ZRG’s Walking the Talk Unveils Enhanced Taylor Assessment Tool

Organizations report that cultural fit is a top consideration in hiring decisions. Ensuring a seamless “cultural fit” in the hiring process may seem elusive, but in today’s business climate, it is a strategic imperative. In light of this, the Walking the Talk division of ZRG, has announced the introduction of its enhanced Taylor Assessment, a tool for assessing leaders' cultural preferences. Let’s go inside the improved offerings and hear what CEO Larry Hartman has to say about hiring for the best cultural fit.

January 16, 2024 – The Walking the Talk division of ZRG Partners has introduced its enhanced Taylor Assessment, a tool for assessing leaders’ cultural preferences. The Taylor Assessment directly measures contribution to an organization’s current or desired future culture. It can be used for recruitment, leadership, team, and organizational development. The assessment is based on the framework first laid out by Walking the Talk founder Carolyn Taylor. Developed in partnership with PsyNet, a psychometric test developer, the Taylor Assessment has been built on the intellectual capital and direct experience of Walking the Talk, which has conducted culture assessments with hundreds of global organizations and hundreds of thousands of individual respondents over a 30-year period.

“How do you build the right culture? By bringing in the right people and having the right people who represent or embody the kind of culture you want,” said Andres Fossas, product manager at ZRG’s Walking the Talk. “If you bring in more people who embody those traits, those characteristics, that’s going to accelerate the building of the desired culture. The Taylor assessment will help you identify those people based on their behavioral profile, preferences, and motivations.”

“Beyond its usefulness in recruitment, the assessment is an amazing tool for incumbent leaders,” said Michelle Stuntz, president, consulting and advisory services at ZRG. “We are able to quantitatively measure the culture preferences of individual leaders and teams to better understand how they contribute to the components of the organization’s culture that are critical for business performance. This informs individual and team development, as well as team composition.“

How Does the Taylor Assessment Work?

A 30-minute online assessment identifies the kind of culture that you are likely to be attracted to, to thrive in, and to build around you. It identifies the behaviors that you prefer and prioritize; the stronger the preference, the more likely you are to demonstrate that behavior at work.

“The innovative methodology requires candidates to rank exclusively positive statements, which reduces the risk of candidates gaming or giving socially desirable responses,” Walking the Talk said. “The ranking also tends to reliably show how we make trade-offs in real life, which enables us to make predictions about actual behavior, and to highlight areas to probe in interviews. While it is not a capabilities test, its insights around individual preferences help inform recruitment decisions, guide leadership development, and build more effective teams.”

Related: The Importance of Culture in Driving Growth, Performance & Value

“The Taylor Assessment identifies individuals’ drivers and preferences, which guide the behaviors they are likely to prioritize at work and then compares these against the company’s desired target culture,” says Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “The assessment also distinguishes between personal and professional contexts for accurate leadership assessments and delves into a leader’s personal leadership preferences, motivations, and priorities within the professional context. It analyzes 30 key behaviors categorized into six archetypes of culture, unveiling both the company’s behavioral needs and the candidate’s behavioral preferences.”

Understanding Leader and Team Dynamics

One compelling aspect highlighted through the Taylor Assessment is how a leader responds during crises or high-pressure situations. Recent statistics indicate that 30 percent of hiring failures result from leaders’ inability to navigate high-pressure situations effectively.

Shaping a Culture of Inclusion
One of the biggest challenges facing leaders is building a culture that will drive superior performance. The precise recipe for success will differ for each organization, but research shows that there is one fundamental ingredient that every culture needs: inclusion. In an inclusive culture, every team member, regardless of their background, finds a profound sense of belonging and connection, according to a new report from Walking the Talk, a culture transformation advisory firm. “They are appreciated for their unique qualities and the distinctive value they bring to the table,” the study said. “Crucially, they feel comfortable expressing their authentic selves within the workplace, with their opinions not merely heard but actively acknowledged and recognized. This includes the sincere integration of their perspectives into decision-making processes.”

Creating an environment where people truly belong and are included has been shown to affect both top and bottom lines. Companies that get this right outperform their competitors, says Walking the Talk. There is also growing scrutiny of organizational cultures from customers, shareholders, boards and employees, with an increasing demand to see real evidence of inclusion.

“The Taylor Assessment serves as a valuable resource by uncovering a leader’s natural tendencies in such scenarios, aiding in evaluating their suitability for a specific role and making more informed hiring decisions,” Mr. Hartmann said. “Extend this insight across an entire leadership team, and you have a diverse blend of behavioral preferences that drive effective teamwork. Teams with diverse cultural backgrounds and working styles are proven to outperform their peers. A well-balanced team can measurably contribute to the organization’s culture in a positive and productive manner while encouraging diversity of views and skills.”

Assessment for Culture Contribution

Few organizations still doubt the impact of culture on performance; according to a recent study from Deloitte, 94 percent of executives say a distinct workplace culture is crucial for business success. And they are in good company; academic studies since the 1950s have found a positive relationship between the two, whether related to shared goal orientation, growth, profitability or innovation.

No wonder then that culture is front of mind in hiring. A report from Robert Half, 91 percent of managers say they place more importance on job seekers’ alignment with company culture than on their skills and experience, and we are seeing forward-thinking organizations treat this as a strategic imperative.

“It’s not as easy though as hiring for cultural fit, for a couple of reasons,” Mr. Hartmann explains. “Firstly, a focus on fit can lead to bias and discrimination as hiring managers recruit in their own image. With research consistently showing that companies with diverse and inclusive cultures outperform their peers, it makes strong business sense to avoid hiring exclusively for fit.  Secondly, many organizations are actively working to improve their culture, and have a clear focus on the specific behaviors and features that need to be developed in order to drive higher performance. So they don’t want to hire candidates who match the current culture, they want people who are role models of their target culture, and who will therefore accelerate the culture change.”

Mr. Hartmann says to imagine identifying the five or six behaviors that are most critical for a company’s future success, and then intentionally hiring for those. “This approach would not only reduce the risk of hiring mismatches by aligning a candidate’s behavioral preferences with a company’s strategic needs, but also would increase the likelihood that new hires would enhance the culture in a way that supports the company’s continued success,” he said. “ZRG has integrated the Taylor Assessment into every search as part of our tech-enabled, data-driven hiring approach. This strategic move has played a pivotal role in ZRG’s documented fast growth in the talent industry.”

The intentional use of confirming culture contribution in hiring represents a forward-thinking approach that aligns individuals with organizational cultures, according to Mr. Hartmann. “This not only mitigates hiring risks but also fosters a workplace environment where diversity thrives, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of the organization,” he said. “The numbers speak for themselves—investing in cultural contribution significantly enhances hiring success and overall organizational performance.”

Related: Designing a Winning Corporate Culture

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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