So, the interview went well. Your long-time employee seems willing and capable of the management promotion shes seeking. She has, after all, been a model employee the past few years.
But will she really perform well and be happy in the departmental transfer?
As human resources manager at the Columbus Marriott Northwest at Tuttle Crossing, Deborah Carpenter has asked that question plenty of times.
She also knows the benefits of promoting from within the 185 employees at the hotel.
Its easier for us to take a person trained to our philosophies and our culture and move them to a different position than it is for us to take someone from outside that we dont know anything about and make them a manager, Carpenter says.
To take some of the guesswork out of deciding whether an employee promotion will be successful, Carpenter uses a tool called The Prevue Assessment, which she purchased through Raia & Associates Inc., a local human resources and management consulting company.
The tool, a product of Profiles International Inc., uses a series of questions to measure an employees skills and abilities, motivation and interest, and personality characteristics.
One of the things I always tell companies when I go out and talk to them is, general abilities are why companies hire people. Motivation and personalities are why people quit, says Kimberly Norton-Raia, president of Raia & Associates. We know you can do the job; we need to know if youre going to like to do the job. We hire for competency and we fire for fit.
While the tool can be used for new hires, Carpenter finds it most beneficial for internal uses, including:
Promotions from within.
If you have a current employee who wants to move into management or you have a manager who wants to move into another area, its a great tool to see if thats a good fit, Carpenter says. In any hotel, different skills, knowledge and personality are needed for each area.
She explains that individuals prefer to work with data, things or people an aspect measured by the Prevue tool.
If a person ranks low on the people end, we dont want them as a guest service supervisor. They may enjoy it, but theyre never going to move forward like you want them to, Carpenter says. If someone is in accounting but they like working with people, were not utilizing them as well as we might.
Norton-Raia explains that the assessment allows companies to see how existing employees match up with benchmarks of the ideal candidate. The benchmarks are set up using, for example, an outgoing successful employee or a range of top achievers in a company.
Benchmarks also can be tailored. If your long-time, excellent-working administrative assistant is moving to another city, his or her characteristics would be a benchmark. If you prefer the person to be more outgoing, you could add that as a benchmark. The assessment also develops questions for future interviews with the candidate based on his or her strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, the assessment gives a percentile rate of the fit for the employee to the position.
We recommend 70 percent and above is a good match, Norton-Raia says. Unless theres a perfect person, no ones going to fit any job exactly. What were looking for is round pegs in round holes. Then what we like to do is show you how to tweak that person and make them a perfect fit.
Just because a good employee doesnt fit the position exactly doesnt mean he or she should not be promoted. The assessments show Carpenter areas where an employee needs improvement, and she can respond by sending the person to training, for example, or having them work more closely with their supervisor on particular details.
This way, Carpenter can work with employees to achieve their desired promotions.
She also can learn why a certain employee might not be happy in a given job.
Once she had a guest supervisor who wasnt satisfied with the position.
She did an OK job, but she never went to that next level. We looked at her Prevue, and she preferred to work with numbers and her motivation to work with people was pretty low. Thats where we kept butting heads, Carpenter says.
Unfortunately, the hotel at the time didnt have a position to better suit the employees needs. She found another job outside the hotel and is more satisfied, and Carpenter was able to replace her with another employee who is much happier in the position.
Team building and management.
Carpenter has used the results of the assessments to help managers to better work with their employees, and managers can better understand how to communicate with each other.
The chef, banquet supervisor and sales person work together. If they can understand how the other person works a little bit better, then it makes them understand how to get something from each other, she says.
Norton-Raia and her husband, company CEO Michael Raia, took the assessment and learned more about how to deal with each other in their marriage and in the business. Michael Raia, for example, doesnt care for working with numbers and details, so Norton-Raia takes care of talking to the accountant about the balance sheets.
You understand how a person thinks. You understand what motivates them. You understand what buttons to push to make that person be productive, she says, adding that her company uses the Prevue assessment and other Profiles tools for its own staff of an administrative assistant and two sales associates.
Costs for the Prevue tool, Norton-Raia says, vary depending on the quantity ordered. If purchased one at a time, they run roughly $150. Companies can have Raia & Associates analyze the assessments or purchase software to do it themselves after training.
Business owners need to compare individuals, their skills, their assessments and their job performance to openings up the corporate ladder to ensure a good fit for internal promotions, Norton-Raia says.
If not, its unfair to the company, and, more importantly, its unfair to the employee to put them in a job theyre not going to be successful in or happy in, Norton-Raia says. The employee will fail and the company will fail. Joan Slattery Wall (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor of SBN Columbus.
How to reach: Raia & Associates Inc., www.profilescentralohio.com, 785-6882