Tag Archive: Employee Development

  1. How Can Talent Assessments Connect People to their Passions (And Help Your Company in the Process)

    With so much technology on the market and so many exciting avenues to pursue, HR is in a position to impact the business like never before. The challenge is not, what can we do, but rather, how much can we do to drive the business forward? This will depend on alignment with business strategy and smart HR tech investments.

    Organizations are taking a new approach to measuring things like quality of hire and employee engagement. New technology makes it possible for companies to track where employees are spending time, how they’re performing job tasks, and what their potential for success is – today and in the future.

    Some of the most exciting trends in HR tech are in the vein of discovering hidden talent, connecting people with their passions, and hiring not just to fill a role, but to set someone on a trajectory for lifelong success.

    Thanks to rapid innovation in the market, we’re seeing an explosion of new releases and platforms that are helping to turn these trends into tangibles. Even assessment software, which hasn’t traditionally been the flashiest piece of technology on the market, is becoming a game-changer for HR and employees everywhere.

    Here are 3 ways talent assessments will make your initiatives – and your employees – more successful:

    Find every person’s best fit

    Often, talent assessments are used in hiring as a way to measure fit to the job or fit to the company (or both!). By assessing hard skills, soft skills, or cognitive abilities, hiring teams are armed with insight on a candidate’s potential for success.

    Recruiters and managers can also start to see how a potential hire might fit on the team, as well as skills gaps they might be able to fill by adding this candidate versus another.

    If you’re hiring for a sales position, for example, an assessment will tell you how a candidate ranks on must-have soft skills like work intensity and follow through. An assessment might also tell you how strong he or she is in sales knowledge, such as prospecting and overcoming objections.

    Ideally, the assessment would then roll up the results into one overall score, with the ability to drill down into each different skill set.

    But say a candidate isn’t a great fit for the job they applied to. In a tight talent market, employers can’t afford to throw out applications. Rather than simply tagging someone as a poor fit, new assessment software allows recruiters to match candidates to other open positions in their company.

    This way, recruiters can make use of every candidate in their applicant pool, fill more jobs, and help more people improve their livelihood. It’s a win-win all around.

    Discover pathways to future roles

    Once you’ve got the right people in the right roles, you can sit back and relax. Just kidding! As good practitioners know, hiring is just the beginning of an employee’s *hopefully long and productive* journey with your company.

    This is where the pre-hire assessment comes back into play. One assessment can help guide the next several years of an employee’s journey. That’s why many employers see it as “the data that keeps on giving” – it continues providing value long after the hiring decision has been made.

    First, assessment results can be used as onboarding guides, helping new hires get up to speed quickly based on their strengths and opportunities in the role. Then, after ramp up, assessments can help employees and their managers see what’s next.

    Say your sales hire is killing it – hitting quota every quarter and helping the entire team succeed. She’s raised her hand for a sales manager position, and looking at performance, she’s the most deserving of the promotion.

    But, leading a sales team requires a very different skill set than what’s she’s using today. Your top salesperson is about to move into untested waters, and if she fails, you could lose her for good. Using an assessment, you can see her potential for success in a management role, along with development suggestions to make the transition easier.

    Together, the salesperson, her manager, and others from L&D can identify an employee’s ideal career path and steps to get there. The assessment creates the perfect scenario where promotions are based on skills, not just performance, and every employee has the opportunity to grow.

    Illuminate hidden skills and strengths

    Similar to promotions, decisions about who is considered a ‘high potential’ are often subjective. In many cases, putting someone’s name in the hat for a hi-po program depends on how important development is to a given manager.

    In a system like this, great people get overlooked. And isn’t HR’s goal to engage and retain as many employees as possible, not just a select few?

    Assessments can improve how you select people for hi-po programs, and thanks to tailored development plans that now come with assessment results, you can drastically scale participation in hi-po programs.

    Equally important, assessments can help re-define what you mean by ‘high potential.’ Does high potential mean potential for leadership in your company? If so, what are the mission-critical skills and competencies your leadership teams have today, and what will they need in the future?

    Assessments give you instant insight into the skills and competencies that matter most in your business, ensuring that no one is overlooked. You may find more than one diamond in the rough. Perhaps a quiet contributor today becomes a pivotal future leader.

    So, rather than let an employee’s potential wither away – or worse! – lose them to a competitor, you can use assessments to discover hidden talent and tips the odds in your favor.


  2. 5 Ways Workplace Assessments Are Better Now Than They Used to Be

    Workplace assessments have been around for over 100 years, and have come a long way to meet the needs of modern businesses.

    The ‘science of selection’ dates back to World War I, when the military began using assessments to place army recruits. After World War II, early assessments like Myers Briggs entered the mainstream. Fast forward to today, and more than 70% of employers are using workplace assessments to help them hire the right people (source: Aberdeen Group).

    Being able to measure a candidate’s personality and cognitive ability is powerful, which is why workplace assessments are so widely used today. But they haven’t always been perfect. If you’ve had a not-so-great experience with assessments in the past, know that the industry is evolving fast to meet the needs of modern businesses.

    Say goodbye to clunky roll outs, limited use licenses, and difficult-to-decipher reports. Say hello to a new generation of assessments!

    Here are 5 ways assessments have changed for the better:

    1. Subscription options.

    In today’s cloud economy, the ‘all you can eat’ subscription model is king. Previously, assessments came with pay-per-test pricing, which forced companies to use them only for their highest volume or highest value (i.e. senior exec) roles. Now, thanks to subscription options, companies can use assessments in huge volumes, and administer them even earlier in the process. This ensures that hiring teams are spending time with top candidates across positions.

    2. Use cases beyond hiring.

    Now that assessments aren’t limited to specific hires, companies can expand their usage outside of talent acquisition. Managers and L&D teams are hungry to learn about employees: What are their strengths? What are their gaps? Who are our high potentials? What’s the best next step in an employee’s career path? Leveraging the assessment post-hire can improve team dynamics, employee development, succession planning, and more.

    3. No barrier for small to mid-sized businesses.

    Before the shift to subscription-based pricing, assessments were used almost exclusively by large companies with large budgets. The previous pay-per-assessment pricing model created a barrier for smaller businesses that couldn’t afford to ‘buy in bulk.’ So, unless you were in an enterprise-sized organization, assessments were used ad hoc, or not at all. Now, newer assessment products offer flexible, unlimited use licences with pricing based on company size.

    4. Easy to take, easy to interpret.

    The last thing you want is a long, complicated assessment that generates a long, complicated report. Reports of the past often required an I-O psychologist to interpret, which was additional expense. Newer assessment products offer user friendly tests that can be completed in less than half an hour (ours is less than 10 minutes for hourly roles and less than 20 minutes for professional roles). The reports are easy to understand and the tests are available on mobile and web.

    5. Real-time data and analytics.

    The days of paper-based assessments are behind us. Cloud-based solutions make distribution of data efficient and give users access to real-time analytics. Each time you hire a new employee, you add a data point to your aggregate analytics, which helps your teams make more intelligent and predictive hiring decisions. 

    The 100+ year history of assessments is a testament, not only to our fascination with the science of selection, but also to the practical and enduring value of assessments in the workplace.

    To learn more about implementing a workplace assessment, or expanding your use of assessments to other areas of the business, check out these helpful eBooks:

    Or, schedule a demo with Outmatch today!

    Written by Keith McCook, Ph.D.
    Vice President of Talent Analytics, Outmatch

  3. Do These 6 Traits Really Make Men More Promotable?

    Personality data reveals slight differences between men and women, but not enough to explain the gender gap, especially at the C-suite.

    Nearly a decade after Sheryl Sandberg’s famous TED talk on the lack of women in leadership positions, we continue to see more men than women make it to top. According to a 2018 McKinsey&Company report, only

    • 38% of managers are women
    • 29% of VPs are women
    • 22% of executives are women

    At the executive table, men still outnumber women 8:2.

    The easy explanation is to say that women drop out of the workforce to be caretakers at home. While this may have been the case in past generations, it simply isn’t true today. The McKinsey&Company report shows that only 2% of women plan to leave to their careers to focus on family.

    Ambition isn’t the problem either, as 68% of women want to be promoted to the next level. Not only that, women negotiate for promotions just as often as men, according to McKinsey&Company.

    So, if women want to be promoted, they’re negotiating for promotions, and they’re not leaving their careers to focus on family, what’s holding us back?

    Are there differences in personality that can explain why more men are promoted to executive positions than women?

    First, let’s look at why people get promoted. Being assertive, competitive, and taking risks are often cited as factors that increase one’s chances of getting promoted. These are also behaviors that stereotypically male. On the flip side, being accommodating, reserved, and striving for perfection – behaviors that could potentially derail an opportunity for promotion – are stereotypically female.

    When we look at innate styles, do these stereotypes hold true? Are men really more likely to possess career-making personality traits?

    To understand exactly where the differences in our styles lie, we reviewed assessment data from 850,000 men and women in senior level roles across industries, focusing on 6 personality traits that strongly influence promotability:

    1. Accommodation.
    2. Assertiveness.
    3. Cautious Thinking, which can influence our willingness to take risks.
    4. Competitiveness.
    5. Detail Interest, which can influence perfectionism.
    6. Social Restraint/Reserved.

    While results do show some truth in gender stereotypes, differences on key personality traits are not significant enough to keep women from climbing the ranks.

    It’s not surprising to see that women score higher on traits that are stereotypically female, like accommodation and social restraint. It’s also not surprising to see that men score higher on traits that are stereotypically male, like assertiveness and competitiveness. On cautious thinking (a proxy for risk taking) and detail interest (a proxy for perfectionism), however, men and women score exactly the same.

    What are the implications of these trait scores? For starters, being higher on accommodation could lead women to say yes to more non-promotable tasks, such as organizing events or volunteering for internal committees. And, being lower on assertiveness could keep women from offering their ideas or asking for what they want. But, with the exception of competitiveness, these are differences of less than 10% – while the gap between men and women at the C-level is more than 5X that.

    You could say socialization is to blame. Modern culture, progressive as it may be, is still steeped in a legacy of traditionally-defined gender roles. Men are ‘allowed,’ and often encouraged, to be assertive and competitive. Meanwhile, women are expected to be moderators, peacemakers, and and put others’ needs first. Those are the messages we receive through childhood, adolescence, and into our careers.

    And yet – in spite of all this socialization – the personality differences between men and women are surprisingly small.

    To truly level the playing field, we as women can empower ourselves in areas where men have an edge. Yes, men and women are socialized differently, and, in general, we exhibit traits such as assertiveness and competitiveness differently. But that’s not to say we don’t have it in us. These are gaps we can close, and small gaps at that.

    The road to the C-suite for women (and for men!) starts with self-awareness. Then the work of developing healthy leadership habits can begin.

    The bottom line is this:

    If there’s no innate disadvantage, and we perform just as well as men once promoted, then all we have to overcome is tradition. And we’re making progress every day. So keep pushing forward!

    Olivia Salas

    Written by Olivia Salas, M.A.
    Vice President of Solution Delivery, Outmatch

  4. HR Leaders’ Top 5 Tech Investments for 2019

    HR leaders tell us which of SHRM’s top HR trends they’re most likely to pursue this year.

    Earlier this year, SHRM released the Top HR Tech Trends for 2019. Here are 5 areas where HR leaders are really leaning in:

    AI-Driven Technologies. While new AI technologies are being adopted everyday, HR technology leaders are becoming more diligent about AI tools. There are a lot of exciting applications of AI, and there’s also a lot of hype, so we’re seeing increased scrutiny to test its effectiveness and search for potential bias.

    New Opportunities for Measurement. We’re starting to see organizations take a nontraditional approach to measuring things like employee engagement. New listening-based techniques enable employers to track where employees are spending time, how they’re using internal collaboration networks, and more. This is a big change from three years ago, when 89% of companies were using an enterprise-wide survey to assess engagement, according to Gartner.

    Specialized HRIT Roles. An HRIT specialist is 1.5X more likely to be responsible for data security and technology configuration decisions than IT or functional roles, according to a 2018-2019 HR Systems industry survey. We’re seeing more of these specialists in HR than in finance or marketing because HR deals with more data privacy and integration issues than most other disciplines.

    Specialized Point Solutions. Organizations are showing a renewed interest in technology and innovations from small, emerging vendors. Now that integrations with larger talent management suites can be completed in days or hours instead of months, organizations have the flexibility to implement specialized solutions in recruitment, performance management, and engagement, to name a few.

    Push Recommendations. This trend is all about finding employees at the point of need, whether that need is learning and development content, onboarding information, benefits selection, or something else. This is a great way to deliver customized content at exactly the right moment – an important shift away from formal classroom training and the traditional information dump.

    These are just 5 of the top HR trends reported by SHRM, and we know organizations can’t pursue everything at once. We asked 100 HR leaders in a recent webinar to tell us where they’re most likely to invest this year.

    • 33% said new opportunities for measurement
    • 23% said AI technology
    • 19% said specialized point solutions
    • 16% said push recommendations
    • 9% said specialized HRIT roles

    With so much technology and so many exciting avenues to pursue, HR is in a position to impact the business like never before. The challenge is not, what can we do, but rather, how much can do to drive the business forward? This will depend on alignment with business strategy and smart HR tech investments.

    To learn more about trends, the future of HR, and how to maximize success in Talent Management, watch our on-demand webinar: How to Build a High-Powered HR Machine.

  5. Developing the Next Generation of Leaders at HCA Healthcare

    Leadership Development in Healthcare

    Holly Bunn, Director of Leadership and Organization Development at HCA Healthcare shares her strategy for getting leaders to their highest level of potential in the fastest way possible.

    Organizations in and outside of healthcare are investing more in leadership development each year, while confidence in leadership is declining. About $13 billion is spent annually on leadership development, but only 6% of leaders say they are confident that their leadership pipeline is ‘very ready,’ and more than half report a weak succession plan, or nothing at all in place.

    This alarming breakdown between investment and return is challenging organizations to think differently about leadership development. HCA Healthcare is one of these organizations. According to Holly Bunn, Director of Leadership and Organization Development, the most effective way to empower your leaders is not with a one-size-fits-all course, but with a customizable programs that align an individual’s needs with the organization’s curriculum.

    We provide a development report to everyone early on in their career so that when they’re selecting a professional development course or mentorship program, they understand their current strengths and the areas they may want to focus on first. That way, they can reach their long-term goals, and we can see strong leadership and success in their trajectory.”

  6. Managing High Potential Employees: 9 Derailers to Watch For

    High-potential employees are your company’s future. In today’s tight labor market, you can’t afford to lose a single one of them.

    But here’s the challenge: High potential employees are more likely to leave than average employees. In fact, high potentials typically only stay with a company for about two years.

    If you can improve your ability to retain and manage high potentials, you’ll benefit from solid business growth and strong performance in the market. If you can’t, then all your energy (and dollars) will be spent replacing good employees.

    Being a high potential employee doesn’t mean there’s an easy road ahead. They will face many challenges as they grow in their careers. To better manage your high potential employees and help accelerate their development, watch for these potential derailers:

    1. Appears stressed, overworked, or beginning to burnout.

    2. Resisting change. If the person has been successful a certain way, change may look like a platform for failure.

    3. Blaming others for their mistakes or failures. They don’t want to look bad because they know other people’s expectations of them are high.

    4. Taking on all the work themselves because that’s what’s made them successful so far. They’re used to being independent and taking the initiative.

    5. Lacks trust in his or her team. They’ve been recognized for their work and dedication, and they don’t want to let that go.

    6. Spends most of their time completing tasks versus thinking strategically about ways to improve the business.

    7. Lacks important knowledge about other functional areas and/or the long-term goals of the organization.

    8. Doesn’t seek out opportunities to connect with others, or is unable to effectively engage and influence their superiors.

    9. Lacks visibility across the organization.

    The people closest to your high potentials and most likely to spot these derailers are your organization’s managers. How confident are they that they can mitigate these derailing behaviors? According to a recent poll, only 6 % said ‘extremely confident.’

    Managers have a huge influence on the career trajectory of your high potential employees. For insight on how to equip them to be better coaches, as well as strategies for retaining high potential employees, watch out webinar on-demand: How to Get the Most Out of Your High Potentials


  7. Leadership Development Programs

    Strategies for Smarter Investments in Leadership Development

    U.S. companies spend nearly $14 billion annually in leadership development. However, only 6% of leaders say they’re confident that their leadership pipeline is ‘very ready.’

    Why are leadership development programs not producing well-equipped leaders? This was the topic of a recent webinar featuring Martin Lanik, author of the business bestseller, The Leader Habit, and Sarah Glass, I/O and leadership development expert. After the presentation, Martin and Sarah answered audience questions on leadership development strategies, leveraging data for leadership development, and more. Learn more with Martin Lanik and Sarah Glass’ Q&A.


    1. What’s your recommendation on where to target leadership development? In the high potential population, or across all leaders?

    Martin: I recommend thinking of leadership development as a funnel. First, you want to assess everybody to get a basic understanding of what you’re working with, and establish a baseline. From there, you start prioritizing. Maybe there are some business needs that are more critical than others, and based on that, you identify in which areas (and in which people) you invest the most money.

    For example, you can use a leadership assessment across your leadership population, then use a leadership simulation to on a select group, and reserve your high-touch development strategies, such as executive coaching, for those employees who are most ready to take on critical leadership positions in your organization. The diagnostic piece is really key here. Without any assessment or analytics, you’re going in blind.

    2. In leadership development programs, what data is typically shared with the organization versus the individual?

    Sarah: Most of the organizations that we work with are leaning toward transparency. The idea is to share as much data as possible with the individual so that that person has an opportunity to understand their own baseline. Data that you share can help generate self-awareness, which is such a critical factor in a person’s development journey. There has to motivation and intent behind development, and the realization that it’s going to lead to a better result. Otherwise, you’re not going to see significant change.

    This doesn’t necessarily apply to something like a bench strength analysis, or anything with data in the aggregate that you’re using to make organizational decisions, but having data that’s visible at the individual level is definitely important.

    3. How much additional data do you get from a leadership simulation?

    Martin: The benefit of doing a simulation, compared to other types of assessments, is that you see the person in action. Rather than predicting, you’re actually witnessing their behavior. This is especially important when you think about a person’s readiness to move into a next-level position. The simulation allows you to place an engineer or a sales person, for example, into a management position—in a safe environment—and see how they tackle leadership challenges. This is as close as you can get to crystal ball—seeing how successful someone can be and how ready they are.

    To learn more about leadership development programs, and your organization’s role in helping leaders form positive leadership habits, watch Martin and Sarah’s webinar on-demand: Transforming Leadership Development From a Program to a Daily Practice

  8. Is Myers Briggs the Right Assessment for Talent Selection?

    The Myers Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) is one of the most widely used and well-respected personality instruments in the world. About two million people in the U.S. take the MBTI each year, and it’s been translated into over 30 languages.

    The MBTI provides fascinating insight into what drives an individual, how they interact with others, and how they might react in certain situations. But is it the right tool for talent selection?

    Despite its popularity, and the fact that the MBTI provides gratifying narratives that describe what type of person you are, this test doesn’t have much utility beyond self-understanding. People find it interesting to learn about themselves. The MBTI might help someone decide on a general career path (“INTJs make good scientists”), but it’s not meant for employers to evaluate a candidate’s fit for a particular job.

    Why not? Unlike assessments that are designed for talent selection, the MBTI doesn’t measure work-related aspects of an individual’s personality, and it doesn’t compare the results to specific job requirements, or a job success model.

    Ipsative vs. Normative: What’s the Difference?

    Myers Briggs and other ipsative tests like DISC (which measures Dominance, Influence, Conscientiousness, and Steadiness) are type-based tools. In the MBTI, test takers fall into one of sixteen personality types, indicated by four letters, such as INTJ, ESFJ, ENFP, etc.

    An ipsative test compares traits within an individual and identifies which traits are stronger than others. For example, someone might be more assertive than they are energetic. But this type of test won’t tell you how that person compares to other candidates in your applicant pool.

    When you break down the scoring on a personality test used for talent selection, you need to know two things:

    1. Where does a candidate fall on a particular trait (like assertiveness) compared to others? For this, you need to use a normative test, which measures an individual’s traits against a norm of standard performance. On an ipsative test, candidate A may show high assertiveness, but on normative test, you might see that candidate A is actually 2X less assertive than candidate B.
    2. How will a trait like assertiveness effect job performance? For customer service jobs, assertiveness isn’t as important as a trait like energy or accommodation or sociability. Measuring assertiveness for a store associate position might be interesting, but it won’t help you choose the candidate who will perform best on the job.

    When to Use an Ipsative Assessment, and When Not To

    As you can see, it’s essential to choose an assessment that fits your purpose. Myers Briggs and other ipsative tests work well for personal development, coaching, and vocational counseling. These tests can also be used for team building, as learning about coworkers’ personalities and work styles can help manage interactions within a team or department.

    But when it comes to making hiring or promotion decisions, where you must compare and rank people against each other, an ipsative test is not the way to go.

    For talent selection, you need a normative test, like Outmatch Assessment, which identifies candidates as a strong, good, fair, or poor match for the job, and provides a ranking that compares candidates to others applying for the same job. Outmatch Assessment also identifies areas where candidates are likely to struggle, and provides a development guide to help them become more effective in the role.

    Want to learn more about using assessments for talent selection and employee development? Tour the Outmatch Platform today.

  9. What Drives a Culture of Excellence?

    Posted on LinkedIn by Warren Irwin, Senior Account Executive at Outmatch.

    This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of hosting a group of People and Talent leaders in San Francisco to discuss the timely topic of “What drives a culture of excellence?”

    At a high-level, our guest, Dr. Charles O’Reilly, defines culture as “a pattern of behavior that is rewarded by people and systems.”

    The consensus across the thought-leaders in attendance was that achieving a strong culture requires more than just the right people, in the right roles, at the right time.

    Key Takeaways:

    Research confirms that organizations with leading cultural norms and higher adaptability perform better than their peers in terms of net income growth, market value, and employer ratings.

    I welcome the opportunity to discuss with my network how Outmatch and Pomello, an Outmatch Company can support your efforts in attracting top talent, measuring cultural strength, and developing your leaders of tomorrow.