By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
The foundation of a strong talent pool is properly benchmarked jobs, since accurately measuring performance in a specific job is only possible after a standard for performance has been established. Ideally every position in a business is benchmarked, assuring that uniform, unbiased criteria define the accountabilities, skills, attitudes, motivators, behavioral style and experience that each job calls for.
It’s best to let the job speak for itself, rather than having one or two people write a job description that will unavoidably reflect their own idiosyncrasies. An effective benchmarking process2 will call for assembling a team of subject matter experts to collaborate on voicing the job. The expert teamshould include the top three performers currently occupying the position, top performers who have occupied the position within the last six months, the position supervisor, the manager, and one or two people in roles that interact with the job being benchmarked. The team should not include every person occupying the position, since that would lower the bar, resulting in hiring for and accepting diminished performance expectations.
The benchmarking process is a logical opportunity for re-aligning each position with the most up- to-date strategic business initiatives. The team will clarify why the job exists and how it fits into the company’s strategy going forward. As they define, weigh and prioritize key accountabilities, a clear picture emerges. The behaviors, values, personal skills and task preferences required for success in the position can now be used to screen a suitable candidate. A bonus is that the benchmarking process may also close past accountability gaps between positions that gave rise to recurring deficiencies in communication or productivity.
Planning for upcoming leadership needs starts with identifying priority management and executive positions for benchmarking. These would be the ones generally considered most at risk for vacancies and those with a known likelihood of someone leaving, followed by future positions planned to anticipate growth. It’s important to assess the existing team against the benchmarks produced so that any gaps in the current team can be accounted for when planning for new positions, training, or succession.
With jobs benchmarked, the next step is assessing staff to get the most detailed picture of each individual’s profile. Beyond intelligence and experience, individuals bring a unique combination of attitudes, behaviors, and skills to the job. Each of these factors has a direct impact on performance, determining whether the employee is average or exceptional in that particular role.
While a person’s behavioral profile is crucial for determining that they are an appropriate fit for the job, it’s a mistake to rely on behavioral match only. Just as hiring candidates with prior relevant experience is not enough to guarantee top performance, assessments that only describe workplace behaviors are not inclusive enough to most accurately predict potential performance.
A comprehensive assessment process includes an analysis of the underlying attitudes and world view that motivate a person to action. When a job addresses the vital motivations equated to ameaningful life, job satisfaction and the potential for superior performance goes up. Before they can become stars, employees with high potential must be deployed in positions that align to their deeply held intrinsic motivations. The result is invigorated job satisfaction that leads to better retention, and with development, better performance.
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