INTOUCH: Comment On High Performance Modelling and Local Talent Mining

NZ Management’s May issue article “Conforming or conscientious – when personality pays” on the use of psychometric assessment, was timely reminder of the many tools available to organisations to help identify talent. While the recruitment arm of our business is fielding calls from clients who are frustrated with their own efforts to source candidates, across the room the organisational development team is using ‘high performance models’ helping clients to broaden their internal talent pool.
These models are one of the tools used to identify candidates who would not otherwise have been considered for roles – candidates who may not have the expected traditional background in their CV, but who possess the same skills, attitudes and competencies that are present in the high performers of the role. Organisations that are open minded in their approach towards developing internal staff or non-traditional candidates have rich source of talent if they are willing to use an approach like this.
High performance modelling is an approach that identifies behaviours and competencies that are statistically related to performance data. It was traditionally used by organisations with large sales forces – such as the insurance industry – because sales data is easily captured and attributable to individual performance. Organisations that used this approach experienced higher productivity, lower turnover and more effective succession planning.
Today it is used in major banks, financial institutions, IT companies and call centres where it has enabled these organisations to hire outside the norm with some degree of comfort that the person has high probability of success. Some government agencies have also recognised that this approach could be applied to teams of specialist roles such as investigators and analysts. They have found that there is pool of internal talent from support roles that has the same mix of competencies as the highest performers. So why would they not give these people try and open up new local sourcing channel?
Let’s take role such as business analyst – most have two to three job offers on the go and are in high demand. The background of business analyst is fairly generic. They may have some form of relevant tertiary qualification and perhaps some experience analysing business cases, processes, preparing reports or creating data models. However, the most important factors are the core competencies of strong analytical skills and an analytical, process-oriented thinking style. These skills and competencies are actually quite common. You just have to look.
There are number of administration and support staff who require these same competencies and who could be excellent candidates for this type of role. We have lost count of the number of times we have assessed admin/support staff for career development purposes and uncovered an analytical superstar who can foot it with the best. The only thing missing is the opportunity to gain experience. Once uncovered, they set out on journey to use their potential and build new career.
If the organisation is not equipped to respond to this, it begins to look externally. Yet there are some easy steps company can take before doing this:
• Assess people for talent within your own organisation first.
• Change your mindset and be prepared to think outside traditional paradigms.
• Use benchmarking processes like ‘high performance modelling’ to mine for talent.
• If you have to search externally, keep the brief broad and be open to people from non-traditional backgrounds. Use the model or benchmark to determine potential suitability.
• Metrics are important. Capture as much performance data as you can, as regularly as you can. This will help to determine the exact return on investment that each recruitment tool you use is providing your organisation, allowing you to know which tools to change if they are not working well.
Uncovering talent locally and even from within the organisation is one of the most cost-effective ways to solve the talent shortage. To do this, hiring managers need to be open to using processes that assess individuals to uncover hidden talent rather than attracting obvious talent through the traditional sourcing channels. While this is not the complete solution, ‘local talent mining’ will save organisations significant amount of frustration and cost when compared to running international job expos and relocating staff from overseas.

Eugene Ng is director of H2R Recruitment.

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