The Houston Solid Waste Management Division was profiled by Public Works Magazine for their productivity program. The department was facing budget concerns and needed to figure out how to improve efficiency and communication. They administered The Birkman Method personality test to department members to improve mutual understanding, trust, and communication with impressive results. Equipped with Birkman knowledge, the team members at the department developed new maintenance capabilities in-house, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars without losing any full-time employees.
As budget constraints grew, Director of Solid Waste Management Harry Hayes sought the help of a local community college program that assesses the personality traits and underlying motivations of nonsupervisory employees. Having heard that the Houston Chamber of Commerce and the Houston Port Authority had worked with Houston Community College business consultants to deploy the Birkman Method, he wanted to see if the test could facilitate supervisor/ employee communication.
The consultants assessed 84 employees in various locations — maintenance shops and warehouses as well as administrative offices — over six months from 2009 to 2010. The two-phase delivery process consists of a personality test that measures productive behaviors, inherent needs, and stress behaviors, and an assessment that measures the perceptions of colleagues. The consultants developed flow charts based on the behavioral and motivational patterns of individual responses, which they analyzed by shift, across departments, and by level of responsibility.
A productivity program was created to recognize employees who submitted suggestions for making processes more efficient while promoting quality, economy, and safety. The primary focus of suggestions emphasized team-building and developing greater trust among supervisors and subordinates. The Birkman Method (www.birkman.com) is a personality, social perception, and occupational interest assessment that identifies behavioral style, motivation, and potential stress behavior stemming from an employee’s unmet motivational needs.