This may be an obvious question but why would we try to win with people who do not have the talent to do the work? Unfortunately that is exactly what most organizations do as they are unwilling to screen for talent when selecting incumbent or external candidates. I encourage you to read the June 3, 2014 article in Gallup Business Journal on this topic, To Win With Natural Talent, Go For Additive Effects.
The authors state “Though researchers have made huge strides in understanding human behavior and motivation, few businesses are actually applying these findings. As a result, companies miss out on unprecedented opportunities for growth and revenue because they don’t understand the impact of human nature in the workplace.” I wonder what it is going to take to shift organizations away from selection practices that were developed in a world that no longer exists. It is as if managers and HR teams are holding on to the past in a futile effort to prove that past practices should never be abandoned. Yet researchers and thought leaders consistently suggest that the skills that have created past successes are not necessarily those that will create future successes. Just doing more of what was done in the past will not help organizations thrive in complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. There needs to be a profound shift in practice and that is a shift to screening on talent.
The authors explain “Gallup discovered that four human capital strategies combine in a powerful way to add up to 59% more growth in revenue per employee.” Three of those four human capital strategies are directly related to talent selection. With that level of revenue potential lost, I wonder why executive teams are not demanding a change in HR practices to transform the organization. The strategies include:
- Strategy 1: Select managers with natural talent
If someone is not suited to be a manager, do not put them in a management role. The question is how do you know? There are specific business behaviors and cognitive requirements for a manager to be effective and selecting for those attributes is critical. Past performance is not the best predictor of management talent, assessing potential is. Luckily there are excellent solutions in the market to help in this process.
- Strategy 2: Select the right individual contributors
For the same reasons that one selects a manager based on talent, one selects individual contributors on talent. Why would you hire a person who had the talent to be a bookkeeper for a sales position? You would not. Luckily the same solutions that are used to select management talent are used to select individual contributors.
- Strategy 3: Engage employees
Organizations invest a huge amount of resources both internally and externally to gauge and improve employee engagement. But here is the rude awakening, if all of these dollars are being spent on people who should not be in their positions. the investment is wasted. I often tell organization managers, do not expect me to fix a bad hire with training and development. It simply is not going to happen. Nor are employee engagement strategies invested on bad hires going to improve the lives of those team members or the organization. You want engaged team members? Give them work that they are suited to do then treat them with respect. Seriously this is not as hard as we make it.
- Strategy 4: Focus on strengths
How many review processes and coaching processes within organizations are focused on addressing weaknesses. Although Gallup research has shown again and again that focusing on strengths is what accelerates performance, many managers and HR departments are still operating in the stone age of trying to force people to do what they do not have the talent to do. If you want employees to be engaged, motivated, and productive, give them work that builds on their strengths, read natural talents, then treat them with respect. Generally people will demonstrate strength in those things that they have talent to do. I am a broken record on this. The damage to team members and organizations is staggering with current practices of trying to fix people or force them to be who they are not.
I encourage you to read this excellent Gallup article and reach out to learn more about how to implement talent selection in your organization.
Let’s lead this conversation with the cover story in the June 2014 edition of Harvard Business Review, 21st Century Talent Spotting: Why potential now trumps brains experience, and “competencies” and challenge the common wisdom that we should be screening for talent using resumes. We should not.
More and more articles are emerging indicating that the market is way too fast paced and volatile to depend on old knowledge catalogued on a resume to make hiring decisions. Companies across the globe are moving to predictive talent analytics to help spot not only specific talent profiles that can and will do the job, but early talent that has little or no job experience in the job posted. Companies like Google are investing heavily to try to spot talent and companies like SAP international now use Predictive Index to screen all external and incumbent applicants in an attempt to find early talent that resume screening discriminates against. Where many HR organizations may feel that this is a risky move and may want to wait and see what happens before making a decision to move this direction, this is actually the safe move as it will guarantee the organization is getting the best talent for each and every job posted. Really how safe is it letting an organizing underperform or outright fail because of selection processes that do not deliver the talent needed by the organization to not only compete but thrive in a world that is best characterized by complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity.
In the HBR article, the author, Claudio Fernandez-Araoz provides some compelling insights. I suggest that this article be mandatory reading for any leadership team interested in delivering improved engagement and performance across the organization. Although the article does not address predictive talent analytics specifically, this use of these talent spotting tools is exactly what executive teams are looking for. Tools such as Predictive Index put people data at the front of the decision making process. Consider this evidence based talent decisions rather than the current process of making decisions based on feelings, intuition and competencies that no longer are relevant to the success of the person in the position. The author describes this new era as the era of selecting on potential. The last era was the era of selecting on competencies. The era that proceeded selection based on competency was an era when selection was based on intelligence, experience, and past performance. And just imagine just how many companies as still selecting based on era practices that were created 50 years ago, in a world that no longer exists. The author states “Geopolitics, business, industries, and jobs are changing so rapidly that we can’t predict the competencies needed to succeed even a few year out.”
The opening scenario in the HBR article provides a clear example of what many executive teams are battling on a day to day basis, not only at the executive level, but at all levels of the organization. Read this opening paragraph and ask yourself if this scenario isn’t one that you have witnessed or experienced. And wouldn’t you like to have a different way forward? The author opens with the following story, “A few years ago, I was asked to help find a new CEO for a family-owned electronics retailer that wanted to professionalize its management and expand its operations. I worked closely with the outgoing chief executive and the board to pinpoint the relevant competencies for the job and then seek out and assess candidates. The man we hired had all the right credentials. He’d attended top professional schools and worked for some of the best organizations in the industry, and he was a successful country manager in one of the world’s most admired companies. Even more important, he’d scored above the target level for each of the competencies we’d identified. But none of that mattered. Despite his impressive background and great fit, he could not adjust to the massive technological, competitive, and regulatory changes occurring in the market at the time. Following three years of lackluster performance, he was asked to leave.”
Two questions that I would immediately ask, Did this person have the cognitive profile to learn at a extremely fast pace? He would have needed a high cognitive profile to perform in this position. Did this person have the behavioral profile to excel in this job, in this company, in this industry, at this time? I would suggest that he did not. Someone with the potential but with a Skinny Resume would probably have exceled in this position. Too bad they did not select for potential, the game change would have been significant. So can you imagine the bottom line impact on this organization. I suspect it was millions. A small investment in predictive talent analytics would have had an extraordinary ROI. Predictive talent analytics are not an HR cost to be managed, most organizations make an executive decision to improve performance and view the move this direction as an investment with a predictable ROI.
If this conversation has not convinced you to explore predictive talent analytics yet, maybe this last thought from the HBR author, Claudio Fernandez-Araoz will. “As business becomes more volatile and complex, and the global market for top professionals gets tighter, I am convinced that organization and their leaders must transition to what I think of as a new era of talent spotting – one in which our evaluations of one another are based not on brawn, brains, experience, or competencies, but on potential.” I totally agree.
If you would like to learn more about talent spotting, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform your organization, please contact John Inman at email@example.com or at 425-954-7256.
This article is reprinted from PI Worldwide, News and Insights, April 2014.
Oracle research cites 89% of sales reps want more coaching. Fortunately, sales managers are recognizing this need and are actively seeking to deliver more informed coaching that is enhanced by analytics. PI Worldwide research shows that the coaching dynamic can benefit tremendously from insight into a rep’s behavior (what motivates a person), skills (what are the strengths and weaknesses), and performance data (sales results). Leveraging this trifecta, managers can pinpoint precisely what a rep needs to improve and sustain performance, and where the manager should invest time and energy to get the desired sales results.
Here are four scenarios where informed coaching using workforce analytics makes a measurable impact:
The Muscle Scenario — High sales results, Low sales skills: This is an example of a top producer who gets the job done but likely in his or her own way. Success may come from years of experience, superb product knowledge, or simply hard work. The good news is that they get superior results. Unfortunately this is often achieved by being overly reliant on just one key selling skill, such as closing skills, presentation skills or questioning skills. As a result, producers in this category are likely to be working inefficiently, and have a strong opportunity for improvement. Coaching to develop those additional selling skills will increase performance and efficiency substantially.
The Execution Scenario – Low sales results, High sales skills: These are the folks who know what to do but have trouble executing on that knowledge. They’ve attended the sales training, absorbed the information, but still struggle to deliver. This classic “knowing-doing gap” may be from lack of confidence, lack of drive, or simply lack of coaching. Through focused one-on-one coaching, a manager can help the rep see how judgment and knowledge play out, and provide the necessary feedback to optimize follow through. Often, when a person has the necessary sales skills for the role but isn’t succeeding, it can be helpful to use a behavioral assessment to uncover the drive behind their selling style.
The Knowledge Scenario – Low sales results, Low sales skills: A sales rep that scores low on the selling skills assessment and has low sales results needs training. A manager can hire the best rep with all the drive necessary to succeed, but if the individual lacks core sales skills, he or she becomes a rocket without a direction. Start with solid sales training and reinforce with focused skill builders. By increasing a rep’s core sales skills, a manager helps provide the tools necessary for the role. These reps tend to be sponges and the sales skills training is absorbed and used.
The Leverage Scenario – High sales results, High sales skills: When the rep has strong sales skills and outstanding sales results, what could be the problem? Sales superstars can fade if they feel constrained by a lack of selling time or worse, boredom. In either case, top producers need to be kept engaged, challenged and leveraged. A manager should examine all aspects of the person’s role and identify ways to minimize distraction and maximize selling time. For instance, this could mean providing better technology systems or hiring support staff to manage administrative duties.
In each of the four scenarios, high performing organizations leverage workforce analytics, the data trifecta of behaviors, skills, and results, to augment any coaching strategy. The outcome will be a highly targeted and consistent coaching experience that drives predictable results faster over the short and long term.
If you would like to learn more about this process, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform an organization, please contact John Inman at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 425-954-7256.
Decision Science: Predictive talent analytics tell us whom to hire and how we should manage them. This is the title of the cover article in the July 2014 T&D Magazine.
The author states “If baseball teams can use player statistics to predict performance, thereby gaining a huge competitive advantage, why can’t companies do the same with their employees?” I could not have said it better. In fact, I am amazed that there seems to be so little interest in creating a conversation about predictive talent analytics. I ask myself if it is because HR teams are so vested in not delivering powerful people analytics to the organization because they have not done so in the past or is it just fear of change. Or maybe it is simply a lack of curiosity. If I were presented with a people analytics solution that would help place people that have the talent to do the work required into positions that fit their talent, I would jump at it. Yet even with a powerful solution like Predictive Index available in the marketplace, there is no rush to learn more, no one beating down the doors to explore how to accelerate performance, not even a whimper. With that said, 100 of the Fortune 500 use Predictive Index to do exactly this, so it is not fair to say that no one is interested.
Of course there are always concerns about compliance and legal issues. These concerns are justified. If you decide to explore a solution or if you are using a solution within your organization, there are a couple of questions that you should ask yourself to make sure you are getting the best solution for your investment.
- Does the solution help keep you out of legal entanglements by being EEOC, ADA, and European Union compliant? The bottom line, a solution that is free of bias and approved for the full employee life cycle.
- Does the solution provide built in robust job modeling so that you can screen applicants against a job model for every position? You should be screening all applicants, incumbent and external first with the solution.
- Does the solution allow you to efficiently and effectively screen for early talent?
- Does the solution provide coaching and interview guides that are based on the gap between the employee profile and the job model?
- Does the solution train and certify you to be a licensed analyst so that you can implement the solution where ever you go?
- Does the solution provide executive dashboards to highlight team talents and compare with team performance so that you can improve the performance of teams?
- Does the solution provide unlimited use of the complete solution based on a site license?
- Does the solution come with coaching and consulting at no additional cost from your associate?
- Is the solution based on a knowledge transfer model to insure complete implementation?
- Does the solution deliver the big data that your executive team is demanding of you on people analytics?
- Does the solution provide ongoing continuing education both in the form of self directed e-learning and webinars?
These are just some of the questions that you should be asking of yourself and your solution provider. To me this is a must have conversation. We can transform employees lives, hire the best people for the jobs, and improve organization performance by using predictive talent analytics.
Call or email me for more information on predictive talent analytics. It may not come as a surprise to you that our Predictive Index solutions absolutely deliver on every question above. John Inman 425-954-7256 or email@example.com.
This article is reprinted from PI Worldwide, News and Insights, July 2014.
A bad hire is not just bad for business—it can be very costly as well. International talent management experts estimate the average cost of a poor hiring decision to be equal to 30% or more of that hire’s first year’s probable earnings. For example, replacing a senior executive can reach upwards of $50,000. Factor in productivity loss and lost opportunities, morale implications, turnover and recruiting costs and the price tag starts to swell quickly. Fortunately, organizations can prevent the costs associated with poor hiring decisions by recognizing the challenges at different steps of the talent acquisition process. Here are the sevenmost common mistakes that can lead to a bad hire, and how to avoid them at the outset:
- One Job, Different Definitions. Different stakeholders often have different perspectives on what makes someone successful in the role. Using a job analytic, organizations can objectively align all stakeholders on those activities critical for success.
- Poorly Written Job Description. In addition to noting activities and tactical goals of the job in the description, it’s important to detail all of the Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other characteristics (KSAOs) that an employee will need to be successful in the role.
- Attracting the Wrong Behavioral Profile. A candidate that meets the minimum requirements of the job may not necessarily be a strong fit. Consider behavioral tendencies and attitudes in defining what makes a strong candidate and compare applicant profiles against the job target to determine compatibility.
- Screening Challenge. While technology can help organizations manage hiring volume, some systems will eliminate good fit candidates and retain applicants who prove to be a poor fit. Use a quick and practical assessment to measure each candidate’s behavioral assets.
- Unstructured Interviews. When hiring managers lack the training to conduct effective interviews, they often resort to generic interview questions that don’t evaluate the candidate in the areas that matter most. Using assessment data to inform the interviewing process helps all members of an interviewing team develop structured behavioral interview questions to determine job and culture fit with greater accuracy.
- Compelling the Candidate to Accept the Offer: In today’s hypercompetitive market for top talent, the key to getting a candidate to accept a job is presenting an offer that resonates with their innate motivating needs and drives. Organizations that do not align an offer with the behavioral profile of the person risk losing a strong candidate.
- Ineffective Onboarding: Once the hiring process has culminated in a great new hire, managers must embark on getting that individual embedded in the culture and productive quickly. Managers should continue to leverage the data and insight collected thus far to customize the new employee’s socialization and learning.
For more tips and best practices on improving your talent acquisition process, listen to our Webinar: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes that Lead to A Bad Hire and download our Infographic, “ Can You Afford to Make A Bad Hire? “ on the Sidebar.
In an opinion piece in the Seattle Times on June 19th, a young millennial, Raffi Wineburg, wrote a great editorial “Lip service useless for millennials.” As he pointed out, unemployment for 16 to 24 year olds is running 15%. After investing in college, many young adults are coming out to no jobs available. These new additions to our workforce have talents to be leveraged if only we could put them on our radar and explore what they might have to offer. Instead so much of the conversation seems to be focused on what’s wrong with millennials. This is absolutely the wrong conversation. We should be instead seeking them out based on their inherent talents and asking how they can contribute in a meaningful way. If all organizations shifted their screening practices, we could make a major dent in the unemployment numbers of millennials.
Each new generation brings with it the seeds of social change and innovation. We as leaders should be trying to figure out any way possible to get these new folks into our organizations. They have grown up in complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. They have grown up in a totally networked world. They do not have the hangups that older generations have. They need to be brought into the interview process not screened out. What really sets the current new generation apart from past generations? They demand to be treated with respect. The old “just do what I say, I am the boss” approach is certainly not respectful, and is a sure fire way to get rid of millennials. But that assumes that you have been willing to hire millennials in the first place. If they are being screened out of the process for lack of experience, the screening process must be changed to screen on talent not resume. If they are being screened out because management does not want to create respectful management processes, I suggest that management must change. So many of our managers were trained to manage in a world that no longer exists. Get with the program would be my recommendation.
Changing manager behaviors to be respectful is a tall order, however, changing the screening process is actually quite an easy change. We are talking about looking for early talent. Some companies like SAP, actively recruit for early talent. They have set up process and goals to seek out and hire early talent. What they found was that the resume screening process that they had used and that most organizations use actively screens out early talent. They made the change to screen on talent before ever looking at the resume. To make this shift they selected Predictive Index (PI) as their assessment of choice to screen for talent. They generate a job profile for each position, this functionality is built into the PI solution, then every applicant takes a PI assessment. They have 70,000 employees BTW. The applicants PI is matched with the job profile to select first on talent. They then look at resume and decisions to select those who they will interview. The bottom line, if the applicant has an inherent talent match with the job profile, they are in the game. With the typical resume screening process, they would never make it out of the screening software and if they did, they would be discarded.
So if we are to take hiring millennials seriously, we need to consider changing our selection process to start with talent screening first. Hidden benefits are a much more efficient and effective process needing fewer people. And what you do get out of it? Employees who inherently can do the work they are hired to do and will excel in doing so. A win win all around.
If you would like to learn more about this process, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform an organization, please contact John Inman at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 425-954-7256.
This blog post is a repost of a PI Worldwide newsletter article that I felt should be shared.
Today’s leadership teams recognize the value of data to solve business challenges and gain a competitive advantage. However, creating the necessary support and sponsorship can be an obstacle to establishing a data-driven culture. As more business leaders look to secure funding for their workforce analytics initiatives, success hinges on their ability to make an effective business case. A May 2014 MIT Sloan Management research study1 reports that investments in analytics have steadily increased since 2009 by an annual average growth rate of 8.5%. Further industry research suggests that organizations making these investments are two times more likely to improve their recruiting efforts and leadership pipelines, and are three times more likely to realize cost reductions and efficiency gains2.
Here are four guidelines to follow when building a business case for talent analytics3:
Define the business issue and determine your key stakeholders. In addition to understanding (and prioritizing) specific problem(s) that need to be solved, you must determine the individuals who will be impacted and involved in the process. Ask questions like: Who owns the issue we need to solve? Who would help champion this program? Who might challenge this program? Start by speaking with internal business leaders, line managers and other executives as you also conduct industry and market research.
Build a compelling solution. Detail the key components of your chosen solution and how it will be implemented. Consider dependencies like time, people and other projects. Key questions to pose include: Where will the solution be used? How will we roll out a multi-phase process? Should we combine the solution with another related initiative?
Quantify solution costs. Detail the hard and opportunity cost drivers of the solution—from the people expenses (e.g. headcount, training, hiring) to process costs (e.g. assessment costs, technology, overhead, etc.). Partner with key stakeholders to guide and validate cost assumptions.
Determine key metrics and define what success looks like. To make a concept meaningful, you need to make it measurable. Determine how you will quantify the benefits of the program/solution in terms of bottom line impact or other drivers that will resonate with your key audiences.
1 Kiron, Kirk Prentice, Boucher Ferguson. “The Analytics Mandate,” MIT Sloan Management Review. May 2014
2 Bersin by Deloitte. WhatWorks Brief. September 2013
3 Bersin by Deloitte. 2014
Download the PI Worldwide case study to learn how a National Healthcare Company Leverages Workforce Analytics to Build Strong Teams
For more information contact John Inman at email@example.com and at 425-954-7256
Often the primary distinguishing characteristic between industry-leading companies and their less successful competitors is the quality and motivation of their people. Retaining talented, motivated people is critical to both current and future success. Studies of successful businesses indicate that the quality of employee life is largely a function of the quality of leadership. The better the boss is at recognizing, rewarding and developing the employees, the more willingly and enthusiastically those employees will stay and contribute to the company’s success.
Good leadership requires fine-tuning your messages and the conditions of work for each of your valuable employees. Here are some tips to help you more effectively retain people and maximize their energy and productivity from PI Worldwide.
- Clearly understand the job and context into which you place people. The closer the fit the more you tap into the natural energy and drive the individual can contribute and the better the work conditions positively affect and reward the person. The greater the extent to which the job requires opposing behaviors, the less likely it is that the job will consistently motivate excellent performance. So the key is to clarify, clarify, clarify! Keep working the job design to weed out non-essential requirements. Hone in on the key outputs and processes that will drive results. Remove competing, non-essential requirements and reassign them to a more appropriate person or eliminate the requirement altogether.
- Having clarified and fine-tuned the core job requirements, aim all supporting efforts such as performance tracking, training, coaching, and communicating at that core. Know the PI®’s (motivating needs) of your people and keep them in mind in your interactions with each individual. In each interaction, ask yourself how you can best approach the individual and positively stimulate them toward productive action.
- Don’t assume that all employees are looking for fast-track growth. Many would prefer to continue to do what they have been trained and educated to do. Look for opportunities to challenge them with more complex and interesting work utilizing their skills. Find ways to recognize their contributions and increased expertise. For those who are upward-bound, keep an eye on the individual’s career path:
- Are his or her skills developing at the pace required to move forward when needed?
- Have you and they identified the range of possible future opportunities? Remember, the best opportunities may not lie in a straight line upward.
- Are you helping pave the way by creating opportunities for others in leadership to gain an understanding of their skills and potential?
Finally, look to your own PI®. Which of these leadership mandates come easily to you? Which are more difficult? What are you doing to design your own work or team to meet the mandate in the ways that will be most successful for you?
I can help you find your local PI® Consultant so that you and your company learn how PI® can transform your organization. Contact John Inman for more information firstname.lastname@example.org and at 425-954-7256.
Originally distributed by PI Worldwide in ActionPI.
Can you afford to make a bad hire?
Organizations have the opportunity to simplify the hiring process and make far better hiring decisions if they pay attention to the talent of the applicant before they dig into the resume of the applicant. The vast majority of hiring decisions are made based on the resume of the applicant without regard to the genetics of that person. Genetics accounts for close to 55% of the success of someone placed into a position. 20% of the success is based on the resume. The underlying problem is that with one exception, there really isn’t a simple hiring model that screens for talent first before screening for resume. So organizations get stuck in the rut of hiring of based on inadequate information and putting people into positions that they are not genetically suited to do. To compound the problem, fewer and fewer applicants have a robust resume leaving recruiters and hiring managers struggling to find applicants who can excel in the position.
So what do we do about this? As organizations we cannot simply throw up our hands and continue to accept the status quo. This is where Predictive Index and cognitive assessment with Professional Learning Indicator come in. With these tools, a recruiter can screen on talent before even looking at a resume insuring that the applicants that are moved to resume screening actually have the genetics to do the job. This one very simply step can eliminate so many frustrations for an organization and reduce turnover and improve performance. This also insures that early talent applicants are not removed from consideration particularly if they have the right genetics to do the job. To see how this process looks, review this presentation on HiPo Talent and see how a very simple and cost effective simplified hiring model can transform your organization.