Oct 14, 2021 | 3
Minute Read

Benchmarking For Beginners: A First-Hand Experience

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Benchmarking is an incredibly valuable tool for organizations looking to stabilize their hiring processes but it can be intimidating to get started. Luckily, one of our teams at TTI SI just completed a benchmark together and I’m here to give you a firsthand account of the experience.

I was a little nervous going into my first benchmark! I know a lot about benchmarking in theory through interviews and research during my time at TTI SI, but I was eager to see how exactly that played out in practice. Juan Kingsbury of Career Blindspot is always a delight to work with and learn from, and I did learn a lot.

After speaking with fellow SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) Bobby Tyning, Creative Director and Jessica Boyle, Director of Marketing, I compiled our three biggest takeaways from the benchmarking process.

 


 

Conflict Makes the Process Work

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When it comes to DISC, I’m a I/S or a Relator if we’re using the terminology from the DISC wheel. I prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible and like for me but I learned quickly while benchmarking that conflict was actually key as we uncovered the requirements for our new position.

In the benchmarking process, each SME (Subject Matter Expert) is bringing something different to the process. I had a different idea of what Drivers to emphasize than Jessica and Bobby, and as we each explained our points of view we came to a compromise. Likewise, I pushed myself to speak up and challenge points I didn’t quite agree with.

“It gets great discussions going, which sometimes even turns into a debate,” Bobby agreed, “But it’s a vital part of the selection process that is woefully underutilized and overlooked.”

Disagreement makes for the best possible outcome when it comes to benchmarking, but obviously only if it’s handled productively! Everyone involved needs to enter the process with respect and consideration for each other’s opinions — lucky for us, that’s how my team handles every interaction with each other. Our different points of view combined and contrasted with each other to reach the strongest outcome.

Jessica gave me some additional insight into her experience;

“I realized quickly that I needed to let my ego go in this process,” she told me candidly. “My DISC style (D/C) and Drivers can lead to me feeling like I need to do it all, but benchmarking this position was critical for me to realize that I simply cannot do it all on my own. Things don’t need to get done the exact way I envision as long as we reach our mutual goal of success.”

 


 

Know Your Team Before You Start

Jessica and I work very closely with each other as the Marketing department of TTI SI, and we actually have entirely opposite DISC styles and Driving Forces.

We consider these differences as a strength, not a weakness, since we can compensate for each other’s blind spots and approach problems with different perspectives that help us reach the most favorable outcomes.

TTI SI tools were invaluable as we began to work together. One of the biggest benefits of working for TTI SI is access to our assessments (especially for me — I have an Intellectual top Driver and want to know everything I can about our work and research!).

“You definitely need to have an idea of what your team wants and needs before the benchmark,” Jessica agreed. “Acknowledging the personalities on our team was crucial, because we’re looking for that cultural fit as well. Thanks to the process we know exactly where the gaps are in our team’s knowledge and expertise, which helped us begin to craft a benchmark to address those gaps.”

 


 

What You Don’t Want Matters, Too!

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Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want in a new team member. In our benchmark session, we were able to predict situations we anticipate the new team member dealing with. We figured out how we would want them to react as well as what we’d want them to avoid doing, so we can look for both red flags and green flags during the interview process.

What ended up being really important to our group in this benchmark was the ability to articulate which of the 12 Driving Forces in particular we wanted to avoid.

It’s important to remember to be flexible when it comes to utilizing your benchmark in the interview process. You don’t want to miss the best candidate because they’re different from your ideal benchmark. As we’ve said, “Benchmarking is a tool to hone in on top candidates, not a blanket dismissal of talent.”

“Connecting with each person on a personal level before getting into business is a huge deal, even for the people that don’t always enjoy lots of interaction for interactions sake,” Jessica said. “Creating a checklist of what we need solved by a new team member helped us articulate what we really needed and what we didn’t.”

 


 

Begin Benchmarking With Confidence

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Benchmarking is an invaluable tool for growing teams and strategic organizations. If your team is interested in giving it a shot, I personally can’t recommend it enough.

“The benchmarking experience as a whole seemed really intimidating to me, but having an experienced facilitator and a collaborative team made all the difference,” Jessica agreed. “I’m looking forward to finding our new team member and digging into the work with them.”

I personally really enjoyed getting actual experience with a benchmark. Seeing how the theory and information our TTI SI assessments and processes actually applies to real-life work was eye-opening.

I think Bobby said it well; “This wasn’t my first benchmark, but what I took away was that there is really no better activity of how all the TTI SI sciences come together than attending a benchmarking session.”

 


 

Are you interested in harnessing the power of TTI SI’s tool for your organization? Want to find out how you can implement a benchmarking process in your hiring strategy? Let us help! Get the answers you need here.

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Jaime Faulkner