Saturday, October 26, 2013

How to Use GPS Theory to Hire Inspired Employees

How to Use GPS Theory to Hire Inspired Employees

A friend of mine recently tweeted me a link to Laura Entis' article, How Online Personality Assessments Could Revolutionize Hiring 

I read the article and responded with this tweet:

Why Did I Respond This Way?

I want to make the distinction between the statistically based predictive models like the one Michael Kosinski and his colleagues developed and the way you can actually select candidates who will be inspired employees. To be clear, I do not mean to criticize predictive personality assessments as I believe they provide some valuable insights into behaviors but I also believe when it comes to personal and organizational growth, statistical predictions do not actually drive the behaviors you're looking for in people. They predict, that is all. I don't claim that Entis, Kosinski, or anyone else say they drive behaviors either, but based on my experience with the manner in which predictive personality assessments, or psychometric assessments, are implemented within organizations I believe there tends to be a disconnect in understanding at the user-level. 

Psychometrics & Predictive Models

  [sahy-kuh-me-triks]  Show IPA
noun used with a singular verb Psychology .
the measurement of mental traits, abilities, and processes.
Also, psychometry.

1850–55; psycho- + -metrics

The definition of psychometrics, shown above from, should help make the distinction between predictive assessments and understanding true behavioral drivers. Measuring "traits, abilities and processes" is not the same as understanding what drives a person to break through personal, professional and organizational barriers to try to make things better. Saying a person has traits and abilities is like saying the race horse you're trying to sell me has four legs. My is, "Great, sounds like a horse...but...can he run faster than the other horses?" 

What separates the great from the middling candidate isn't ability, it's the will to do more.  Isn't "more" what every organization is really looking for in a candidate? The person who will quickly master the duties and responsibilities assigned to the job and then make process improvements? The key to finding the employee who will do more is identifying the person whose Core Values align best with the values the people and the processes they will be required to interact with in your organization. In order to find that person, the key is understanding the mental processes that drive the desired behaviors a psychometric test indicates are present, but a standardized predictive model uses an algorithm with a finite number of inputs and therefore can only provide a finite number of outputs. The psychometric test cannot identify what inspires a person. 

How to Find the "Right" Employees?

The key to finding the person who will most probably do the things you want them to better than
anyone else is to understand how their Core Values align with the behaviors expected of them in a given situation.  Here's how to look for them:
  1. Identify the tasks/activities required to create value for the organization/customer in the position you seek to fill.
    • Make a list.
  2. Identify the values the employee needs to personify in order to perform each task/activity.
    • Add any new values to the list.
  3. Identify the values the employee needs to personify in order to continuously improve the processes they will interact with.
    • Add any new values to the list.
  4. Ask the candidate to identify their Core Values
    • Does there appear to be a match based on the two lists?
      • If No, do not hire them, at least not yet. You may need to dig deeper if you have a "good feeling" about them.
      • If Yes, go to the next step.
  5. Measure how well they personify the Core Values that would best align them with the position. 
    • Use BoomLife's GPS Theory App to get honest and accurate feedback from references the candidate provides.
      • Do the people in the candidate's World agree they personify those values?
        • If No, do not hire them, not yet. You can if you want to, but you now have multiple data points that indicate they won't give you "more".
        • If Yes and you don't have a "good feeling" about them, keep the conversation going, try to get to know them better. Keep asking questions until you're sure it's a "yes" or "no".
        • If Yes and you have a "good feeling" about them then it's worth the risk isn't it? Hire them. See what happens. Everything we do is an experiment. Develop them if it works out!
If you're not sure how to complete any of the steps listed above, BoomLife's experts know how to reverse-engineer any job description into a list of the values an employee needs to personify to be the best fit. We utilize the most effective processes for developing top-level talent and creating inspired cultures.

The "Right" Employee is the Inspired Employee

Inspiration drives the will.  The will is the ability multiplier.

The differences between the three behavioral drivers, inspiration, motivation and coercion are the keys to creating an inspired culture.
As human beings, we are motivated to do things by the rewards we expect to receive as a result. A commission-based compensation plan is an example of a motivator. We are coerced to do things by the punishments we expect to receive if we take certain courses of action. For example, a person who has no inspiration or motivation to go to work is coerced into do so by the attendance policy their employer enforces. They choose to avoid the punishment of unemployment so they show up when they're expected to.

The problem with Motivation and Coercion as behavioral drivers that will create a culture of excellence is, when motivated or coerced the employees will to act is limited by the the net-positive or net-negative value they perceive in the reward or punishment offered. So, predicting behaviors based on abilities and personality traits can actually limit what a person is willing to do. The comfort zone they create for themselves by trying to maintain the balance between motivating and coercing forces actually causes them to play it safe by minimizing the risk of punishment. There is a tendency to view maintaining the status quo by not expending the effort to try new things as more desirable than taking the risk of not being rewarded for extraordinary successful effort. There lies the problem: When one is not willing to take the risk of not getting the reward (perceived as a punishment), they are not willing to do what it takes to earn it.
Do you want to work with inspired people? Do you want to be inspired? Does a predictive model with a statistically probable algorithm plant the seeds of inspiration for the people in your organization? Really?

The Order of Priority for Organizational Behavioral Drivers

When leaders understand the true nature of Inspiration and how to practically apply Core Values to their personal, professional, and organizational situations they hire employees who will do amazing things...they create inspired cultures! But, it's not realistic to believe inspiration is possible all of the time.  As a leader, you must understand how to recognize each situation and know how to respond to it:

  1. Priority 1- Core Values Inspire- Use Inspiration whenever possible. Setting the conditions for an inspired culture is your number one priority.
  2. Priority 2- Rewards Motivate- Motivation can be a powerful tool to reward inspired performance or to influence employees to perceive an increased value proposition in specific situations where the what you are asking them to do aligns less with their Core Values than what they typically want to do.
  3. Priority 3- Punishments Coerce- Coercion can be a legitimate way to drive employees away from undesired behaviors and employers must have plans for how they will identify the barriers of acceptable behaviors and how they will respond to incidents when employees act outside of them. There is an order of priority leaders must follow

The fundamental question for hiring new people as you build an inspired culture is: Do you want to rely on a practical, values-based approach to finding the inspired employee or a predictive model? 

Psychometric tests, in and of themselves, will not contribute to growth and breakthrough performance.  Understanding how Core Values align with what it takes to be the best leads to Inspiration and performance beyond the virtual limits derived from past successes and failures.  Find your Core Values! Find the candidate who shares your organizations Core Values! Create the organizational culture you want!

You might also be interested in reading, "Don't Hire People Who Can. Hire People Who Can and Will." right here on the BoomBlog!

BoomLife provides personal, professional, and organizational success engineering services. Our Values-Based, practical processes will help you:

  • Recruit Inspired Employees
  • Evaluate Performance- Inspired, Motivated or Coerced?
  • Measure Engagement & Create Improvement Strategies
  • Develop the Organizational Structure to Ensure Core Values Translate Throughout Business Processes

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