On the Cusp of Change
The City of Delaware in Delaware, Ohio prides itself on being the best of both worlds—it boasts small-town charm with big-city amenities and a rich, traditional history with a modern attitude. Blending the past and present and marrying convention and innovation are at Delaware’s core. Beginning in 2017, the City become more intentional about striking that same balance in a new way—with its employees.
With millennials estimated to comprise half of the United States’ total workforce, and some studies showing that they became the largest generation in the workforce in 2016, organizations are quickly realizing that they are challenged by a generational gap and a lack of succession planning, as baby boomers begin to retire at a quickening pace. Numerous organizations have a story about being blindsided by a sudden resignation. Teams can be left scrambling as they try to pick up the slack. Meanwhile, the hiring manager is looking at a 20-year-old job description that doesn’t even mention Microsoft Office. Or, perhaps even more concerning, a great employee who has aspired to fill the vacant seat gets the promotion, but quickly fails, having not been trained properly or given the opportunity to learn applicable skills.
Recognizing that there would be a dramatic shift in their workforce in the short-term as a result of long-term employees retiring, the City of Delaware wanted to ensure that the leaders of tomorrow were being identified and developed to face future challenges. Part of developing its future leaders included identifying and defining the behaviors and characteristics that have made Delaware’s current leadership successful. Having had success previously with PRADCO in developing benchmark assessments, Delaware chose to once again partner with PRADCO for this endeavor.
Defining Success at Every Level
For the past 65 years, PRADCO has helped develop stronger organizations by helping to hire, develop, and retain talent. Partnering with PRADCO to plan and formalize a succession process can strengthen an organizations’ bench to ensure a seamless transition to its next leaders. But how can a third-party swiftly and accurately learn the ins and outs of how an organization operates? The answer lies in PRADCO’s data-driven behavioral assessments.
PRADCO assessed 70 leaders at three levels of leadership for the City of Delaware (department heads, managers, and supervisors) using the Quick View™ Leadership Assessment to create the benchmark that would later be used to determine the best people to hire, develop, and promote.
PRADCO analyzed the data several ways, looking at which behaviors were emphasized at each leadership level and by the quality of each performer. The results led to the realization that some characteristics are critical at all levels of leadership within the City, while others are most important at one or two levels of leadership.
With the first group of data compiled, PRADCO worked as a partner with the City of Delaware’s human resource staff to incorporate other significant resources, including recent culture survey results, along with the City’s mission, vision, and values.
As a final step, PRADCO facilitated two focus groups to fine-tune and review the top assessment behaviors. City employees played a vital role by filling any gaps with qualitative data about Delaware’s culture and what makes a successful leader there. With this holistic view, a set of 10 behaviors were finalized to be a benchmark for assessing and developing the City’s future leaders.