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It's Not Just About Talent


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  • 1. Leading printing executives into the future It's Not Just About Talent By Jerry Scher Published: January 22, 2013 The Why? One of the greatest challenges in any organization is attracting, hiring and developing the most talented employees. In order to compete in our rapidly changing economic environment you need the most capable and competent people on your team. As you attempt to execute your thoughtfully designed strategies, the greater the value your employees can add to your internal and external clients' lives, the easier it will be to differentiate your offering and gain a competitive advantage One way to determine the impact that talent can have on your company is to assess the performance differential between your best performers and your average performers. Whether your metrics are based on financial results, activity levels, production results, team collaboration or any other metric that you focus on, the competence of your employees will dramatically impact your overall performance. Companies in numerous industries are encountering challenges regarding the type of talent they must recruit, hire and develop. The driving force in many situations is based on the introduction of new and innovative products/services, the impact of technology and the competencies that are required, the need for a more focused team approach and of course the retiring baby boomer generation creating job opportunities. In all companies some jobs are more critical than others because of the overall impact they can have on your successful execution. Whether these jobs are in production, creative services, financial services, client services, sales and marketing, administrative or the executive level, defining performance gaps is an important step. The process of determining the type and quality of the talent you must attract, recruit, hire and develop is a crucial component of aligning your strategies, goals and objectives with your current and desired talent acquisition activities. The What? There are many definitions of talent but typically we think we know talent when we see or experience it. Frequently we refer to the natural strengths an individual possesses but if we limit our definition in this way, we are frequently disappointed. We have all experienced people who are talented but never reach their full potential. Therefore natural talent by itself is not enough. We also need to consider the skills, knowledge and overall competence an individual demonstrates. And that includes both hard and soft skills.
  • 2. Depending upon the position, defining the hard skills is a fairly easy process; but you do have to carefully define the job and recognize what degree of competency is needed to effectively execute the required responsibilities. Aside from traditional job descriptions that describe the prerequisites (i.e. education, past experience, technical skills and specialized training/certification) you also need to define the behavioral competencies to look for in candidates and establish benchmarks. This information is available by assessing your best performers as well accessing research that has been done for similar jobs in multiple industries (i.e. finance, IT, management, sales, marketing, logistics, and data management). While knowledge of your industry and company is important and should be assessed, the soft skills/competencies for many jobs are easily transferable from one industry to another. The behavioral competencies most commonly sought after (of course based on the job) include: Strategic Judgment – Includes a combination and balance of traits necessary to recognize relevant information, and formulate an effective strategy. Effective Enforcing - Includes ability to skillfully correct others when they are violating rules or performing poorly. Innovative - The ability to create new and more effective ways of doing things. Provides Direction – The tendency to manifest the traits necessary for a leadership role. Interpersonal Skills - A balance of traits that relate to effective interaction with others. People Oriented – A balance of traits that would enable one to positively interact with others. Organizational Compatibility – The tendency to work co-operatively with others (assuming sufficient job related knowledge and team compatibility). Negotiating – The tendency to bargain in order to reach a beneficial agreement Within each of these behavioral competencies we can find a variety and range of traits. Some of the more common traits are: • • • • • • • • • • • • Analytical Analyzes Pitfalls Organized Systematic Self-Improvement Self-Acceptance Outgoing Collaborative Enlists Cooperation Persistent Experimenting Takes Initiative
  • 3. • • • • • • • • Planning Frank Diplomatic Wants Challenge Enthusiastic Warmth/Empathy Helpful Optimistic While determining which traits are important for each job you also want to know to what degree they are important. Some traits are considered essential for each position and some are desirable. There are also traits that you want to avoid – in other words, if these traits are exhibited and experienced by others they will actually make it difficult for an individual to succeed. Some of these traits to avoid are blunt, dogmatic, harsh, permissive, impulsive and defensive. The greater degree these traits exist, the more they interfere with an individual’s performance. When you are determining the talent needs for each job you must pay close attention to the soft skills or behavioral competencies that support success. We refer to the hard skills and past experience as Eligibility for the job while we refer to the soft skills or behavioral competencies as Suitability. It is quite common for companies to hire based on Eligibility and then fire employees based on a lack of Suitability for the position. The high costs of hiring or promoting ineffectively is too high to ignore these important insights. The How If you believe that by bringing together the best talent while leveraging their talents you could dramatically improve your company’s performance, than instituting a structured, repeatable process for attracting, recruiting and hiring the best talent should be a high priority. As in all business practices, systems are put in place to ensure predictable outcomes; so why not with your talent acquisition and development process? The first step in the process should involve carefully defining the job and its’ requirements – hard and soft skills. Next, we have to develop a plan to attract the best of the best talent available. If we attract effectively than we need an efficient and cost efficient process to filter through the candidates to create your short list (there’s got to be a better way than to read hundreds or even thousands of resumes). With your short list in hand, you need to refine the list based on a careful review of each of the candidates, especially in the area of suitability. The next two steps involve the first interview and second interview which should be structured and conducted to further screen your top candidates. After the second interview you should be able to identify the top 1-2 candidates. Finally, you should prepare a thorough recruitment package to present to your top choice(s); keeping in mind that if you’re searching for the best talent, they may have other options. The recruitment package must address the benefits of the job and the company from the candidate’s perspective. Finally, a well thought out development plan should be designed for on-boarding the new employee and a longer term strategy that can enable your new hire to become a highly productive member of your team.
  • 4. As businesses continue to become more complex and the need for new strategies, new products and services continues to expand, the need for new and different skills and competencies will drive the importance of identifying and recruiting the most talented employees. Your ability to create a systematic approach to win the talent war will be a critical component to executing your business strategies. If you would like more information about designing a systematic program for attracting, recruiting, hiring and developing top talent read the Peak Focus - Optimized Talent Acquisition and Development Program or contact Jerry Scher at or 404-931-9291. Jerry Scher has been engaged in the graphic communication industry for over 35 years, Jerry's primary goal - make those around him more successful.
  • 5. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. About Peak Focus, LLC People. Performance. Profitability. Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and strengthen your team. With a mix of resources that we’ve created ourselves, as well as several powerful tools we’ve carefully assessed and believe in, we combine our passion and experience to guide companies and individuals toward optimized performance. Select your team members with confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, and learn how to coach your entire team more effectively by engaging the experts at Peak Focus. For more information and access to free resources, please visit our website at Engage With Us Free tools, resources & updates LIKE us on Facebook Check out our blog Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn About What They Think? WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization; offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence, industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging technology and critical events. WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events that are timely and relevant o today’s busy industry executives along with consulting and speaker services that leverage a talented pool of writers and industry analysts. Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2013 • All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.