Part of the ASPIRE Talent Management series which looks at the key elements and philosophies around the Talent Management lifecycle – what we call ASPIRE: Acquisition, Succession Planning, Improvement, Retention and Engagement.

In this article we explore an aspect we think is vital to have in place to really increase the success of your talent management activity, in fact we’d even go so far as to say that this is THE secret to successful talent management… Job Success Formulas.

Job Success Formulas – the secret to successful talent management

Let’s have a quick recap of the key elements which can make up a comprehensive talent management strategy.

Firstly it’s important to remind ourselves that we are talking about talent, high potentials, or HiPo’s; those people you bring in or who are already in your organisation, who have the capability to take on broader responsibilities, leadership, or critical and key roles in your business.

When we talk about talent management – a huge topic – we break it down into 4 key elements:

  • Acquisition; this covers the whole process of bringing people into your organisations, not just recruitment. It will include recruitment, but also includes identifying, inducting and on boarding your talent
  • Succession Planning looks at your talent needs for the future, and helps you to identify and prepare future talent to fulfil critical and key roles through clear career navigation pathways – where is your talent going next? What’s their ambition?
  • Improvement – the development element which is driven by your succession planning activity – what are the gaps that need to be filled to enable your talent to move to the next step?
  • Retention and Engagement – this is not the starting point but the reward for having a good talent management strategy and getting all the above right!

A ‘2D approach’ to talent management can be subjective

When it comes to talent management, businesses may use a two-dimensional approach in considering an individual’s CV against a job description (JD), and this can be very subjective. As you will know, a CV will outline an individual’s qualifications, experience etc. A JD generally includes duties, purpose, and responsibilities of a job and can vary in quality; sometimes you can see good detailed and comprehensive accounts of a role, otherwise they can be basic and not very well thought out. In effect, both of these documents looks at determining an individual’s eligibility and can be used to gauge whether or not the individual can do the job.

Whether recruiting, looking at your internal talent pipeline for the future, or designing employee development plans, simply counting on these two documents and trying to make an effective match is where hiring or development mistakes can be made.

Horns and Halo

For a start, it is really difficult to keep an element of personal bias out of this kind of 2D approach, making decisions subjective rather than objective. This is called the ‘horns and halo effect’ (we’ve explored this in further detail in our previous article). Even from a sheet of paper in your hand you can make an initial judgement as to whether you will like someone or not. It may be as simple as they went to the same university as you, or have listed a hobby in their personal interests section that you also enjoy, or conversely they may support your rival football team. Such simple things can feed into this unconscious bias to influence your opinion as to whether you like them or not before you can consider whether they are the best fit for the role.

Cost of a bad hire

Using a 2D approach by focusing purely on capability or eligibility factors and potentially allowing unconscious bias to influence decisions can lead to hiring or promoting in error. We’re unable to see how an individual may perform in a ‘live arena’ and this can be a costly mistake.

Statistics show that the cost of a ‘bad hire’ can be up to 300% of the individual’s salary. This sounds outrageous until you take into account various factors including salary paid and training budget allocated before they leave, recruitment fees – both theirs and their replacements – any pay-off agreed to facilitate their exit from your business, not to mention the impact on team performance, productivity and morale.

3D: a more objective approach

As we’ve discussed the two dimension approached normally used would be aligning a CV to a job description. However, you want to be able to gain a deeper understanding. This is where the third dimensional comes in, which also becomes much more objective.

CVs can vary in content, structure and depth and the quality and accuracy of job descriptions can vary. It’s important to have a good reflective job description that reflects the role that you are trying to fill. A good job description, as well as outlining the roles and responsibilities of the job should include the following 3 elements:

  • Eligibility factors – qualifications, skills etc which will be answered by the person’s CV
  • Suitability factors – this is the more behavioural aspects of the role and includes personality, attitudes, motivation, interpersonal skills, work preferences, task preferences, work environment preferences, interests and employment preferences
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) – this is what is going to tell you whether or not the person is performing in the role

The third dimension Is about objectively measuring the suitability factors which enables you to dig deeper into that individual’s profile to see whether they will be a fit for the role and will indicate not only whether the individual can do the job, but also that they will do the job!

Benchmarked predictors for success

The Job Success Formula – or JSF – is a set of job-specific benchmarked traits and success factors. This is what determines what success for that role looks like in terms of behaviours and traits.

If you’re using a JSF to help you acquire or develop talent you will be able to use the proven success formula and measure the individual looking for similar ones to the traits listed in the JSF to enable you to predict success and give you a good indication whether this person will be a good match for the role.

Library of 6,500 jobs

The Job Success Formula is a feature of our predictive talent analytics tool of choice, Harrison Assessments, which we have started to explore in our last couple of articles. JSFs are based on 30 years of research assessing the factors related to job specific success and benchmarked data to create a library of 6,500 job roles at all levels of an organisation, from CEO’s, HR directors, operations management, right down to more junior operational roles.

Traits are defined as ‘essential’ – those traits where you’re looking for someone to be really similar to, ‘desirable’ – traits which are still important but not vital, and ‘traits to avoid’- those traits you would NOT want to see in a certain role, which can be just as important – you wouldn’t want to see ‘blindly optimistic’ in a financial advisor, would you?!

Customisable to your spec

The beauty of JSFs is that they can be easily adjusted to match requirements for your specific job, whether that’s around environmental factors or cultural fit. Your specifications can be built in to get the right fit for your role.

Objectively measured

Measuring your talent in this way – taking the individual’s unique behavioural blueprint gathered through a simple online questionnaire which is then processed using sophisticated algorithms and measured against this benchmarked data – takes away any risk of subjectivity, leaving you with an objective assessment and method to predict success for the critical and key roles in your organisation.

Talent management is seen as expensive & time consuming

As we’ve seen above, talent management can be seen as expensive and time consuming – it can take up a lot of your budget and your operational bandwidth; the cost of a bad hire, the cost of a ‘good hire’ – losing your HiPo’s because you’ve not got the right development pathways in place. Struggling to fill the gaps and hiring for ‘bums on seats’ rather than to get the right person in. Spending money wastefully bringing the wrong people in. These are all reasons why some companies may feel uncertain or wary about investing time or energy in their talent management strategy.

Better ROI

To get a better ROI for your budget and improved efficiency it can really help to do the work up front, and really understand what you are looking for. Of course, you will still need an interview process, but you will be able to approach the interview situation with confidence that this person has been measured objectively and is confirmed to be a good fit so you could be interviewing 3 or 4 really strong candidates rather than 7-10 possible fits. And then it becomes more a question of ‘Can I work with this person?’ It can give you the confidence that you’re going to make a good hire.

You can use JSFs to measure your high potentials against the benchmarks in your succession planning activities and it will highlight the behavioural gaps to enable you to create a meaningful development plan. It can help you avoid promoting based on performance in an individual’s current role and enable you to predict whether the person does have, or can develop the right suitability elements to be able to succeed in the role.

Job Success Analysis

Once you have defined your particular Job Success Formula, the individual completes the questionnaire to provide the data. Each individual only has to do this once to be able to create a whole of different reports, some of which we’ve mentioned previously like EQ, Engagement and Retention. The report which is produced using their data and your JSF is called the Job Success Analysis.

The report gives you a wealth of data including:

  • An overall percentage of job fit
  • An overall percentage of suitability fit
  • Ratings against each of the essential, desirable and traits to avoid particular to this job role

FREE SAMPLE JOB SUCCESS ANALYSISDownload the FREE sample HR Director Job Success Analysis by clicking the button above or following this link


And finally…

Our top tips for successful talent management

  1.  Consider how dimensional your approach is currently. It’s the 3D approach that the JSF brings that is the secret to successful talent management
  2. Keep the eligibility factors in your process, but also look for those suitability factors as well; the behavioural preferences and tendencies. Can they do the job and will they do the job?
  3. Think about the employee journey right across your talent management strategy –acquisition, succession planning, improvement and into retention and engagement and making sure you can put a good structure in place for that employee journey from when you are attracting talent to your organisation, right through to when they eventually leave your business (and if they’re that good that you want to keep them on board, and you’ve looked after them right that could be when they’re stood making their retirement speech!)

Thanks for reading!

Our Talent Wheel provides an overview of Acquisition, Succession Planning, Improvement, Retention and Engagement – those 4 key elements of ASPIRE which gives you the power to make confident people choices. We use talent analytics and our tool of choice, Harrison Assessments and emotional intelligence data, to underpin each of these elements, and turbo boost your talent management strategy.

You’ll find links throughout this article to our previous articles if you want to explore certain areas in more detail.

If you would like to find out more you can get in touch with us, visit the 3P Harrison Assessment site or visit our website.

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Peak Performance Partnership Ltd (3P) is a Business Performance Consultancy specialising in Talent Management. ASPIRE by 3P is our talent management solution which supports the talent life cycle of Acquisition, Succession Planning, Improvement and Retention & Engagement.


Co-authored by Lindsay McGhie, Trevor Norman and Michelle Manning