Posts

Winning with Natural Talent

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.

Gallup to win with talent cropped

 

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. If you would like to learn more about talent selection, workforce analytics, and people big data and how it can transform your organization, please contact John Inman at john@johninmandialogue.com or at 425-954-7256.

 

4 Guidelines to Building a Business Case for Workforce Analytics

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 studyreports 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 john@johninmandialogue.com and at 425-954-7256