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.
Recopied from PI Worldwide News and Insights, August 2014
When the American Red Cross needed a new development strategy to increase donors and dollars, they turned to data.
To gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded non-profit arena, the American Red Cross needed to improve fundraising skills in a measurable way and introduce a formal process for engaging prospective donors and expanding existing donor relationships. The program would also need to scale nationally across seven regional divisions and support fundraising efforts for its five lines of service: disaster relief, military family aid, blood services and health and safety education and training.
The American Red Cross selected PI Worldwide’s Selling Skills System and used the Selling Skills Assessment Tool™ (SSAT) to benchmark each individual’s strengths and diagnose areas for improvement. Armed with analytics, the team then implemented the Customer-Focused Selling™ (CFS) skills training to optimize performance in five core fundraising activities including building trust and credibility with different types of donors, identifying donor needs and creating long term donor relationships. Customized case studies and terminology improved the relevancy and success of the program.
“In the fundraising community, people are very passionate about there being a difference between fundraising and sales. In our business environment, development is all about relationship building. Similarly, CFS enables Red Cross Fundraisers to engage with donors through a consultative process to ensure long-term success.” Susan Rowell Director of Training American Red Cross National Headquarters Development
After leveraging skills assessment data, customized training and workforce analytics, the American Red Cross:
- Established a metric-driven training and development culture scalable across divisions
- Heightened confidence in building stronger relationships and implementing donor growth plans
- Heightened confidence in building stronger relationships and implementing donor growth plans
Download the full case study on this effort. To get more information on sales performance improvement, predictive talent analytics or other services from John Inman Dialogue, call 425-954-7256 or email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or at 425-954-7256.
Join us at our 4th – HR and Its Connections SIG meeting as John Inman, Ed.M., M.A., PHR, will join us in a facilitated dialogue session: Dialogue! Using Dialogue for Organization Transformation
Thursday, August 7th
Time: 5 to 6:30pm
Location: Bellevue Library Room 1, Bellevue, WA
We will begin by exploring the attributes of Dialogue, followed by a discussion on the Dialogic approach and how Dialogue might foster an outstanding HR practice.
- How might Dialogue help us to deal with complexity, uncertainty, ambiguity?
- How might we host a dialogue to foster organization transformation?
Registration: At the LWHRA WEBSITE
If you have time, please read this article: Using dialogue then deliberation to transform a warring leadership team
About John: John has a Bachelor degree in business management, a master of education degree in adult education and organization development, and a master of arts degree in human and organization systems. He is a doctoral candidate in education leadership and change. John published “Using dialogue then deliberation to transform a warring leadership team” in the Spring 2013 edition of the OD Practitioner, the international publication of the OD Network. John recently acquired a new product line of workforce analytics solutions and is bringing people big data to executive teams to help pinpoint opportunities for accelerating performance of people and the organization.
Follow John’s blog for more insights into talent acceleration using people analytics.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com or at 425-954-7256.
Does your organization take non-discrimination seriously? Really? Or is it just another compliance issue to contend with? If you do take it seriously and I have no reason to believe that you do not, how do you reconcile screening applicants based on resumes with your intent to be non-discriminatory? That is a question worth exploring.
Not only does resume screening actively discriminate against early talent, an increasingly important segment of the talent pool, it also discriminates against other non-standard applicants such as those in job transition (another form of early talent) or those who have been unemployed for an extended period of time.
How do your applicants get noticed for their talents, not just what is written on resumes based on an ever more complex set of rules to comply with for submitting a resume. Quite honestly it is daunting to almost impossible to get noticed with resume screening unless the applicant has exactly the background as documented on the resume that the hiring manager is looking for.
In the June 2014 issue of HR magazine on page 18, there is a very short snapshot of what HR managers are looking for when an applicant submits a resume. This is one of the major reasons that I have started my own business BTW. To start with, keep in mind that close to 80% of resumes are inaccurate. So all of this required content and the decisions that are based on that content are based on mostly inaccurate information. No wonder that 80% of those selected either under perform or outright fail.
The snap shot indicates that it takes less than five minutes to decide if a candidate moves to the next interview stage. I think that may be generous. That assumes that the resume gets past the screening software in the first place which is a big if. 93% of HR mangers said that inaccuracies have a negative impact on decisions to offer interviews. Before we move on, let’s consider what that means. Have you ever tried to get all of your online content to be consistent so that Google does not ignore your business? Try it some time. I just went through that ordeal as I started my business. Probably 20 to 30 hours scouring through everything that I have ever posted about my contact information, my tag lines, my bio, my locations, my products, my services, and it goes on and on. Then setting up SEO for my web site to be in absolute sync with all of the other online information. Most of you have an IT department and a marketing department to do that for you, but a job applicant? Seriously, they have to figure out all of that themselves. If the data does not match, HR says it is inaccurate. The dates on jobs do not match exactly. How about descriptions of roles and duties? How about gaps in employment that the applicant is embarrassed about and tries to cover up? What if online data does not match what is on the resume? What is inaccurate, the resume or the online data? This is a virtually impossible screen to overcome. Is screening against inaccuracies just another way to whittle down a huge digital pile of resumes? Another way to discriminate? I wonder.
So here is what I am supposed to do as an applicant. I am supposed to know what HR wants so that I can provide it. So what does HR want? Here is what that short little snap shot says and there is far more, just consider what you might be looking for.
- Must provide recent 8-10 years of relevant job experience? Good luck if you are in transition or are early talent with this one.
- 66% wanted chronological resumes that start with the most current. If you have been out of work for a year, isn’t that going to look interesting.
- 43% wanted the resume to be bulleted? So what do the others want? No bullets?
- 43% want the resume tailored to the specific industry. I am an OD guy. So does that mean that if my experience is in tech I cannot work in medical? BTW that is what I have been directly told. OD work in a non-medical industry is not useful in the medical industry. I guess people are not the same kind of people there.
- 57% say to neither emphasize nor hide employment gaps. Does that mean that 43% want the resume to be falsified? How is that going to work with the 93% who say that inaccuracies have an negative impact on the applicant?
So here is my plea to you. Please consider screening applicants, both internal and external, based on inherent genetic behavioral and cognitive talent. Genetics accounts for 50% of an applicants success. The first question must be is the applicant suited for the work that is required? Each type of work has a genetic signature, a clear profile of the talent that is needed to succeed in the role. There are no good or bad talents, only poor matches or good matches between a persons talent and the talent profile for the role they are in. And it turns out that screening all applicants is not only easy but inexpensive.
Do we need to discover the best fits for talent early in peoples careers rather than 20 years later? Do we need to discover talent and then build resumes, not screen on resumes only to discover that the talent did not match the talent profile of the position? If we do this, maybe we can truly act on overcoming discrimination of quality applicants in all phases of their lives. We will no longer discriminate against those who are diamonds in the rough and will, with a small amount of resume building, become stars.
If you are interested in exploring this topic further, contact John Inman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 425-954-7256.