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Engaging Employees Toward Greater Financial Wellness

This article first appeared on Nasdaq.

More financial advisors should be proactive in encouraging corporate clients to establish employee wellness programs which can be invaluable for employees. Successful employee financial wellness programs should include financial education and coaching from the financial advisor, which is a win-win-win, for advisor, employer and employees.

Consider these recent comments by Jim Harter, chief scientist of Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices, and author of its annual employee-engagement survey:

Companies that rank in the top 10 percent in engaging their employees… posted profit gains of 26 percent through the last recession, compared with a 14 percent decline at comparable employers. The tight labor market is raising the bar. Coveted employees simply aren’t all that interested in working for companies that don’t give them the level of trust and motivation they want.

I would go further and add that as uncertainty is a greater economic consideration, employees are worried about their financial well-being. And leaders have a responsibility to consider the financial well-being of their people.

They need to understand employees’ lives and career motivations, goals, spending habits and overall decision-making biases in order to empower them to achieve a greater level of financial wellness. Employees who are less worried about the economic future will perform better at work.

Talking about money has always been a closed topic. Financial problems can be a source of stress and shame for employees. Not only does it impact family relationships, but – and this might be tough to consider – it can cause rogue behavior within the organization.

Now, I am not saying that every employee who faces financial stress is going to divert assets from your organization. More often you’ll see increased absenteeism, preoccupation that results in lack of productivity and increased job transiency (they will leave you unnecessarily); issues an organization may have seen simply as HR-related.

A leader who tackles financial wellness openly by introducing well thought out programs can lift the veil on this sensitive subject and encourage employees to engage in these programs.

It’s important to be honest about the intentions of the financial wellness programs. While it’s a leader’s responsibility to want to enhance their employees lives, it’s also true to say that happy, debt free, wealth-creating employees will make the company more successful. It’s a win-win.

More than half of all employees want to make their own financial decisions but are looking to have someone validate those decisions. Employees want a financial wellness benefit with access to unbiased counselors and help understanding and using their benefits. So access to a financial advisor is critical to the success of financial wellness programs.

One important consideration for any employee wellness program: How well do you know your people? If understanding employees’ financial personalities was part of the hiring process, financial wellness programs could be more effectively targeted to help the employee.

The next generation of employee financial wellness program has two core components which have a behavioral foundation based on initially discovering the participant’s natural behavioral style – the core of who they are:

  1. Talent Management for Career and Financial Growth is focused on the employee having a productive career path based on what they are passionate about and being in the right role which they can personally and financially grow in.
  2. Financial Behavioral Management for Financial Life Growth is focused on the employee defining realistic financial life goals and desired life experiences for the building of a Quality Life. Then designing a financial plan (including investments) to achieve those goals. A key aspect of this component is management of risk, investments, spending and emotions.

There is only good in this approach – providing engaging financial wellness programs leads to less stressed and more highly engaged workers. Behaviorally smart leaders understand this, and the evidence is to be found in the success of their businesses. (As is often noted by Mr. Harter of Gallup.)

 

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

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I did pre-hire assessments: What’s next?

This article first appeared on HR Management.

Having selected the candidates – which we talked about last time – then come the interviews. And, these can now be “behaviorally smart”, using questions based on the outcomes of the pre-hire assessments you’ve completed.

Well-structured resumes are not difficult to produce, with or without a professional writer. We also know that performing well at an interview might fall into the category of acting out a role. So, with the cost of a bad hire reckoned by some in the recruitment industry to be in the region of $240,000 per employee including salary, onboarding and training, getting the interview process right is crucial.

Historically, many times people are employed for their skills and knowledge and little or no attention is paid to identifying candidate’s true talents. Natural behaviors which continually and predictably repeat themselves over time and are often not easily seen in an interview.

Armed with the pre-hire assessment natural discovery outcomes, the interviewer is equipped to question candidates in a way that targets the behaviors hidden below the surface, now revealed through the discovery process. This makes behavioral questioning at the interview stage even more important.

Clearly, it’s key at the interview stage for interviewers to be aware of their own blind-spots. Without this insight, it could form part of the failure to uncover the natural behaviors of the candidates.

Both interviewer and candidate will have “learned” to operate a certain way, not necessarily in line with who they naturally are. Potentially, over time, and with pressure the natural behavior would emerge, and the candidate could well not be performing the way that was hoped and the interviewer might miss critical issues that need to be addressed with the candidate.

A key first step in pre-hire assessment and the behavioral interviewing process, is to understand what skills, talents and behaviors are already present in the business. This exercise reveals the gaps both in talents, behaviors and communication styles that need to be filled as part of the ongoing success of the business.

To avoid hiring based on empathy felt toward any particular candidate and moving away from the traditional interviewing style (“tell us about…”), behaviorally smart recruiters question candidates in ways that necessitating responses with stories about how, having faced a challenge or event in the past, they dealt with it. What they learned from the experience and how? With hindsight, how they would have done things differently?

Taking this conversational approach – informed and focused via your pre-hire assessment?- will reveal behaviors, communication styles, problem-solving skills and business maturity. That means better fit for role, team and culture, and, hopefully, longevity.

 

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

Success Comes When You Do What You Are

Success Comes When You Do What You Are

How often as leaders have you heard these comments or observed the parallel behaviors?

  • I can’t do that.
  • I’m not trained to do that.
  • It’s not who I am.
  • It’s just a job for me.
  • I’m not passionate about what I do.

There is nothing more frustrating to people than to be asked to do a job they a) can’t do b) don’t want to do or c) are not passionate about.

For years, I did what I was asked to do. I was good at it, but not passionate about it. Then one day I was asked my opinion about a service issue, not knowing who I was speaking too (my bad, it was the CEO who I’d never met. There were 70,000 employees, so forgive my ignorance), I answered confidently with my solution.

A month later I was called to serve on a senior think tank as they worked and strategized to implement my suggestion.

Suddenly I was fulfilling my passion. I Was Doing What I Am.

  • Creating and designing.
  • Visionary thinking.
  • Solving problems.
  • Thinking globally.
  • Building consensus.
  • Communicating both verbally and in writing.
  • Setting goals.
  • Taking the message to the world.

Years later, I got to know why I was so passionate and successful with my work. I completed a Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery assessment and was given detailed insight into the core of who I am.

Suddenly everything lined up. I knew that trying to be successful outside my uniqueness would only bring heartache. But I also learnt what a powerful asset I am to an organization, and that alone increased my confidence.

I didn’t just get to understand my hardwiring in terms of my talents. I also now know that I’m very focused, and prefer to operate alone; private, serious, and reserved; and would rather socialize with close associates than with strangers. So, you can imagine, I needed to learn how to work in a team. And having these DNA insights meant I could figure out how to do that.
I also got to understand the importance of reigning in my spontaneity – born I’m sure out of my passion for what I do. This insight is just a tiny part of what the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery revealed to me.

The phrase, often used by career specialists, do what you love is outdated. Instead of focusing on doing what you love, do what you are, based on understanding your unique talents.

When leaders get to recognize that behaviors — caused by unmanaged human differences, pressure and emotions — derail performance, then they can guide their people to achieve greater self-empowerment so that they make behaviorally smart decisions, accelerating their performance to live a quality life with meaning, delivering the results the business needs.

But don’t take my word for it. Give it a try and experience your own unique human performance acceleration. Then you can do what you are

Here’s is a link to complete your own Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery.

CEO Newsletter 2018 (7)

At the year end, looking at the year ahead…

The ever-quotable Warren Buffett says, “Never invest in a business you can’t understand.” Well, as we round out another terrific year, I want to challenge you a bit by noting that many of us regularly invest in people we may not understand. So, why make relatively blind “people investments” when you (hopefully) would not make such a financial investment?

Granted, I am a bit of a shameless evangelist for the power of validated behavioral insights, but I genuinely believe they are applicable – and I would venture imperative – across virtually any scenario, organization or industry. Harvard research tells us that 87% of business and life performance challenges are caused by behavioral differences. So, applying our proven online behavioral management solutions, may not take the number of those challenges to zero, but we can get you damn close.

One reason we can do that – in addition to our powerful products and processes – is that we have an impressive cadre of partners and colleagues who help us vet and deploy the solutions. In turn, our phenomenal clients invest in the process with us, providing valuable feedback that helps us – and them – play at a higher level. Winning is good, but a win-win is better.

It takes a (global) village

Because of those unparalleled alliances, we’re poised to not only play better in 2019, but to play bigger. Our team has discovered and embraced the book “Play Bigger”, which cleverly and clearly identifies the approach needed for positioning a company for high growth: It’s all about identifying the problem you are solving and setting your business up to be a category king (think Uber).

It is more about creativity in market positioning than directly disrupting an industry, though disruption can be the impact or part of it. Whatever work you are doing; this book is a “must read”. In fact, I am so enthusiastic about the book that I’ll commit to sending the first 18 people who respond to this (2019 will be DNA Behavior’s 18th year) the book – on me. Digital or hard-copy, your choice.

At DNA Behavior we are solving the problem of how an organization delivers meaningful customized experiences to its employees and clients on a mass scale. To do that you must know their unique style, and knowing their marketing “persona” based on demographics is not enough. Two people can have the same persona, but not the same personality. So, unless personality insights – beginning with communication insights – are integrated, you do not get there.

Meeting and exceeding the market

As we play bigger, we’ll be demonstrating, in the words of the book, what category we are king of: Online behavioral management. In 2019 we are launching our end-to-end real-time behavioral management tooling – a highly automated discovery profile debrief that is situationally dynamic. We already have this in Financial DNA with the “Market Mood” tool that integrates real-time stock market movements to behavioral style. But in 2019 we will take this further and also launch a platform for Business DNA. We can only do this now because technological developments allow us to, and the market place is demanding customization.

Thanks to you, 2018 has been a landmark year for landing major deals that implement our API strategy, through which we become the “behavioral chip” inside the tech platforms of other businesses. This helps us realize our brand promise of delivering meaningful experiences to employees and clients customized to their unique style. In particular, we have had success with large financial services firms and banks launching platforms in the employee financial wellness space. They all have very different angles and approaches – but the key point is that the online management of financial personality is here to stay and becoming a category king in its own right. This reinforces our strategy.

Validation and affirmation

We completed one of the world’s largest known behavioral finance studies looking at the financial behavior data of more than 35,000 people and how it connects to validated personality insights. The research demonstrates a high degree of alignment between the spending habits, planned giving, investing style and other behaviors to the personality style measured by DNA Behavior. We knew our system produces highly predictive results with a 91% overall reliability, this research confirms how people live it out.

Deloitte’s just-released 2019 Banking Industry Outlook also affirms our work and the path ahead we’ll be on with our banking (and other financial) partners and clients. This Big Four firm is optimistic, noting promising times ahead for banking and capital markets, as well as opportunities to double down on transformational technology, including an even better understanding and leveraging of data. We’re excited to be part of deciphering what that means to different organizations and helping them implement. (In the meantime, you may want to add this great Deloitte report to your reading list.)

We know what’s ahead; thanks for being part of it

Finally, our “why” in business is to foster people to become more self-empowered. The work noted above is a big step to achieving this “why” goal on a mass scale. We want to be part of changing the culture of business with the adoption of an Understanding People before Numbers approach. We know that, businesses of any category must do far more work in the area of culture if they are to grow on a sustainable basis. Behavioral management is just one of many components needed to build a strong culture.

Looping back to the wisdom of Warren, Buffett says, “Only when you combine sound intellect with emotional discipline do you get rational behavior.” I would posit that you also need that winning combination in order to optimize your organizational culture. So, in 2019 we will be championing the growth of culture and want all of you involved.

Let’s play bigger!

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Are You a Consultant? Seven Keys That Will Set You Apart From Competitors

When a consultant is engaged to resolve a business challenge, invariably they begin the process with a meeting to uncover the issues.

One huge pain point for consultants is getting to the bottom of specific problems. Being able to analyze what is being said about the issues to deliver solutions can be tricky. It doesn’t matter what level of the organization is briefing you, care must be taken to apply a behavioral and communication filter to what is being said.

Regardless of the briefing – most skilled consultants would agree that a very large percentage of business challenges is people-related.

As a consultant, this is fertile ground for you. Regardless of your expertise in any given field, being able to analyze behaviors is a key selling point. A unique point of differentiation that actually pays dividends. From the C-suite to the front line – all behaviors and communication styles should be known.

Since 2001, DNA Behavior has used validated behavioral insights to guide businesses building a stronger people culture. The Natural Discovery process reveals practical information on how best to manage behavioral differences. By delivering customized experiences for management, their employees and customers, you will be positioned to resolve wide-ranging challenges your clients might be facing.

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2002 Harvard Research shows 87% of business issues are communication-related – caused by human behavioral differences.

If coaches, management consultants and others are to provide companies with solutions they need to dig below the surface, they’re going to need ways to find out individual behaviors, including whether, or not, people are emotionally invested in the company.

So, getting below the surface of the people is critical:

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At DNA Behavior International we have recognized over the past 20 years the importance of understanding #PeopleBeforeNumbers.

Using scientifically based data gathering, we know that even the most difficult of business issues are rooted in individual behaviors. Not surprisingly, many CEOs find people issues a challenge. They feel, quite rightly, that dealing with the people takes their mind off the strategy and direction of the business. And, the day-to-day pressure of business can surface many challenges, not because of incompetency, necessarily, but because the norm has become mundane and people behave differently when bored or unfulfilled.

Consultants are in a highly competitive market place. There is plenty of work available for quality consultancies and this means there is significantly higher competitiveness. Again, you need a point of differentiation and DNA Behavior International can provide you with that unique insight and edge.

DNA Behavior can provide you the consultant with solutions that bring a fresh perspective and a breadth of experience to companies you work with.

Why not take 10 minutes to complete your own DNA Behavior Natural Discovery. Whatever you offer in the way of consulting – we partner with you to enhance the people part. Sounds too good to be true? Why not try it? Complimentary, on us. You’ll appreciate the difference and so will your clients.

COMPLETE BDNA DISCOVERY

Consultancies exist in many shapes and sizes. Whether you give strategic advice, solve crises, help increase efficiency or provide other solutions, when you can reveal individual behaviors and talents your service offering increases exponentially, enabling you to provide more focused and more quantifiable perspectives and solutions.

DNA Behavior can work with you to differentiate yourself:

  1. We offer scientifically-based Natural Discovery tools that enable you to know, engage and grow your clients and their staff at a deep level.
  2. We train you to interpret and use the Business DNA Natural Behavior Discovery Reports to improve Personal Talent, Hiring and Team Performance. And, to make that first meeting pitching your work more impactful.
  3. We deliver tools and insights enabling you to work with clients to improve the Hiring Process and Conduct Behavioral Interviews.
  4. Working with groups – got that covered. You will be able to build team performance through a greater understanding of personal and team member motivations.
  5. You will know how to work with leaders to interpret and use the Business DNA Leadership Performance Report and guide a leader to build a Leadership Performance Plan.
  6. You get access to Communication DNA Discovery Reports to increase the emotional engagement of employees and customers for relationship performance.
  7. You will be able to offer services to Diagnose Business Engagement Strengths and Struggles through Behavioral Insights for improving Business Planning.

Here’s a personal invitation from our CEO/Founder to partner with us to build your business.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior

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Career Profile Tool Helps Prepare Vets for Civilian Employment

Our DNA Behavior team came to know Joe Corsino, founder of The Welcome Home Group, and the groups Career Readiness Program, and saw a role within it for our DNA Behavior Career Profile. As a U.S. Air Force veteran – and someone who is passionate about our DNA solutions – I am proud that the profile tool is now one component of TWHGs work. It was an easy decision for us to provide this to Joe and his team at no cost.

As you might imagine, the Career Profile helps people determine their career path based on their Natural Talents by identifying things such as desired tasks, team roles, work environments, and work rewards. Essentially a 10-minute questionnaire, the Profile helps both TWHG clients and their career coaches better understand a client’s desired career path or work role and/or where they see themselves in their careers.

Founded in 2012 by Joe, The Welcome Home Group offers preparation and execution of that preparation for veterans and veteran spouses as they transition to civilian employment. The all-volunteer organization accomplishes its mission by partnering with other organizations across the country.

“Were focused on a common-sense approach for the veterans and families we serve, so it makes sense to use a career profile instrument that gives job seekers and the people who are helping them objective data that fuels the process, giving them another edge toward career transition success,” says Joe, who founded TWHG after 2 years of research on veteran unemployment. “In fact, we use the same profile instrument with our volunteers, and it helps us build strong teams within the organization, which, again, makes us better at helping our clients.”

The Fort Lauderdale-based national non-profit is committed to reducing the unemployment crisis that exists for veterans and their families. It has been primarily self-funded since 2012, accepting donations and a few small private grants.

Joe notes that DNA (Behavior) has done so much for us. Not only is it incorporated as part of our program, but they are truly corporate partners. They and their career profile have been a good example of you get what you give, which is a core philosophy for us and the people we serve.

We were excited to hear the experience of a veteran who has been through The Welcome Home Groups program; you may find it interesting too.

Florida-based Cali Davis was no stranger to career changes. She had a career as an operations manager until the economy took a nosedive in 2008. She was the last in the door at her employer so, yep, when layoffs began, she was one of the first to go.

I looked around and found a job as a linguist and didn’t realize until I met up with the recruiter at the interview that this job was for a linguist in the military, Cali says. She had a couple of job choices, and of course training to go through, and ultimately selected the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) of Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Army.

After deploying to Afghanistan for two tours, she had an opportunity to be honorably discharged from the service at the end of 2012. Thinking the timing might be right to re-enter the civilian workforce, she took the chance.

I worked as a contractor in the capacity of an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan, she says, and quickly received a promotion to management. But when it was time to come stateside again, Cali had a tougher time finding employment. At one point it was suggested that she dumb down her resume, for instance, eliminating her MBA degree and experience and take an entry-level job. She persisted.

Someone told me about programs through the V.A. (Veterans Administration) in Broward County, Cali says. I had accessed V.A. programs before, but this time it was different. That’s when I heard about The Welcome Home Group.

She says she was skeptical because she had been through different programs before but went. What I heard that time was the perspective of someone who truly understood (me), she says. It was a different type of program, a program where they didn’t just create a new resume or send me to a class then turn me loose. I had to commit to a 30-day program and they were going through it with me.

That was the beginning of a new foothold in the civilian workforce for Cali, who had been through a few jobs since her contractor experience. She finished TWHGs program about which she is very enthusiastic and it took some time, but she connected with the founder of a small business who is now her boss.

She is now a Human Resources Business Partner for Working Gears, LLC, a human resources consulting firm that provides counsel to small, and mid-sized organizations. Not surprisingly, Cali also is now a strong proponent of both THWG and of working with and giving other veterans a leg up whenever possible. She hopes that more Veterans would take advantage of this program because it truly helped set her up for success.

This job and company and what we do are exactly what I wanted, Cali says, sounding very much like someone who is not only on the journey she couldn’t have envisioned before, but one she helped create.

Our insights have solved communication, goal-setting and investing challenges in over 123 countries through 11 languages and 12 proprietary DNA Behavior Discovery Processes, but none are more important than helping veterans like Cali succeed in post-military careers. To Cali and The Welcome Home Group, I say Hooah! Thanks for letting us tell your story.

To learn more, please speak with one of our DNA Behavior Specialists (LiveChat), email inquiries@dnabehavior.com, or visit DNA Behavior