What is Talent Optimization?

Aligning Your Business Strategy with Your People Strategy

group of employees

by Ashley Ward

Often, businesses create robust strategies for success while forgetting to prioritize one important core value of their companies — their employees. While most companies only focus on creating a business strategy and monitoring its sequential business results, they do not know how to assemble a high-performing team that pushes each employee to reach the top of their game—something we need more than ever while sales bounce back and workers continue to return from furlough. 

While the business climate is subject to change over time, the answer to engagement and productivity remains the same: Talent Optimization. If organizations want to harness engagement and productivity and HR teams want to get back to strategy, the focus is simple. Talent Optimization is all about connecting business strategy to business results! 

The Talent Optimization Platform is designed for the entire lifecycle of an employee from role design to succession planning. Think, “hire to retire!”

What are the key components of Talent Optimization?

The Talent Optimization framework focuses on four key areas that align with the four forces of disengagement:

Talent Optimization Framework


Get the right people in the right seat. Using data and analytics, the corresponding behavior assessments predict candidate success and engagement. No matter how great the leader and the organization’s culture are, if it’s not the right job, it’s not the right job. 


We’ve all heard the adage, “people leave managers, not companies”, and we believe that’s true today more than ever. Once you’ve got the right person in the right seat, engagement and productivity fall to the leadership team. For every amazing, talented, and engaging leader out there, we know there are dozens more leaders who miss the mark. It’s time you start equipping your leaders with more data and insight into how to lead each member on their team and give insights into strengths and blind spots.  Bonus! Leaders who understand and maximize differences on your team will drive your diversity and inclusion missions!


We’ve met with a lot of organizations that have tons of assessments and people data, and maybe even a strong leadership development program, but where they really fall short is designing for strategic action—they can’t understand how talented individuals can’t move a strategy forward as a team. Having good data is just the start. You have to have good data and analysis. Using a strategy and team assessment lets you articulate your strategy and plot it to the natural structure of each team; this way they can find their way through their blind spots to success. 


Once you’ve got your people, managers, and teams lined up for success, it’s time to measure the internal performance of the organization: culture. This is the final strategic piece of talent optimization, moving from the tree, to see the forest. 

What type of assessments are included in Talent Optimization?

Within the Talent Optimization framework there are five assessments:

1. Behavioral Assessment

The Behavioral Assessment is an untimed, free-choice, stimulus-response tool that measured much more than a standard personality test and is given to all employees and candidates. This test has been used for more than 60 years by thousands of businesses around the world. The Behavioral Assessment is used to understand the personality traits that make an employee succeed. Another way to use the PI Behavioral Assessment is during the hiring process. This test helps find candidates who are hardwired to be a great fit for the job

2. Job Assessment

The Job Assessment is provided to three to five stakeholders regarding the job. It helps leaders create a profile for the type of person who would be a perfect fit for the functions of the job.

3. Cognitive Assessment

The Cognitive Assessment ensures an organization hires employees who have a high enough cognitive level to excel in the role they will be hired for. This way, new employees will catch up to speed quickly in the training program and perform the duties of the job with minimal issues.

4. Employee Engagement Assessment

The Employee Engagement assessment helps leaders keep their pulse on the organization. It helps determine why staff members may be disengaged, what the company is currently doing that is working and how you can take corrective action to increase engagement. 

5. Strategy Assessment

The Strategy Assessment helps bring teams together to understand how they work as individuals and one unit and how they interact with the strategy. It ultimately aligns teams with your strategy helping them see their strengths and any blind spots they might have.

Talent Optimizations Helps Teams Get Stronger

Over the past several decades, Talent Optimization has helped thousands of clients to weather the storms of recessionary periods – and in some cases, even come out stronger.

But how?

Through the framework of Talent Optimization, you are empowering managers to inspire their teams so that employees feel engaged and driven, which in turn, creates not only a great work environment, but also the production of your company’s best work.

According to the Predictive Index, Talent Optimization reveals four essential truths:

Talent Optimization exists within the business context.

This principle is not meant to alter your business strategy, but rather provide a way to elevate your organization’s strategy into a way that allows your team to achieve valuable results.

Talent Optimization is driven by people data.

When it comes to talent recruitment, people data empowers business leaders to make objective decisions instead of solely relying on intuition. Though there is no way to portray the complete 360° of an individual, it can still help predict a subject’s potential performance, which can make hiring less subjective

Talent Optimization must be embraced by leaders at every level.

For Talent Optimization to succeed, it must be adopted by leaders at every level of your organization – from the most senior leadership to individual contributors

Talent Optimization protects against the four forces of disengagement.

The four key causes of disengagement include misalignment with the job, with the manager, with the team, or with the culture, which all occurs by misinformed decision-making and talent procurement processes. While low engagement at a company can lead to poor productivity, absenteeism, safety issues, poor client service, or a toxic workplace culture, Talent Optimization works to fight low engagement by creating more opportunities for your employees to say they are proud to work for your organization.

Implement Talent Optimization in Your Organization

As businesses begin to return to normal, or plot their “new normal”, we think it’s the perfect time to get back to basics! At Hire for Hope, we believe Talent Optimization is one way organizations can thrive through short-term and long-term obstacles. By focusing on the things we know will build your best team and then engage that team to get the highest results, we can help you optimize your talent and your business.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to speak to a Talent Advisor directly.

What Is The Behavioral Assessment?

The Importance of Putting The Right People in The Right Seats

Woman Taking the Behavioral Assessment

During the hiring process most employers review a candidate’s resume, conduct a general screening interview over the phone, and finally if the person seems to fit the position, they attend an in-person interview. What most people don’t know is that by offering a Behavioral Assessment to the candidate, you can dramatically improve the hiring process and the chances of hiring the right candidate for a given position from the start.

What is a Behavioral Assessment? 

The Behavioral Assessment was created by a company called the Predictive Index. Predictive Index offers a variety of psychometric assessments that can be used to better understand each employee as an individual and within the workplace. 

The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment is an untimed, free-choice, stimulus-response tool that measures much more than a standard personality test. This assessment has been used for more than 60 years by thousands of businesses around the world. The Behavioral Assessment is used to uncover the top five behavioral traits that are scientifically correlated to an employee’s success in the workplace. Another way to use the PI Behavioral Assessment is during the hiring process. This assessment helps identify candidates who are hardwired to be a great fit for the job.

What does the Behavioral Assessment Measure? 

The Behavioral Assessment measures five key factors that are associated with workplace behavior; dominance, extraversion, patience, formality, and objectivity. These five key factors, or key behavioral drives, provide a framework for understanding your employees’ and candidates’ workplace behaviors. Behavioral testing can dramatically improve the hiring process by measuring and predicting these five behaviors in candidates:

A.  Dominance is the drive to exert influence on people or events.
B.  Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
C.  Patience is the drive for consistency and stability.
D.  Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.
E.  Objectivity is the basis of judgement.

How does the Assessment Work? 

Individuals are presented two lists of descriptive adjectives. The first list asks respondents to select the adjectives they feel describe the way they are expected to act by others. The second list asks them to select the adjectives they feel really describe them. Each term is associated with one of the five key factors (A, B, C, D, E). If you think back to stats class, the figure below represents the scale in which each individual is measured on a bell curve.


Equal Opportunity for All  

The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment is scientifically validated and complies with EEOC regulation (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). There have been over 400 scientific validity studies conducted using the Behavioral Assessment in the workplace, and it is verified by the American Psychological Association, the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, and the International Test Commission, to name a few.

The Behavioral Assessment was created with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in mind. Predictive Index provides functionalities with DEI at the forefront. The Behavioral Assessment:

  • Has the ability to be administered in over 80 languages, including braille.
  • Has the ability to be reported to the administrator in over 80 languages, including braille.
  • Has the ability to be completed at the administrator’s organization for individuals with limited access to technology.
  • Removes bias in the pre-hire process.
  • Provides objective data points to incorporate into an evidence-based selection process.

The Benefits of the Behavioral Assessment

The Behavioral Assessment is not a pay-per-drip assessment tool, but is provided to the employer with unlimited use to assess all candidates and employees. This removes the temptation for employers to only administer the assessment with specific candidates or employees due to cost, which is not EEOC compliant and can result in a breach of legal compliance. Our unlimited use of assessment tools adheres to EEOC standards in the workplace.

The behavioral data acquired by the Behavioral Assessment is leveraged through the entire employee lifecycle and used for:

  • Hiring and selection
  • Onboarding and orientation
  • Awareness of self and others
  • Equipping managers with objective data
  • Standardizing employee reviews
  • Conflict resolution
  • Building a winning culture
  • Career mapping
  • Succession planning
  • Creating a “common language” in the workplace
  • Designing winning teams
  • Selection for special projects or assignments
  • Increasing retention

Chick-fil-A®, Nissan, and Jim Koch, owner of Sam Adams Brewing | Boston Beer Company, are some of the adapters of the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment tool. Check out other customer success stories here. This tool is applicable to all types of organizations and industries that accomplish business results with and through people. If you are ready to join thousands of companies using the Behavioral Assessment tool, Hire For Hope is here to help.

Behavioral testing, when combined with a clear understanding of cognitive ability, can dramatically improve the hiring process and the overall work environment for the entire lifecycle of the employee. It can give the employer a very solid understanding of what the candidate or employee will need in a role, how they will act and what will motivate them. It allows open conversation surrounding the type of environment an individual needs in order to thrive, how they best communicate, their strengths and their common traps. It can give employers a blueprint of how to work with each person in their company, or how a candidate will appear on day 30, not just at the interview.  The first step to optimizing your workforce is understanding it — that’s where the Behavioral Assessment can help you get it right. 

Are you interested in learning more about the Behavioral Assessment and Hire for Hope’s Talent Optimization division? Learn more at our Talent Optimization page or reach out to speak directly with a Talent Advisor

Employee Engagement

How To Keep Your Employees Engaged During and Long After a Pandemic

Employee Engagement- Woman at Desk

By Ashley Ward

As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more and more Americans to work remotely, the question on my mind has been – to what effect, does working independently have on an employee’s personal outlook and mindset? 

From the words of Bob Nelson, “an employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.” 

With the state of the world right now, managers are definitely limited in the number of interactions they can have with their employees. (There is only so much Zoom one can handle.) 

Based on a recent report from CNBC, 60% of respondents feel either as productive or even more productive than when they were working at an office, leaving many individuals to report that they don’t even want to go back to the office. 

A new employee engagement study done by Leadership IQ reveals that an employee’s mindset, such as their resilience and optimism, actually matters more than having a great manager. There are actually 18 outlooks that can increase positive feelings at work – as shown in the photo below.


Self Engagement- 18 Outlooks

Outlooks such as these are not exclusively intrinsic. These mindsets can definitely be developed and improved by oneself and an office environment. So, is it still worthwhile to have good managers? Of course. A positive team leader and collaborative team players are crucial to creating effective outcomes and a supportive work environment.

But what we are finding more and more, is that not only can these 18 outlooks lead to an increase in career satisfaction, inspiration and employee engagement, but this research is also showing us that executives, HR leaders and managers need to spend more time and effort on developing their employee’s outlooks, such as resilience and optimism. The role of the manager is still vital in employee engagement as managers can help shape employee outlooks. 

Ginny Koole, Hire for Hope’s Talent Advisor, believes “a good manager is key no matter your wiring or mindset. It can take the most resilient person down.” 

She also stresses the importance of the manager’s own engagement with the needs of their employees. 

“Some people,” she reminds, “myself included, tend to need more from a manger. Others, not so much. That is why it’s so important to know what your employee needs!”

If the research does not speak to you, just think about your own team – you treat them all equally, give them the same amount of attention, but some are coping with this crisis better than others and it’s important to remember that some are dealing with a myriad of challenges and loss. While some may be struggling, others are thriving – some even thriving to the point where they get more work done at home than in the office.

The difference that lies between those who struggle and thrive during times of crisis depends on their mindset. Those who work with a positive attitude and remain resilient despite whatever obstacle or challenge arises can achieve much greater success than those who crumble in the face of difficulty.

As Malcolm Galdwell once said, “It’s not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between 9 and 5. It’s whether or not our work fulfills us.” 

Predictive Index defines employee engagement as the emotional commitment an employee has toward their organization and its goals. Within Predictive Index’s Talent Optimization framework, they refer to the 4 forces of employee disengagement: job fit, manager, team, and culture. If you have a job that’s a great fit, you love your manager, your team, and the culture, then the odds are really good that you will be highly engaged (going above and beyond). 

It’s important to find the right people strategy and the employees with the hard wiring that lends itself to success at your company. Know what drives your employees so you’re able to provide the support they need to stay highly engaged. Let’s use this time as a chance to grow — a chance to support our employees’ outlook on life and their work so they can leave each day feeling satisfied and fulfilled.

Do you have questions about how to increase your employee engagement? Email Hire for Hope’s Talent Advisor, Ginny Koole at gkoole@hireforhope.com.


Main Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

The Anatomy of a Perfect Resume

The Anatomy of a Perfect Resume

Your resume is your first opportunity to make a good impression with hiring managers. But how can you create a document that makes you stand out from the crowd? Simple: Make the job easy for the person reviewing it! It can’t be a passive piece of paper. It must be a passionate representation of who you are and why you are the best person for the job. Your resume is your first impression before you meet someone, it shows your attention to detail, writing, and organizational skills. 

Business Insider captured how more than two dozen recruiters look at applications and they found that most managers spend only an average of 6 seconds reviewing each resume. Watch the full video here.

In today’s competitive job market, it’s important that you help employers see the benefits of hiring you over someone else. Organizations need to know that you will help them attain their corporate objectives. Your resume is the first step in expressing that message to them.

Here are some helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Be Reachable: Display your Name and Contact Information easily for recruiters to reach out to you directly
  2. Keep a Visual Hierarchy: Show your current title and company name along with start and ends dates in reverse chronological order. Add your education and any certifications applicable to the position
  3. Make your Resume Clear and Concise: Grammar and Punctuation Matter! Avoid pictures, graphics, or photos that distract from your main objective
  4. Save your document in PDF form and use space-saving features. 1 page for young professionals, 2 for seasoned executives
  5.  Mirror the Language of the Job Posting: Bullet points, active verbs, and common industry acronyms can help show off your skills. Use concrete data points — it helps provide recruiters with the scope and context of your work and demonstrates how you contributed to the bottom line.
  6. Have someone Revise and Edit your resume before submission. The more eyes, the better!

Ultimately, the best way to get your resume seen and in front of the right hiring manager is through a connection. Hire For Hope is that trusted partner and link to all your career endeavors.

The Recruiting Firm Advantage

When you’re searching for professionals for high-profile roles, the recruiting process often requires careful consideration. Even more so, when you’re personally looking for a step-up in your career, the job search requires even more research and resources.

Applying on a website or various job boards can feel like a black hole, job hunting can be stressful and time-consuming. Some positions for high-level companies are never listed or released to the public. They’re only available on a referral basis and some companies will even list exclusively with a staffing company. The only way to access these roles is through a recruiter. This is because many jobs are confidential, a company backfill, or sometimes a newly created role.

You can gain a competitive advantage in the job market working with a recruiter — They say it’s not what you know, but who you know. As skilled recruiters, we’re highly connected to hiring managers at top companies throughout Michigan and can help point you in the right direction. We can be both your eyes and ears in the job market! Even if you’re not actively looking for a new role, a recruiter can keep you in mind for future opportunities.

It’s also important to understand the recruiting firm you are working with. Between hourly, temporary or direct hiring, there is a wide spectrum of firms in a variety of industries. Hire For Hope specializes in executive level salaried positions in manufacturing, sales, operations, and supply chain roles. What sets up apart?

Hire For Hope has your best career and personal interests at heart. We want your new position to be a fit for you and your family from a personal, financial, and cultural approach. It’s important to us that all decisions and career changes suit your needs. From the very first phone call to the start of your first day, and beyond, we are there every step of the way.

At Hire For Hope, we take pride in putting the right people in the right seats! Want to see for yourself what it is like to work with a recruiter? Contact us today! Learn how Hire For Hope can help find the right candidate for your executive-level opening here.