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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.



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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 or at 870-761-7881.

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