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Keirsey Signature Workshop Case Study
The Leadership Factor: Creating a Strategy to Recruit, Select and Retain the Right People For Success

A faith-based organization that recruits individuals to serve as humanitarian aid workers in third world countries asked Keirsey's Consulting Division, Synergy Leaders LLC, to examine their recruiting strategy. Although the organization was extremely successful in attracting and engaging people that were highly dedicated and motivated to serve, many of their recruits were facing difficulties once placed in the field, and they were experiencing much higher than expected burn-out and lower than expected retention rates with their recruits.

As a preliminary step in diagnosing the cause of the problems they were facing, a cross section of the organization's aid workers took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter-II. This included members that had been successful in multiple placements, as well as members that had experienced early burn-out.

Surfacing the Problems
The organization had come to the realization that the people who are most naturally drawn to Humanitarian Aid as a calling are not necessarily the best fit for the types of situations into which they were being placed in the third world. Working with Synergy Leaders, they wanted to understand the profile of aid workers who succeeded in the field, versus the profiles of those that left early. They wanted to develop a plan for working more effectively with those that were more likely to burn-out, but more importantly, devise a strategy for attracting more recruits that were likely to succeed and thrive in their field placements.

What We Discovered
Upon analyzing the Keirsey Temperament results of the cross-section of the organization, we found that the majority of people drawn to serve by the organization's recruiting efforts were Idealists (52%) and Guardians (26%). Both Idealists and Guardians are cooperative in their actions, following rules and customs. Idealists derive their self-image through benevolence, and Guardians derive theirs through being of service - making each of these temperaments naturally drawn to the humanitarian message the organization was using in their recruiting materials. However, in many cases, humanitarian aid in the third world calls for people that are highly entrepreneurial and utilitarian in order to start things up from ground zero. Artisans are the most effective temperament in this type of environment, capitalizing on their tactical and improvisation skills to find solutions to provide immediate outcomes when there is no infrastructure in place to facilitate their mission. The organization was light on Artisans in its ranks, with only 16% of its recruits of this temperament. Furthermore, those Artisans that did join were often turned off by the cultural mismatch with an organization comprised of almost 80% Idealists and Guardians. Artisans thrive on adventure and risk, and yearn to make a big impact. This clashed strongly with the Guardians, who focus on process and following the rules, and the Idealists, who focus on building relationships and getting along; Artisans tend to be rule-breakers, unconventional in their quest to yield the highest results.

The Breakthrough
Synergy Leaders devised a two-pronged recruiting strategy for the organization. For the entrepreneurial type roles, the strategy was geared toward attracting risk takers - the Artisans, focusing on the action and adventure that recruits would experience in their third world assignments. The second recruiting strategy shifted the recruiting of more cooperative individuals for more established situations, where recruits would have some infrastructure and protocol to support them, and they could focus on building better processes and establishing strong relationships - areas in which Guardians and Idealists thrive.

The Results
By altering its recruiting strategy in both dimensions - changing it's targeting messages and matching placement opportunities using the recruits' temperaments, the organization achieved a win-win-win outcome.

Win #1: The new recruiting messaging immediately resulted in a greater number of entrepreneurially inclined (Artisan) applicants. This allowed the organization to place these applicants in the less structured third world situations that that had been driving the retention problems.

Win#2: With the increased number of Artisans available for the unstructured "start-up" placements, the organization was able to place their Idealist and Guardian recruits in later-stage situations where they could better utilize their natural diplomatic and logistical skills. Job satisfaction for these participants was greatly increased. Overall, the retention rate for all positions increased dramatically.

Win #3: Not to be overlooked, the true winners in this study are the citizens of the third-world localities that the organization is chartered to assist. They are receiving better, and longer-term, assistance from aid workers that are better equipped for the roles they are undertaking.

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