LIMA — Before potential employees can interview with Vanamatic in Delphos, they must first take an assessment.
It might sound intimidating, but it just takes a few minutes and involves choosing words that others would use to describe them and then words they would use to characterize themselves.
Those five minutes are meant to tell people how they’re wired, how they communicate with others and what job they best fit. Vanamatic has seen changes in its employee retention as a result of using the surveys.
Though it’s a requirement to get an interview at the company, the assessment, called the AcuMax Index, can also be used to help job seekers and other companies, which Ohio Means Jobs has recently found out.
It helps to “make people kind of self-aware of who they are,” said Joe Patton, workforce development coordinator at Ohio Means Jobs Allen County. “It really works to improve communication between people. … It teaches you how to effectively communicate your point to your manager.”
Ohio Means Jobs Allen County and the Allen Economic Development Group heard about the assessment through Scott Wiltsie, human resources manager at Vanamatic, and have implemented it as part of the “talent pipeline” program through LINK Lima/Allen County.
“Vanamatic’s retention rates are around 85 percent, which was very impressive to us because industry-wide it’s in the high 50s, low 60s,” Patton said.
The program is through LINK Lima, an employer-driven framework intended to help local businesses succeed. It launched July 1 to prepare local job seekers for careers in manufacturing.
Employers are often looking for candidates who will stay in a position and be loyal to the company.
“The hope is that the AcuMax Index will be able to significantly improve employee retention by ensuring that an employee is matched to a job that aligns with how they are wired,” said Doug Arthur, director of the Allen Economic Development Group Workforce Vision. “The retention problem is huge, and we are making the assumption that part of the retention problem is that somebody isn’t matched with the right job. … A good match has got to have an impact on retention.”
The personality assessment is just one part of the preparation, which also includes a drug test, background check, help getting daycare and transportation if needed, the use of a career coach to help support the person through the process and more.
Without this assessment, the program would be “lacking the fit for the job,” Patton said. “This really helps get them in the right position.”
Jevon Towles went through the program and did the assessment, one of 12 job seekers so far to be in the program.
“I have never gone through anything like this before and feel it was very helpful,” Towles said of the assessment, in a statement. “It showed me how to best interact with others, especially my potential coworkers and supervisors.”
Towles and others who have gone through the program and assessment, “just love” it, said Paula Siebeneck, Workforce Development Supervisor at Ohio Means Jobs Allen County.
“They’re not surprised about their results. They see how they fit into that,” she said. “I think it’s the interaction of how others see them.”
Vanamatic has been using assessments for 10 years but started using AcuMax in 2013, as there are different kinds of assessments out there.
David Gratz, owner of Gratz and Associates in Lima, also offers assessments to companies. He helps companies see if potential candidates fit with the company culture and are the right person for a particular position, he said.
Assessments can be used not only for hiring people and placing them in jobs but also for workforce planning, team development and more, Gratz said.
Assessments are “really the best way to get to know the people you’re working with,” he said.
Eric Wiechart, president of All Service Glass, uses Gratz and his assessments for hiring, team development and more when it comes to his approximately 60 employees.
All Service Glass has been using assessments for more than 10 years and has seen a difference.
“We’ve gotten much better at hiring the right person, and we measure that in a couple ways: In them being successful and also just overall fit,” Wiechart said. “We’re better at interviewing as a result too. … It helps us ask questions on the things that don’t match the job.”
Without it, Wiechart said he thinks the company wouldn’t be as good at hiring and would have more turnover.
If the company doesn’t match someone well, it will have a difficult time being successful, Wiechart said. The company’s turnover is much less than the industry average, as a result of the assessments, he said.
Giving assessments to job candidates or to existing employees can also show “the employees they’re important and the employer cares about them,” Gratz said.
Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.