Posts tagged ‘Quality of Hire’
Every so often I think about succession planning. My own. But I’m not planning on leaving. I’m planning on sharing. Let me explain.
I’m thinking that a lot of CEO problems are caused by people who think they can do a huge job well, all by themselves. Up till now, our company has been small enough that I could do a credible job myself. But as we grow bigger, I find it makes much more sense to work with someone else as sort of an extender. If it was on a shelf at the supermarket it would be called CEO Helper. I prefer the term VisionMeld(tm).
So how do you find someone to share? Role-Based Assessment to start, for sure, but I think asking the candidate to write a Vision Paper really should be part of every recruiting process.
The Vision Paper is a way of explaining to the leadership team of an organization what it is that they are expected to accomplish, the purpose for the venture. It does not go into precisely how they to achieve it since that isn’t a problem for the CEO to solve alone. It begins with a bit of the history behind the product or service and goes on to simply describe the end, the goal or the long-term, desired outcome for the organization. Where most mission statements are vague and general, the Vision Paper is personal. It’s the best measure of the ability to be an inspiring leader I have ever seen. And the knack of inspiring and motivating others to follow your dream is the sine qua non of the successful CEO.
I asked a friend what he thought. Ever practical, he concurred and pointed out that it’s a way of getting to agreement as to what the performance expectations will be. “You’re just trying to find someone who can do the job. To lead a company successfully, you need to know where you’re going and the Vision Paper is your roadmap,” he said.
I guess I’m just more mystical than he is. For me, the energy that goes into writing a Vision Paper reflects back on the author in an almost magical way. If it resonates, you probably have a good basis for a VisionMeld(tm) – and for sharing and succeeding.
It’s like having a learning lab. Not for them, for us. They apply online, take their Role-Based Assessment and we know where they’ll fit. Then the surprises start.
Take Lauren, the Action Mover/Communicator. Could there be anyone more suited to talking to customers and getting them what’s good for them? So I figured she must be majoring in marketing or communications. Was I ever wrong! Some well meaning counselor convinced her that she should stay in accounting after she expressed her doubts. No matter that she didn’t really like the work, though of course she is smart enough to do well in any course. She’d already invested time, and her parents’ money, in the accounting track and it was the prudent thing to advise her to continue with it.
I knew she would be fantastic at any task involving connecting with people in a meaningful way and quickly getting what was needed. And I have not been disappointed. In a few months I’ve seen her do all manner of amazing things. Even though I knew it was in her DNA – that she would inevitably do these things and do them well – it was like watching a bud bloom.
Now her internship is coming to an end and I wish I could get her and the counselor in the same room and remind them that real life is not always like in books.
Now that I think of it, this internship thing is just like speed parenting.
This blog is one year old today. It deserves some recognition and a bit of celebration, if for nothing else other than surviving and growing. Not much different than a human being.
People used to have shorter life spans, primarily because infant death was so prevalent. Now it’s blogs that don’t last. I don’t know how many abandoned blogs dot the blogosphere but a quick search yielded someone making money from ads on abandoned blogs, which sounds to me like putting orphans out to beg, a la Oliver Twist. The one piece of data I found measured blog life by any activity in the past 90 days (like a post). They gave the chance of survival at 50/50.
Survival is an organism’s first expression of power. It’s power that motivates me more than anything else – the power to make change for the better – so no wonder this mini-obsession with blog survival.
Having gotten through this first year with entries on leadership, including the political and economic, I plan to celebrate this blog’s “terrible twos” by talking about motivation in action – people at work. I’m going to start with the full disclosure of how to measure Quality of Hire using the universal metric.
It seems like the right gift to give a blog.
I did an episode of Human Capital Institute‘s HCTV today, an interesting discussion on measuring quality of hire. One thing we all agreed on was that the first step is understanding the real needs of the business and how people accomplish them. Later in the day, Jack sent me this story:
Rick, fresh out of accounting school, went to a interview for a good paying job. The company boss asked various questions about him and his education, but then asked him, “What is three times seven?” “Twenty-two,” Rick replied. After he left, he double-checked it on his calculator (he *knew* he should have taken it to the interview!) and realized he wouldn’t get the job. About two weeks later, Rick got a letter that said he was hired for the job! He was not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but he was still very curious. The next day, he went in and asked why he got the job, even though he got such a simple question wrong. The boss shrugged and said, “Well, you were the closest.”
Seems to me that lots of old style assessments get you exactly that. What you want is a description of how that person is going to behave, not an abstract score on something that may bear little relationship to the actual needs of the business. So in that spirit, let’s return to Rick. I think he’s actually pretty good, though I don’t know of I could say as much about the boss.
For one, even though he has a degree, he doesn’t make the assumption he knows everything. We know this because he goes to an authority (his calculator) and checks. Second, he doesn’t take things for granted and he doesn’t cover up when he makes a mistake. We know this because he asks the boss why he got the job even though he made the mistake. And from the same question we know he is curious and isn’t afraid to ask questions, which is probably the best kind of person you can hire.
Most important, he’s flexible. Sometimes, an approximation is more useful than spending a lot of time getting exactly the right number to fourteen decimal points.
On second thought, I like the boss too. He knows people aren’t perfect and they aren’t off-the-shelf ready on day one. And he’s willing to be flexible and let people rise to the occasion.
Another good day. I learned more than I taught.
According to a recent Aberdeen report, quality of hire is the top metric for 63% of non-HR execs while only 49% of HR execs agree. The HR execs rate time to fill at the top of their list while a mere 17% of non-HR execs care about it.
Add to that, Aberdeen’s survey of 400 organizations worldwide which found that the ones that equate competency with behavior are 35% more likely to improve revenue per employee than those that equate it with knowledge or skill. Is there any question that hiring for the right fit – the right behaviors – is the only metric that really counts?
Our CTO said to me years ago, “you can have it cheap, fast or good – pick two.” Good was my top choice. I knew I didn’t have a prayer of getting fast (is anything you want ever fast enough?), though if I wasn’t too cheap I could outbid the competitor for time and attention and probably get things a little faster. So I went for the only kind of competency that counts in the end: delivering high quality when it’s ready. Best of all, it wasn’t only a good bottom line decision, it was a good lesson for me in the virtue of patience!
When it comes down to it, the best judges of quality of hire are your customers. So imagine my slightly mixed feelings at getting these three emails within the space of a few hours from my daughter Marni, QoCS (Queen of Customer Service).
1- I came in to find an email sent out to the floor. It was a kudos to me. It seems that a nurse called back hours after I talked to her to let my manager know that I was “friendly and knowledgeable”. Yay me!
2- Jamie from Client Services just came over and asked if I remember talking to a specific nurse yesterday (she’s a supervisor in a generally new account) and she said that I was the only person to be able to do ANYTHING for her and thank you.
3- So a nurse (who is actually pretty new) called and asked for me specifically and it was just a regular thing of taking an order and when I asked why she asked for me she said “because you know what you are doing.”
I was in London for a customer so by the time I read them, it was too late to call and tell her how proud I am of her. And how happy I am that I was wrong. (Oh no, stop the presses: mother admits to being wrong!)
This is the kid I didn’t understand until she took a Role-Based Assessment. I mean, really, I’ve been interviewing people most of my life, been a therapist, done expert testimony. I gave birth to her and lived with her for all that time – the equivalent of a few years of interviews at the very least – and still did not get her. Of course once she went through RBA for career help (now online at www.Tools4Careers.com) and I got over the shock of having raised a kid who is that caring she can handle anyone’s problems any time as long as they are very short term, it was pretty obvious she was born to be QoCS. Even though I thought she was just being stubborn, not wanting to become a psychologist or run a company.
Mom 0, Customers 1. I think I like being wrong.
I love belonging to the Human Capital Institute community. Being on the Measuring Quality of Hire Expert Panel gets me an invite to participate in their webcasts (and occasionally give one of my own). Yesterday’s starred Kevin Wheeler of Global Learning Resources on the effects on quality of hire of assessment vs performance management. By the end, a few things were clear. First, to really measure quality of hire is extraordinarily difficult if you haven’t been schooled in research procedures. Second, you really need to do both – assess before you hire and have some rational performance management system geared to what you’ve hired them for. And third, it really is delightful to share ideas with experts who are receptive and responsive. And most of all, it’s so nice to be welcomed by the people who turn a web and phone based experience that could feel so isolated into something that truly feels like community. Kudos Bill, Amanda et al!