Tatyana St. Germain is the founder and CEO of Great People Management, a consulting firm located in Kenosha, WI, serving clients nationwide. They offer leadership coaching, hiring and development assessments, talent optimization tools, and talent management consulting. Tatyana is an expert at understanding and solving complex people challenges in the workplace and helped over 1000 clients worldwide select, retain and develop the right people who get results and smash the competition.
How can companies improve their chances of hiring productive employees?
The biggest challenge I'm finding with my clients and with conversations I'm having in my business network is actually finding people. That's the biggest challenge and that's probably a whole separate conversation. But once you have a candidate, if you're lucky you may have a couple of candidates, the best way to ensure that they're productive is to look for job fit and look for culture fit. This is where some of those resources out there can really help and one of those resources is predictive assessment tools that companies can use to help them understand their people. These assessment tools are not designed to screen people out because what I'm hearing right now is, "Tatyana, we don't even have any people apply, how can we talk about screening people out or using any kind of tool for job matching?" Well, it's really to ensure the productivity, engagement, and long-term retention of the employee. That's the information that the assessment tools give you. So don't skip that step, the vetting step, and do the due diligence on the front end when you're hiring employees, even if you just have one to choose from.
What can managers do to keep their employees?
Once you get somebody in place, and congratulations if you hired a warm body, the next question is now what? How do I ensure that I have a productive onboarding experience to engage them? It starts with understanding what people really care about. Your onboarding and your retention start with the interview process. You want to make sure that you understand your employees, ask deep, meaningful questions and then once they are on board, you have everything in place for them. Obviously, the benefits, their desk, their computer ready, and all the logins, but also the next step is building a deeper relationship with the team. One of my clients shared a great success story that he incorporated those assessment tools in the onboarding process, generating a team report that shares with each team member what their differences and similarities are, what their talents and challenges are, and having maybe a 90-minute conversation with a new team member over lunch is going to help the new team member to ask some questions, maybe laugh about some of the quirks and personality that other members on the team have. Most importantly, focus on the talent. We're all behaviorally diverse when we're working on the same team and the key here is to complement each other instead of perceiving our differences as difficulties, which is how we are wired psychologically to be, that's the knee-jerk reaction. When we meet new people there's a lot of uncertainty and that creates that wall and engages fear factors in the brain that shuts down the rational brain. So it takes multiple months, and sometimes years to get to know your co-workers to build a productive relationship. But utilizing assessment tools, you are actually able to build that relationship within the first week and that's what my client shared. It's feasible that you can squeeze your onboarding, the length of onboarding from months, to just weeks. Bringing onboarding into the conversation about retention starts to build loyalty and connectedness. This is what people care about. Yes, they do care about bonuses and compensation and benefits packages that are being revamped right now with many organizations. But with those tactical transactional items, you can only go so far. Frankly, smaller companies can't even afford all those benefits in compensation packages. So it's about relationships.
Why are you so passionate about helping companies solve their "people problems"?
When I got introduced to the assessment industry, my former boss and mentor brought me into the second interview and he showed me my scores, and not knowing what I was looking at because I didn't know anything about assessments at that time, I was kind of mortified because one of the behavioral traits that were assessed was attitude. And on a scale of 1 to 10 I was a 1 so I automatically assumed 1 is bad, 10 is good and why am I even here? Then he pulled up his report and show that he's a 10 so we're polar opposites when it comes to outlook on life and people and trust. Then he said in the small office of seven people, all of us are over six on a scale from one to 10, and me being the leader of the team I'm concerned that I'm so optimistic that I might lead this team right off the cliff thinking and hoping there's an invisible bridge so if nothing else, we actually want you on our team, we want you to ask questions, we want you to be our anchor. So this skeptical attitude that I've carried through throughout my life, and I've always thought it was a burden, it was a negative thing about who I was, all of a sudden became an asset. It's about how you look at it. It's about how you channel your strengths and mitigate your challenges and we have both, we all have that. Finding a position where you can channel even some of the adversity that you may have about your personality into a positive area that's what builds loyalty. This is what makes people go the extra mile and that's what it did for me. It was amazing, I was given permission to be myself. In fact, I was valued for who I was not even my contributions, because he didn't know what I could do at that point. It was just the interview, but my potential, and how I would interact and complement the team. So I was given permission to be myself on the job and needless to say, case, in point, I am still in this industry. This was so life-changing for me personally, and I thought if I could do this for other people, individual people, or the leaders, business owners, and entire organizations because it is such a scalable process. You can apply it to everyone and I worked with companies from five employees to 55,000. If you can give this kind of information and put people in positions according to their talents, according to their potential, where their contributions in their innate talents would be valued, how much better our decisions would be, how much better our productivity and engagement would be, and would people really be leaving companies? That's my question, if all companies were using and had the same experience as I did would people be leaving? This year was rough for everyone, but it never crossed my mind to get out of the business or change careers.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
First of all, when we network, you never know who you're going to meet and who you might end up getting connected to. Some of the best referrals come from unlikely sources. I learned that early on so I don't ignore any opportunity to network. I had great experiences with a variety of networking organizations. Right now I'm working with an amazing content writer who's located in the UK. I got introduced to her probably three years ago and there was one person who introduced me to another person. So this is probably a fourth-level connection and she's amazing. So whether you get connected to resources or potential clients, I never discount the power of networking and then building credibility through your network as well.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?
You have to think on purpose about the people in your network. What I mean by that is knowing what they care about, what they're looking for in terms of business if this is a business relationship, continuously look for opportunities, and train your ear to listen for them. For example, yesterday, I had a lunch meeting with one of the people in my network who just purchased a new business. He gave me a tour of the facility, we had lunch and it was lovely, but towards the end of the conversation. He mentioned something about benefits. My ears perked up because I've been listening for those clues and I mentioned one of my network partners who do benefits. So I will be connecting them today, making that soft, warm introduction. So I think that's probably the most important thing and it's not quid pro quo, it's really about being generous and being passionate about connecting people to people and connecting people to resources. It's not about what you get back, it's about what you can give. When you have that outlook, you're going to be able to hear more of those opportunities and connect people to those resources.
What advice would you offer to the business professional who is looking to grow their network?
I've done all kinds of things, starting with trade shows. I've done a lot of those early on in my assessment career, and coaching career. That's basically collecting business cards and building the list and then doing email marketing. But I would say in the last 10 years, LinkedIn has been a keystone for all of my networking. People are willing to connect and people are willing to listen. I would say get on LinkedIn spend and I can recommend a couple of people who help you maximize the value of LinkedIn, how to connect with people, get the Premium Package, spend whatever you need to spend to invest in building the network. But I think that's been the best one. It's amazing how responsive people are even if you just ask a question. You can build a group, you can have a webinar, you can do all sorts of things. The sky's the limit!
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
Growing up in the Soviet Union, there's kind of the power of necessity that drove me always. So I never remember myself not striving to do more. So first, it was getting myself out of that country with education, working hard, and not passing up opportunities, and I've taken on some crazy opportunities. I would say when opportunities knock, do not pass them up because then you always wonder what if. I'm happy to say that, and whether it's because of who I am, or the power of necessity because I was really driven to succeed and build a better life for myself and for my future children I did that and I would always say to take risks in the early years.
I understand you have a free assessment to share with our listeners?
Yes, so I do offer a couple of different assessments because I believe that every organization and every situation is unique so one size does not fit all. But one of the flagship assessments that I use is the PXT Select tool that is developed and validated by Wiley and Sons. They also provide assessments such as 5 behaviors of a cohesive team, in addition to the PXT Select. So I've sourced this one and I've used this for the past 17 years. I find that it is most predictive, most robust and sophisticated, and most importantly to me, it is valid and reliable. So I'm all about the numbers and the technical manual. But I wanted to offer this assessment to the listeners and it takes about 45 minutes to complete and then it would be maybe an hour of a debrief so we can chat about insights that they can get out of the reports, to improve their leadership skills, understand their strengths, understand some of the challenges that they may be experiencing, and how to mitigate those and become more self-aware, because the journey of improvement starts with self-awareness. You can't get to point B without knowing your point A so the PXT Select is point A and I would love to offer that to more people out there.
Connect with Tatyana
Contact Tatyana to schedule your assessment! https://greatpeoplemanagement.com/contact/