Tag Archive: High Potential Identification

  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. Nontraditional Talent Pools & How to Tap Into Them

    No matter which way you look at it, recruiting is hard work – especially in 2019. The jobs are plenty, the job seekers are few, and diversity is top of mind at many organizations. So it’s no surprise that gaining traction with potential candidates requires careful thought combined with a whole lot of action. 

    As a result, recruiters need to revisit their strategies, expand their reach, and tap into new or otherwise nontraditional talent pools. Of course, adding this to your current workload might feel like a second job, but thankfully, there are programs and tools that help facilitate the process. Here are three to consider adding to your existing toolkit:

    Returnship programs

    ‘Nontraditional’ applies to a wide variety of job seekers, including those out of the workforce for an extended period. Maybe they served in the military, spent a few years taking care of a loved one, or decided to pursue an advanced degree full-time. No matter the reason, a returnship offers these people the opportunity to slide back into the world of work.

    Felicia Fleitman, who manages strategic pipelines at Verisk, a data analytics company, explains the returnship experience as “an intern program for mid-level professionals returning to work.” Recognizing that returnees need help in specific areas, Verisk provides access to training, development, coaching, and mentorship resources designed to restart their career and get them up to speed. Sometimes this leads to a job offer. Sometimes their return isn’t the right fit – and that’s OK too.  

    In terms of recruiting, adding a returnship program provides direct access to countless candidates, who might go overlooked in an ATS. At the same time, you’re giving returnees the chance to get their confidence back while contributing to your organization. A win-win, all around. 

    Video interviewing

    Maybe you’re not in a position to implement a new program, such as returnship. Luckily, there are other ways to tap into nontraditional talent without building something from scratch. For a quick win, take a look at some of your most time-intensive recruitment processes. The administrative workload associated with scheduling and screening candidates is probably not the best use of your recruiters’ time. That workload, coupled with pressure to move fast, forces recruiters to stick with what they know and avoid looking outside the traditional mold. 

    With a tool like video interviewing to automate and streamline, recruiters are able to review more candidates in less time, while continuing to collaborate with hiring managers and other stakeholders. 

    As far as nontraditional talent goes, this technology enables all types of candidates to interview when and where they’re able to – rather than simply at the behest of the organization. Be it pre-recorded or live, video interviewing emphasizes convenience – an important factor in a tight job market, especially with so many job seekers either actively employed or else unavailable during office hours. Video interviewing is also mobile friendly, allowing you to reach candidates in different cities, looking to relocate, or those with mobility issues who can’t necessarily travel with ease. With this type of solution in place, you’re able to cast a wider net with fewer strings attached. 

    Soft skills assessment

    When it comes to finding and engaging new talent, you might still need to think outside the box – or in this case, your industry. Sure, it’s great when candidates fall into your lap having the exact resume and experience you’re looking for. But how often does that happen in 2019? Instead of limiting your search to candidates who’ve done the job before, you can use assessments to find people with transferrable skills that will work well in your industry. 

    Take sales, for example. The ability to sell isn’t contingent on years of experience in a sales position. It’s about having the soft skills and behavioral traits necessary to be productive. Using a pre-hire assessment, you can identify candidates with the highest potential for success, even if their background doesn’t correspond exactly. In fact, nontraditional talent may even outperform other hires because they’re a stronger match – and you won’t know until you assess. 

    It’s tough to say if and when the job market will change, but for now, it’s a candidate’s game and recruiters need to play through. To get candidates from those nontraditional talent pools you haven’t recruited from before, you need to shore up your resources and dive in head first. 

    Written by Greg Moran,
    CEO of Outmatch

  3. 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

  4. New Sales Managers: 3 Reasons Why They Fail

    Great salespeople don’t always make great sales managers. Research reveals why many of these promotions fail, and 3 competency gaps that stand in the way of success.

    When a new sales manager position is available, many times the promotion goes to a top-performing salesperson. But, success in a current role does not guarantee success at the next level. That’s why 40% of promotions fail, according to our partners at Pinsight.

    The risk is two-fold: Promoting the wrong person puts an ill-equipped leader in charge, and at the same time, removes a top performer from the sales team. A near coin-flip success rate isn’t good enough to gamble on. You need a way to tip the odds in your favor.

    At Outmatch, we assess over 50,000 salespeople and sales managers per year, and the assessment data reveals 3 major competency gaps between the roles. These are the areas where the biggest shifts must occur before great salespeople can become great sales managers:

    Communication style: too assertive.

    Assertiveness is a personality trait that gives salespeople their edge. It helps them prospect, pursue the right people, stay persistent, and close deals. But for sales managers, high assertiveness can be a liability. The natural tendency to dominate conversations may prevent sales managers from listening to the needs of their team.

    Temper your assertiveness: When communicating with others, new sales managers should practice active listening, ask questions before giving their opinion, and remember to confront the issue rather than the person they’re talking to.

    Strong at delivering, not driving results.

    The shift from delivering to driving results is a challenging one. Successful salespeople are used to doing things themselves, while sales managers are responsible for helping others achieve their goals. Sales managers must be able to slow down, see the bigger picture, and ensure that the entire team is on track.

    Focus less on details, and slow your work pace slightly: New managers should schedule strategic breaks to reset and remind themselves of the bigger picture. To avoid getting bogged down in details, a good question to ask is, “How is this task contributing to the overall goal?”

    Organized, but not highly strategic.

    Successful salespeople are pros at managing themselves, their tasks, and their time. But at a strategic planning level, sales managers must think realistically and carefully – two traits that probably weren’t needed earlier in their careers, and can even get in the way of strong sales performance. Once promoted, however, these traits become crucial.

    Cultivate realistic and strategic thinking: Before jumping into action, new sales managers should pause to ask questions and evaluate options. It’s also helpful to identify 2-3 great decision makers to run ideas by.

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    Knowing these competency gaps gives sales leaders the power to be proactive. You can assess these competencies to make better promotion decisions, create targeted leadership development plans, and increase your sales manager success rate. To learn more about what makes salespeople successful, check out Charm, Myths, and the Secret to Better Sales Teams:

  5. Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR Leaders

    A recent people management survey asked over 600 HR executives, “What are your top people management initiatives for 2018?” The answer revealed common themes, as well as emerging trends in HR.

    The 2018 survey, which was also conducted in 2017 and 2016, added a third year of consecutive data to the study. In 2018, employee engagement took the top spot as priority #1 for companies of all sizes (over 1,000 employees and under 1,000 employees). Company culture came in second for companies over 1,000 employees, and third for companies under 1,000 employees.

    These results are consistent with the culture and engagement initiatives we’re currently seeing across HR. Both company culture and employee engagement made it in the top three people management initiatives in the survey for three years running – which isn’t a huge surprise. What’s interesting, though, is the emerging priorities we’re beginning to see for the future, such as:

    1. Recruiting and Talent Acquisition: How to source and select talent in a cost efficient and effective manner.

    2. Change Management: How to manage HR priorities through mergers and acquisitions and/or strategic change.

    3. Inclusion and Diversity: How to recruit, develop, and retain a diverse workforce. One survey respondent said,

    Everyone in our industry is talking about diversity, but the numbers aren’t moving. We’re going back to the drawing board to change this, ” said one HR leader.

    4. Remote Workforces: How to manage workforces that are increasingly full- or part-time remote. Another survey respondent said,

    80% of our workforce work remotely or from small satellite offices. We’re struggling to maintain consistency in our strategy and culture,” said another HR leader.

    5. Retention of High Potential Employees: How to retain and develop high potential and high-performing employees.

    Do these HR priorities align with yours? Get ready to pay close attention to these areas in the near future. For a full recap of the results from the 2018 People Management Survey, watch our webinar on-demand.

    Top 5 Emerging Priorities for HR

  6. Don’t Confuse High Potential with High Performance — Here’s Why

    It’s easy to talk about potential and performance as if they’re the same thing. You assume that your high performing employees will deliver rock star results in any capacity because that’s what’s driven them succeed so far, right? And you assume that your high potentials will master any new opportunity they’re given because that’s what potential means… Right?

    Not necessarily. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between high performer and high potential.

    High performers: These people stand out in their current role. They do their job exceptionally well, so it’s only natural that you look to them when it’s time to make a key promotion decision. The problem is, the skills that helped them achieve high performer status don’t always translate to new roles or environments.

    High potentials: These people have the capacity to perform well in many roles. Their range of skills makes them an asset to your organization, but it’s important to remember that high potentials are still developing. They’ll need time to grow into a new role and probably won’t look like a high performer right away.

    So what’s the risk? The cost of confusing performance and potential is bigger than you might think. According to Pinsight, a leader in simulation assessments:

    “If high performers get assigned a new role that they aren’t cut out for, you’ve simultaneously sacrificed a star performer and compromised efficiency in the new position. Alternately, if you assume that a high potential already has what it takes to deliver exceptional results, you’re likely to discourage them and disappoint yourself.”

    In other words, a wrong decision about either type of employee is a turnover risk, and you need to know the difference in order to provide them with the right type of incentive. For example, high potentials crave development opportunities, while high performers are motivated by rewards or recognition.

    OK, so you’ve got high potentials in one hand and high performers in the other, but is it possible for employees to fall into both categories? Read on in this blog: High Performing High Potentials: The New Gold Standard.

  7. Stop Promoting the Wrong People

    What’s the difference between a successful promotion and a failure?

    To answer that question, you have to take a hard look at your high-potential development program.

    Even if you have a good way of identifying high potentials in your organization—using objective metrics, not manager recommendations, because research shows that managers get it wrong 60% of the time—you still may be missing a key piece of the puzzle.

    Just because an employee has potential for success in leadership doesn’t mean they’re ready to step into a leadership role right now.

    Usually, people are called high potential when they perform well in their current role. They bring in top sales. They receive high customer satisfaction scores. They’re enthusiastic about growth opportunities, and they impress their superiors with a “go get ‘em” attitude. But at the next level up, roughly 40% of these star performers will fail. Why? Because they’re not ready.

    How do you know who’s ready and who’s not?

    Looking at current performance is certainly an important factor. No one would suggest that you promote a low performer over a high performer. But what you need is more insight—a sneak peak of future performance before making the final promotion decision.

    The best way to do this is with leadership simulation, which puts employees in real-life scenarios similar to what they would face in the new job. By role-playing challenges they would likely encounter at the next level up, employees are able to demonstrate their readiness for a more demanding role.

    Not only do leadership simulations show you how employees work through scenarios in real time, they also measure three key drivers of success:

    • Leadership skills
    • Personality fit
    • Learning agility

    It’s important to remember that leadership is a series of a transitions, and being successful at one level doesn’t guarantee success at the next level up. Positions at the executive level, for example, will require different skills and personality strengths than positions at the mid-manager level.

    That’s where leadership simulation can continue to provide value as a selection and development tool all the way up the ladder. Having future-oriented metrics on leadership potential and readiness will help you break the cycle of bad promotion decisions and put you track to better succession planning.

    Learn more

    Check out this webcast on succession planning to see how you can layer data-driven strategies—including live virtual simulations—to predict future performance and fuel your strongest leadership pipeline yet.