine the accuracy of the test. The overall score related to specific jobs is also critical to enable test developers to effectively weight and configure the assessment to predict job success.

Consider an actual case example:

A large retail chain used a cognitive assessment as part of their overall assessment for hiring branch managers. They naturally decided to give preference to applicants with the highest scores. However, after a period of time, they discovered that many of the people hired were not successful. An analysis of the data showed that, in fact, employees with very high scores were unlikely to succeed and that employees with moderate scores were the most likely to succeed.

The assessment was then calibrated to interpret the likelihood of success for that specific job. Only then was it able to be useful in the assessment process. Because the assessment provider did not calibrate its assessment for the specific job or even suggest that it needed to be done, the company suffered significant losses, at least hundreds of thousand dollars if not millions. This amount of loss would have dwarfed the cost of the assessment itself and the company would have been far better off to find a test developer who understood the importance of calibrating assessments for specific jobs, especially when hiring in such large quantities.

Even Organizational Psychologists are unable to effectively interpret such tests without analyzing a significant sample of test results in relationship to performance for a specific job. In order to clearly understand how to interpret reports for specific jobs, a large amount of data is required.

However, recruiters and line managers generally don’t have access to a sufficient amount of data, and even if they did, few would have the ability to effectively analyze the data.

Unfortunately most off-the-shelf assessments do not provide job-specific scores related to predicted job performance because it is expensive to develop. Any assessment without such features should be avoided.

The Harrison JobFit Assessments takes all of these factors and considerations into account.

Assessment Results… Are they related to your purpose?

Assessments Results – Purpose

There are many types of assessments and each has its own purpose.

A critical consideration in selecting an assessment is to use an assessment that fits your purpose. If you are attempting to hire, develop, promote, and retain talent, the assessments must produce reports that are related to the requirements of the job.

Does the assessment use the same set of factors for every job? If that is the case, it is very unlikely to effectively predict job success.

In order to predict job success the assessment must be job-specific. For example, many personality tests use the same set of personality factors for every job. The majority of these factors are likely to be irrelevant to job success for any one job.

How can recruiters or line managers know how to use such information when it is not job specific? Using such assessments is not only counter-productive, it violates hiring ethics, and in many cases, legal guidelines.

The things being measured and considered when making employment decisions must be specific to the job and not confused with things that don’t relate to success for that job. This eliminates many off-the-shelf assessments, but it is just common sense. However, some off-the-shelf assessments are able to be configured to the job and even offer performance research related to success for a large variety of job types.

Considering norms for factors that are unrelated to job success reduces diversity, which is important for having a variety of viewpoints to make better decisions.

Some assessment providers show norms related to their assessment scores. At first glance this may seem to help interpretation. However, it usually causes misinterpretations. If the factor is not related to job success, there is no value in knowing the norm.

If the norm is presented as an ideal range, this also creates confusion since no one really wants to hire people who are average.
The Harrison Assessment results in a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management life cycle — from recruiting and hiring… to performance management… to learning and development… to leadership development and succession planning… to team building.

Employers can strengthen their Decision Analytics even further by tailoring our assessment to their specific jobs. Harrison Assessments makes this easy by providing them with more than 6,500 Job Success Formulas and a Job Analysis Toolkit.

Award-Winning Job Suitability Assessment Revolutionizes Personality Testing

Personality TestingPersonality tests are increasingly popular due to the importance of understanding how an employee or job candidate will behave. Since poor performance has been usually related to behavioral issues, measuring job behavior is essential. However, most personality tests are very general, usually measuring only 5-10 personality factors which are used for every job.

In contrast, Harrison Assessments’ award winning suitability assessment is designed to measure engagement, motivation, interpersonal skills and retention factors related to specific jobs. The 20 minute Smart Questionnaire™ measures 175 factors, but only a sub-set of about 30-40 factors are relevant to analyze suitability for a specific job. However, for any job there will be a different mix of factors with research based weighting associated with each.

Why is job-specific suitability testing so important? The 5-10 factors measured by most personality tests are not sufficient for a wide variety of jobs.

For example, technical jobs typically require employees to be detail-oriented, and systematic. Sales positions typically require employees to be convincing, self-confident, and self-motivated. Customer service positions typically require employees to be efficient, helpful, warm and positive. Management positions typically require a leader to be strategic, resourceful, and inter-personally skilled.

Even within the same job type, the required behaviors can be quite different. For example, some management positions are operational in nature and emphasize behaviors such as following structure, being organized, and enforcing rules. Other management positions are entrepreneurial in nature, and emphasize behaviors such as creativity, initiative, collaboration, adaptability, and personal drive.

Sales positions can also greatly vary. Some sales positions require systematically hunting for new customers and persisting with cold calls. Other sales positions focus on building client relationships, upselling, or efficiently servicing the customer.

In addition, each job has a different set of “derailers” or personal characteristics that can obstruct one’s success. It defies logic to suggest that one set of 5-10 personality factors calibrated in the same way for every job could be effective in predicting or developing job specific success.

FOCUS: Key Question One for Assessment Valuation

focus

In determining whether an assessment is good for your organization, the first key question to ask whether the assessment is work focused and presented in a manner that builds the confidence of applicants and employees?

Consider how an assessment and the assessment process will impact applicants and/or employees. While this is often ignored when considering assessments, it remains one of the most important issues.

It should be made clear that feedback is something to consider and explore based on others’ perceptions, rather than facts.

For example, it is very popular to use 360 feedback assessments in which employees are rated by their subordinates, boss, peers, and self — according to their fulfillment of different behavioral competencies. Although this can be an effective method to help develop employees, the questions should be clear and job-relevant. It should be indicated how important each question is to the specific job. Avoid too many redundant or overlapping questions that cause rater fatigue and confusion as to how to interpret the results.

Since managers need to make decisions that are not necessarily popular, the questions and subsequent interpretations should avoid undermining management authority. We suggest using questions related to paradoxical behavioral competencies to avoid the confusion of trying to interpret if a competency is “overused.” Paradoxical behavioral competency approach examines the presence of balances and imbalances that leads to strengths or non-strengths for a given attribute. This approach stands in opposition to the possibility of ‘overused’ competencies being open to subjective interpretation by untrained users.

Finally, and most importantly, the results of the 360 survey should be given in a one-to-one setting by a qualified coach. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of creating many unnecessary upsets that could decrease morale and retention.

Using assessments for recruitment also needs careful attention to avoid unintended consequences. For example, some companies require all applicants to go through a long assessment process of one to two hours when they first apply for a job. Applicants are put through mind bending aptitude tests only to find out 2 rounds later that they are unsuitable!

At this point in the hiring process, the applicants have not received any indication as to whether the company has any real interest in them for the job. This is counter-productive because you not only pay for unnecessary assessments but you also may cause the most talented people to look elsewhere for employment.

After all, this group of people will nearly always have several employment opportunities. Even if the most talented applicants do complete such assessments, their first impression is likely to be one in which they perceive your company as being inconsiderate. This bad impression could easily become a factor related to them choosing another company.

If you wish to automate the assessment process, there are much better ways to do it. Assessment technology is currently available for you to ask several targeted questions related to applicants’ core qualifications such as their experience, education and skills when they apply online. The results can be automatically scored and the applicants sorted according to which ones are most qualified. This takes less than five minutes of their time and applicants are happy to provide this information because it enables them to receive quick feedback about the status of their application.

Some systems can even immediately inform applicants that they are being considered for the job and request them to take the next step of the assessment process – all without any human intervention.

This process gives an excellent impression of your company and encourages the best talent to continue the application process. This can also save a great deal of time by allowing you to focus on the most qualified applicants, reduce the number of interviews required, and provide automated response emails to less qualified applicants.

The Harrison Assessment for job success takes all these factors into consideration. It is focused, direct and presented in a manner that builds the confidence of applicants and employees.  Stay tuned for four more key questions to ask in reviewing assessments.

Watch out for MONDAYS — Happiness at work

Heart Attack Mondays – Happiness at Work

Can Happiness at your job affect your health? Watch out for Mondays.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra answered the question, “Why do more heart attacks and sudden deaths occur on Monday than on any other day of the week?”

“According to researchers, an ‘outpouring’ of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, occurs within working people on Mondays. These findings were substantiated in a study of 683 patients, predominantly middle-aged men with implanted defibrillators and a history of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias…

“What I find provocative about the study is that its participants showed a prominent peak in arrhythmias on Mondays — 21 percent of episodes — even if they were no longer working! That was followed by a mid-week decline in arrhythmias and a second peak on Fridays. Not surprisingly, Saturdays and Sundays saw a 50 percent lower arrhythmia rate than did Mondays.”

People generally have fun and enjoy their weekends; then comes Monday, and they dread going to work. They start thinking about the job that they hate, the boss they can’t stand, the company’s ethical values they don’t agree with. This is very stressful.

In order to avoid this stress, you may consider finding a job you enjoy doing, changing the responsibilities and tasks in your current position or changing your culture at work.

That’s not an easy thing to do; however, there are tools and professional coaches out there who can help.

Harrison Assessments offer some effective tools that can assist you in your efforts to improve. A simple 30 minute online questionnaire can guide you in your efforts. We have professional leadership and developmental coaches trained to brief you on the results and help you and your organization improve.

Does Happiness at Work REALLY Matter?

Happiness at Work

Susan Adams writes in Forbes:

“We often hear that a happy workplace is a great place for productivity. But is that claim just happy talk? Don’t happy workers have a tendency to become complacent and goof off?

“A book by employee engagement consultants Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, ALL IN: How the Best Managers Create a Culture of Belief and Drive Big Results, claims to have gathered empirical evidence to back up the idea that happy workers are more productive. To be clear, Gostick and Elton don’t quite use the word ‘happy.’ Rather, they talk about workers who answer ‘yes’ to a triumvirate of questions, or what the authors call the E+E+E. The Es stand for engaged, enabled and energized. Engaged means the employee is attached to the company and willing to put out extra effort. Enabled means that the company environment supports the employee’s productivity and performance, and energized means that the employee feels a sense of well-being and drive.

“The empirical evidence comes from a database compiled by research firm Towers Watson, collected during 2009 and 2010 from 700 companies. Towers Watson looked at 25 companies with a total of 303,000 employees that displayed what the authors call ‘high-performance business results.’ That meant operating margins of better than 27% during a time when the economy was struggling. The authors claim those companies had margins that were three times higher than companies with low engagement scores.”

The Harrison Assessment operates with the belief that people perform better when they are doing tasks that they enjoy. If more than 25% of your tasks at work are not enjoyable you will most likely be unhappy and will be more likely to disengage. This disengagement often results in a loss of productivity.

So how does an employer engage, energize and enable their employees more effectively? The Harrison Assessment can give you a guide to attraction, engagement and retention of an employee. A 30 minute online questionnaire results in many reports that can help you find the right people, develop your current employees and ultimately increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

Making Sense of Assessments

Making Sense of Assessments

The investment spent on recruiting, developing, and retaining employees represents a significant portion of an organization’s budget. The direct and indirect costs of a bad hire or promotion are well known. Multiple studies have shown the cost of a bad hire to be as much as three to four times the individual’s annual salary. Additionally, as Gallup® and others have documented, too many employees just don’t perform at expected levels, are not fully engaged, or unnecessarily choose to move to other companies.

In light of this business challenge, it is no wonder there has been a strong trend in the increased use of assessments to acquire, develop, and promote the best talent. However, with this trend has come significant confusion about how to choose assessments and how to best use them to obtain a competitive advantage.

When choosing and using assessments to attract, develop, promote, and retain talent……. the most effective and defensible is a behavioral assessment.

A good assessment to use in the workplace should:

  • identify and attract top talent;
  • reduce the amount of time required for recruitment;
  • predict job success much more accurately than using only interviews;
  • reduce training costs;
  • identify and develop behavioral competencies and core values;
  • identify management behaviors that develop and retain talent;
  • identify best placement for succession planning;
  • protect you from lawsuits; and
  • facilitate effective teamwork.

When evaluating assessments, there are six key questions that must be considered.

  1. Is the assessment work focused and presented in a manner that builds the confidence of applicants and employees?
  2. Does the assessment produce results that relate to job performance for the specific jobs?
  3. Does the assessment produce an overall score enabling recruiters and line managers to make consistent and accurate employment decisions?
  4. Does the assessment process measure all the important factors related to success for the job?
  5. Is the assessment legal and ethical?
  6. Is the assessment valid and predictive?

Dan Harrison took all these factors into consideration and developed a job success behavioral assessment that offers a suite of solutions that meets this criteria. A simple 30 minute digital questionnaire results in approximately 635,000 data points.

The Harrison Assessment has been painstakingly constructed using several psychological methodologies that prevent deception, reveal whether behavioral tendencies are actually strengths or derailers (aka Paradox Technology), and measure both eligibility (education, experience, and skills) and suitability (job related behavior).

As a result, employers who use our assessment receive a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management life cycle — from recruiting and hiring… to performance management… to learning and development… to leadership development and succession planning… to team building.

Where will your next LEADER come from?

Passing the Baton - Succession PlanningThe recent Great Recession caused companies to cut a lot of middle management jobs. The cuts were viewed as necessary by many organizations for them to remain in business. The duties of the middle managers were spread out to the people above and below them.

Now that times are getting better, organizations are feeling the long term effects of this change. There is no longer the large pool of candidates to pull from for leadership positions. The relatively small number of middle management positions makes it even more imperative that the right choice for leadership development is made. Managing the talent pipeline is more critical than ever.

A potential successor to the current leader should undergo an assessment in key areas, including Skill set and Suitability. Can they do the job? And will they enjoy and be good at it? How mobile are they to relocate? Are they willing to go where the jobs are? How keen are they on role enhancement? Are they doing it for personal growth or monetary remuneration?

It is critical for employers to systematically assess job eligibility (experience, education, and skills) along with all the important behavioral suitability factors such as attitudes, motivations, interpersonal skills, interests, work values, and work preferences.

Although most employers would agree on the importance of a comprehensive and systematic approach for succession planning, few companies have the time or expertise to create the necessary integrated technology that will measure and track eligibility and suitability factors, as well as allow for incorporation of multiple data points, including performance results.

Does your company have a talent readiness reporting management system that behaves like an internal job board system filtering and ranking your most eligible, suitable and mobility ready talent for your decision making?

You need an easy way to identify your “diamonds in the rough.” The Harrison Assessment can help you. A 30 minute online questionnaire can review your middle managers and help identify which of them will be most likely to succeed in a leadership role, and more importantly, how you can develop them to achieve success.

Jobfit Pathologist

Jobfit Pathologist

Harrison Assessments — Your JobFit Pathologist

There are more than 6500 assessments available today, not counting the 5 question “What color is your aura” ones. However, there is only one that is specifically tailored to job fit and job suitability.

Taking the Harrison Assessment is comparable to visiting a Pathologist. The process is a lot easier and a lot less painful than drawing blood, though. It is a 30 minute online questionnaire specifically designed to measure the intensity level of 175 different traits. HA profiles your “Passion and Work DNA.”

Just as a doctor would use the pathologist’s report, a Harrison Certified consultant will decipher the report and use it to make a diagnosis and recommend the best intervention. The report will then be explained to you, much like a doctor presenting the results of the blood test would be, and areas for improvement will be identified. HA coaches can then provide professional help.

If you are “unwell” in your current employment position or you feel “ill” suited for the position (meaning you are unhappy in performing many of the tasks the job requires), then a new job task, a new position within the company, or a whole new career may be the prescribed path to wellness.

The Missing Ingredient in Your Team

You’ve assembled what you think is a Cracker Jack team for your new project. And yet, there is something wrong. Something is not quite clicking, and the team is stuck. Perhaps there is a divisive conflict, or worse, apathy.

I’m a fan of team hero movies, and I enjoy cooking. How do these relate to your team problem? In the hero movies, there is always that one member who, because they joined the team, enables the team to successfully fight the enemy.

Missing piece - missing team memberLikewise, in cooking, there is often that one ingredient (such as baking soda in cookies) that, when forgotten, the dish flops.

How do you identify which current team member just needs a little development to take the team to success? How do you identify the new member of the team whose addition will save the day, or make the cookie “rise?”

The Harrison Assessment has a team report that can help.

The Harrison Assessment Team Paradox Report helps managers build stronger teams by establishing clear team values for effective interactions, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the team members in an effort to maximize team efficiencies, and pinpointing weak areas within the team that will need additional support.

Diversity is strength; however, managing diversity in itself is challenging — Different strokes for different folks. How can the Team Leader know who needs more recognition, who prefers to be the quiet achiever, who is the better organizer, or who is the brainiest of them all who loves solving problems?

How do you build a team that has a diverse range of strengths that complements each other?

HA Team Paradox gives you a snapshot of where the strengths of the team lie, and where they can be further enhanced. Start developing performance, work satisfaction, and team effectiveness, and hone your competitive edge with Harrison Assessments Employee Development Solutions.

Use the Career GPS — The Harrison That Is

Career GPSImagine a whole country of job opportunities and career paths. The opportunities are sometimes elusive, and the paths are not always easily seen.

When you turn 16 and are old enough to drive, you are given a vehicle and told to go make a career choice. You have limited fuel, limited funds to purchase more fuel, and there are many possible roadblocks and dead ends along the way. There are many limits and authoritative enforcers who can fine you for speeding or driving the wrong way.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a dashboard with a built-in smart GPS? If, where all you would have to do is get in the vehicle, and answer a few questions from the GPS… then it would spit out several possible destinations (careers), along with the time it will take to reach them, and you would choose one? If, as your journey begins the dashboard would alert you as to how much fuel you have remaining, how many obstacles you will face and would also give you hints on how to overcome those obstacles?

This scenario is not unrealistic. The Bureau of Labor currently tracks over 6500 job titles. New careers and opportunities are being identified regularly. The career path choice is not made just once at the young age of 16; it is ` that today’s adult will change their career roughly seven times in their life.

While no one is currently producing a career choice “car,” Harrison Assessments has developed a career choice report that acts as the smart dashboard and GPS. A simple 30 minute online questionnaire can result in a report that not only identifies career choices that you are most likely to be successful in and enjoy, but also identifies the various levels of education it will take to obtain your goal. A greatest strengths report will help you define your positive traits, as well as alert you to areas in which you can improve, offering insights into how to do so.

Making the right career choice is not easy. Harrison Assessments can help you make a better choice that suits your individual personality.

Battle Plan for Attracting Gen X and Gen Y Candidates

Gen X and Gen Y Candidates
Do You have a battle plan for attracting Gen X and Gen Y candidates for employment?

Companies today are constantly in a war for talent. Identifying the right targets and having the ability to capture them is essential to winning. We are looking for the innovative leaders of tomorrow, and the competition is stiff.

Every business leader knows that their growth potential and pathway to organizational greatness is only limited by its ability to attract the right people. Hence, it is imperative for hiring managers and recruiters to fully understand what truly appeals to the candidates.

Only by appreciating the person’s personal values and life themes, hiring managers will understand how to “sell” the job to the candidate. Many times, the hiring manager or recruiter only talks about what the job requirements are and what the expectations are, but neglects to show a genuine interest about what the candidate finds appealing. In other words, finding ways to pluck the candidate’s heart strings to create that desired emotional resonance.

An organization needs to recognize which phase of the business life cycle it is in when it attracts and hires the best talent money can buy. If the context and readiness of the organization do not match the expectations of the talent, this could lead to many issues that may eventually result in a wrong match. Hence, relevance of the context and timing must not be taken too lightly. You are tasked with hiring the right person for the right job in the right company (team or manager) at the right time for the right reason.

Using proven assessment reports that are work based and focuses on individual work preferences, passion, expectations, interests and designed for organizational applications (not clinical) can accurately and reliably uncover hidden potential, concerns and behavioral aspects which may not be immediately apparent in an interview. Such invaluable insights will allow the interviewer to do a much better job and highlighting the necessary concerns to achieve better clarity in the given circumstances.

Generation X and Y employees have different needs and expectations from employers than Millennials and Baby Boomers. It is important to consider their expectations, especially career stability (gen X) vs career excitement (gen Y) and growth opportunities (gen Y). With a simple 30 minute questionnaire, Harrison Assessments can help identify these desires and help your organization win the battle for the best suited candidates.

Character and Chemistry

 

Lack of Character“People are not your most important asset — the right people are” -Jim Collins.

Like the various color tones of a diamond that determines it quality and value, people come in all sizes, unique personalities, and interesting characteristics.

Character refers to a prospective candidate’s personality and attitudinal preferences. Attitudinal preferences can be rather broad. The dilemma for potential employers is how do you determine someone’s attitude? From an organizational psychology point of view, attitudinal preferences can cover decision making styles, leadership preferences, interpersonal skills, motivation, task preferences, work interest and environmental preferences.

Chemistry refers to how appealing and attractive each party finds the other. As in any courtship, there has to be some power of attraction. Attracting a candidate and positioning the company and job as an appealing choice is not very much different.

Companies today are constantly in a war for talent. Every business leader knows that their growth potential and pathway to organizational greatness is only limited by its ability to attract the right people.

Hence, it is imperative for hiring managers and recruiters to fully understand what truly appeals to the candidates. Only by appreciating the person’s personal values and life themes, hiring managers will understand how to “sell” the job to the candidate.

Diamond in the Rough

Many times, the hiring manager or recruiter only talks about what the job requirements are and what the expectations are, but neglects to show a genuine interest about what the candidate finds appealing. In other words, finding ways to pluck the candidate’s heart strings to create that desired emotional resonance.

Today’s Millennials and Gen X and Gen Y examine more than just the basic salary of an open position. They may be influenced by the social causes of the company, the ability to move quickly into a role of responsibility, or the capability of a leader. They may desire a competent team, a more aggressive management style, or a less aggressive management style.

These factors need to be identified and played to if you wish to attract the desired candidate. Getting that “diamond” to want to be in your company’s jewelry can be done much easier if you use the Harrison Assessment as part of your selection process. The Harrison Assessment can help direct your communication to the job candidate that your organization is the perfect fit for the diamond.

Are You CUT for the Job?

Diamond - Cut for the JobDiamonds are cut in many ways, namely round, princess, single cut, old European, radiant, and pear, just to name a few types. There are different cuts for different occasions. Drawing a parallel comparison to the organizational context, Cut refers to the compatibility of the person to the job, to the company culture, to the supervisor’s style, and to the team. Finding the right person with the right cut for the job is not any different.

Depending on the context, circumstances and business life cycle at the time of the hiring, the “Cut” requirement will differ. To put it simply, the right person for the right job for the right reasons at the right time.

Consider the importance of putting the right person in the right job for the right reasons at the right time — misfits when an entrepreneur-led company hires a talent from a multinational corporation and vice-versa. The context and experiences where a person has been accustomed to the operational and functional structures of a MNC may not necessarily give him the adaptability required to work within an entrepreneur-led organization.

At times, it is not about the capability and competency, it could be purely a personality style mismatch and incompatibility between supervisor styles and team with the person’s past working styles. This is essentially a “cut” and compatibility issue.

Another example is when an organization does not recognize which phase of the business life cycle it is in when it attracts and hires the best talent money can buy. If the context and readiness of the organization do not match the expectations of the talent, this could also lead to many issues that may eventually lead to a wrong match. Hence, relevance of the context and timing must not be taken to lightly.

How can we find the most compatible cut? Easy. Harrison Assessments helps identify the most suitable candidate for the job.

Diamond Cuts

How Long Will You Stay Lost without Consulting a Map?

Lost in the Forest

There are over 6500 job descriptions listed at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s quite a forest to wander through when trying to answer the age old question of, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

It used to be that we chose a career based upon our experiences of family and friends. Then radio and T.V. broadened our perspective. With the advent of the digital age a lot more careers and occupations are identified. There simply are more trees growing in the forest!

The problem of where to go is amplified by the increasing career choices. So how long are you going to walk through the forest without consulting a map?

The Harrison Assessment takes typically less than 30 minutes, is available online, and can get you a report of what career you will most likely be successful and HAPPY in.

It utilizes Enjoyment-Performance theory as well as Paradox Theory to gain a deep psychological understanding of what types of task you will be successful performing, what types of tasks you will be suitable to performing and matches them to what types of careers these strengths will help you be happy with.

HA provides a path to walk through the forest. You still have to take the steps. The Harrison Assessment can give you a report examining your greatest strengths. It can also give you a report of what careers you will be successful in and break down what levels of education each of these careers typically requires.

Too MUCH Competency?

Competencies

If a Diamond is a girl’s best friend, then the Right Talent must be an organization’s best asset. Assessing and determining the quality and value of a diamond is commonly known as the 4C’s:
1. Carat
2. Clarity
3. Color
4. Cut

Perhaps we should use this same concept to assess talent in an organization:
1. Capability
2. Competency
3. Character
4. Cut

Let’s examine CAPABILITY AND COMPETENCY- Is it possible to have too MUCH capability and competency?

Carat refers to the weight of the diamond which determines its commercial value.

Capability refers to the capacity and ability of a person as a result of their attainment in education, past experiences and training. In addition there could be other aptitude factors such as learning agility, adaptability, developmental potential and critical reasoning skills.

Competency refers to the knowledge, skill and behavior or attitude (KSA) required to perform a specific role or job. Competency based assessment aims to identify the KSA that differentiates high performers from average performers. For instance, management competency might include systems thinking, emotional intelligence, ability to influence and negotiation skills.

While it is the objective to assess, screen and recruit candidates with high level proficiencies in competency and capability traits, sometimes there could be a case of “too much of a trait.” A high intensity level of a trait could actually become counter-productive to performance.

For example, in a Management Role, an excess in Authoritative (willingness to take personal responsibility to make decisions) without the right amount of balance in Collaborating and Enlisting Others’ Cooperation may result in having a dictatorial or authoritarian style of leadership.

Similarly, in Customer Service, an excess of being overly Diplomatic without the right amount of balance in being Frank or tactfully Direct will result in being overly Evasive with customers.

Next, there are competencies in which only a moderate proficiency is sufficient. Take Sales for example, where a moderate amount of Helpfulness or Warmth/Empathy may be sufficient.

Hence, it is essential when developing a Competency-based assessment, to consider the three categories that are Essential or Differentiating Competencies (the more the better), Desirable Competencies (moderate is sufficient) and finally the Counter- Productive Competencies, a.k.a. the “Derailers” (excess imbalances affects performance).

The unique Harrison Assessment is designed with this and other capability and competency balances taken into consideration.

The Jekyll and Hyde Hire

Jekyll & HydeHave you ever had the PERFECT candidate on paper and then after hiring, training and putting them to work had them completely fail? They had all the right criteria. The perfect skill level, the perfect education, the perfect personal and business references and yet, when it came down to getting the job done….. zilch.

I call this the Jekyll and Hyde hire. You think you are getting wonderful Dr. Jekyll and he turns out to be crazy Mr. Hyde. It would be funny if it weren’t so danged expensive.

The U.S. Department of Labor currently estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. That means a single bad hire with an annual income of $50,000 can equal a potential $15,000 loss for the employer.

And that’s just the money part of the expense. They are not including the upheaval in your staff, any negative association costs and any customer loss due to the inefficiencies of your Mr. Hyde. The biggest cost of all could be the signal you send to your team that you are not to be trusted when it comes to getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Harrison Assessments offers an easy way to figure out if you have a Jekyll and Hyde person applying for your open position. Our Talent System is a validated instrument for Candidate Selection, Employee Development, Team Development and Succession Planning.

A thirty minute assessment can save you years of the additional costs of a bad hire.

Job Success Functions and the Cross Functional Role Challenge

Written by Dan Harrison

One of the most common JSF requests I receive is Project Manager. It’s a logical request because it is a very common role. Project Managers can be found in almost every organization within every industry; and this is why Project Manager cannot be a JSF. It is too generic.

Project Managers can be found within engineering companies and software companies. The same title can be found on construction sites and within manufacturing plants. Strategic consulting firms and landscaping companies all have Project Managers.

About the only thing Project Managers within engineering, software, construction, manufacturing, consulting, and lawn care have in common is their title. The traits that make a Project Manager successful in engineering are not the same for Project Managers in other industries.

Making matters more challenging, Project Manager is often an individual’s functional role and not a job title.

Directors of Engineering are often times assigned the role of Project Manager; however, their official title is Director of Engineering. What does this mean?

It means the Director of Engineering JSF includes the traits necessary to effectively project manage engineering initiatives since it is critical for this JSF.

This is true for all the job titles that need to lead and manage projects. The specific project management traits are already included within the JSF.

There are other things to consider that have a great impact of the content of the JSF – for example interpersonal interactions, number of people supervised, etc.

So, in conclusion…

Although, we cannot create a catch all Project Management JSF we have already captured the project management traits within the Job Titles that incur the responsibilities of a Project Manager.

If you have other JSFs or would like to discuss how to address other generic cross-functional roles, please share.

Discussions like these help us all learn and better serve our clients.

Dan Harrison could have written CHEF

Chef

Written by Anne Sandberg, Organizational Consultant

As a diehard Harrison Assessments fan I tend to see the world in terms of suitability and paradox theories played-out daily in the oddest places. This last week-end my husband and I went to see the new movie “Chef” Starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, and Bobby Cannavale, and it is wonderful. The message of “Chef” is suitability theory on steroids, framing the story of a talented down-on-his-luck chef who needs to change his life around to fulfill his life themes. The synopsis is this:

When Chef Carl Casper suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife, his friend and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen — and zest for life and love.

To those uninformed in Harrison-land, it is almost unimaginable that Chef Casper would walk out of a highly paid, prestigious, glamorous job in Los Angeles to make his next move to refurbish a trash-heap of an old catering truck making Cuban sandwiches for a living in a sweaty, greasy, on-the-road existence. Yet, he goes from unhappy, dissatisfied head chef in L.A. to a joyous, happy, and energized food truck cook in no time.

You can see this Traits and Definitions Report unfold in front of you:

Takes Initiative
Wants Autonomy
Experimenting
Wants to Lead
Wants Challenge

He needs to run his own show. Expressing his creativity is as necessary as breathing to him. His Wants High Pay, Wants Capable Leader and Wants Recognition are on the floor. This man recaptures his joie de vivre the way we all do – through filling our work lives with what we love best, whatever that is, and getting rid of the filler that makes us miserable. When we play to our strengths and talents we find life sweet and satisfying – almost as good as a perfect Cuban sandwich.

Can an Algorithm beat the Experts… At Hiring?

Cyborg Algorithm

Data Beats Intuition at Making the Selection Decision

Can an algorithm beat the experts at hiring?

The Scientific American Article: How Data Beats Intuition says,

“When we make selection decisions – whether it is choosing a date, a potential business partner or a job candidate – we try our best to make accurate judgments about the potential of the people we are considering. These decisions, after all, have long-term consequences. A first date could turn into a long-lasting romantic relationship; a potential business partner could be a lifelong colleague; a job candidate could be someone we work with for years to come.

Yet, too often, we find ourselves asking, ‘What went wrong?’ We may have spent a lot of time with the person and conducted multiple interviews and assessments to then realize, a few months later, that the person we chose is just not right. This is no rare event. For instance, data shows that traditional hiring methods produce candidates that meet or exceed the expectations of the hiring manager only 56 percent of the time — about the same result one would get tossing a coin.”

This is a very good article and true according to Harrison Assessment International’s experience and research. The biggest reason that data works better is that there are many factors that relate to job success.

Each of these factors should be systematically weighted and scored. Job interviewers don’t tend to systematically analyze the job and formulate the key factors. In addition, interviewers don’t have a strategic and effective means to measure the factors. Consequently, their subjective judgments will be less effective.

You can see the importance of job analysis by looking at the difference between structured interviews and unstructured interviews. Structured interviews have been proven in nearly every study to be far more effective. The difference is that someone took the time to consider what was important related to the job and base the interview around those factors. This greatly improves the results.

Assessments are a systematic means of weighting and measuring the qualifications and behavioral competencies that relate to job success. However, to be effective, an assessment must be tailored to the job and not simply measuring general factors.

Another important factor is the degree to which an assessment is comprehensive. An effective assessment must weigh and assess all the factors related to job success including education, experience, technical or business skills, interpersonal skills, leadership tendencies, and motivation. There must be a sufficient number of factors measured. Unrelated factors should not be included in the analysis to avoid confusing the recruiter. An effective assessment should also measure engagement and retention issues by assessing employment preferences, task preferences, and interests. Otherwise, the assessment will not be comprehensive. To the degree that the assessment includes all the factors related to job success and only the factors related to success for the specific job is the degree to which it will be effective.

The Harrison Assessment can include strategic mechanisms that identify deception that are far more effective that an interviewer attempting to determine the degree to which a person is telling the truth related to each factor.

If the data is tailored for success in the specific job the results are likely to be more relevant. For example measuring a few general personality factors and allowing the interview to guess at which factors are important for a job is not more effective than a structured interview. The factors measured and the weightings given should be based on performance research rather than guesswork. In that case there is real data and a much greater chance of predicting job success.

Time to Pick the WINNING Candidate for the JOB

Winning Candidate

Too bad you don’t have sixteen weeks of testing to find the perfect candidate!

I will admit it. My guilty pleasure is watching a few reality TV programs. “The Next Food Network Star” and “Celebrity Apprentice” are two of my favorites.

I happily watch the trials and tribulations of the prospective job candidates as they jump through hoops, complete challenging projects under pressure and compete with each other to win the position. I find it ironic it is called a REALITY show. It is far from reality.

In reality businesses do not have multiple weeks of pitting candidates against each other. The selection process is limited to evaluating the initial response to inquiries, the resume submitted, the short interview process and reference calls (if possible).

In reality, the search for the perfect employee process can be a grueling, expensive and often repeated process of unsuccessful candidate selection.

There is a better way. Assessments can give you an indication of a person’s tendencies and possibility of success in a particular occupation. The Harrison Assessment is designed specifically with job performance in mind. With just a short 30 minutes questionnaire, completed online multiple reliable reports can be generated that can not only help you choose the right candidate but also attract them into accepting the position once they have been identified.

Can the Harrison Assessment be Manipulated?

ManipulationGrace asks, Can the Harrison Assessment be Manipulated?

One of my friends asked me how reliable is HA? Her coworker took HA twice and got a very different suitability rests. The reason the guy tried twice was because the company took HA as one promotion tool. The 1st day the result was around 50%, so his “nice” boss asked him to take it again, the next day, he got a score more than 90%.

Does it mean that HA can be manipulated?

Dan Harrison answers:

The Harrison Assessment test-retest scores are very high with correlations above 85.

All psychometric tests can be manipulated to different degrees. However, the Harrison Assessment has minimized that chance in the following ways:

  1. Test items are neutral and ranked rather than rated. This is very important as rated answers have proven to be skewed much more often.
  2. The assessment is focused on what the individual wants related to employment and thus there is much less motivation to deceive, especially in an employee development context.
  3. Existing employees have little motivation to falsify the results because doing so would amount to career satisfaction suicide. Even if the organization believes and responds to the false results, the individual will end up in a less satisfying career situation.
  4. Any skilled HR person or manager who knows the person should have a good indication that the results were falsified. To some degree, this is less the case when it is used for promotion but in that case it should be treated with the same care as in a recruitment.

HA has a consistency detector that is far more effective than any other means I have seen to assure reliability.

Of course, if someone takes the assessment related to a specific job and the results are given back to the person subsequently allowing them to “try it again”, you are not only informing the person of the consistency detector, you are giving the person what they need to respond with “better answers”. In that case, there is a higher likelihood that they can fudge and pass the consistency check as well as get a higher score against the same job. (Usually they won’t pass it though.)

No behavioral assessment should be administered in this manner. That would be equivalent to asking an applicant questions at a job interview, scoring them, giving them feedback as to how they answered and then starting the interview all over again, pretending you never had the first interview. Who would do this? Does it mean that your interviews are not reliable because if you got different (better) answers the second time? Or does it mean that your interviewer is not reliable?

Job applicants will not know the full spectrum of 30-40 factors out of 175 factors that will be used related to a specific job and especially will not know how they are mathematically configured. They may be able to guess at some but won’t be able to know the full formula and certainly will not be able to know the derailers which are very important to the formula and completely invisible.

Job applicants do not know there is a consistency detector and are initially given only one chance to pass it. If the applicant requires a second chance, it indicates the result will be a little less reliable and at least indicates that the applicant was not paying attention the first time.

In short, the reliability problem here is related to the administrator, not the test.

Falsified answers are the major obstacle for any behavioral assessment whether it is done as a formal assessment or at an interview. We have taken extraordinary and effective measures to reduce or eliminate deception which I believe are far superior to other assessment and interview methods. However, assessment must be administered according to our guidelines to achieve the maximum benefit from these measures.

Dan Harrison

Four Types of People You Hire

Four Types of People

Lou Adler said, when it comes to hiring there are only four types of people in the world.

  • Type 1: those you should never hire. If you’ve ever hired someone who is a true misfit it’s apparent to everyone else you did something fundamentally wrong. The likely causes: you didn’t look at the resume, you trusted your gut, you didn’t know the job, you hired largely on presentation and personality, you were desperate, or you didn’t conduct a background check.
  • Type 2: the bottom-third of those who are hired. Typically these people have the basic experiences, technical skills and academic background, but they’re assessed primarily on their personality, first impression, affability and presentation skills. One big problem with these hires is they need more coaching and supervision to do average work. Worse, some demotivate everyone else on the team.
  • Type 3: the middle-third of those who are hired. These people also have the basic skills and experiences, but in this case the assessment is more thorough. Generally this involves more behavioral-like interviews with more people, a more in-depth technical assessment, a battery of questionnaires, and a thorough background check. This is the interview process most companies use and it’s one designed largely to prevent mistakes. The unintended consequence is hiring people just like those who have always been hired since it’s the safer decision. The reasons these people aren’t in the top-third typically involve lack of motivation to do the actual work, some cultural fit problem, a style-clash with the hiring manager, or lack of necessary drive, leadership or team skills.
  • Type 4: those you hire who wind up being in the top-third of those hired. These are your star performers – the strong leaders who get results regardless of the challenges. They’re highly motivated to do the actual work required, they take on projects no one else wants, and they fit seamlessly with the people, culture and manager.

Harrison Assessments recognizes that more Type 4 Star Performers People are desired by companies. The dilemma?
Finding them.

The Harrison Assessment is designed to identify these Type 4 Star Performers and recruit them for hire OR help you keep those who are already employed in your organization. Design your hiring and retention processes around recruiting and developing a Type 4 Star Performing team.

It starts with a good interview and selection process, continues with development and may possibly finish with succession planning. All functions Harrison Assessments are specifically designed to help with.

Crystal Ball of HR

Crystal Ball businessmanWouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball handy that you could whip out and use any time you needed to make an HR decision?

“Oh mighty crystal ball, tell me is this person going to be the great employee that will help the company achieve its goals, or the hire from hell?”

“Oh mighty crystal ball, tell me is this person going to implode with the stress of a promotion or begin to shine with the new duties and different responsibilities?”

“Oh mighty crystal ball, tell me if this person will help fill the hole that my team has or if they will conflict with the other members and cause disaster?”

If that crystal ball gave accurate answers most of the time, it would be worth a lot of money, right?

You can have that crystal ball and the price is well worth the benefit. It is the Harrison Assessment.

The Harrison Assessment has been carefully developed using several psychological methodologies that prevent deception, reveal whether behavioral tendencies are actually strengths or derailers (aka Paradox Technology), and measure both eligibility (education, experience, and skills) and suitability (job related behavior).

As a result, employers who use the HA assessment receive a rich set of accurate and reliable Decision Analytics that focus on crucial success and engagement factors for any given job. These Decision Analytics support and accelerate decisions throughout the entire talent management lifecycle—from recruiting and hiring … to performance management … to learning and development … to leadership development and succession planning … to team building.

Harrison Decision Analytics enables employers to predict performance, engagement and retention for an individual by comparing that person’s competencies, needs and engagement factors—along with 175 different behavioral variables—against proven success factors for specific roles.

Using Decision Analytics, employers can also:

  • Ensure that individuals are placed and promoted into roles that maintain high levels of work satisfaction and capture discretionary effort.
  • Identify the internal (and, if desired, external) roles and careers for which individuals are most suited and qualified.
  • Establish and maintain alignment between business goals and each employee’s needs and career goals.
  • Create an exact formula of key success factors and derailers for any specific job by using the performance of incumbents as benchmarks.

The Harrison Assessment is flexible. Employers can strengthen their Decision Analytics even further by tailoring the Harrison Assessment to their specific jobs. Trained and certified consultants can help you customize the Job Success Function to fit your particular organization’s culture.

Best Practices in Hiring Assessments

Best Practices in Hiring AssessmentsAssessment is the essential foundation for organizational success because high quality assessment used at the point of hire enables you to have the greatest impact on performance, productivity and retention.

What distinguishes the Harrison Assessment from others is its examination of both the eligibility and the suitability of a candidate for the position.

To be effective, assessment must comprehensively assess both eligibility and Suitability and provide an overall score. Eligibility factors include previous experience, education, certifications, skills, abilities and reference checks, and aptitude. Suitability factors include attitude, motivation, interpersonal skills, task preferences, interests, and work environment preferences.

Some jobs such a computer programmers require a stronger emphasis on eligibility while other jobs such as customer service usually require a stronger emphasis on suitability. However, regardless of the emphasis, it is essential to assess both eligibility and suitability in order to obtain an accurate overall assessment. Otherwise, you will only be looking at about half of the factors that create job success. If you fail to assess the other half and take both into consideration, it is very unlikely that you can make good hiring decisions.

In order to be effective, assessments must provide a score for eligibility, a score for suitability and a total score. This requires pre-defining how each of the suitability factors and each of the eligibility factors will impact the total score. Otherwise, each interviewer will guess at how each factor will impact job success and consequently, the value of the assessment will be compromised.

The Harrison Assessment Tools take both the eligibility and the suitability of a candidate or employee into consideration. HA is based upon over twenty years of experience. Harrison Assessments has developed a series of unique methods that make career planning and leadership development through assessment more reliable and accurate. The methods combine to make online recruitment and employee development efficient and effective.