Do you know how to identify the best candidate for your organization?

Today’s competitiveness in the job market and the dynamism that characterizes tendencies towards globalization brings hundreds of candidates for the job vacancies in the organization. Personnel managers, directors and analysts face a complex situation when choosing the best candidate for the position they need to fill.

Reading or reviewing CV’s and carrying out interviews consumes a lot of time. The latter can also be biased, as candidates will probably try to show a specific image of themselves.

The PDA Assessment is a scientifically validated tool that helps us compare and/or verify the candidates’ information gathered during the interview with the one delivered by the PDA Report. This online tool is easily administered and allows us to outline the behavioral profile of every candidate and summarize their abilities, strengths, areas to be developed, their capacity to work in teams, their motivation level, creativity and the way in which they relate with their bosses and colleagues.

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The PDA Assessment facilitates the comparison of compatibility levels between the candidates’ behavioral profile and the position’s behavioral profile. The assessment can be administered to hundreds of candidates after we preselect CV’s. This clearly reduces the time and effort we dedicate to this part of the process. A recruiting analyst who works with the PDA Assessment can find additional data about the candidates, apart from their CV’s, and then know who the best candidates are for that position. The analyst can then analyze and interview the individuals who are most adequate for that position. Recruiting hours and costs are thus reduced, and more effective results are achieved.

Among other qualities, the PDA Assessment delivers detailed information about an individual’s: leadership style, persuasion capacity, decision-making style, analytical capacity, current motivation, sales capacities and strengths regarding the position to be filled.

The Key for Being a Successful Leader

Amazon offers over 20,000 books on leadership.  This is a clear sign of the interest people have in the subject. One of these books is On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis, who focuses on demonstrating the importance of knowing oneself.

Bennis states that “…they know who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to fully deploy their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses. They also know what they want, why they want it, and how to communicate what they want to others, in order to gain their cooperation and support. Finally, they know how to achieve their goals.” The key to thoroughly express leadership is to know oneself.

The process for a person to become a good leader is very similar to the one of developing and growing as a human being, in the broad sense of the phrase. The PDA Assessment is based on the theory that says that we are all leaders and, as the dictionary defines, “a leader is a person who defines the path, who sets the example” and, based on this definition, we are all leaders with different characteristics.

Socrates stated that: “He who knows himself knows his abilities and how to apply them. He who knows not himself, will fail to the point of ruining his life.”

The following questions arise from the above: how can I know myself? What should I know about myself? How do I affect others?

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An easy way to respond to these questions is by asking those who surround us, because they know very much about our behaviors, strengths and weaknesses. It is important that those who know us trust us, have self-confidence and, in the case of hierarchy, do not impart fear when honestly expressing themselves. For these reasons, it is common that things are not expressed with honesty in companies – and even some families. As a consequence, in certain point we ignore how we behave and how we affect others. The PDA Assessment is an excellent tool for these scenarios, because it helps us respond to the questions we asked ourselves above. Knowing ourselves is the key requirement for effective leadership.

Healthy Organizations

Do you know what a healthy organization is? Do you know the basics for creating healthy work environments? More importantly, do you work in a healthy organization?

In healthy organizations, people’s well-being is as important as achieving good results.  Caring about individuals also implies encouraging their personal development, offering continuous learning, training and motivating them. Authors such as Wilson, M.G, Dejoy D.M and Vanderberg, R.J, among others, consider that healthy organizations are characterized by systematic efforts made to maximize the well-being of staff and productivity thereof. This is achieved by creating and designing important positions where individuals feel motivated.

People are the heart of the organization, and its success depends on its health. When we value and encourage the growth of human capital, work environment and the final product will be noticeably affected. Personal care will only be possible if we know what aspects must be considered so that individuals feel valued and protected.

This does not happen spontaneously. It is a process that requires planning, effort and the contribution of a group of professionals that assists the company when setting healthy objectives. PDA international stands on the principle that states “the right person in the right position.” We understand that knowing the behavioural profile of individuals, and studying and identifying the behavioural profile required by a job position is extremely valuable for organizations. Once we know this, we are able to reduce the error margin and assign employees and candidates the tasks, responsibilities and challenges that are aligned with their main strengths and motivation areas.

María Luisa Martí, Regional Training and Development Manager at Skanska Latin America, tells us that “working together with PDA International in a consulting process and integrating it with performance assessments per competencies added great value because it offered an additional vision to the results of the observed assessments. It also improved the way in which feedback was given to the assessed individuals, and individuals expressed more confidence and commitment towards the development assessments per competencies in a regional level.”

Transforming the environment of an organization into a healthy one is a decisive step for preventing work violence and emotional illnesses caused by hostile work environments.

 

How to Increase Productivity by Enhancing HR Processes

Every day, Directors and Managers ask themselves how to increase the profitability and productivity of the company they lead. The answer is simple and at hand. For us at PDA International, it is about the optimization of human resources.

Very often, talent is present in companies and leaders only have to identify who has not been developed yet. Reorganizing the efforts and functions – of  HR  – can significantly increase the retention of staff and, in consequence, individual and group productivity.

Currently, the implementation of strategic plans seeks to focus on recruiting and hiring the workforce, as well as developing the competencies and abilities of individuals. When implementing these plans, designing and executing an effective action plan is often considered for facilitating meeting objectives.

In general, the implementation of the action plan that aims at increasing productivity begins with the analysis of the available human resources. The reason for this is that if the company does not acknowledge the potential of its staff members, it may be distributing “wrong” responsibilities to individuals. To facilitate this analysis and diagnosis, working with technological tools is essential, for they allow us to reduce costs and valuable time.

The PDA Assessment is a psychometric tool, highly effective and scientifically validated, that allows companies to know – in very few minutes – the behavioural profile of every member of its organization. It also helps in the systematization of information; we have access to key data that will show us the potential of individuals so as to elaborate an adequate plan with responsibilities and objectives that address the development and training of every behavioural style. The PDA Assessment and the different Reports it delivers enable us to identify and know the potential of the human resources of the company. This provides the basis for creating a time line with the goals for each individual. In time, we can supervise the results and decide on the corresponding actions that will follow.

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Success Story by PDA International

The Board of Directors of a large company from the media sector contacted us after identifying that they needed to strengthen the contents of their newspaper. They decided to work with PDA International so that, through the use of the PDA Assessment, we would present a detailed Talent Map.

The first step was to identify the individuals with best performance in their positions during a determined period of time. We asked this group to complete the PDA Assessment. At this stage, we also decided to include the results of the PDA Report of the Board of Directors. Focus Group meetings were held with in-depth interviews with the purpose of obtaining detailed information of the group as a whole and the individuals that composed it.

This allowed us to reach the general diagnostic of the dynamics that were currently present in the organization: a work team with conservative behavioural tendencies that avoided risk situations. Also, leaders where characterised by a controlling and reactive style towards change. This turned out to severely limit the creative skills of staff members and the production of innovative contents.

We held group meetings to provide feedback both to Directors as well as to the different teams. As it happens in many initial meetings, and as a neutral part of any change process, there was certain resistance to receive feedback on the diagnosis. In order to mitigate such resistance, we proposed individuals to carry out some group dynamics and activities that allowed a clear observation of their roles and attitudes. The profiles described on the PDA Report were clearly seen during the activities: their different characteristics, each individual’s decision-making style, the way in which they communicate, etc. The dynamics we worked on during this project allowed everyone to observe their “conservative and change-resistant attitudes.”

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When analysing what was experienced during the dynamics, a debate was generated and participants themselves were able to agree on what had been previously discussed and diagnosed: “a work team with conservative behavioural tendencies that avoided risk situations. Also, leaders where characterised by a controlling and reactive style towards change. This turned out to severely limit the creative skills of staff members and the production of innovative contents.”

Often, this is one of the main limitations that are evidenced in groups where behavioural profiles are characterized by their tendency to follow structures and procedures. When concentrating our intervention in a structured plan, a major awareness of the problems is achieved. This generates new forms of communication and the construction of different structures for facing challenges. The purpose of this is to carry out changes that allow the fulfilment of objectives as well as being available to innovation and growth.

In this case in particular, the leaders’ positions were reinforced by working in leadership development, strengthening their competencies that addressed the company’s needs. We also facilitated activities to work on the creative skills of staff members. Individuals and group coaching sessions were also carried out; the purpose was that they worked in their creativity in order to develop attractive and creative material for the newspaper.

Emotional Salary

In these challenging business days, high competitive salaries are not the only (nor the he best) alternative to hunt the best employees. Personal satisfaction and correct motivation are the key to their fidelity.

Offering higher salaries is not enough to attract the best employees, this will not keep them motivated. New generations are ceasing to measure life quality by spending power. As a consequence, a new strategy emerged, Emotional Salary. The objective is to address individuals’ both personal and professional needs, which are not only satisfied by a raise in income.

Although the term is relatively new, it has always existed. This is a convenient remunerative strategy, since money is a short term motivator, especially in unstable economies, where money loses its value constantly. Emotional salary is not measured by a given amount of money; it is strongly related to individuals’’ emotions and the loyalty they show towards the company.

Coaching techniques are a perfect example of the added value that small and medium organizations provide to emotional salary by mentoring both old and new employees. Thinking of who will be coached and knowing the behavioural styles of individuals makes coaching processes much more effective.

Another example is the possibility of applying for different programs, such as, talent development, leadership identification, team building. These activities are open for all employees. Everyone is given the chance to develop specific competences according to their individual style – competences that are related to the ones required by the organization in order to perform successfully in the position.

Constant training, as well as proposing a career plan, compose part of what is proposed as emotional salary. To implement it in an organization, it is important to consider the interests of employees according to their personal and generational situation. For a young professional of Generation Y (born 1980-2000), it will be important to leave the office on Friday after noon, in order to start his weekend. On the other hand, a person born 1960-1980, of Generation X, will likely prioritize a flexible timetable that will allow him to comply with family obligations.

Is not only about having a big budget, but more about paying attention and listening to the interests and needs of employees. While adults appreciate training and active participation when teaching new employees, a higher salary will never equal how much time is worth or a better quality of life.

Many companies around the world, regardless of their size, have begun to understand this. Redefining how we relate and professionalize management through programmes oriented to our employees is a great opportunity that breaks the paradigm that people are only motivated with money.

Engaged Employees

In the last decades, and together with global socio-cultural, political and economic changes, there have been modifications in the organizational and work context of large companies. The contractual relationship (employee-employer) has become so dynamic that a job opportunity is no longer thought as in terms of the organization or company, but in consideration of the project for which the person is called.

In consequence, the role of those responsible for human resources management in an organization acquires major importance, since they not only aim at hiring the most appropriate candidate for the position, but they also concentrate in keeping an engaged and motivated employee. One of their purposes is that individuals are motivated in their job area, with their team members, and also with the brand and organization.

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When this management is supported by the use of the correct tools, the work insertion process where the candidate becomes and employee and begins his own development process within the organization, is more friendly and well-aimed. The expectation is to find the person who will meet the most adequate profile and that, besides carrying out the tasks required by the position, feels comfortable when displaying his style while developing it successfully. This occurs because the current work market demands qualified employees who seek for their persona realization and find in their jobs an opportunity to continue to develop their capacities and skills.

We hunt for workers, employees and collaborators who show commitment to their job and the organization’s goal as well as to their professional growth in an every day more demanding environment. These individuals are highly motivated and engaged with the task of reaching professional goals and make a huge effort to fulfil the objectives of the organization.

The use of the PDA Assessment in HR processes enables us to identify the potential of individuals. The PDA Report indicates the capacity that individuals have to develop their own competencies and learn others so as to facilitate their professional life.

Carlos Vivar Ardiles, Organizational Development Management at Lindley S.A. says: “we have decided to work with the PDA Assessment many years ago. We use it for our recruiting and external selection processes […] the tool has become our main ally for developing our people based on a comprehensive understanding of their profiles and potential areas.”

 

Consulting: step by step

At the PDA Consulting Department we work to address the demands of different and organizations and companies that want to improve their services, the communication among their work teams, they want to identify leaders, develop their staff and strengthen their HR management.

We work on several factors that allow us to design strategic plans focusing on every particular case and according to the needs of each group.

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We make a diagnosis to analyse the organization’s demand. This is because very often the issue expressed by the organization does not fully cover the problem they are facing. We will tell about one of our many experiences:

An important hospital contacted PDA Consultants to facilitate a workshop on emotional intelligence to its staff. The purpose was to give the workshop to customer service employees, since there had been many complaints from patients lately. They said that the service they received was very bad.

The team of Consultants listened to this and instead proposed to carry out a more accurate diagnosis and ask staff members to complete the PDA Form. This would provide more information about their behavioural profiles and evidence if the problem was the inadequate training they’d been receiving, if they were working in positions that were not compatible with their profiles or, if the issue was in the context in which they were performing their tasks.

After staff members completed the PDA Form, a Group Trend Report was issued through the PDA platform. This report allowed Consultants to analyse the group styles in detail, which revealed that the profile of staff members was adequate for the positions they were working at. However, what was also evidenced was that they were not being led closely. They also needed to work under consistent and constant rules, norms and regulations in order to provide a successful performance. The institution had been growing abruptly and procedures were not being followed.  This was what was negatively affecting the performance of staff members, added to the context of change and accelerated growth the institution was going through.

This example shows how a tool as the PDA Assessment and the design of a strategic plan created by a team of Consultants who are expert in the instrument, allow addressing an organizational issue in a comprehensive manner, exceeding the demands of a situation in particular. The initial proposal that requested the implementation of a workshop on emotional intelligence became one of the last links in a chain that tended to establish processes and standards that would allow the group to operate in a more effective way, improving interpersonal relationships and with the necessary leadership for guiding these teams given the context of change and exponential growth the institution was going through.

We would now like to share the following PDA Consulting video so that you can know more about how we can help you use the PDA Assessment in a successful way in your Consulting projects.

 

Increase the productivity of your salesforce

For several years, Dave Ulrich has raised awareness in many individuals who are responsible for managing human talent on the “new mandate” for Human Resources. In his book  Delivering Results he states:

“To ensure that the work of HR  contributes to employees, customers and the investment of shareholders, we should boost the development of the organizational capacity by turning strategies into action.” This book reveals the power of HR strategies for influencing not only the individual, but the performance of the organization as well, providing executable strategies that bring results from the production line to the boardroom.

Although every function in a company is important and essential, sales tend to be the most critical activity because the results reached by this department are like oxygen for an Organization.  Without commercialization of products or services, a company may cease to exist, even though all the other areas perform optimally.

A clear trend that has occurred over several decades is that some people opt for a job in sales when they have not been able to secure any other type of employment besides informal work. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in sales results not always being reached, either for the sales person or for the companies that hire them. This has often caused high economic and emotional costs for both parties.

The profile of the “good” salesperson is different for each company. This means that there is no guarantee that a successful salesperson in an organization will be as successful working in a different one, even if the product is similar or has similar characteristics.  Why is this? Every organization has different characteristics: market positioning, reputation of its brands, sales cycle, culture and organizational structure as well as the organization’s specific products or services, to name but  a few differences.

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Brian Tracy, expert in marketing, Brian Tracy, marketing expert, refers to the Pareto principle, also known as 80/20, in his book The Psychology of Selling and states the following: “twenty of Sellers earn 80% of commissions, and the remaining eighty percent earn 20%. The same principle applies to a group of outstanding sales people, because 20% outstanding sellers – equivalent to 4% of the total – earn, in turn, 80% of the commissions received by the prominent sellers.”

This is why it is worth taking time to ask yourself the following questions:
Is it important for a company to count with a sales force that is composed of highly productive salespeople?
How can you know, when hiring individuals, who will deliver excellent results for a company in particular?

We all have certain “sales skills.” With the PDA Assessment, you can identify the sales style of every individual and develop the person successfully according to his or her abilities and motivations. This will allow you to reduce the margin of error, besides enabling you to design a strategic training and development plan in accordance with the needs of the individual and the organization.

 

Change Management and Need for Leadership

Karl Weich, expert in Organizational Studies from Michigan University, has written several articles and publications that offer a new view on organizations. In one of his articles, he analyses the tragedy that caused the death of 13 firemen who were fighting a forest fire. This is what happened:

On August 5, 1949, the authorities of the Montana Fire Department received a call informing a fire outbreak in a Mann Gulch forest. The place was mountainous and quite inaccessible. A team of parachute firemen, who barely knew one another, was called. One of them had vast experience in these sort of fires; he was appointed leader. The group lacked the necessary trust that would help for cohesion and teamwork.   

The information given to the firemen said that this was a routine task: the fire wasn’t serious and, by following the procedures they knew, they would be able to extinguish the fire in a few hours.  When they reached the affected area they scattered; each man started to perform the job he had to do with the information available at that time. Slowly, the situation began to change and they realized that the fire was headed directly at them. It was out of control. The smoke was thick, the temperature too high and the noise so loud that they couldn’t hear themselves. The flames advanced. 

The leader tried to gather the team and after igniting an area of the forest intentionally, he ordered everyone to drop their tools and lie down on the ground consumed by the fire he had caused.  

Upon such change of strategy and in face of a situation they knew little about, no one obeyed. The firemen tried to save themselves as they could. Two of them hid inside a crack in between rocks and were saved. The leader, within his circle of ashes, survived as well. The rest of the firemen died in the fire. 

Much has been studied from the point of view of organizations in order to understand why such a huge disaster took place and the reasons why nobody followed the leader.

Weick analyses the case and provides some reasons for the magnitude of this disaster. The firemen thought it was a typical fire and organized themselves to do what they were used to doing, individually. They all thought they were doing the right thing. The leader’s behavior seemed absurd. Fight fire with another fire? The fact is that fire goes after fuel to continue advancing and consuming everything it can and, if there is an area that is already consumed, then that’s a good place where to lie down and wait for the fire to take another way. The leader had an excellent idea.

As Weick explains, this case shows that it is difficult to foresee when facing such a critical change.  When the firemen heard the order to drop their tools, they were no longer prepared professionals who were part of an ad hoc team; they became victims who tried to save their lives.  Almost none of them had the necessary creativity and capacity to manage change upon an unexpected scenario.

The leader was the only individual capable of gathering the preexisting information to design a good strategy of change, but he didn’t have the firemen’s respect or trust to follow his improvised plan. Had the firemen obeyed the order, they would have saved themselves.

What can organizations learn from this catastrophe? How to awake creativity and change management when facing this sort of crisis?

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Karl Weick suggest some solutions that can be easily implemented through training in change management and creativity within organizations. The author says that it is important to:

  • Be alert to possible changes when interacting with the environment (although they may not appear to be significant).
  • Understand that change comprises uncertainty and risk, but it can potentially generate innovation and improvements.
  • Focus on the “here and now”, avoiding routine thinking. What saved us in the past doesn’t have to be necessarily good in the present.
  • Know what your immediately available resources are in advance.
  • Build a team where people know each other and, above all, understand your leader.
  • Keep your mind open to modify routines and learn from what takes place in the present.
  • Recognize, respect and manage emotions caused by crisis.
  • Build a culture that accepts and embraces change and that understands creativity as a necessary tool to face new dilemmas.

Success in change management also involves the team’s belief in its leader and following him or her –which didn’t happen at Mann Gulch because it was an ad hoc team. The leader must gain support from the members of the group. Most change initiatives do not progress because people’s problems are not taken into account. Change in an organization, as well as individual change, requires an adjustment, adaptation and, therefore, we must let go of old habits and acquire new ones. For an organization to be prepared to face whatever happens, it is important to create a culture that accepts change, creativity and that believes in the leadership of its management teams.

There are interesting coaching courses, simulations and processes in the market for collaborating with this process. However, one must see that they involve not only the “hard” aspects of processes, but also the “soft” ones, since an individual’s ability to manage change is correlated to a good orientation of reality, his or her ego’s control and certain self-control. Rigidity is often the response of a mind with low self-confidence to face new situations. Self-esteem and self-control should be considered the base of the ability to respond to change without an inadequate attachment to the past. The possibility to persuade, attract, motivate and align teams is as important along the road as having a good 9 or 10-phase procedure project.