Finding the Value of Employee Assessments in the Caribbean
An Interview with Peter Downes
The Caribbean is made up of a series of islands and the northern coast of South America, each with very small local economies that are primarily dependent on tourism. Some countries have rich natural resources, such as oil in Trinidad, but the Caribbean’s largest resource is their people.
Profiles International’s Peter Downes was recently interviewed to discusses the business environment in the Caribbean, the people-related challenges organizations in the region face, and how assessments can help improve management decisions.
What are the people-related challenges in the Caribbean?
Hiring the right people is probably the most often-cited challenge from local businesses, followed closely by the need to hire honest, reliable, and dependable people. The third challenge is leadership development.
While there are many international businesses with operations across the Caribbean, it is still driven by tourism, which requires employees who are dependable, courteous, and attentive to their customers’ wants and needs. One positive vacation can lead to an annual retreat of repeat vacationers for years to come. But one negative experience will not only lose those clients, but also potential clients to whom they may have recommended your business.
The risk of employee theft and fraud can be high in the hospitality industry, which is so much a part of the fabric of Caribbean life. The more honest and trustworthy the staff, the more successful the businesses will be.
How can assessments help business leaders overcome these challenges?
As in any other business in any other part of the world, “assessments play a primary role in helping our leaders identify and understand their people much more effectively in the sense that they get better information about the people they want to hire before they hire them,” said Downes.
Assessment tools give you very good and useful information to help you make the right decisions about the people you hire, manage, and develop. These tools can assist employers with the hiring challenges outlined by Downes above, and can help to weed out not only potential candidates who may not fit the role, but also those whose behavior may be questionable.
In an environment where it is sometimes difficult to hire the right, trustworthy employees and where turnover is often high, companies need to ensure that those whom they promote into supervisory or managerial roles are worthy. This is another opportunity to use assessments to make smart people decisions.
Who are the most charismatic leaders in the Caribbean and what makes them effective?
Among Caribbean business leaders, Ralph “Bizzy” Williams has done tremendously well, having established himself as an international player and been honored with major awards (e.g., Entrepreneur of the Year). According to Downes, his success is borne out of “his ability to be able to recognize opportunities and to manage his human resources effectively to get the job done.” It takes a special kind of leader to use his people so effectively across the number of businesses that he has and is involved in. Such motivation is attributed to an inspirational and charismatic leader.
How can leaders use assessments to improve their own effectiveness?
“Assessments provide hiring managers with information that you wouldn’t normally glean from just simple observation or by conducting an interview,” said Downes. Assessments give you valuable information whether or not it’s a hiring decision, or if you’re looking to promote or develop someone within the organization. Leaders can then take advantage of 360-degree assessments to learn more about themselves and how others view them, then adjust their management actions and behaviors accordingly.
Watch the complete interview with Peter Downes, or learn more about how employee assessments can help your business.