Posted by Matt Register

Sheryl Dawson, CEO of Dawson Consulting Group, talks about attracting and retaining valuable talent for your company.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Matt Register: Welcome back to the show. Texas Business Radio, texasbusinessradio.com being the website. Go there. Do yourself a favor, go there. You’ll see the whole thing in beautiful high definition video. 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour call in line. That means get your calls in now, get them in later, it’s a 24 hour line. I don’t really have an opinion on it. We’re going to get the experts in here to get those questions answered. I’m your host Matt Register. Jay Curry’s normally sitting over there in the cohost chair. He had to step out for a little bit. He’s going to join us here shortly, but in the meantime we’re talking about human resources. How do you leverage the talent that you have in your organization to grow your organization and make it the best one possible? How do you attract and retain the best talent you can to remain competitive in this ultra competitive global economy?
We have a very interesting segment here with some tools that I’m not sure that I’ve ever personally heard of before, but do a very good job of helping you navigate that very complex environment there. Dawson Consulting Group, Sheryl Dawson, CEO. Welcome to the show Sheryl.

Sheryl Dawson: Thank you Matt. Delighted to be here.

Matt Register: So Dawson Consulting Group, what do you do, who do you do it to?

Sheryl Dawson: Well, that’s a great way to start. I’ve been in business many many years, and so I’ve worked with all kinds of organizations from small to large, medium size. I’ve worked across the functional areas, across industries. I’ve really been privileged Matt to be able to work with lots of different companies in order to help them with their talent challenges, or their talent goals. If they don’t feel like they’re challenges, then we’ll look at the goals.

Matt Register: Well I tell you what, companies large and small have one thing in common, hiring wrong costs a lot of money.

Sheryl Dawson: You’re exactly right. That is one of the best places to start with the assessment system that I use. Harrison Assessments is the name of it. It may not be a wholesale name that everybody knows about, but it’s a brand that meets the expectation of the organization. Whether your challenge is hiring, or it might be onboarding, or it might be career development, or it might be leadership development, or executive development, there are solutions that Harrison can provide as part of this system.
One of the things that makes it really tough for organizations on hiring is they don’t necessarily know what they need. The first place we want to start is to define exactly what you need, both from an eligibility standpoint, which would be the education and skills-

Matt Register: Experience, that kind of thing.

Sheryl Dawson: -experience, and so forth, then the behavioral side. It’s the behavioral side that people, interviewers, often get wrong because in an hour or even a series of interviews it’s really tough to dig deep enough to find out where the person is matching up with the expectations and where they might be deficient.

Matt Register: Well everybody looks good in the interview right.

Sheryl Dawson: Most people, if they’ve done their homework, they can look pretty good in an interview, but it’s being able to see if it’s the right match, not just for the company because yes you want to hire the right person to meet your needs, but if you’re not also meeting the needs of the candidate then-

Matt Register: Yeah, they’re not going to last that long right.

Sheryl Dawson: Then it’s not a match. Harrison is able to, Harrison Assessment, is able to show both sides of the coin, what are the expectations of the individual, what are the needs of the companies, how do those align, and you can do that on any level, any function, and any one of the levels within the organization.

Matt Register: Now Dawson itself, the Dawson Consulting Group is not a headhunting firm. You’re not out finding people. You are helping companies implement this system throughout their hiring.

Sheryl Dawson: That’s correct Matt, yeah. I do work with recruiters, both internal as well as external recruiters, to help them use the right talent analytics to make the decisions effectively, also to interview effectively.

Matt Register: Well the behavioral side of this is, to be honest, I mean as an operations guy, is a lot fluffier right than the actual experiential side, the education. That stuff’s relatively easy. The fluffier side of it has probably the biggest impact,
and is something that is the hardest for an interviewer to figure out. Is this person personality wise a good fit? Is he going to fit in our culture? Is he going to fit in our organization? Right?

Sheryl Dawson: Right. You’re exactly right that it’s much more than personality. Harrison’s measuring 175 traits and competencies, which is more than any other system out there that I’ve run across-

Matt Register: Sure.

Sheryl Dawson: And there a lot of assessments out there that are style indicators, personality assessments, culture surveys, just a buck of assessments out there, but very few of them can measure enough traits, as Harrison does, to be able to be specific to the role. If you look at the legal ramifications of using an assessment, if it can’t be job specific you can get yourself in a lot of legal trouble. If you’re a big enough company that you’ve got an attorney on board, they’re going to be looking at does it meet our expectations of EOC in terms of being job specific, is it relevant to the hiring.

Matt Register: Sure.

Sheryl Dawson: You’re right that it’s the behavioral side that tends to feel fluffy, but Harrison can measure that. It’s not fluffy. It’s very specific. Once you know what you want at what level in the function, you can pick a job specific template based on research, and you can even customize it, to make sure that you’re measuring the right traits and competencies for that role.

Matt Register: Well once you hire them though, I mean once you’ve identified the right person to come in there, now you’ve got to keep them. Now you’ve got to keep them happy. Now you’ve got to-

Sheryl Dawson: The goal shifts pretty quickly doesn’t it.

Matt Register: That’s right, but this system covers a lot of that ground correct?

Sheryl Dawson: I like to talk about it being the deep and wide. We talked about the deep part, now the wide part is you can use it once their on board, lots of different applications across the talent cycle. We’ve hired the right person, now we need to make sure that they’re matched with the right supervisor, and that that supervisor knows what that person’s expectations are. We have a report that helps them know the engagement factors, and also the motivators. If you have expectations as an employee, but you don’t have the right motivation to achieve that, we’ve got a problem right.

Matt Register: Sure.

Sheryl Dawson: It’s not all about the company giving what they need to the employee, but also what the individual has to bring to the table in terms of self-improvement, in terms of being willing to take on challenges, and to have the enthusiasm to perform.

Matt Register: Well the whole reason behind even doing any of this is to increase your batting average on being able to bring in the right people and keep them right, and to lower the cost of hiring wrong. Correct?

Sheryl Dawson: Right, and so it’s not just about the analytics, but giving the tools, as you said earlier, to the supervisor and managers so they know what kind of conversation should I have here. Okay I see on this report these are the expectations this employee has, I notice that there might be a little gap with one of the motivators, what do I do about that? Well the report actually says one, two, three, here are some things that you can do, actionable things, to help this employee be more engaged in their work and to help them realize what their role is in making sure that they perform effectively.

Matt Register: Now what kind of difference does this make? I mean we were talking very quickly during the break and you were talking about there are measurable statistics that say that companies get instantly better at this once they’ve implemented this system. What kind, I mean because we’re talking about pretty big money here right?

Sheryl Dawson: Oh we’re talking about big bucks. This is boardroom conversation, is talent management. How are we going to get the right people? How are we going to prepare them for the future? How are we going to make sure that we have the right employees for the right skills at the right time? So it is big money. If you can’t get the talent equation right, then you’re not going to grow effectively, or you’re not going to compete effectively, or your good employees are going to go off to one of your competitors. All of those are risks. It’s all about ROI, what is your return on investment, getting the right person in the right role, making sure that they’re aligned with the right supervisor who can help them effectively grow and develop and be engaged in their role. Then those that are leadership material, high potentials, making sure that you’re providing that opportunity to grow.

Matt Register: Yeah, so they don’t go elsewhere right and grow elsewhere.

Sheryl Dawson: Exactly.

Matt Register: Interesting stuff. Anything that CEOs can do to get better at that is going to directly affect their bottom line. Interesting. Sheryl Dawson, CEO, Dawson Consulting Group. Sheryl, what’s the easiest way should somebody want to learn more?

Sheryl Dawson: I would say just jump on my website, dawsonconsultinggroup.com. Take a look at some of the resources there and the range of applications. There’s going to be something that will meet your challenge.

Matt Register: No doubt. DawsonConsultingGroup.com. We’re going to have that linked right from texasbusinessradio.com if you’re driving and can’t take notes. In the meantime, we are out of time. We’ve got to pay some of our own bills. We’ll be back right after this with a whole lot more Texas Business Radio. Don’t go anywhere.

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About the Author
Matt Register

Matt Register

In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.

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