Leveraging Birkman to Create and Retain More Successful Hires

The Birkman Assessment can dramatically improve on-boarding new employees, rapidly acquainting them with their co-workers by teaching how to best communicate with each of them. Birkman also enlightens the manager on how to motivate a new employee, helping them reach their maximum potential.

As an owner of two executive search firms, the success and reputation of these firms are directly tied to the success of a candidate fitting into their new role and the clients’ culture.  In addition, our firm offers a one-year guarantee on placements. Therefore, we are held accountable for finding the fit right, and for their long-term success.  If the new hire leaves or gets fired within the first year, it costs our firm in reputation. Plus, additional recruiting time by launching a new search for a replacement. Therefore, on-boarding a new hire properly is critical to creating what will be called “a successful hire” a year from their hire date.

Even if your company is not a search firm, turnover is costly.  Many studies have shown the cost of losing an employee within the first year is estimated to be two to four times their salary.  Direct and indirect costs includes lost wages, benefits, expenses and assets of the employee who leaves, lost time the manager and team invested in training the employee, lost productivity of the whole team during the hiring and retraining of another employee and this all negatively impacts profitability.

For those companies who do not have a well-defined on-boarding program, studies show turnover rates exceed 50% within the first year, when it comes to retaining new executive talent.

A study by the Wynhurst Group, stated that, “New employees who went through a structured on-boarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years.”

Engaging Birkman Assessments for On-Boarding

A key component to proper on-boarding is aligning effective communication styles between the new hire, the team, and the manager.  We have found the Birkman Assessment is able to achieve this and more.

With over 4.5 million Birkman Assessments completed over the past 60 years, this tool can provide deep insights into possible areas of personality conflicts or differences which could lead to catastrophic failures.  Understanding these potential barriers up front is crucial to creating a smooth on-boarding and a higher performing team.

Armed with a Birkman for both the manager and the new hire, individuals can be coached based on their own communication style and managers’ communication styles. Each become more comfortable in communicating with the other.

Our firm recently worked with a CEO who was hiring a National Sales Manager.  During the on-boarding coaching sessions, the Birkman revealed they were polar opposites in several of their personality traits.  Once they understood the different communication styles, they quickly adapted their communication style so the other person ‘heard’ them more clearly.  Even when one defaulted back to their natural style, the other person knew that it was just “their communication style.”

The Birkman is also excellent at pinpointing potential stress points.  Figure 1 shows an example of how the Birkman revealed that this same CEO was very direct in his communication style.  This might lead employees to believe he would want them to be just as direct in communicating back with him.  Instead, it shows just the opposite.  He would be offended if they did so.  He prefers others to communicate with him in a much more gentle, respectful and tactful way.  Knowing this one item as a new employee could be the difference between success and failure in the new role.

In another example where a President of a manufacturing firm was hiring a Controller, we found that both of them outwardly showed they liked a structured work environment.  They both wanted the flexibility to set the structure themselves and not have it dictated by others.  A good example of how this played out was when a problem arose.  They each wanted the flexibility to solve it in their own way, and not have someone else tell them how to solve it.

We helped them recognize how this similarity could also be a barrier.  Once they understood this, it enabled them to establish proper boundaries to meet the needs of each person while still meeting the needs of the business.

Sometimes these subtle, but important traits, can open up great discussion points and even lead to opportunities to laugh at ourselves.

The Birkman is also excellent for revealing insights into an individual’s passions. These areas include Numerical, Persuasive, Administrative, Musical, Technical and others.  This helps us identify activities in which a candidate might thrive, or when you should ‘outsource’ a task to someone else who is more passionate about that area such as administrative tasks.  Managers can then focus new employees on activities where they have their greatest passions which will give them the best chance for success.

Figure 2 shows an example of a sales executive’s Birkman Interests.  This leader would likely thrive in motivating performance through data driven metrics.  However, with an Artistic score of 2%, you would not assign this person the task of redesigning your webpage or creating the look and feel for your marketing brochures.

Whenever we take the time to learn about what makes another person tick, we can often find more common connections than differences.  As we understand the components that make up our personalities, we begin to realize how unique each person is and the value that uniqueness can bring into an organization.

Using the Birkman Assessment for on-boarding can dramatically accelerate the relationship between the new employee and the manager.  An hour of coaching can take the guess work out of how they should interact with each other.  It allows them to get to ‘know’ each other as if they have been working together for years.

As for the executive search business, leveraging the Birkman to on-board our candidates with our clients has proven to effectively align communications styles.  Ensuring new employees are more quickly acclimated into their roles sets them up for success.  This has allowed our two executive search firms to extend our placement guarantee from 3 months to 1 year!  We have yet to have a client use the guarantee.

About Tim Howard

Tim Howard is the founder of Fortify Experts (www.fortifyexperts.com) and Energy Sourcing (www.energysourcing.com) which helps companies hire and deploy the best talent on the planet through executive search perm placement and expert consulting. 

In addition, he has a passion for helping companies develop Higher Performing Teams by coaching them to increase effective communications and improve non-productive behaviors. With each new hire, his firm produces an Employee Operating Manual to help clients understand how to communicate better and get the most out of each new hire.

He also teamed up with Lyndrel Downs to launch www.CybersecurityDIVAS.com to help promote the most influential women in cybersecurity and provide a mentoring program to help encourage and support more diversity within the industry.

Tim has been leading technology staffing teams for over 20 years and is the founder of three other technology firms. He has degrees from Texas A&M University in Industrial Distribution and Marketing.  

Invite me to connect:  www.linkedin.com/in/timhoward