Culture ‘survey’ helps employers make people decisions

By Jim Kendall

This column originally appeared in the June 22, 2015 Daily Herald

                If you own the business, part of your responsibility is to assure that employees and jobs match. That’s why you might want to chat with Frank Heegaard.

Know, however, that you’ll get a sales pitch: Heegaard is CEO, Human Investments Inc., a Sycamore company that is a Culture Index Inc. licensee. Kansas City, MO-based CI has developed a personality assessment survey to help businesses find and cultivate employee talent.

Conversations with business owners indicate the CI survey is an effective tool in both the internal employee-job match process and job candidate assessments.

“The selection process is hard,” says Charles Mitchell. “Everyone seems to know how to type a resume, how to look good, what to say. We need the extras (such as the CI survey) to see how people fit, to make certain we’re hiring the right person.”

Mitchell is vice president and general manager at Dekker Vacuum Technologies Inc., Michigan City, IN. (Dekker vacuum devices range from the irrigation instrument your favorite dentist uses to 1,000-horsepower machines used in power facilities.)

The survey, taken online, is quick and easy. The first section asks takers to “describe yourself” by choosing the most appropriate of 174 different words. The second, final, screen has a different block of 174 words survey takers mark to describe “How you must behave to be successful in your current position.”

Then the CI analysis takes over.

David Hinkston, president and CEO of Hampton, Lenzini and Renwick Inc., an Elgin engineering firm, began a recent hiring situation with a typical approach. “We looked at resumes so we could pick the top five candidates (to bring in for an interview), then we looked at the top five picks based on Culture Index best matches.”

The two sets of resumes “didn’t correspond,” Hinkston says. “We went with the best CI scores.             “The first (CI candidate) I wouldn’t have bothered to interview at all – but (the applicant) had the right personality traits to fit our company.”

The applicant not only fit, but the now employee is doing well.

“A lot of applicants know the buzzwords, but we get a better understanding of who they are,” says Mitchell. Both he and Hinkston also had employees take the survey.

“I have to find the best role for my people,” Mitchell explains. “We use the survey as a gauge of best fit” – i.e., how well employee talents and personalities fit company needs.

“We very quickly found two or three cases where a change should be made,” Mitchell says. Two of the changes have been “very successful.” The third is “too early” in the process to judge.

Hinkston says the CI survey is “a good developmental tool (that) confirmed what we had discovered when we looked at people to develop into management.” The survey, he says, has allowed the company “to put our energies into developing different people.”


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