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Executive Summary

Southwest Electronic Energy Corporation (SWE) is a pioneer in innovative energy products and specializes in safe, high quality battery solutions. They serve a broad industrial customer base including oil and gas, oceanographic, military, and remote. Birkman has helped SWE cultivate and retain loyal, engaged, and efficient employees, with an average tenure of over 15 years.

Full Story

Len Benckenstein, Chairman and CEO of SWE, has been at the heart of the organization since its founding and was responsible for driving the recruiting process within the company in the early years. He primarily looked at resumes to see if a candidate’s experience aligned with the responsibilities of the job and based his final hiring decision on how well he was able to personally connect with them during the interview.

It didn’t take long for Benckenstein to realize his selection criteria was flawed. He began experiencing an extremely high turnover rate that was not conducive to a healthy culture and the long-term growth of the company.

In the late 1960’s, Benckenstein found an article about The Birkman Method in the Houston Post and was curious to see how the insight from the assessment could transform SWE’s recruiting process. After taking the Birkman assessment himself, he understood the breadth of information the assessment offered and saw tremendous potential for it to benefit his organization. For the last 45 years, SWE has been administering Birkman assessments to all potential hires prior to a face-to-face interview. Understanding a candidate’s personality enables them to develop a personalized list of questions for each interview that allows for a more accurate portrayal of how they may fit in with the organization and handle stressful situations.

SWE also saw the opportunity to use personality data from the Birkman assessment to empower their employees to lead fulfilling and lasting careers within the organization. Benckenstein personally examines each personality profile to determine the types of activities that will keep his employees most motivated. He then tailors their roles to incorporate these activities or creates a new role for them within the organization that might better suit their interests.

By providing the opportunity for employees to not only grow in their careers, but feel fulfilled by what they do, SWE has retained trustworthy, energized, and productive employees. Benckenstein states, “We are dedicated to the employee. Enabling movement across positions can increase employee satisfaction, leading to productivity, retention, and all around success”.

Since implementing Birkman in the organization 45 years ago, SWE is benefitting from extremely low turnover rates. As Benckenstein shares, “Because of Birkman’s impact, longevity of employee averages at 15 years even for field employees who tend to have higher turnover industry-wide”. By placing new hires in roles that align with their interests, SWE has cultivated loyal employees that are motivated to succeed and are invested in the company’s mission, vision, values, and culture.

Today, Birkman is utilized far beyond the initial talent selection process. It is used to strengthen interpersonal dynamics and organizational performance throughout every stage of the employee lifecycle. This scalability enables SWE to feel confident promoting

from within due to the fact that they are able
to properly train and assess the workplace skills and interests of employees. This also breeds loyalty resulting in greater employee retention.

Additionally, the assessment’s powerful personality data is put to use every day to help people better communicate, empathize,
and understand their co-workers.
Besides witnessing measurable results that impact the bottom line, Birkman also has increased the moral and employee satisfaction to such an extent that the organization no longer implements employee satisfaction surveys due to the consistently positive feedback from their team members.

The heightened emotional intelligence of the employees at SWE has led to more authentic connections among team members and
drives even greater efficiency and productivity throughout the organization. They have won several notable awards for their outstanding culture including Top Tech Company and Top Work Places multiple times. Len Benckenstein attributes much of the growth and success of his company to Birkman and plans to utilize the assessment in its fullest capacity for years to come.

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