Instructions provide the roadmap for building everything from a doll house to a jungle gym. Without them, structural integrity is questionable and the end result is often unpredictable. The same is true for development – personal, professional, and leadership. Without some form of a developmental roadmap, people often don’t know how or where to develop in order to achieve the target and gain the maximum benefit for the individual, team, department and organization.
Many of us who have been in the workforce for several years can look back and see significant personal and professional growth as individuals and leaders over the course of our careers. Taking the big step from individual contributor to people manager, as an example, is a significant change that requires different and new skills and behaviors. As job responsibilities change and increase, new and different skills and behaviors are often required. To rise to the challenges in our ever-changing and demanding business environment, each of us is responsible for being a great coach and developer of talent. By the same token, each of us is responsible for being open and receptive to feedback, coaching and development from others.
My goal in this article is to help HR leaders and talent professionals gain more effectiveness and predictability out of their hiring systems. As I pointed out in Part I of this article in our previous newsletter issue (April 2013), when it comes to making improvements to selection tools and processes, more is better. Companies can make strategic improvements that positively impact talent metrics and add real value to the business — creating a more descriptive Realistic Job Preview to set clear expectations for job seekers, as was discussed in Part I, or adding job simulations as a tool to the selection process to gauge candidates’ skill in performing work-based scenarios. It’s not complicated. It is a matter of taking the right path.
The ability to withstand job pressure, frustration and setbacks is a characteristic of successful performers in many jobs. Often things do not go our way on the job, be it a difficult customer, hard to please boss or stubborn trainee. It is our resistance to the impact of uncontrollable circumstances that drives our performance.
In the past several years, assessments have evolved into the critical element to a successful talent strategy. Whether used as a top of the funnel screen for incoming candidates, an in-depth simulation to test the capabilities of a leadership candidate, or personality type assessments designed to guide team-building, assessments play an important role in many critical talent decisions. This report, based on data from 251 organizations gathered in February and March 2013, looks at how organizations use assessments as part of their talent strategy to achieve outstanding business results.
A television commercial for a large telecommunications company points out the obvious to sell their brand message. They accomplish this strategy by asking a focus group of elementary-age kids questions such as: “Who thinks more is better than less?” That “softball” question gets all hands to raise, and the result is entertaining and effective. Point well made!
Similarly, Human Resources and talent management leaders and professionals in every organization should be asking those types of questions about the effectiveness and predictiveness of their selection system. “Is more better?” Of course it is! It is especially true in light of today’s highly competitive talent landscape and ever-changing business climate. The real and more difficult question is: “How do I get more?”
Let’s be honest – most of us do not like change. Change is hard, and we are often not ready for it. But, change is also inevitable, especially in today’s challenging rapidly shifting business environment. It is no longer if change will come with someone or something in the business, but when. You can count on it.
Now that we have established the inevitability of change, what do we do about it? Rather, a more pertinent question is how do we as individuals working in a continuously and unpredictably changing business environment respond? Effective leaders and executives respond by becoming ambassadors and drivers of change and change initiatives (i.e., new team members, new organizational structure, and new processes). They champion change. Effective hourly employees, managers, and professionals who respond effectively by adjusting to the change ultimately succeed. They adapt to change.
We have to do more with less. Whether it is the manager whose team just doubled in size or the sales person whose quota continues to grow, we all must accomplish more with fewer resources. To stay on top of demands in this challenging environment, organizations must find talented people who 1) achieve a stronger return on their efforts when in a direct delivery or contributor role (Delivering Results) and 2) drive a team to elevated performance in a management or leadership role (Driving for Results).
Organizations that want to create a competitive advantage by selecting the right talent are including pre-employment assessments in their hiring process. In a recent survey1 of 500 organizations, The Aberdeen Group found that 70% used assessments to improve the quality of their hiring decisions. The survey adds that “Best in Class” companies placed greater value on assessment data as a part of the hiring decision in an integrated selection process. This is a promising trend.
As every business decision falls under greater scrutiny, organizations are looking for tools that help them make better choices – and decisions about talent are no different. Assessments can provide valuable insights into hiring, promotion and development decisions, and help organizations minimize talent risk while maximizing talent performance.
Successful companies go through painstaking efforts to develop and market a specific brand to draw loyal customers. When you think of brands such as Volvo and Starbucks, specific brand images likely come to your mind of safety and convenient quality. Companies are now finding that brand differentiation is more than a unique product line and the ability to effectively market that product line—the brand difference is their people.