Sign & Digital Graphics

September '14

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Assessment Tools Skill and trait tests that can help identify and retain a talented workforce B y V i n c e D i c e c c o Make it Your Business I was afraid to ask him which group he put me in since it had been about that long since we first began talk- ing. I asked him if he had ever heard of the Pygmalion Effect—the self-fulfilling prophesy that causes things to turn out exactly how one might expect them to, because of one's expectation. Richard admitted he knew that high expectations begets superior outcomes more often than not and that the opposite—low expecta- tions leading to poor performance—was probably true as well, but he stood by his original statement. I asked him if he ever used assessment tools, such as a literacy or math skills test or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Di SC Personality Test, to evaluate a person's aptitude and potential. He looked taken aback at my question, craned his head from side-to- side as if to see if anyone was eavesdropping on our conversation and then whispered to me, "That's my secret. I cheat. Isn't it interesting what you can learn about people—and yourself, for that matter—when you read the interpretation of those tests?" More business owners should discover Richard's secret in order to make better hiring decisions. The Harvard Business School determined that, on aver- age, bad hires cost employers three to five times the worker's first-year compensation. Further, failure to manage and develop a company's talent could cost the business its growth potential and future. Turns out there is a science to correlating skills and personality assessment scores with performance on the job; and, once hired, to creating measurable and sustainable improvements in an employee's performance in the form of successful business results. And many assess- ment tools are available at little to no cost. Care to learn more? Let's explore. . . . The Theory Behind Assessment Tools Before proceeding to test all future and current employees willy-nilly, take a moment to understand the process of choosing the right assessment tool and the best time to administer the instrument. There is a logical sequence of steps when a business decides to use an assessment program. The first step is to define the success criteria of the plan. If assessments are to be used during the hir- ing process, determine what the goals and objectives A t a recent Chamber B2B Expo, I met Richard, a sign and digital graphics shop manager who pro- fessed to have a "sixth sense" about determining a job candidate's potential by just chatting casually with an applicant in an interview. His hiring-acumen claim piqued my interest since, for a long time, I wanted to know if this was an acquired talent or one with which a person is naturally born. I asked him at what point he realized he possessed this unique ability and he replied, "I've always been a good judge of character. Heck, sometimes I think I am a human lie detector." Richard went on to explain that, within 15 minutes, he could predict if the person was a winner or a turkey. Vince DiCecco is a business training and development consultant and owner of the Acworth, Ga.-based business, Your Personal Business Trainer, Inc. He has been sculpting his sales, marketing and training techniques since 1979, and he has shared innovative and practical ideas on business management excellence for two Fortune 200 companies, the US Coast Guard, and in seminars at past NBM Shows. He is available to small- to mid-sized compa- nies striving for sustained growth and market dominance. Contact him via email at or visit his com- pany website, RUNNING THE BUSINESS 20 • September 2014 • S i G n & D i G i T A L G R A P H i c S

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