Thursday, October 15, 2015

Assess for Employee Integrity Honestly

Two fellows apply for the same job opening at a local store. After interviewing each of them, the owner tells her bookkeeper that both applicants seem equally qualified. The bookkeeper replies, “Whoever you hire is going to be taking payments and making change. To help you decide, why not call them both back in and give them a little math test?”
     A few days later, the owner thanks the bookkeeper for the idea, saying the results let her make the decision without any doubt. “Did one of them get many more items right?,” the bookkeeper asks. “No, actually, each of them missed only one item.” “Hmm, then how did you choose?” “Well, on that one item, Sam wrote, ‘Don’t know,’ and Chuck wrote, ‘Me neither.’”
     The two fellows may have colluded in answering the items, but even then, it appears Sam was the leader and therefore the better candidate. However, a more likely possibility is that the little math test functioned as an ad hoc integrity assessment.
     Professionally-designed integrity tests do help predict the probability of employee dishonesty. Researchers at Manhattan College find that inventories which assess conscientiousness and agreeableness are especially useful. High scores on these two are associated with lower rates of workplace theft, absenteeism, tardiness, and uncooperativeness.
     Still, be aware of limitations in assessments of honesty. The personality tests aren’t perfect. Also, situational factors enter into employee decisions to steal. Severe economic deprivation, seeing other staff steal, and getting ready to leave store employment are among these factors. Researchers at Penn State Erie, Mercyhurst College, Benedictine University, and Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company found that fast food employees in their sample said they’d be more likely to steal if leaving employment in two weeks than in two years.
     And, honestly, many lies from employees you’ve already hired are harmless self-defenses. It doesn’t serve your interests to pressure the person into admitting the falsehood. Gather what information you can about the problem, clarify your expectations about future actions, and move on. Let the lie just lie there. People will frequently change without ever admitting to others that they were wrong.
     As part of clarifying your expectations, say, “Please be an honest person when talking with me about what happened.” Research at University of California-San Diego, London Business School, and Stanford University indicates this self-identity phrasing works better than, “Please be honest when talking with me about what happened.”

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Avoid Specific Feedback on Integrity Tests
Let Sleepy Lies Lie
Compare Notes on Body Language
Handle Employee Dishonesty Consistently

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