Great People who Pull Together – Organizational Talent
There are just 7 steps to engaging the awesome power of talent in your enterprise
Summary of the 7 Steps (see detail below)
1. Agree your terminology (e.g. meaning of ‘talent’)
2. Gain executive sponsorship
3. Avoid the Superman trap (creating a job only Superman can do)
4. Measure talent with total precision
5. Rapid team assimilation (pulling together in hours, not months)
7. Career path (how to motivate people individually so they stay with you long-term)
Recruiting and selecting great people has been a big challenge for management teams for many years. In fact CNBC research shows it was the biggest issue facing CEOs in the decade prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. We know a better way to recruit great people. It’s all about respecting their natural, born-with talent and putting it to use. That’s what people want from their job.
Finding and hiring great people is one thing. But what if they can’t work together? These days, almost all important work is done in teams. So it’s vital that your organization builds a network of teams where each and every talent is in play with all the others. This fulfils an enormous human need. We all want to give of our best and receive the best from others. When that happens, you not only build a great team spirit, you also raise efficiency and quality to levels you couldn’t have imagined.
We believe we can solve both problems for you: we can help you attract and retain great people AND get them pulling together faster than ever before.
Recruitment and Selection Easier Than Before – becoming a Talent Magnet
It’s not that good people are hard to find. There is plenty of talent around. It’s about finding the right person for that job in that team. The traditional résumé and interview approach has failed in this regard. But it’s also about being a company that people want to join, even at a lower salary. This is possible when you respect their talent and put it to work. When you achieve this you become a ‘talent magnet’ and your total costs of employment will be lower than your competitors.
Talents vs Skills
Over 80% of CEOs believe they are not recruiting highly talented people. Almost certainly, this is not true. What they miss is that people are very talented indeed and want nothing more than to have their talent recognised and be fully engaged in their work. Organizations already have a workforce full of highly talented people. It’s just that most of them are not doing jobs where their talents are in play. (If you’re not yet sure of the difference between talents and skills, read our signature article on this subject).
In fact Gallup identified that people are working to 40% efficiency at best. Most of their talents are checked at the door. We should be outraged by this waste of resource. Yet we still pay full salaries and get less than half of what we pay for.
The Best Companies to Work For
A lot of suggestions have been made by some very credible organizations on how to become one of the best companies to work for and how to retain your top talent. Many of these involve massive change management processes and can take years to generate results. That may be a reason why measures are not being taken. So, how about turning this on its head and starting, not at an organization level, but at a team level? Results can be realized very quickly and then ramped up across the organization when people see they have worked. With little cost and by applying our solutions you can rapidly become one of the best companies to work for.
7 Steps to Recruitment and Retention of Great People
There is a way to get ‘great people pulling together’ and that is to begin at a team level. Based on our experience and knowhow, here are our top tips to recruitment and retention of highly talented people who will be able to do smart collaboration (pull together).
1. Agree your terminology
Too often, the language we use to describe people’s talent gets blurred. Knowledge, experience, skills, qualifications and talent all get mixed up. Let’s just clarify what we mean. Skills are learnt and include knowledge of how to do something. Qualifications can be helpful but don’t speak about aptitude. However talent is how we are hardwired and dictates how we naturally behave, are motivated and where we like to use our thinking cycles (See our main article Skills vs Talent). Talent is more important than the others. So one very simple step you can take is to delineate clearly between the skills (and knowledge), experience and talent you are looking for. As part of the job description or someone’s objectives, draw up three columns: one headed Skills, one headed Experience and the other Talent (if you’re not sure what to include in ‘Talent’ we can help). This will aid both you and the candidates for the role by giving greater clarity of what you are looking for.
2. Gain executive sponsorship
Make sure you have executive sponsorship for your new understanding and use of ‘talent’. It will have a powerful effect as your team and ultimately organization become talent magnets. Word will go around very quickly that this is a team where talent is respected and individuals are known for who they really are, not just for what’s on their résumé. That will translate to the rest of the company and your culture will change for the better. You will be known as the place where top talent goes to work. Your attrition rates will drop significantly. You will gain a competitive advantage as company knowledge is held for longer and customers value your stability. Employees need to see that the organization’s leadership team are behind all this.
3. Avoid the Superman/Superwoman trap
The tendency when writing a job description is to load in every strength imaginable in such a way that only Superman or Superwoman should apply for the job. Take some time to consider the key attributes you need from your ideal candidate and ruthlessly hire based on these strengths. There are tools that will help you categorize the type of person they are by knowing very precisely someone’s natural strengths and talents as well as gaps in their abilities. Armed with that knowledge you can create a target profile for the type of person you want. This will ultimately help reduce attrition because people are then a great match for the role so they are fully engaged and highly motivated. That’s all assuming you don’t subsequently move the goal posts on them and have them do work that doesn’t match their capabilities.
4. Measure talent with total precision
Put in place some sort of measurement of people’s talent. There are some first generation profiling tools available that measure candidates’ behavioral strengths. But you must push further than this. Insist on having a full three dimensional, integrated talent scan of employees and candidates that not only shows their natural and adapted behavior but also what motivates them and how they like to use their thinking cycles. It’s a very costly mistake if you hire the wrong person so don’t skimp. According to a study done by HR Dive, replacing a member of staff costs around one third of their salary. In the USA annual attrition rates, prior to Covid-19, were around 22% while in the UK, about 20%. That adds up to a lot of money if your attrition rates are the same as these averages. So, apply the most accurate science you can find. And consider that by using the wrong talent measurement tool, you are paying for inaccuracy and may be getting only 25% or so of the picture. The impact on the talent you are looking for will be extremely positive because you’ll convey being a company that wants to ensure people are recruited with great precision and that people are of top priority in your organization. Plus you will bring someone into the team that will fit the role perfectly. They will be fully engaged and their efficiency and productivity levels very high. This then rubs off on the rest of the team.
5. Rapid Team Assimilation
Teams do the most important work in any organisation. You’ve now decided who to hire and bring into your team. As they enter the company, they have an accurate job description (created with respect for talent), objectives and goals. Stick to that and they will be engaged and motivated. This will rub off on the rest of the team and organisation. The next question is, how can they get to know their team colleagues and how will the team get to know and accept them? The faster you can integrate the person into the team, the faster the team will ‘gel’ and your new team member will feel settled and valued. Note this will also impact your productivity, speed and quality of work. But to get to know a person in normal circumstances takes a lot of time. At least a month just to have some idea of their natural behaviour. In a few months, you might have a view on what motivates the new person. However, you may never uncover the cognitive aspect of a person’s entire talent set (called Intellect) even after several years. So, why not apply the same three dimensional (3D) talent scan to the rest of the team? You can map everyone’s capabilities and share this across the department. The effect on motivation and employee engagement will be astonishing and your new team member will know they are in the right place.
Employees who use their natural strengths and talents at work are more likely than others to be emotionally connected to that work. They like it and want to spend time with it. They want it to look good because it reflects what they are all about. They are invested in it and don’t want to let it go – almost like a loving relationship.
This sense of emotional bonding with work means the daily grind becomes more like the weekend in the park with friends. It’s important because all jobs bring their stressful problems – a bad boss, an inadequate salary, an untidy workplace – but these can be set aside if the individual can look forward to spending quality time engaged with their work, be that in the office or factory.
The implications for retention are obvious. If workers are bonded to their jobs they will be bonded to their employers. They are much less likely to leave for greener fields.
It may be tempting to start with those who are ‘actively disengaged’ from their work. These are people who are not just unhappy, they are resentful of their bosses. They may well be spreading discontent among their colleagues. In the US these employees number 17% of the workforce and in Europe it’s 19%, according to widely available data.
But we recommend that employers start with their most effective employees. These are the ones who are most likely to leave if their needs are not being met. They have transferable talents and they know they will easily get another job. They will be sorely missed if they depart because they do the best work and they are key to innovation.
Employers must use tools like Method Teaming to understand and map every person’s ‘Intellect’ which is the combination of their natural talents. Next comes the task that few other methodologies are built to solve: constructing teams that allow these Intellects to work properly together.
Management must ensure that every person is able to use the greater part of their Intellect daily and that every Intellect on the team knits together with the others as far as is possible. Where teams don’t ‘knit together’ perfectly it’s important that team members understand where the gaps are in the team’s construction and can make allowances for these imperfections.
This is easier than it sounds with Method Teaming. In fact it’s the task Method Teaming was made for. Not only will fewer ‘top quartile’ employees leave the organization, it will also have a stabilizing and encouraging effect on all the others.
7. Career and development path
You now know your team’s strengths and talents in total detail. Clearly, putting a career and development path together for them will be so much easier. You will know what motivates them and how they naturally behave and think. Very often the team leader assumes, wrongly, that what motivates him or her is what will motivate the rest of the team. It is too easy, for example, to assume money will stimulate action from everyone. The 3D talent scans will uncover how to best motivate each and every person in the team. With that you can tune rewards and provide excellent coaching and development. That’s another reason why your people will stay.
Why not try these simple steps on a key team in your organization. There are only two key metrics you will need to prove it’s working and they are a) employee engagement and b) attrition rate. Start small. But start!
OND can help
OND has years of experience help organizations large and small recognize the power of talent. We have a carefully honed tool called Method Teaming that enable you to measure talent and apply it in the right place at the right time. This translates to a highly efficient and motivated workforce and an organization where people stay and give of their best.