An Excellent Approach to Professional Development
- Part One: The Company
As a new recruit to Gould Design, Inc. (GDI), I was exposed to something I was not expecting. You see, GDI has a very unique approach to training/evaluating prospective team members. The first thing you notice is the depth to which this company wants to know you. One of the very first questions presented, is “are you honest and trustworthy?” Your answer is evaluated over and over throughout the evaluation phase. As uncomfortable as it may seem at the time filling out questionnaires and participating in psychological evaluations, the end result is a fast and effective way to ensure whether or not a prospective candidate will be a “good fit”, and ultimately ensures the company vision and mission will always remain a top priority.
Any company worth a consumer’s time should realize that their primary resource is their people. With that in mind, the screening process should only be limited by the company’s desire to remain true to its own vision. GDI seems to have found a balance that allows only the most proficient people to join its team. From the initial screening that evaluates the skill set of the individual, to the genuine desire to bring only those people on board who will flourish in GDI’s environment. This approach, speaks to a higher standard than the profit margin as well as a genuine desire ensure that any candidate will be satisfied, productive and have opportunity to reach full their potential.
The greatest asset a company has is the people who make up the team. With that focus in mind, everybody wins. The customer who wants the most return for their hard-earned dollar; The Company that wants to be as profitable as it can be, and the individual team member who wants to knows their efforts are important and appreciated. Too many companies have become so focused on the “bottom line” they inadvertently devalue those that truly control the “bottom line”. The employee is a company’s greatest asset, a concept GDI seems to have a clear grasp of.
- Part Two: the Prospective Employee
As a prospective employee with a broad range of experience in the work force, I evaluate any prospective employer as they evaluate me. After all, I am valuable! My knowledge, experience and abilities are all traits highly sought after in today’s work environment.
The very first thing I noticed about Gould design Inc. (GDI) was the feeling that the President (Christopher), who evaluates every new prospect, genuinely cared about the people as well as the company. His questions were focused on experience and character, as a lot of company evaluations are; the difference being that I felt Christopher truly cared about me apart from the evaluation. It was apparent through our conversation that he also wanted to provide the best service possible to potential customers. This spoke highly to my sense of “fair play” and set him apart in a business environment that focuses primarily on profits. These two observations started me thinking of the Hawthorne Studies, which I read while enrolled in business management courses while attending college. I have found myself reflecting over the years that if more companies would avail themselves of this knowledge every aspect of business could potentially improve.
GDI was the first company I found that seemed to care more about its reputation and people than profits. That’s not to say that profit is not important; Profit is the very nature of business, but how those profits are attained matters, both to the customer and the employee. The only ultimatum ever given was “if you’re found to be dishonest, you’re done!” This finalized my desire to work with a company that holds its values well above the standard.
After our first conversation, I “wanted” to be part of this team. I “wanted” to contribute to a company that demonstrated “my” values. I wanted this company to succeed and was willing to face the challenges that would prove I was worthy of adding my contribution. People want to be part of something greater than a job that pays the bills.
If you as owner, manager, leader can encourage that desire within a prospective employee then:
- You will witness your workplace increase in productivity
- You will see your business grow
- You will encourage other to take ownership
- You will actively engage co-workers
There is nothing better for an employee than feeling their contribution matters and there is anything better for a company than people who want the company to succeed.
- Part Three: Training
Training is a constantly evolving aspect of every company in today’s market place. With technology seemingly changing on a daily basis, self-improvement can be an extremely overwhelming concept to everyone involved. It has been my experience that a business would rather push the employee through the training phase, let them get their “certificate” of training to meet the guidelines required, and depend on “on the job” training to fill in the gaps.
Personally, I think this approach is based in a desire to increase the company’s profitability, rather than improve the individual’s confidence and competence in the required skill set. GDI again sets itself apart in this area as well. I can’t count the number of times Christopher has said to me “let’s get you confident”. That’s not to say, in my opinion, that he doesn’t care about the profitability of his company, I’m sure he does! But a company’s profits are directly related to its people’s ability to accomplish the work efficiently and effectively with a minimal amount of errors.
A company has to “invest” in its people to the same degree the people are invested. Again I was surprised at how well Christopher seemed to grasp this concept. I am allowed to learn at my own pace, accountable for my time with a level of faith and trust that encourages me to do my very best as quickly and confidently as I can. You might think this would be a recipe for disaster that people would take advantage, but trust has to start somewhere, There are risks in business, but the possibility of being taken advantage of is minimized significantly though the initial phase of consideration (See Part One).
The approach I was exposed to is such that the prospective candidate has to invest in themselves. This initial investment speaks to the character of the individual and determines whether or not the candidate will be a viable addition to the team. Every effort is made to provide all the tools the candidate needs for them to individually pursue their training. And their effort and investment (judged by their ability to complete given tasks) is used to determine their potential.
The training phase of GDI’s indoctrination can be a long process where the candidate is responsible for their own advancement. Eventually, the company will bring the prospective candidate on board in an official status, but only after the individual demonstrates their desire to better themselves in order to be part of something greater. The approach is not conventional, and it allows for small vulnerabilities, but the potential gains far outweigh the risk. And the curriculum is structured so the risk is minimal. I have yet to see any training process as good as the one incorporated by Gould Design, Inc.
Charles Burke – Design Professional
Gould Design, Inc.