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12 Pieces of Advice from Top Professionals

Outdoor Office Meeting

Image by Office Now via Flickr

If you assembled the top 100 business leaders and management professionals (newsflash: they aren’t mutually exclusive) across the top 10 industries and asked them for their best advice, I’m certain you’d never  hear anything about “value justification” or “user engagement.” You might not even hear “change management,” “going forward,” “setting them up for success,” “best practices,” “organic growth,” or “value added.” Most of those buzzwords are just that: buzzwords – semi-ambiguous phrases to make one person seem “in the know” to junior managers who don’t know better.

No one would even attempt to win a game of “corporate buzzword bingo” at that gathering. I doubt you’d hear any nonsensical buzzwords from anyone who’s actually built a business from the ground up, or from a wise veteran who has served as a mentor, or from someone who’s got the calluses and scars from actually doing the work to build a company.

I spoke at length with the CEO of a large organization last week. When asked for his advice to upcoming managers and leaders, his words echoed what I’ve heard in varying forms from other business leaders and owners for the last 35 years.

1. Be willing to admit when you don’t know something. Never try to bluff your way through. It’s painfully obvious to everyone around you. You know when your boss or co-workers do this. Don’t do it yourself!

2. If you’re at fault, admit it. Take any blame that rightfully belongs to you and work to correct things as soon as possible. It’s called being an adult.

3. When you’re right, never gloat. The only time you should ever say, “I told you so!” is when someone says, “You were right. I did have it in me to succeed.” Saying, ‘I told you so” with a smile is entirely appropriate at that point.

4. No task is beneath you. Even if you’re the top manager in your department or division, especially if you’re the top manager, pitch in and help – even if it’s a job no one else wants to do.

5. Share credit as much as possible. If you spread credit for successes around to others, you’ll come off as a much stronger person and you’ll build loyalty with your team.

6. When you don’t like someone, never let it show. And especially if they report to you. No matter whether you outrank them or not, never burn a bridge or offend others. Your behavioral style or communication preferences may grate on their every nerve too.

7. Reprimand in private. That’s how you would want to be treated, isn’t it? Always treat each member of your team like you would want to be treated. Praise in public ONLY if that’s how someone wants to be recognized. An emotionally intelligent leader knows.

8. Never gossip. When someone gossips, three careers are potentially hurt, the one being gossiped about,  the one doing the talking, and the one listening and saying nothing to stop it.

9. Don’t let your drive for excellence make you a jerk. There is a diminishing return for continuous improvement (another tired old buzzword). You’ll never be perfect and neither will your team. Strive for the best, but know when to let it go.

10. Keep your salary numbers to yourself. Discussing your paycheck with anyone other than your boss, human resources, the payroll department or your spouse is a complete no-win proposition. Either you’ll feel slighted because someone makes more than you, or someone will be upset with your compensation believing they’re getting the raw deal.

11. Delegate and let them work. Don’t delegate then micromanage your team. Give them the target, the standards you expect, and a completion date – then get out of the way — unless they ask for help or it’s plainly obvious they need it. If they perform, praise them. If they don’t, make the needed adjustments in coaching, training, or personnel.

12. Don’t be a second guesser. There is a lot of difference between being eyeball to eyeball with customers with sweat dripping from the end of your nose and sitting in a comfy air-conditioned office behind a computer monitor and a call screener. Your team may be having to make decisions on the fly and if you second guess their every move, before long they won’t make any moves without your input.

It all boils down to being emotionally intelligent and understanding yourself and your impact on others and having the willingness and ability to self-regulate. Emotionally intelligent leaders can read others, have the social skills to thrive in a multitude of environments, and know how to provide an environment where others can tap into their self-motivation.

What gems of wisdom have you learned over the years? What would you add to this list?

 

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles. 

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

The Great Manager You Need Is Probably A Woman

businesswoman leading a team

Stock Images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A recent Gallup survey examining 27 million employees led by 2.5 million managers has found that female managers, in every working generation, are more engaged than their male counterparts (41% vs. 35%). Even though those managerial engagement numbers seem low, the difference is significant because engaged managers tend to have engaged employees. And engaged employees can equate to a 27% increase in revenues per employee according to Gallup.

Women in management engage their employees

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 2.44.13 PMGallup discovered that females are more engaged than males as employees and female bosses engaged their employees better than male bosses. These engagement numbers aren’t stellar by any means but the distinction is there. The highest engagement numbers came from female employees with female bosses while the lowest were male employees with male bosses.

Gallup further found that individuals with a female manager are 1.26 times more likely to strongly agree with the statement “Someone at work encourages my development.” It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon (hat tip to my friend, Allen Devereux) to recognize that encouraged employees work harder and produce better results.

Employees were 1.29 times more likely to strongly agree with “Someone at work has talked to me about my progress in the last six months” and 1.17 times more likely to strongly agree with “In the last seven days I’ve been recognized or praised for doing good work.”

The only area where employees working for a female manager didn’t outscore a male manager was: “At work, my opinions seem to count.”

So, in a nutshell, women managers are:

  • More engaged than their male counterparts
  • More engaging than their male counterparts
  • More likely to encourage employee development
  • More likely to give feedback to employees on progress
  • More likely to praise or recognize employees for good work

Gallup found a unique combination of five NATURAL qualities that makes a great manager (male or female):

  1. They have a unique ability to motivate employees
  2. They overcome obstacles by being assertive
  3. They cultivate an accountability culture
  4. They build relationships built on trust
  5. They make educated and unbiased decisions based on the company’s best interest … regardless of the inter-office political implications.

These qualities are measurable using the right psychometric assessment tool … one that utilizes all five of the sciences relating to psychometric analysis.

These components are measurable using a combination of Emotional Intelligence Quotient, Behavioral Analysis, Driving Forces, Analysis, our Business Acumen and Capacity Analysis, and our Axiological Values Evaluation.

The reason organizations, Human Resources, hiring managers, and decision makers GET IT WRONG is most likely a combination of

  • Trusting Their Gut – the WORST possible way to select high performers because it incorporates personal bias
  • Outright gender bias against putting a woman in charge of a group
  • A satisfaction, even an EMBRACE of the STATUS QUO

When organizations jettison the bias and start using an EEOC validated selection tool such as TriMetrix HD, more women will be promoted to the position of manager. Cream always rises to the top when a gender neutral tool is used for selection.

BUT BEWARE

ANY assessment tool that fails to use all FOUR sciences and cannot produce an EEOC compliant No Adverse Impact Study proving it, will not only put your organization at risk of an unfair hiring practices lawsuit, but will also FAIL to select the right person (man or woman) for a position. 

Why are Women Overlooked for Management?

The reason that organizations, Human Resources, hiring managers, and decision makers GET IT WRONG is most likely a combination of:

  • Trusting Their Gut – the WORST possible way to select high performers because it incorporates personal bias, relies on past experiences, and has zero accountability
  • Outright gender bias against putting a woman in charge of a group because of a misplaced fear of a negative reaction from others, or plain old male chauvinism.
  • A satisfaction, even an EMBRACE of the STATUS QUO – unwilling to examine a better way to hire because of a “this is how we’ve done it for decades” attitude
  • Using an unvalidated, non EEOC compliant assessment for selection that’s never been proven to be gender neutral

When organizations jettison the bias and start using an EEOC validated selection tool such as TriMetrix HD, more women will be promoted to the position of manager. Cream always rises to the top when a gender neutral tool is used for selection.

Should You ONLY Hire Women?

Of course not, but you should be blind to the gender of anyone making application that has the five qualities Gallup listed. If someone, ANYONE, is the best suited candidate for a position that’s the hire we should make.

Organizations don’t have a great track record and tend to think, “Hey, we’ve done just fine to this point so why change now?” Just imagine your company, full of managers with the five qualities that Gallup found in the best managers. What would your bottom line look like?

Another little tidbit in the Gallup report:

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 2.18.38 PM

What are the implications of continual managerial mis-hires for your organization?

Are you willing to do anything about it other than the same old thing you’ve done for the last 20 years?

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles. 

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Want to learn more? Contact Ron Haynes (RonH@corter.com) and tell us how we can help you and your company bring out the best in your most important asset – your people.

Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top management talent, create genuine Job Matching System solutions, and implement succession planning for key management positions.

He developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881. C

Hiring a Manager? How to Avoid the Peter Principle

Are you hiring for an open management slot in your company? Are you looking at people who are successful in their current role and giving that success weight in your decision? You could be setting yourself up for The Peter Principle.

peter-principle-image-2

Laurence J. Peter first noticed the human tendency to evaluate an employee’s potential for success in a role higher up the corporate ladder based on performance in their current job.

In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

Why? Why are they incompetent? There could be a multitude of reasons:

  • A fantastic company comptroller may not have the interpersonal skills needed for a CFO position
  • A successful salesperson may not have the coaching skills for a sales manager position
  • A gifted writer may not have the detail orientation for an editor’s position
  • A superb technical engineer may not have the risk orientation of a start up entrepreneur

Those incompetent in one position are generally highly competent in others so don’t get put off with the word “incompetent.” It simply means not having the needed skills, or not qualified to act in a certain capacity. I’m personally incompetent to fly a helicopter, to act as a tax accountant, or to try a legal case.

How to Avoid the Peter Principle When Hiring

Gallup just published a world-wide survey concluding that only a SCANT TEN PERCENT of current managers are competent for their position. Another 20% can do the job with coaching. Research by Gallup found that organizations pick the wrong people for management positions 82% of the time. EIGHTY TWO PERCENT … did you get that?

The financial implications are massive. Gallup estimates that putting the wrong people into management positions costs the US economy between $319 billion and $398 billion each year. How much is it costing your company?

Why are people promoted to management ranks? Gallup published two reasons and I’ll add my own:

  • Previous success in a lesser role
  • It’s “their turn”

Researchers asked US managers why they believe they were promoted and their reasons were … you guessed it: success in a previous role and tenure with the company.

An additional reason is most likely based on our notion of fairness. It just doesn’t “seem fair” that a 20+ year employee would be passed over in favor of a young hot-shot who’s been in the workforce only three years, even though the young hot-shot may be better suited for the role.

Gallup states that there are five factors that indicate a manager will be in that top 10% grouping:

  1. They have a unique ability to motivate employees
  2. They overcome obstacles by being assertive
  3. They cultivate an accountability culture
  4. They build relationships built on trust
  5. They make educated and unbiased decisions based on the company’s best interest … regardless of the inter-office political implications.

Can you identify these traits with your current hiring processes?

What would your workplace look like with managers and supervisors with those five key traits? What would it look like to have leaders who understood how to provide an environment that motivates employees to do their best work? What would it look like to have leaders and managers who could overcome obstacles and hold their own people and themselves accountable to hit the organization’s targets? What would it look like for these same managers to have trusting relationships with their people? What would it look like to have leaders who made decisions based on the company’s best interests and ignored petty office politics?

Your firm would become an Employer of Choice.

With the right assessment tools, you can identify leaders and managers that fit these criteria. It will require four different validated instruments backed by brain science:

  1. A behavioral analysis to determine how a potential candidate will approach obstacles, accountability, and build trust
  2. A motivators evaluation to determine how a potential managerial candidate will handle office politics
  3. An emotional intelligence assessment to determine how a potential managerial candidate will relate with and understand people
  4. An axiological values analysis to determine how a potential managerial candidate will employ an empathetic outlook, hold themselves and others accountable, and make systematic judgements

Without all four, you’re likely to be in the 82%.

What are the implications of managerial mis-hires for your organization?

Are you willing to do anything about it other than the same old thing you’ve done for the last 15 years?

 

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles. 

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Want to learn more? First check out our website and then contact us (RonH@corter.com) and tell us how we can help you and your company bring out the best in your most important asset – your people.

Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create genuine Job Matching System solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

Image based on: “Peters principle” by Nevit Dilmen (talk) – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peters_principle.svg#/media/File:Peters_principle.svg

Below Par: Good in Golf, Bad for Hiring

7 ironSeveral years back I participated in a charity golf tournament that had a real twist. The only golf club allowed — for driving, fairways, short range, sand traps, or even putting — was a 7-iron. Now I’m not a great golfer, I’m not even a good golfer; but can you imagine how my score compared to my previous experiences on that same course when I used a full compliment of clubs?

Yes. It was dismal. I scored a dreadful 149 when I normally scored in the mid 90’s (I told you I wasn’t any good).

Golf clubs are the tools of the trade but even in the capable hands of the most skilled golf professional, a single club used over 18 holes guarantees a poorer score than normal.

I’ve also seen recreational golfers carry just three clubs on a course, usually a 3-wood, a 5-iron, and putter. They don’t want to be bogged down with a golf bag (and they’re too cheap to rent a golf cart). How well do you think THEY do? Better than my 7-iron? Sure. As good as they could’ve done with a full bag of clubs? Not a chance.

A full set of clubs in the right hands allows a golfer to pinpoint their shots much more accurately. It allows long sweeping power shots, delicate shots around the greens, and precision putting to put the golf ball in the cup. How many clubs do professional golfers have in their bag? As many as the rules will allow.

More clubs means more opportunities for success.

The same holds true for your hiring processes.golf-course-cityofroundrock-flickr

Use one club or process, or even just a couple, and your chances for a successful hire are lower than if you use a powerful suite of evaluation and assessment tools, reference checks, background checks, and interviews. Unfortunately, too many people rely on their personal intuition, a loosely structured interview, more intuition, and whether or not the job candidate had the proper education from the right school … and then more intuition (another word for intuition is bias). They also give an over-abundance of credence to “experience” which may or may not be accurately represented or even valid for the open position. During the interview process, “impression management” is the successful job candidate’s most used skill.

Did a “dream” candidate just walk in the door?

Speaking of skills, suppose you as a small to mid-size business owner had the opportunity to hire a superstar candidate from MegaCorp, Inc. (the big boys you compete against). Just imagine the insights this candidate could bring, the business they could garner, the skills they could muster to grow your company. It could be the big break your firm needs, right?

Ironically, this situation happens quite frequently. The issue is that small to mid-size business owners don’t have a massive amount of brand recognition and those coming to work for them from businesses that do have that brand recognition, capital, structure, and support mechanisms may have succeeded only because of those advantages. Their “skills” were not there, only their ability to get things done within the MegaCorp, Inc. framework. The brand carried them more than they carried the brand.

That’s why more and more small to mid-size businesses are realizing the value of a job matching system, a system that helps attract top talent, develops them to the fullest, and keeps them longer; a comprehensive system that uses subject matter experts to tell you exactly which skills, behaviors, motivators, and competencies are needed for successful performance. The story of the job’s needs is then overlaid with a job candidate’s skills, behaviors, motivators, and competencies to show you where gaps exist. From there, you or your hiring manager can more readily determine whether the gaps are either perfectly fine, acceptable with a well-defined coaching and development plan, or  just too wide to be workable.

Hire and Hope?

Do all the interviews you want. Candidates are better prepared than ever for your interview questions (even the weird ones). Check all the references you want. HR people at the previous job are too concerned with legal repercussions to tell the truth on a reference check and they regularly instruct supervisors to only give out hire dates. Then, when someone comes to your company as a job candidate you’ll hear all sorts of great things. They may HAVE been successful at MegaCorp, Inc., but there’s no way to know with any certainty if they’ll be successful with YOU. Past performance is no guarantee of future results and you’re probably tired of the “hire and hope” mentality. What you don’t know, can have devastating effects on your small to mid-size company long term.

What to do?

  • Structure your interviews. Ask the same questions of each candidate so you can accurately compare answers and candidates. Go ahead and ask probing questions based on their answers but use the same framework for each interview (this also insures EEOC compliance).
  • Have group interviews. Bring in several people (or conference call) who already do the job. Let them ask a few real world questions.
  • Hire the best candidate on a temporary or contract basis to see how well they fit. This “practice” scenario is becoming more popular. A 30, 60, or 90 day contract gives employers and applicants a chance to try each other out.
  • Above all, incorporate a validated job matching system into your hiring process that determines the soft skills, hard competencies, behavioral tendencies, and motivators needed for high performance and low employee stress.

What Does Success Look Like?

Successful companies can easily fill in the blanks:

“In our organization, a person doing the job of [X] behaves  like _______, they’re motivated by _______ & _______; their skills are _______, _______, & _______. They see the world as _______ and themselves as _______.”

How many people who know this job very, VERY well would agree on the descriptors in each of those blanks? That’s still another advantage of our Job Matching System. It not only identifies the behaviors and skills needed but also brings all parties involved to a consensus on what’s required for success.

 

If you’d like to know more about our comprehensive solutions and how we’re helping companies hire better than PAR employees, contact us and let us know how to help.

If you enjoyed in this article, please share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles. 

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job matching solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

7-Iron image by Lucia Sanches via Flickr.com
Golf course image by cityofroundrock via Flickr.com

You’re Setting The Bar Too Low

set-the-bar-high-koji-kawano

Image by Koji Kawano via Flickr.com

Nobel laureate Herbert Simon coined the phrase “satisficing” to describe a decision making process that settles on the first alternative that meets the minimum requirements. It’s a play on satisfy and sacrifice, meaning that you sacrifice the best alternative for one that adequately satisfies your current demands because you don’t have time to examine or evaluate more options. From where you park your car, to who you go out with for dinner, to who you hire, you “satisfice” all day long without thinking about it.

Simon realized that most people don’t know how to adequately optimize. We don’t know exactly how to find the best choice among all choices. Most of the time, we’re in such a rush that optimizing feels more like a luxury, whether it’s deciding where to go on vacation, who to hire, or what career path to take.

It isn’t ALL bad …

Satisficing can be a very pragmatic and necessary approach in many cases. After all, you don’t want to experience the “paralysis of analysis” either. Many times it simply isn’t worth examining every single option, especially when the consequences of your choices are short term, if there are any consequences at all.

But …

Some choices can’t be left to “what’s out there right now.” Some choices can’t be left to only the known available alternatives. Some choices have a much longer term consequence than where you park your car, what you have for dinner, or whether you take the bus or the subway. Some choices reach FAR into the future to change the course of a company, a department, a project … or a career.

When it comes to making choices concerning WHO YOU HIRE, satisficing can have a devastating effect on the long term success … even the viability of your company.

WHO YOU HIRE is the most important choice you can make. It shouldn’t be left to picking the “best you can find right now” or “Gee, I’m sorry boss, those are the only people who applied.

The downside of satisficing

Given our tendency to satisfice, more often than not, the best we can get or achieve is just the minimum we’re willing to accept. “I’d be happy with that,” is the approach we take. And when it comes to our hiring selections, that is 100% not acceptable.

satisficing

Here’s some satisficing lingo:

  • “She’s the best choice among the available candidates.”
  • “He’s the only programmer we’ve found who meets our minimum requirements so I guess we should make him an offer.”
  • “I don’t have any other choices right now and sometimes we just need a warm body in that department!”
  • “These were the only ‘decent’ candidates from that last Career Event we had in St. Louis.”

It sounds bad doesn’t it? Herbert Simon believed the reasons we satisfice were fourfold:

  1. We have a hard time actually quantifying what we’re trying to accomplish. Selecting the “best” choice can be daunting.
  2. We usually do not know the relevant probabilities of outcomes. How many times have you been 100% sure of something, only to have it blow up in your face?
  3. We can rarely evaluate all outcomes with any precision.
  4. Our memories are bound by recency bias. What happened yesterday is more fresh in our minds than what happened 2 years ago, even when the latter is actually more relevant.
mountains-black-and-white

Image by james j8246 via Flickr.com

How to overcome our tendency to satisfice

Set the bar high. Set a REAL benchmark. Decide what you want and then set standards that you won’t compromise.

  1. Start out with what is “right” rather than what is acceptable because you’ll probably have to compromise somewhere along the line. You’d much rather compromise a little when you’re close to a higher standard than when you’re close to just “acceptable.”
  2. Know and understand the impact of a poor hiring decision. Conduct an Employee Turnover Audit to know how staggeringly high that expense can soar. Do some REAL succession planning … don’t just meet with HR and say, “Who do we have that can do Bill’s job if he quits?” “Do we have anyone to replace Jen when she get’s promoted?” That’s crisis management, not succession planning.
  3. Evaluate all the outcomes from making a job offer … or choosing to wait based on the Job Benchmark. Sometimes it’s cheaper to wait to fill a position than fill it twice, or three times.
  4. Never trust your gut alone. Your own experiential bias can taint any decision you make. ‘Trusting your gut’ is taking the most comfortable option.

What does this have to do with hiring the best talent?

Plenty.

Set your standards high when it comes to lthe people you bring into your organization. Set them high when it comes to establishing Key Accountabilities when you call me to do a Job Benchmark for your key positions. Set them high when it comes to your interviews and interviewERS. Set them high when it comes to using the right tools to insure the long term success and viability of your organization. Set them high when you compare job candidates to the Job Benchmark using our GAP Report.

In these areas, “I can live with that,” will only satisfy you for a short period of time and may require a much larger sacrifice later on.

And you can’t live with that.

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles.

————————————–

Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

Tired of the Mis-Hires?

Many of your mis-hires, false-starts, and no-go’s could have been prevented by using more than one tool.

Imagine you’ve been thrust into a bass fishing tournament. The winner walks away with a new pickup truck, a new bass boat, and $250,000 in cash. You get to choose your fishing tackle box between two options … and you even get to look inside. Box A has five different lures for fishing the different features of the lake and at different depths. Box B has just one lure.

picstitchWhich would you choose?

Box A of course. Even amateur fishermen know that more lures means more opportunities to catch more fish. One lure … not so much. Using just one lure in a tournament doesn’t make a great deal of sense, does it?

So why do business leaders, hiring managers and HR directors only use one type of assessment when they could have a complete tackle box tool box to work with? Why do they settle for such a narrow and limited view of the potential and existing talent working at the company when there are broader and deeper insights available? Insights that could help determine job fit, increase employee engagement, and slash employee turnover costs?

Management always wants a “deep dive” into financial numbers, why do they want such a shallow dive on the people who drive those numbers?

More Tools = More Opportunities For Success

FullSizeRender-5Most talent assessment products are one dimensional. They give you a glimpse into how an employee will behave under varying circumstances or how an employee feels rewarded at their job for a single moment in their lives. Instinctively, you already know that people are NOT one dimensional. People are not static. They have multiple dimensions to their personalities; dimensions that don’t always manifest themselves until a trigger event comes along.

What’s the alternative to one dimensional views of your applicants?

Using a TriMetrix HD along with an Emotional Quotient assessment will employ FIVE different sciences, giving you the deepest possible insight available today. You’ll know behavioral tendencies (all 12), driving motivations (all 12), the applicant’s intrinsic, extrinsic, and systemic thinking patterns across internal and external variables, core-competencies and skills, and all five aspects of your candidate’s Emotional Quotient. And using TriMetrix HD, unlike most other assessments, frees you from the worry of EEOC compliance … we gladly supply our bi-annual No Adverse Impact Study that goes far above and beyond the requirements of US Federal Law.

 

Once we’ve identified all these variables, we don’t leave. We debrief the employee along with their supervisor on the best ways to manage, communicate with, and work with the employee. We identify the employee’s strengths and areas requiring further development – if those areas are needed for success on the job.

FullSizeRender-4The best way to employ this type of technology is to use it in a Job Benchmark. A Job Benchmark is a patented, deep dive on a particular position to identify the unique characteristics required for success. When used in combination with TriMetrix HD, hiring managers are able to finally hire applicants who match their job.

What Happens In The Future?

People aren’t static. They DO grow and mature. There’s a good chance an existing employee could be a mis-match for a position today but be a great match in two years. Reassessing employees every year or 18 months makes good business sense … and good people sense. It’s the fair and right thing to do.

Are You Okay With Sup-Par Hiring?

If you insist on using one dimensional assessment products, you should be just fine with mis-hires and sub-par performances from them. If you’re not, find out how to get the tools to do your job better.

The Least Rotten Apple is Still Rotten

apple-rottenIf you’re comparing job applicants to each other, you’re in a race to the bottom of the barrel.

A few weeks ago I spoke to a manager who told me he was “fully aware” of how to benchmark his staff. Two  years back, his CEO instructed him to engage with a consulting firm and benchmark the company’s sales and customer service positions. Under direction from the consulting firm, he instructed employees to use a “free” assessment found on the Internet. Once completed, he compared the results from their top performers to the rest of the group and committed to only hiring those who matched the new benchmark.

The problem: nothing had changed. If anything, the company’s issues with those two positions had worsened. Sales were stagnant and customer ratings were steadily declining. Online negative reviews were mounting as were concerns in the C-Suite.

Further questioning revealed that he had used job fairs and hiring events to quickly hire salespeople and customer service reps. The problem was he had to continually hire and rehire. Employee turnover was just north of 107% in an industry with turnover rates in the lower 20’s. The company was losing it’s shirt having to replace employees over and over and the ones they were replacing them with were getting worse and worse.

At his job fairs and hiring events, he would rent a hotel conference room, give a presentation to 175 people, give them the “free” assessment, whittle the group down to 30 or so, then begin group interviews with several of his co-workers and people from Human Resources. At that point, each person would be put up for a vote and invariably, there would be several people hired who were the “best of the rest.”

Essentially he was presenting himself and his team with a barrel of rotting apples and they were picking the least rotten of the bunch.

Now, fast forward a couple of months … who do you think is going to look for opportunities elsewhere and who do you think will stay in this position? You guessed it. The best moved on and the “best of the worst” stayed put.

The “best of the rest” isn’t the best way to grow your company

Our validated benchmarking process takes a markedly different approach.

First, we insure we understand the position by talking with people who know the position best. These subject matter experts are engaged to help define WHY the job even exists. In some cases, executive teams decide there isn’t a good reason for the position to exist and combine its duties with another position. In other cases, we identify sometimes over 100 reasons.

Next we classify those reasons into Key Accountabilities, a comprehensive yet succinct group of 3-5 key statements about the position’s demands. These are ranked by importance and time requirement each week.

Next, the subject matter experts (SMEs) complete a job assessment keeping the Key Accountabilities foremost in their mind as the respond. Based on a unique analysis methodology, we can create a Multi-Respondent report that combines the inputs from each SME that creates the Benchmark of rat position.

Finally, each applicant can be assessed, not on the basis of the other applicants, but on a standard of what the job needs for superior performance. A talent assessment on the same scale as the job will identify the characteristics an individual will bring to the job, allowing you to easily determine the best job fit and identify coaching opportunities. Within the framework of a company’s overall selection process, effective hiring decisions can be made and productivity can begin immediately.

When Job Benchmarking is implemented properly, it has a direct effect on your business’ bottom line. You’ll not only attract the best candidates, but you’ll save time and money by hiring the right people the first time and reducing the learning curve with new employees who are strategically matched to fit your company.

Job Benchmarking truly IS a comprehensive solution to hiring the best, developing them according to their needs, and retaining them the longest.

cheaperisnotalwaysbetter

 

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles.

Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

7 Myths About Talent Assessments

When leaders have the right data, they make fewer mistakes and reap greater rewards. With the right data, leaders can impact their organizations, improve the lives of those working with them, and boost the bottom line.

ID-100240931Many finding themselves in management ranks don’t have the correct data when selecting talent and they often wind up merely trusting their instincts only to discover that their personal preferences, past experiences, and multiple unconscious biases don’t regularly generate the results they need.

The result: lower profits, team disharmony, broken promises, and feelings of personal failure.

The good news is valid tools are available to assist leaders in selecting, developing, and retaining the best talent available. Those tools start with talent assessments but there are several myths surrounding their use. Most of these myths have come about due to uncertified practitioners either misrepresenting the assessment , misinterpreting it, or using it incorrectly.

Myths About Talent Assessments

1. MYTH: People can ‘game’ the answers

This is probably the most commonly held myth surrounding assessments. People assume that if they’re applying for a sales position, they can easily answer the questions in a certain way that puts themselves in the perfect light. If they’re applying for a position as a bookkeeper, they’ll simply answer them differently. It isn’t that easy. One aspect of the assessments we use asks the same question in 24 different ways. Another asks the same question in 12 different ways. Another asks participants to rate 18 different experiences from the best thing that can happen to the worst.

Additionally, brain research has discovered that when faced with these questions, participants answer the question truthfully in their minds first — ranking an experience in the incorrect order requires a conscious effort that, over the course of dozens of different questions and experiences, is extremely difficult to pull off consistently.

FACT: You can’t game our assessments. If someone attempts to manipulate them, the reliability score shows it … and at that point it becomes a question of integrity.

2. MYTH: Talent assessments put people in a box

This myth probably stems from those old worn out 9 Box Grids or a Meyers-Briggs test (which isn’t approved for talent selection). Those two, particularly the 9 box, really do categorize people, many times unfairly. Of course, Meyers-Briggs just adds a row and a column to get a 16 box grid.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 12.30.37 PM

The first part of our assessment has 384 categories, the second has several hundred different combinations, and the third can go in any one of dozens of different directions. “In a box?” — hardly, at least not with our assessment products. Multiply 384 by 200 and then again by several dozen more.

Still, it’s a concern because no one wants to be classified or limited because of their preferences on an assessment. Employees with big goals and aspirations are particularly averse to being catalogued, even if they know they’re not exactly cut out for a particular position or role. But with so many combinations, our assessments are uniquely individualized while allowing supervisors and other team members to speak a common language and better understand each other. It’s the best of both worlds, showing both employee strengths and where development opportunities exist.

Fact: Our assessment products result is INDIVIDUALITY not categorization.

3. MYTH: Personal secrets will be exposed

So, am I an axe murderer?” That’s probably one of the most common questions during a debrief following an assessment. The honest answer is “I have no idea!” We don’t have an axe murderers check box. We also don’t know if you drink milk from the carton or if you play solitaire on your company computer or if you’re the one who ate all 6 remaining doughnuts in the break room.

The assessment is designed to identify behaviors, motivators, de-motivators, acumen, capacity, core-skills, and emotional quotient. It cannot make a conclusive determination related to specific experiences or events. With a proper debrief after an assessment, employees see this tool as an engine for advancement. Why? Their strengths are highlighted while any development needs can be properly addressed. Our experience is that – for the most part – employees WANT to do a great job and a validated, honest talent assessment helps them understand what they need to accomplish to advance in their career.

Companies like General Electric, Nissan, and AT&T have used these tools for selection, development, and career progression for years. The great thing is that assessments are scalable for firms with one or two employees all the way up to massive organizations with tens or hundreds of thousands of employees.

FACT: Assessments reveal nothing about specific individual experiences or future actions.

4. MYTH: Some people don’t perform well on assessments

By using an ‘ipsative’ approach, our assessments look at a participant’s preferences. There are no right or wrong answers. Do some people get still get nervous? Sure, but once they realize it isn’t a ‘test’ and they cannot ‘fail,’ they settle down pretty quickly.

FACT: Properly designed assessments don’t have a right or wrong answer so the correct answer is … whatever you think, feel, or believe is the best response. Simple as that.

5. MYTH: You’ll judge me

Hardly. Assessment providers rarely look at individual answers and the results are different for virtually every person. If anything, assessments prevent judging because they show the uniqueness of each individual.

Are some assessments used to determine job fit? Of course. You know people in your own life that find it easier to perform certain job functions than others. Assessment results help illuminate which career path makes the most sense based on the individual’s preferences and, should a different path be chosen, where development needs exist.

FACT: “Judge” you based on what? The fact that you’re unique … just like everyone else?

6. MYTH: They aren’t reliable

The assessments we use undergo regular data norming, examination of Cronbach’s alpha, use structured equation modeling, sampling and routinely conducted data analysis to provide the most validated and accurate assessment products possible. The research is conducted from a non-discriminatory data pool of millions of individuals collected over three decades by a research team with more than 90 years of business, academic and neurological experience.

Because of our commitment to research and validity, we have achieved full EOCC and OFCCP compliance. Only a highly limited number of assessment providers have achieved that level of compliance and validity.

FACT: Assessments administered by a certified professional using a TTI assessment are beyond reliable. TTI goes to great lengths and expense to insure our assessments can be relied upon for selection and development decisions.

7. MYTH: We don’t have time to use assessments

A well run organization doesn’t have time NOT to. But if you’re batting 1.000 on hiring and you’ve never made a bad development decision, and your best people NEVER leave … you may not need them.

But if you ever feel like you’re:

  • A baby sitter – constantly refereeing turf wars and conflict in your workplace OR
  • A firefighter – running from one fire to another, unable to do your own job OR
  • Ready to fire half your staff and start over OR
  • Always saying, “This job would be so much easier if it weren’t for the people” then …

Using a 40 minute assessment for talent selection, employee development, and retention may make sense. Should you investigate it?

The average annual turnover in the US is 23%. For an organization with 100 employees, that’s a minimum of $110,400 in turnover costs. If those 23 are earning $50,000/yr, those costs skyrocket to over $225,000. Losing 23 executives could cost exponentially more, perhaps into the millions of dollars.

FACT: The time excuse is the weakest of them all when you weigh the benefits. A 45 minute assessment could insure you hire the best person for a position rather than take yet another shot in the dark.

Solutions

Talent assessment provide solutions by providing data about an individual’s communication preferences, motivations, de-motivators, capacity and core business skills. They provide that data in an easy-to-read and understand format and, if your assessment provider provides a post-assessment debrief (why wouldn’t they?), supervisors and managers can get an individualized “How To Manage and Lead” manual for each employee.

If you enjoyed in this article, please share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles.

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

What Gold Miners Know That Hiring Managers Don’t

gold-Fabian-Browman-Flickr

Gold mining and hiring the best have a lot in common: you have to do a lot of digging, prospecting, and searching while using the right tools. With the right tools, your chances of finding nuggets are much greater and by using the right tools when hiring, you have a much better chance of finding the right fit for an open position.

Experience/Education: The Look-At-The-Ground Method

gold-minerSparking the Gold Rush of 1849, James Marshall found gold nuggets near Sutter’s Mill that were simply lying on the ground. No real effort was needed other than looking in the right spot, bending over, and picking them up.

“Spotting” the right candidate using their experience and/or education is a lot like trying to find gold lying on the ground. You may find it; you may not. Experience and education are still important factors in talent selection, but their dependability as the sole methods of finding great employees has severely diminished.

Interviewing: The Gold Pan

After all the gold lying on the surface of the ground had been scavenged, miners began using gold pans. They’d scoop up a pan full of creek sediment and water, swirl it around and by shaking the pan, encourage the heavier gold to sink to the bottom. By carefully sloshing the water and lighter material out, only the gold and some heavy black sand would remain. Miners, were “interviewing” each pan and each miner had his/her own technique.

Gold-miner-2But interviewing job candidates is an extremely imprecise science. Humans are horrible at evaluating other humans, particularly ones they’ve only read about on paper (resume/application) and actually met just 30 short minutes ago. The interviewees are better prepared for the interviewers MAGIC QUESTIONS than ever before and interviewers are notorious for allowing social constructs, bias, and personal preferences influence their ratings and decisions. Research has shown that, even when the interviewer KNOWS they’re being tested on bias, certain physical features or characteristics still influence their ratings. Other research shows that interviewers tend to prefer certain characteristics in ALL interviewees whether those characteristics have any relevance to the job or not.

Mark Zuckerberg got LinkedIn all in a tizzy with his idea that he would only hire someone if HE HIMSELF would work for them. For starters, how does he know? He’s never worked FOR anyone so he has absolutely nothing to base that on. Second, he’s depending on his own ability to evaluate a human and every piece of evidence we have says that humans are horrible at rating another’s ability to perform at a job. Mark needs better tools than just trusting his gut. I have a feeling he has them, it was just the Internet that got all abuzz with his claim because everyone wants a shortcut.

Assessments: The Sluice Box

sluiceOnce miners realized panning was a slower and tedious process, they invented the sluice box. A sluice box is an elongated tray that is open at both ends. The miner would divert water to run through the sluice box and then process buckets of stream sediment or other dirt through the sluice. A good sluice box will have riffles, small barriers to the water flow which create eddies in the water, and allows the heavier material (black sand and gold) a chance to drop to the bottom, behind the riffles. The more riffles, the more gold a miner can catch. Virtually all gold mining today, regardless of size, uses some form of a sluice box.

What is a riffle in terms of hiring? It’s a single assessment. Many employers and assessment companies today use a single riffle. Just like a poorly constructed sluice lets a very large quantity of gold pass right on through the sluice and back out into the stream, a singular assessment may cause you to pass on fantastic candidates that could be ideal for your firm. But just like you can count on another miner eventually finding the gold you passed up, a great candidate will be found by another employer … maybe even your competitor?

A Key Point – You Still Need To Interview

Once all the material had run through the sluice, the miner would rinse it into a gold pan and delicately coax out every little flake of gold. A fully structured interview that follows the law and is fair to each candidate is a vital part of the hiring process. But it can’t be the only part either.

The Difference Between Mining and Hiring?

And there’s the biggest difference between gold mining practices and hiring practices. Gold miners use more riffles to catch more gold. Hiring managers cannot be content with the STATUS QUO, trust their gut, use outdated interview schemes and questions, or rely on a single assessment product that gives them a one-deminsional view of a job candidate. The stakes are too high.

The more riffles (assessment sciences used), the greater your chances of finding the golden candidate you’re looking for:

  1. DISC assessments. Measured in four proportions: dominance, influence, steadiness and compliance, DISC behaviors reveal how an individual will perform, including what value he or she will bring to a team, his or her ideal environment and possible limitations he or she may face. (As me about the 15 differentiators between DISC assessment companies)
  2. Motivators AND De-Motivators assessments. (the driving forces behind every decision). Motivators are the windows through which an individual views the world, thereby driving his or her Behaviors. Motivators reveal why an individual acts a certain way – what motivates one to perform a job.
  3. Acumen Capacity Index. Acumen is assessed using all three dimensions of thought, analyzing both world and self-views:
    • extrinsically
    • intrinsically
    • systemically

    Acumen, or a person’s keenness and depth of perception, will identify how a person thinks and makes decisions and will clarify one’s natural abilities or capacities.

  4. Core-skills and Competencies. Measuring 23 research-based personal skills directly related to the business environment, Competencies are defined on three levels: well developed, developed, moderately developed, needs development. Applied in conjunction with a job benchmark, Competencies ensure the inherent skills of each individual match the soft skills required by the job.
  5. Emotional Intelligence Quotient. Measured in five areas within interpersonal and intra-personal intelligence, Emotional Intelligence (also referred to as EQ) is an individual’s ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity.

Using all FIVE sciences to give you the full picture of a job candidate, whether internal or external, will help you figure out who is the best fit for any position. It will help you uncover whether that person will be a mediocre performer. It will help you decide if this person will be a good cultural fit.

And in the end, it will help you understand how best to retain that golden candidate you searched for.

If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via Twitter (follow me @RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. And don’t be shy! Join in the conversation – Ask questions – Add a comment! And follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles.

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Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top talent, create job benchmark solutions, and implement succession planning.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.

INFOGRAPHIC – The Truth About Job Interviews

Infographic is at the bottom of this page.

Of the numerous vital, strategic, and tactical decisions organizations face, which people to hire is among the most critical … and the most enduring. A good hire can have a decades long effect on the culture of the company. Conversely, a poor hire, one that wasn’t thoroughly considered or done hastily can have quite the opposite effect. Even those without “director, manager, or chief” in their title can have a tremendous impact on a company’s reputation, and its bottom line.

The Problem

The main tool used in the hiring process for most companies and organizations is the employment interview. Typically occurring after an initial round of screening hundreds (thousands?) of applications and filtering through perhaps hundreds of resumes, the interview generally takes place as an unstructured, face-to-face meeting. “Unstructured” being the primary problem with interview accuracy. Surprised? Read on.

Usually job candidates are invited into an office and offered a seat while the interviewer comes from around the desk to make the process seem less intimidating … ‘Tell me about yourself” “What’s your greatest strength/weakness?” “Where do you see yourself in five years?” “Why should we hire you?” “Tell me about a time that [X] happened” … like just a couple of old pals having a chat.  But while the conversational job interview is widely used by virtually all organizations, its effectiveness in predicting future job performance is highly contested by those who study the outcomes of the interview process.

Think back: Have you ever had to fire someone? Have you ever regretted hiring a certain employee? Recall that at the time of the hire, in many cases they were the best thing since sliced bread. So what happened?

According to researchers Bazerman and Moore’s 2009 study, the overall consensus of interview research is that “job interviews do not work well.” Several other researchers claim that interviews do not work at all as a singular measure of selecting top performers.

The Challenge

Interviews conducted in the ever popular, loosely structured conversational format mentioned above, are highly susceptible to the influence of social dynamics, societal norms, social constructs, and interviewer bias. Why? Because at our core, humans are limited information processors whose ability to discern and rate relevant performance characteristics rarely match reality. We’re subject to multiple types of cognitive bias, fail to notice data that doesn’t match our preconceived ideas, set arbitrary standards for interviewee performance, and make ill-times, superficial evaluations. And that’s on a good day.

For most positions, interview performance is at best, weakly related (if at all) to actual performance. For example, extroverted, amiable, friendly, sociable people often make more positive interview impressions than those without such characteristics. However, these traits are often less critical to job performance than other, less immediately observable traits, such as conscientiousness, personal accountability, planning & organizing, and emotional intelligence.

One notable piece of research (Barrick 2009) concluded that “the manner in which interviewees conduct themselves, including the use of impression management tactics (such as engaging in self-promotion), can influence interviewer ratings over and above the degree to which those skills are required for job performance.” In other words, interviewers can be hoodwinked. Given the state of employee disengagement and the continual challenge of talent acquisition, interviewers are perhaps hoodwinked more often than we’d like to think.

The Solution

1. Introduce real structure to all interviews by asking specific questions relating to the job. Those questions should be the same for each position so that answers can be compared between candidates. Additionally, a structure like this can reduce the risk of lawsuit since you’re treating each applicant the same.

2. Recognize the risk of bias in the interview process by having at least three people interview each job candidate. For minor positions, it may be two different people; for major positions, you may need to bring in as many as four or five interviewers.

3. Once those interviews are complete, each interviewer should be able to compare notes with the others.

4. Perhaps MOST critical to the process is to know who your target applicant is by performing a validated job benchmark. By benchmarking the position, you’ll have a complete list of the Key Accountabilities the job requires for superior performance.

5. After several applicants have made it through the interview round, filter them through he Benchmark to insure they match the behaviors, motivators, de-motivators, acumen, core-skills and perhaps even the Emotional Intelligence the job requires.

6. Set up a weighting scale – for example: Interviews 25%, Benchmark 30%, Experience 15%, Accomplishments 15%, and Education/Training 15%. This scale will assess your organization’s risk with this hire.

7. Stop thinking there is a magical interview question or set of questions that will reveal everything you need to know about a candidate. There isn’t. And job candidates are constantly rehearsing the interview, practicing the questions you’re going to ask, and reading up on your company so you’re impressed.

Conclusion

Get DATA.

The more data you can gather on a job applicant (within reason) as well as the position itself, the better your decision will be. Today, gathering the appropriate data isn’t difficult, nor is it time consuming.

At Corter Consulting, we want to help you make your company the best it can be – and that all starts with the people you decide to hire.

The-Truth-About-Interviews
If you enjoyed in this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and share via your Twitter (@RonHaynesMBA), LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook pages. Follow my LinkedIn post page for all my articles. 

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CorterColorLogoWant to learn more? First check out our website and then contact us (RonH@corter.com) and tell us how we can help you and your company bring out the best in your most important asset – your people.

Certified as a Professional Behavioral, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence Analyst, Ron Haynes specializes in using the science of TTI’s TriMetrix HD to help companies select and develop their top management talent, create genuine Job Matching System solutions, and implement succession planning for key management positions.

He has recently developed an auditing process to help organizations more accurately calculate true cost of employee turnover. It’s staggeringly higher than you think.

Need a solution to your employee challenges? Contact him at ronh@corter.com or at 870-761-7881.