Sure, your organization has people. The question is does it have the right people?
Recently, we hosted a great webinar with Barry McNeill from CEB (formerly SHL, UK), titled: Do You Have the Right People in Place to Execute on your Business Strategy?
In the webinar, Barry focused on the need for companies to align their workforces to organizational goals, and he explored how effective performance management processes can positively impact organizational results. It was an informative, interesting and thought-provoking session that sparked a lot of questions ― so many, in fact, that we didn’t have time to address them all in the webinar Q&A.
Not to despair though, the good news is that we’ve collaborated with Barry to bring you those questions (and the answers, of course) in this blog post. Read on for some great post-webinar intel.
Q: What level of competency difference becomes a real business related difference? Does the system have a metric or guide to real differences?
A: To answer this question, it’s really important to understand how different competencies relate to actual performance in role. This requires a validation exercise to determine which competencies will directly affect performance levels. This can be a complex and time-consuming exercise and requires a large proportion of people to have completed the relevant assessment and then match this to their performance in the role over a period of time.
As our Universal Competency Framework (UCF) is already researched and validated to show predictive value in understanding performance, we can say with some certainty that our analysis has been conducted to show what competencies drive business-related differences in certain roles. Therefore, choosing the most appropriate competency areas can make a significant difference to helping to drive business results. We would be happy to provide more detail on how this could be achieved to support your business goals.
Q: Is there a different weighting across results, comps and potential depending on role and level? How is this profile established?
A: Looking at results, competencies and potential provides you with a holistic assessment methodology to help you answer questions about your talent. The exact approaches you use to measure these areas will depend on the question you are trying to answer: are you looking to identify how effective your recruitment processes are at bringing in individuals to deliver on your current business challenges; or identify a talent pool for future succession?
The first step, therefore, is to define your talent requirements and to establish what question you need to answer. Typically, we work with clients to help them define a talent framework that will work effectively within the culture of the organization.
The talent framework can be organized around your hierarchical structure to create a leadership pipeline, or be organized more around a matrix or job family structure. As the talent framework should be aligned to your organizational goals, the framework gives you a way to set clear expectations on what each role should deliver in terms of results.
Once you have defined your talent framework, you need to map the behavioral expectations onto each level within the framework. This sets the competency requirements for different roles and levels.
The question of potential then acts as a way to establish whether an individual is operating at the full extent of stretch and challenge. Each component needs to be viewed in the context of the question you are trying to answer. This means they are not weighted, but are viewed in the context of the organization and what the organization needs to achieve.
Q: The competency assessment seems to assume that all competencies have the same importance to a role or level. How can variations in competency requirements be incorporated into an overall competency assessment score?
A: As indicated above, we do not advise that all competencies have the same importance to a role or level. When establishing an assessment solution, it is important to measure the competencies that are critical for performance in that role. We would recommend that no more than eight competencies (preferably closer to six) are selected for each role level.
The competency assessment that was shared in the presentation is for competency potential, which is taken from the OPQ. This means that we can measure the competency potential across multiple roles and levels, even if they are not all important or essential for that individual in their current role.
Q: How many times a year would the assessment of individuals need to be taken on the talent board assessment?
A: This will depend on the structure and governance process of your Talent Board. The Talent Board is a process that is used to answer specific talent questions within your organization. These questions could either be about succession planning, or entry onto a talent program and the frequency of these will be determined by the needs of the business.
Important things to consider are in the level of mobility across roles in your organization. Are you trying to increase internal promotions over bringing in external recruits? Are there sufficient opportunities for internal promotion to support a Future Leaders Program more than once every two years? These are the types of considerations that will help you decide how often to conduct your Talent Board process.
Q: How do you persuade the line managers that their assessment of an individual's performance is not the same as a measure of their potential? Does performance trump potential for line managers?
A: This can be a challenging discussion to have with managers and should be carefully considered to help messaging land effectively. Managers will tend to focus on their experience of an individual and their performance. This focus on the immediate task is a natural place for line managers to focus attention. Often the most important issue to address is to clarify what is meant by potential versus performance and how this can be objectively measured.
Models, such as Johari’s window, can be an effective mechanism to explain what is meant by potential. Often, probing line managers on whether they believe there is more that they could do in different areas of the business tends to open up their thinking to the differences between current performance and potential. Using objective measures to evaluate potential shows that decisions on individuals are based on more than the views of individuals – there is clear objective evidence.
Q: How can you compare individuals across levels if the measurement criteria are different?
A: The competency assessment that was shared in the presentation is for competency potential, which is taken from the OPQ. This means that we can measure the competency potential across multiple roles and levels, even if they are not all important or essential for that individual in their current role.
In today’s complex and competitive environment, there are many forces that influence business success. The old adage that “people are an organization’s greatest asset” has never been truer. Competitive advantage comes from having people insight to create optimal alignment between talent and strategy. That makes me think that perhaps it’s time to update the old adage to “the RIGHT people are an organization’s greatest asset.”
For more insight from Barry on this subject watch the on-demand webinar.
About Barry McNeill
Barry has over 13 years of professional consulting experience across the people talent and development spectrum. He has a proven track record of consistently delivering long-term value to his clients through thorough creating and matching effective solutions to address critical business issues. Barry is a qualified user of a number of psychometric instruments (including OPQ and the Leadership Judgement Indicator) and has used and applied these in multiple different contexts. He is an NLP practitioner, a certified coach and a CIPD-qualified learning practitioner.