What was needed
Our client recognised the waste and the cost of not identifying the skills and potential amongst its existing staff. Some high profile appointments of external candidates who had proved to be expensive mistakes highlighted this. Subsequently, an internal candidate had been appointed who had performed exceptionally well. The existing process for identifying high potential (by asking managers to make nominations) was clearly necessary but insufficient. We were invited to recommend better ways of identifying the talent within.
What was done
Together we agreed two main changes:
- the first was to sharpen the criteria for nominating high potential. The existing process required managers to rate their nominees using the company competency framework. However, managers tended to nominate people they liked based on general impressions, which inflated or deflated their judgements across all competencies. Managers were therefore trained to recognise what constituted good quality competency-based evidence. The nomination process then required them to justify their judgements with clear detailed behavioural evidence;
- the second was to introduce an additional perspective on nominees’ capabilities. Initially an Assessment Centre was considered but the company then opted for a neater, nimbler and more flexible process based on the Team Focus Individual Audit. This process involves a day of assessment involving a range of exercises, simulations, interviews – and some of the PfS psychometric tests. The resulting report provides additional data about abilities using the company’s competency framework so that the information can be combined to give a more rounded judgement.
What the benefits were
Extending the assessment process has had multiple benefits the main ones being:
- a recognition that people do not always get the chance to demonstrate the full range of abilities they have due to the limitations of their current role – unrecognised talents have been identified and more appropriate career paths developed;
- a better understanding of how competencies in the current role do not necessarily generalise to another level in an organisation – and hence reducing the Peter Principle where people get promoted beyond their level of competence which is both costly and painful and leaves a hole to be filled (the management derailment issue).