Unlocking people

By Brandon Klein



Sandy Kulkin believes people are the greatest asset for any company, family, group and organization.

That’s why the founder and chairman of PeopleKeys Inc. has offered more than 30 years of providing customized behavioral assessments, which provide insight to an individual’s personality, thinking style, values and motivations.

“We test for the soft skills,” he said.

The company relocated to its headquarters at 8392 Tod Ave. in 2011 and has a staff of 15 people, most of whom are from the Youngstown area.

The company also has 15 major distributors of its assessments throughout the world including countries such as Canada and Spain.

Kulkin said it has seen about a 30 percent to 40 percent growth in revenue since relocating to the Mahoning Valley from New Castle, Pa.

“We’re a small business, but we do a lot,” he said.

Now the company is working toward a potential partnership with the Youngstown Business Incubator, 241 W. Federal St., in downtown, said Barb Ewing, chief operating officer of YBI.

PeopleKeys already has done some presentation sessions with about 20 YBI portfolio companies.

“The goal would be to empower YBI to have this information,” said John Schindell, communication director at PeopleKeys.

Ewing said they still are in discussions on a formal agreement with PeopleKeys, which needs to be approved by the board.

“I think our portfolio companies have got a lot out of the sessions with them,” she said.

Founded in 1983, the company was originally known as the Institute for Motivational Living. IML then launched an the PeopleKeys online delivery platform in 2004, and has clients such as the Air Force Academy and CareerBuilder. PeopleKeys’ clients also include education and faith-based institutions.

“We are probably the eHarmony of the work world,” said Brad Smith, PeopleKeys’ manager director of international business development.

EHarmony is an online dating website designed specifically to match single people together.

The company specializes in DISC – Drive, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance – personality assessments, which help determine how a person will act, react, communicate, handle conflict and even organize a project or workspace in a given environment.

The assessments are based on the research of William Moulton Marston, the father of the modern lie detector and creator of the DC comic-book character Wonder Woman, in the early 20th century.

In addition to its products and services, the company also offers consultation, and training for its clients to interpret the assessments of potential candidates on their own.

PeopleKeys matches employers with the right employee culturally, Smith said. That way, compatible candidates can devote more of their energy toward creativity rather than trying to adapt to the job.

“It really helps the candidate as much as the employer,” he said.

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