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prevention
through detection

By Dr. David Pearson

Enhancing Human Resource Department Effectiveness

"If only we had known," is one of the saddest and most frequently repeated phrases by employers throughout the world. A bad hire impacts employee morale, productivity, insurance premiums, and corporate reputation. The cost for hiring, training and repeating the entire process is only the tip of the iceberg. Financial and morale after shocks ripple through any organization for months after an inaccurate human resource decision becomes undone.

Human resource selections can be a major source of stress, anxiety, and often frustration. A company's future success relies almost solely on the accurate construction of a motivated and mutually supportive workforce. Very simply - many final human resource decisions could have been better made with healthier results, if potential on-the-job behavior had been reliably predicted.

pieces of
the puzzle


Resumes, aptitude tests, interviews and background checks are all key pieces of the employment puzzle, but one vital piece is missing from this jigsaw. To make a decision that sticks, an organization has to know how an individual will react or perform in relation to job expectations. This knowledge is hard to reach with any degree of certainty from conventional methods. Past employers are reluctant to share negative comments regarding ex-employees because of legal ramifications. Criminal background checks report only individuals who have been caught or sentenced. No candidate is going to present anything but their best possible face and credentials. As a result, the mass of America's workforce, with the greatest impact on our economy, remains an unknown risk for almost every employer. If drugs are used recreationally, how soon will this come to light? How might the remainder of the workforce be influenced by slowly surfacing anti-social behavior? What is the candidate's likelihood of reaching a breaking point and when might it occur? How much of what we see is surface - and how much more is a hidden iceberg that will sink the unwary employer?

Until now, properly validated and accurate behavioral tendency profiling has been considered an exclusive resource of large corporations that could afford costly instruments in their searches for key executives. By refining existing, proven attitude testing programs for desktop and Internet application, effective profiling is now affordably available for any size or type of company - irrespective of the position to be filled. All types of business can now realize the very real values of behavioral tendency profiling as part of their hiring process.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) productivity losses for American businesses attributed to alcohol were estimated at $119 billion for 1995. NIDA studies have shown that employee alcohol abuse contributes to verbal and physical aggressive behavior, acts of sexual harassment, and impacts the attitudes and morale of co-workers.


  • Numerous studies have established that there is a direct relationship to the after effects of drinking ("hangovers") on job performance. Increases in absenteeism, arriving late for work or leaving early, doing poor work, and co-worker conflicts are directly associated with the performance of employees who abuse alcohol. The impact of employee related alcoholism treatment on the costs associated with group medical plans measures in the hundreds of millions of dollars.


  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports nearly 14 million Americans are current users of illicit drugs and nearly three-quarters of these users are employed in American businesses. The NIDA reports the abuse of drugs by employees negatively impacts the workplace in terms of decreased productivity and increased accidents, absenteeism, turnover, and medical costs.


  • According to a national survey, drug using employees are more than two times more likely to request time off and have annual absences of eight days or more. These same employees are almost four times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident and five times more likely to file workers' compensation claims.


  • A survey of callers to the National Cocaine Help Line indicated that 75 percent reported using drugs at work, 64 percent admitted drugs adversely affected their job performance, and 44 percent said they sold or provided drugs to their co-workers.


  • Sexual harassment is an emotionally charged topic, which creates a great deal of anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty for employers. It has also led to hundreds of millions of dollars in legal settlements and fees being paid by employers for the costly acts of managers, supervisors, or co-workers.


  • One of three businesses that go bankrupt each year does so as a result of employee theft. One recently conducted study indicated 13% of all employees steal from their employers and 66% will at least consider it, particularly if other employees are doing so. Studies have also estimated annual costs-to-businesses associated with employee theft to be nearing $120 billion. According to these studies, theft against businesses is twice as likely to result from the acts of employees as opposed to "shoplifters" or outside parties. Computers, software, office equipment and appliances are the tangible examples of items stolen by employees. Less tangible, but much more valuable, is the theft of confidential information or trade secrets, both of which are common targets of unscrupulous employees. One study estimates only 5% of those employees that have stolen from their employer have a criminal record.

the true
value


The value of the customizable MindData Attitude Indexes (also referred to as Personality testing, Behavioral or Tendency Profiling programs) goes beyond the primary task of discovering ideal candidates. Not only do these recently developed profiling instruments identify whether a prospective employee has the "right stuff," they also reveal details of desirable and undesirable traits. Before hiring, an employer can discover the potential for anti-social, unethical, erratic or detrimental behavior; receive a clear notice of attitude toward drugs, alcohol, and any violent tendencies; and even receive advance warning of the chances of an candidate becoming involved in workplace theft.

Knowing to what degree a candidate is truthful, and what their character strengths and weaknesses are, can make all the difference to an insightful and productive interview process. Accurate human resource decisions, resulting from enlightened interviewing, make an invaluable contribution to upbeat workplaces, improved public image, positive client relationships, dynamic employee morale, and a superior corporate reputation for an improved bottom line.

MindData offers programs like these, at affordable prices and in easily administered formats, for all types and sizes of business. The difference these qualified profiling instruments can make to the success of any organization is phenomenal.

Successful businesses, and management publications agree on this issue; the "right fit" is everything. Employers using behavioral tendency profiling to detect negative behavior in prospective employees are more likely to make more lasting, and successful hiring decisions than those that do not. By utilizing a reliable, accurate profiling instrument, you and the employers you represent can construct higher quality workplace communities that are more cohesive, productive and profitable.

By administering MindData's Attitude Indexes, you don't have to wait months to find out who your next new hire or promotion candidate really is - Prevention through Detection - it is a better way.


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Served in the U.S. Air Force as a jet fighter pilot, David Pearson is a noted behavioral scientist. David Pearson was a contributing author of the EEOC's Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures and also contributed to the Tower Amendment to Title VII.12. As a nationally recognized authority on employment practices and behavioral tendency profiling, Dr. Pearson has been quoted in publications from Newsweek to The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Pearson has been retained as an expert witness for the successful defense of major companies including Adolph Coors, Frontier Airlines, the City and County of Denver, Detroit Edison, and Martin Marietta. David Pearson has earned a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Psychology. He has also received extensive legal training, and has considerable experience in statistics and research methodology. Today, Dr. Pearson continues to make valuable contributions to MindData's business -- including development of all new MindData products and contribution of frequent articles and insights to the MindData web site.


The opinions expressed in articles by this author do not necessarily represent the opinions of MindData. These articles are provided as a means of informing you of current events and opinions that impact employers and the workplace.


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