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Talent review: How hiring for performance upfront can shape future success

BY Team PredictiveHire

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Start with the end in mind – always hire for performance first  

Most people are very familiar with a performance review. It’s the annual anxiety fest when every employee has their performance assessed and rated, perhaps against benchmarks agreed at last year’s review or defined by their job description.

So is a talent review basically the same thing? Well yes and no.

While a talent review will still see employees rated and ranked, the focus extends beyond current and recent performance to consider their potential as future leaders in senior or key roles within the business. It’s all about mapping an organisation’s business needs against the capabilities and potential of its people.

Talent review plays an essential role in business planning, pinpointing skill gaps and helping organisations to develop and retain their best talent.

Forward-thinking organisations believe that talent review is bigger than an annual event. Rather, it’s an essential part of an always-on process of talent management that fosters a high-performance culture from the very first engagement with employees. 

PredictiveHire’s Ai-enabled chat interview platform helps businesses to plan for future success by ensuring candidates with the very best potential are identified and engaged upfront. This approach provides talent momentum from the outset, ensuring every hire is building ‘bench strength’ and providing leaders with confidence that the next generation is ready to step-up and step-into key roles as needed.

 

How do you hire for the values and behaviours that result in high-performance? 

It’s no secret that high performers and team leaders share certain personality traits and behaviours. In fact, it’s a science that organisations have long embraced in their pursuit of excellence and competitive advantage.

Since it was first published in 1962, The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator that classified 16 personality types has been at the heart of most personality assessments and recruitment science. Much of the appeal of Myers-Briggs was its simplicity in reducing complexity to concise descriptors. These descriptors may have sufficed when only human intelligence was doing the processing and decision-making.

But in an age of data, it’s a big compromise – a compromise in accuracy, nuance, and the real diversity of personality types that exist in our population. It’s also a compromise we no longer need to make.

Read: Hire for Values

Moving beyond the limitations of Myers-Briggs

PredictiveHire is a leading innovator and advocate of leveraging data and technology to enhance the recruitment process. In developing our award-winning automated chat interview platform, our data science team looked at how we could move beyond the limits of Myers-Briggs personality testing.

Our data team fed text responses to interview questions from 85,000 job applicants into our personality classifier. Spread across two regions, the UK and Australia, 47% of applicants were identified as male, 53% as female.

Instead of the standard 16 personality types, we directed the machine to group the data into 400 unique personality groupings.

Personality Assessments and Performance

Identifying 400 unique personality groupings and how they could be usefully applied to decision-making is beyond the ability of the human brain… but not beyond technology. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning, our artificial-intelligence enabled platform got to work with findings that were both surprising and not surprising at all.

What did we find?

 The ‘not surprising’ part of our research is that even at 400 groupings, there are distinct differences in personality profiles. It’s not surprising when you consider that humans are not linear beings and that our personalities are highly complex and nuanced.

The most surprising thing we discovered was that personality types by role were distinct. The personality profiles attracted to sales roles, for example, were noticeably different from the profiles attached to a carer role. Even more surprising were the imperceptible differences in the personality distribution across the 400 types between men and women –  a sign of how conscious or unconscious biases can play into our decision processes.

 

What does the talent review look like?

Differentiated by size, sector, structure and history, every organisation is unique.  So every talent review will be unique too.  Talent reviews need to be designed around the specific needs of the business but generally will bring performance management, learning and development and succession planning together.

When senior leaders meet for a talent review, their principle objective is to talk about the performance of individual employees in their teams and how those employees might take on more responsible roles in the future. Through this process, the critical positions in an organisation will be identified. Critical positions mean any role that business operations would stop or be seriously compromised if no one was able to step into the role immediately. 

Keep in mind that these critical roles may not necessarily be management roles and will also depend on the nature of the business. In a manufacturing business, for example, the chief engineer might be solely responsible for keeping a production line in working order. Talent reviews need to consider every employee across an organisation.

Talent review improves business focus 

An ongoing talent review process not only matches an organisation’s talent to existing roles, but it also helps identify new roles that will need to be created to achieve plans for future growth or expansion. It’s also possible that as a company moves forward, key roles may change or even become redundant. The most successful businesses are dynamic and flexible. 

A structured review process reviews employees in terms of key strengths, career ambitions and readiness for promotion. Talent reviews provide a forum for a range of important conversations that every organisation interested in best practice needs to have: 

  • What matters most to our organisation?
  • What are our business objectives?
  • Does our existing talent pool and policy align with business strategy?
  • Are our managers reviewing performance and potential in the best way possible, without favour or bias?
  • Are we doing enough to support our people’s learning, development and growth?
  • Do we have the right continuous performance management process in place?
  • Are we identifying and recruiting the talent at the early career stage with identified potential to be the leaders of the future?
  • Is our business (or part of the business) at risk without appropriate successors?
  • What needs to be done to mitigate any risk?
  • Do we need to embed new values and improve culture?

Planning a talent review

Rightsizing Fairly Using DataThere is a range of methods that organisations use to assess their employees for talent reviews. While some will arrive at a ranking or score, others may use a more nuanced approach to assessing their talent.

Talent reviews can often reveal glaring disparity and bias in team leaders’ expectations of employees and how they rate them. An agreed and standardised approach across the organisation is essential. By ensuring employee expectations are aligned among leaders and cultural values are socialised across the organisation, potential friction around accountability can be diffused.

Rank and yank – what not to do

Though their ranking process has long been dropped, Jack Welch, the celebrated or controversial (pick your own path!) CEO of General Electric once insisted on an evaluation that reduced every employee’s performance to a number. Following evaluations each year, the lowest ranking 10% were fired across the business. In contemporary business, this ‘rank and yank’ approach would not be considered best-practice HR.

The 9-box performance and potential matrix

A less controversial ranking for employees is the 9-box matrix. This commonly-used assessment tool assigns employees to one of nine boxes on a grid that on one axis rates their performance (underperformance, effective performance, outstanding performance) and on the other rates their potential (low, medium, high).  Employees ranked in the box where outstanding performance and high potential meet are those assessed most likely to be future leaders.

 

What matters most – agreeing your assessment criteria for hiring

Taking a step back from the talent review process, PredictiveHire has worked to solve and improve the frontier problem of every recruiter and every employer – how to get the right talent on board sooner.

With policies and process to put the best candidates in place every time, ongoing talent management and talent reviews can be more streamlined and rewarding for employers and employees alike. 

The first step to creating a step-change in the process is ensuring that everyone is assessing talent on the same criteria. These need to align with your organisation’s specific needs and values, which are ideally defined and documented as part of your business, brand and employer brand plans. 

How PredictiveHire helps you get to the best talent (much faster) 

While PredictiveHire’s early data breakthroughs were based on 85,000 interview responses, machine learning and artificial intelligence means that our platform never stops learning. Today, our Ai-powered platform has analysed more than 165 million words in text-based interviews from more than 700,000 candidates.

Continuous learning means that PredictiveHire can help recruiters and employers make smarter, evidence-based employment decisions at the early career stage.

Within our science-based approach, behavioural interview questions are tailored around the agreed assessment criteria for the role. These questions are related to past behaviour to reliably assess personality traits. They can be customised to the specific role family – sales, retail, customer service etc– and aligned to the organisation’s agreed values and characteristics that will define their leaders of tomorrow.

PredictiveHire’s bespoke Ai-platform analyses candidates’ responses across a range of criteria including readability, text structure, semantic alignment, sentiment and personality to identify candidates with the best future potential.

Nurturing your talent culture

Making the wrong choices for future leaders can put your business at risk. At times of talent review, careers can be derailed and employees demotivated. A properly executed talent management process that begins with smarter recruitment choices is one of the best investments in the future of your business. 

The insights delivered through a disciplined, standardised and ongoing process of talent assessment can be used at both organisational and managerial levels to drive your business forward. Creating a culture of high performance begins with best practice in early career candidate assessment. With PredictiveHire’s platform as a key element, a robust talent review and management process will work to:

  • support continuous performance management
  • deliver robust succession planning
  • optimise talent performance
  • support skills assessments and gaps analysis
  • lift employee retention
  • support talent development and career pathways
  • drive employee engagement through career conversations
  • inform talent planning and decisions with better data
  • embed culture and values throughout your organisation

 

This article is presented by PredictiveHire as part of our mission to promote best practice in contemporary recruiting and HR. Our Ai-enabled text chat interview platform can help any organisation identify future leaders while providing candidates with an efficient, empowering and enjoyable experience. The user satisfaction rate for our award-winning platform is 99%.  

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