Using people as a resource

Consultant Chris Devine meets with a small business owner, about her workforce. - Charlie Bermant
Consultant Chris Devine meets with a small business owner, about her workforce.
— image credit: Charlie Bermant

Local businesses are now able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their employees to make sure they are reaching their potential, with the opening of a new company in Port Orchard.

“I have the ability to visit any organization and make their people more efficient,” said Chris Devine, a representative of Workforce Dimensions. “I can talk to the owner and see what they expect from their employees, and determine who is performing well and who needs to be moved into a position where they can be more effective.”

Devine, 41, who opened the business in September, represents a national company that has 700 branches nationwide.

He has lived in Port Orchard for five years and was working in Tacoma when he was approached by the company with the idea of opening a local branch. He jumped at the opportunity.

The process includes a skills test, which were more common 20 years ago. These new tests differ in administration, in that they are given online and don’t require the subject to visit a psychologist’s office.

The new tests also differ in their ability to pinpoint a subject’s strengths rather than point out their weaknesses or personality flaws, according to Devine.

Tests are still used for employment screening, but are used here to gauge whether employees are qualified for the job they already have.

Consultation is free. The tests range in costs, from pre-employment screenings ($15) to full evaluations ($195).

“The assessment tests give a view about how each person operates,” Devine said. “It spotlights their natural aptitudes, and measures their verbal skills and other factors like sociability.

“These are not value judgments,” he explained, “and are only to determine suitability for specific jobs. For example, a receptionist who rates low on the sociability scale may be better off in another position.”

Devine acknowledges that some people may be reluctant to answer the questions truthfully should the test reveal something that jeopardizes their job. This is especially crucial in an economy where finding a new job isn’t ever easy.

To compensate for this, the tests are worded in such a way to detect untrue answers. And even if some people get moved around — or worst case, even laid off — the employer has the ability to become more effective and efficient.

“Companies are trying to do more with less,” Devine said. “They need to make the best use of their resources, and are wondering how they can accomplish everything they need to do with the workforce they already have in place.”

Even as the service increases the employer’s efficiency, there is an equal or greater benefit for the employee.

It provides an opportunity to improve their skills, which will benefit them wherever they work in the future. No one, he said, should be threatened by this test.

Ultimately, the service reflects common economic sense, according to Devine.

“If you have a small business you are already trying to do more with less,” he said. “So the smaller the business the more effective these assessments are and the faster they will show results. It can take a longer time for improvements to take hold in a larger corporation.”

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