Introduction—The January 2009 unemployment report for the United States revealed that a minimum of 7.2% of the country’s working-age population is unemployed. These numbers represent the worst unemployment rates in over 16 years. Of course, the numbers do not include those individuals who are working part-time who want to be working full-time or those individuals who are dramatically under employed compared to the work they have previously done. Most experts believe these numbers will only become worse in the first half of 2009 and perhaps beyond. Words such as dire and even the emotionally powerful word apocalyptic find higher frequency of use in describing the present economy in the United States that is reaching into the entire world.
A Major Question: What is the impact of these circumstances on a company that presents itself as having expertise in “workplace selection”? The assumption could be easily made that in a time when reductions in force, layoffs, and closings rule the day, that “workforce selection” would cease to be a problem or even a process that organizations would have any interest in pursuing.
The FACT of the Matter Is: When economic circumstances like those being presently experienced become the order of the day, “workforce selection” becomes an even more significant issue. In fact, the present economy is having a major impact on our business—phone calls, emails, all sorts of inquires are at a higher level than they have been in a decade.
Compelling Reasons Why
1. When reductions in force occur, an organization has to be very mindful and careful in making sure that the “best” stay and the “less than best” are lost. Our assessment provides an excellent tool in helping to make these decisions more objective at an emotional time in which objectivity becomes more difficult. We can even help those being lost in constructing better resumes that can enhance their finding new work more quickly.
2. When mergers and acquisitions occur, it is all but inevitable that some will stay and some will leave. New teams and work units will be constituted. In the midst of finance, computer, sales and marketing decisions for the newly-arranged organization, personnel issues can get lost in the shuffle. Our assessment will create a base for matching new employees for highest efficiency, deciding which employees are most essential, and bringing objectivity to determining who will be the right person in the right seat on the bus—to follow Jim Collins’ analogy—for the new circumstances that are being presented. We are expert in helping newly constituted groups find common resonance with each other that can immediately support the new work they will have to do together.
3. Basic cost of turnover can be crippling when margins are narrow. Today, the generally accepted estimate of the cost of turnover of one employee in the United States is 1.5x that employee’s annual salary. Our assessment is proven to be substantially effective in reducing turnover and diminishing attrition. And, these savings are not amortized over an extended range of time. These savings—which we have demonstrated conclusively can be sustained over time—hit to the “bottom line” of an organization immediately.
4. In times of economic downturn when more and more is demanded from fewer and fewer, the role of development of present employees—both as individuals and as team/unit groups—is even more critical. Our assessment has every bit as much implication for development as it does for hiring and promotion.
5. In times of economic downturn when more and more is demanded from fewer and fewer, the persons who are placed in leadership positions—from front line managers to executives—become even more critical. Our assessment gives major emphasis in determining who is ready for the next level of management and leadership. Or, if a person needs to be placed on a next level of management and leadership, and that person is not ready, our assessment can precisely determine what needs for improvement are present and, as a result of training and mentoring, can determine if those needs have been met.
6. In times of economic downturn when more and more is demanded from fewer and fewer, the presence of stress can undermine strong leadership and decision-making abilities. Our assessment—whether it is directed at an individual, some special group, or an entire organization—can specifically reveal how much stress is present, the precise kind of stress that is present, and the intensity of that stress. We can, then, help in the construction of stress management agendas that have been highly successful in their implementation across the country.
7. Many of our key clients see a 4.2 to 1 ratio in applications per job publicized. That was during the old economy. Today, many of our clients report that the ratio has jumped to as much as 25:1. The problem of differentiating who is the very best when faced with a dozen applicants who may be really good is no easy task. Our assessment allows for the creation of custom, best-performer templates that can help determine who is the “best of the best” in the hiring and promotion process.
Conclusion—In this present economy, our area of expertise is not any less important in any way. It is more important in a multiplicity of ways. Edwards Demming believed that if a reality was not measureable that it had little or no meaning. We tend to agree to a certain extent with this sentiment, so when we say that good judgment is a major, critical driver in selection for success, we assert—without equivocation or hesitation—that good judgment can be measured, monitored, and improved. It will be good judgment on the most local levels and the most national and international levels that will bring us successfully through the economic crisis that is at hand. The necessity of measuring judgment today is more critical than it has been in decades. Bad judgment has gotten us here, and only good judgment will move us to a better future.
A carpenter told me recently: “If I can measure anything, I will get better at what I do.” Then, he said: “I always measure twice first, and then I cut.” What we are offering with our assessment instrument is the ability to add a dimension of measurement—to “measure twice”—that will complement and enhance any measurement of people and groups of people that your organization is presently using. We can help move you from erratic and accidental—cross your fingers and hope for the best—subjectivity to solid objectivity in your people decisions. The stakes are so critical and the costs so high that objective, effective, predictable measurement has to be pursued with great seriousness.
If your organization has never worked with us, you need to see what we are doing and how it can immediately help. If your organization is working with us now, we are likely to be of more benefit to you than we have ever been. We are anxious to help. We want to help. We know we can help. We know how to help.
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