Posts tagged ‘discrimination’

Understanding The Role of Assessments – 9 to 5 Guest Post

This is a complete re-post of my interview with Aimee Fahey on her Ecogrrl Consulting blog.  Thanks, Aimee for a great topic of discussion!

 

Today I’m excited to welcome back Pamela Moore of Compass Human Resources for another guest post.  You may remember her fantastic guest post last year onnegotiating pay.  This time around, I wanted to get her recommendations for those who are hiring managers, and want a little help in answering that age-old question, “but how will I KNOW if this person will fit with our team?”.  While we don’t have a crystal ball in the HR world, there are a number of great tools that can provide greater insight into your candidates that you are considering hiring, and I’ve asked Pam to tell us more.

Psst – to the job applicant…this is great insight into the hiring process!

Why should I consider using assessments during the interview process?
The best candidates know how to perform well in an interview.  They also know how to put together a great resume – or hire someone to do it for them.  Having an expert recruiter designing behavior-based interview questions can mitigate some of that.  However, interview questions simply can’t get to a few things:

  • How will the person react under stress?
  • What kinds of situations will cause them stress?
  • How emotionally stable are they?
  • What is their management style?  Not what they say – what they actually DO.
  • What values drive their choices?
  • Do they have issues with authority?

Assessments can be extremely helpful in getting to the things that are below the surface.

Are there any legal issues I should keep in mind?  Aren’t personality tests illegal?
Assessments aren’t illegal providing you can show that they are relevant to the position, are administered consistently, don’t inadvertently discriminate, and are administered by a professional who uses them in a variety of situations and can interpret them well.

Use a well-known assessment with scientific data behind it.  There are a lot of shady assessments out there that measure things not relevant to work.  Many of them have very little data compiled to support their results.  Do your research.

There are a ton of assessments out there – how do I know which one is the best?  What do you recommend?
Which assessment you use really depends on your needs.  I have used several:  Myers-Briggs, Personalysis, DiSC and Hogan. Each looks at slightly different things.

  • Myers-Briggs is a true personality assessment.  I find it works best in a clinical atmosphere.  It’s difficult for participants to apply to work situations.  Also the reports and output are structured differently depending on which consultant you work with.
  • Personalysis is used to assess communication styles.  This works great for teams because 90% of the issues I see in ineffective teams are caused by poor communication. The reports are very visual, which participants absorb well.  I probably wouldn’t use this for selection, though.
  • DiSC is a work style assessment.  It will vary slightly depending on the person’s role and how long they’ve been in the role.  The results you get at hire may not be the same in six months.  This tool is great for both individuals and teams.  It’s very visual and easy for participants to apply.  I’ve seen it create a common language for team members that makes it easy for them to talk about interactions.  Creating a team composite report is very easy and extremely useful.
  • Hogan is a personality and behavior assessment.  It measures some things that other assessments do not:  emotional stability, personal values, etc.  It provides a level of detail that is very useful when working with high-level employees.  Also, Hogan is one of the few legally defensible tools out there.  It has been scientifically proven to have predictive validity.  Hogan can be used for both individuals and teams, and they offer a report specifically for selection purposes.

In my business, I use DiSC for non-managers or first-time managers, and for teams.  I like Hogan for experienced managers and executives.  Because these tools can be used for so many related purposes, they give you high value for your money.

Should the rest of my team do the assessment?
If you’re building a new team, you might wait until the team is built to have the existing employees complete the assessment.  However, if it’s an established team, you may want to do it before the new hires come on board.  Then you have the ability to do a team facilitation that will help everyone come to a common understanding of styles, needs, and team dynamic.  This can prevent a lot of turmoil as the team grows and changes.

What is the best stage during the recruiting process to administer assessments to my candidates?
These assessments are not free.  You will pay for the assessment and the consultant’s time to analyze results.  Have a budget ahead of time.  In order to keep costs down and to avoid assessing people who may not truly be viable candidates, I recommend doing assessments before final interviews.  Assessing two or three candidates that you feel strongly about is most effective.

However, you should be sure to let candidates know at the beginning of the recruitment process that finalists will be asked to complete an assessment.  Normally, the recruiter tells me who the finalists are, and gives me their contact info.  I then send the assessment to them and the results come back to me.  I analyze the results, then meet with the hiring team to review them.  We talk about the pros and cons of each candidate’s profile in relation to the job description.  They can then construct final interview questions designed to delve into any areas of concern.

The assessment should be just one item used to make the hiring decision.  Interview questions, resumes, etc should also be used. Candidates should not get a copy of the assessment results.  That is part of the job file just like the interview questions and selection criteria.

I’ve never done these before – how hard is it to interpret the results?
Good question.  Some hiring managers think that because they have taken a particular assessment themselves, that they are qualified to interpret them too.  That is NOT the case.

In order for assessments to hold up as a legally acceptable part of the hiring process,they need to be administered by an expert – someone who uses them as part of their work, who has gone through the education process offered by the assessment organization, and who has experience using them in many different situations.

In the case of DiSC and Hogan, there are combinations of traits that indicate very specific behaviors/styles.  The average person would not be trained to recognize and interpret those subtleties.  Hogan actually requires consultants to be certified in order to administer their assessments.

Want more information, sample assessments, or help in choosing an assessment? Contact Pam directly at: pam@CompassHumanResources.com.

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January 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Dealing with Politics at Work

This election year is jam-packed with topics that are close to our emotions: healthcare reform, education, same-sex marriage… things that will directly affect our everyday lives.  While we want people to actively discuss and participate in the political process, how do we keep things from getting overly distracting in the workplace?

Fisher & Phillips has two articles out this week that give some great guidelines for the workplace.  And, that clarify some points of free speech that I bet you weren’t aware of.

My quick tips are:

  • Understand both employee and employer rights and boundaries
  • Have a clear policy and educate your employees
  • Focus on work at work
  • Err on the side of caution

When in doubt about a specific situation, contact your attorney.

October 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Compliance Notice – Seattle Paid Leave Law

Employees working in Seattle?  This post is for you.  If you have at least one employee working at least 240 hours in a calendar year, you will have to begin complying with the City of Seattle’s new leave law.  The law takes effect on September 1st.

Here are a few highlights:

  • All employers with Seattle employees – regardless of company location – need to comply
  • Employers with all-inclusive PTO plans don’t have to provide additional leave.  (although plans without carryover options might need to adjust)
  • Employers need to post a notice to employees of their rights under the law (a poster should be available prior to Sept, check the Seattle site)

Here is the accrual rate chart.  If your PTO plan already offers at least this much time, you won’t need to change your accruals.

Employer Size Accrual Rate Based on Hours Worked within Seattle, Beginning on First Day Worked Maximum Hours
5-49 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 40
50-249 full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 40 hours worked 56
250+ full-time employees 1 hour leave for every 30 hours worked 72

 

Our Resource page has links to both the Regulations and the FAQ sheets.  The FAQ also includes contact information for questions regarding implementation.

Jackson Lewis LLP wrote an excellent article about the law on their blog here.

 

 

 

 

August 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Can Your Employer Access Your Facebook Account?

There has been a lot of media excitement this month about employers asking employees for their social media account passwords.  This has become such an issue that On April 27, 2012, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., introduced the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA).

I’m appalled that employers think this is an acceptable practice.  It seems like the modern-day equivalent of tapping your phone, or bugging your apartment.  Are employers really so paranoid that employees are going to say something bad about the company that they feel the need to invade their privacy?

Some employers would justify their actions by saying they need that access to investigate insider trading or harassment complaints.  There are other ways to accomplish those things.  Why not spend their energy making their organizations better places to work and avoid the problems that way?

Some states are even taking the initiative to introduce regulations at their level, and not wait for the federal act.  Maryland, New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey (although NJ postponed their vote) all have something passed or on the table.  So, protection for employees is coming.

In the meantime, employees should consider the following:

  • be sure their privacy settings are restricted to “friends only”
  • be especially careful about friending anyone they work with, or who works at a prospective employer
  • don’t take a job with an employer who requires you to give out your password – that says so much about the work environment
For more information, do a Google News search for “social media passwords”.  You’ll get enough articles to keep you busy for hours.

After you do your reading, tell me what you think about all this…

May 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm 1 comment

Pay For The Job or The Person?

One of my colleagues recently asked me whether it was appropriate to pay a new hire more money than existing employees in the same position because the new hire had more education/experience.  As with most human resource questions, the answer isn’t cut and dried.  Let’s follow a fictional example and see where it takes us.

I’m the CEO of Snail Mail Inc.  I employee stamp stickers and envelope stuffers.  Most of my employees have basic skills and education and do a fine job with those qualifications.  They get paid $10/hour.

Due to snail mail being in vogue, I need to hire another stamp sticker.  I’ve gone through the normal recruitment process, and have found a candidate that I want to hire.  The candidate will be performing the same work as the other stamp stickers.  However, this candidate has a Masters degree in Orchestral Composition from Julliard and 20 years of stamp sticking experience.  I decide to pay this person $20/hour because of these additional qualifications.

Before implementing this decision, I should ask myself these questions:

  • Are the candidate’s education and experience relevant to the job?
  • Will the candidate be using those skills and experience in the job they are being hired for?
  • Will I alter the scope of the position to leverage the candidate’s additional skills and experience?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then I may be able to pay them more than the other stamp stickers.

Here are a few cautionary notes to consider because, let’s face it, employees talk about their pay to each other:

  • When the other stamp stickers find out the new person gets paid more, how will that affect their morale?
  • Are the lesser paid people the same gender as the new hire?  The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women performing similar work under similar conditions must receive similar pay.  You also don’t want it to appear that you are discriminating against the other employees because of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or other protected status.
  • Will paying the new person more give them an unwarranted sense of entitlement?

In the end, it’s best to pay a person for the work they are performing now, not what they might do, have the potential to do, or have done in the past.

May 22, 2012 at 10:00 am 2 comments


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