Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Talent Management Next Practice #2: "Hiring for Digital Minds"

The mind is the innovation engine of any human progress, but also the root cause of almost all human problems.

“Hiring for Minds” is the extended and detailed next practice of “Hiring for Character,” "Hiring for Attitude" and “Hiring for Potential” philosophy and methodology. Many hiring managers aren't comfortable with evaluating “mindset,” or just lack the skills to evaluate it properly, and instead they rely on the answers the candidate gives to the more concrete skills inquiries. However, the mind is the innovation engine of any human progress, but also the root cause of almost all human problems. So more specifically, how can managers leverage talent assessment methodology and tools, talent development plans and practices to evaluate and build the right sets of digital minds, capabilities, and skills in order to compete for the future?

The effective talent management next practices should be more structured and focus on digging deeper into mindset level: what questions to ask, what questions not to ask, and how to using questions that elicit insightful answers and reveal the truth about the candidate’s mindset and attitude; how to define different types of digital minds, how to create a structured approaches for assessing and evaluating not only the behaviors, but digging through to mindset level: how do people think, why do they think that way, and how do they approach problems and solve problems, so you can easily and consistently differentiate future high performers from mediocre mindset in your organization. And, of course, you can also use your discoveries to find and recruit high potentials with hard-wire attitude and multi-dimensional intelligent minds into your culture to keep high performers engaged.

The 9-box grid is an individual assessment tool that evaluates both an employee’s current contribution to the organization and his or her potential level of contribution to the organization: The 9-box grid is a simple table graph that rates “potential” on the Y or vertical axis, and “performance” on the X, or horizontal axis. In other words, the vertical columns of the grid identify an individual employee’s growth potential within the organization, and the horizontal rows identify whether the employee is below, meeting or exceeding performance expectations in his or her current role. (SHRM.COM)  First, consider that the power of the 9-box is not in the tool, but in the discussion. The best "fresh" approach is to change how you engage participants - are they grounded in a common view of talent? Are they entering the process honestly or selfishly? Do you actually follow through on talent decisions derived from the exercise? Some practitioners think that 9-box is highly subjective and only gives you a piece of the puzzle. Knowing how your people perform on the key areas that drive the business will help you make the right talent decisions. Too often the failure is in the execution, not the tool.

The paradox of Culture Fit: It is more about culture intelligence and adaptation: You need “misfit” mind to innovate culture, and you need culture fit to harmonize workplace. Because sometimes a “too fit” homogeneous team might cause change inertia (people get stuck in the comfort zone), have a cognitive gap, create a blind spot, and lead to the “group thinking” trap. Hence, the digital mindset assessment is necessary to understand different thinking patterns and styles of employees or candidate, are they mostly systems thinker or intuitive thinker; more analytical or synthetic; more out of box thinker (critical & creative) to break the old rules, or more compliant to follow the orders; think more linear or nonlinear, holistic or mechanical way, etc. Technical competence, development potential, and culture adaptation are powerful together and add an element that is especially important in today's business environment.

Talent gap analysis and succession planning: Potential is quite a broad concept, one needs to anchor it a little to enable objective measurement by linking it to the important behaviors required for either the role or job level. When used for succession planning, one may want to focus more on the required competencies at the next level, rather than the current level the individual is at, in order to be proactive about gap analysis and succession planning. Competencies are a broad concept usually made up of a cluster of mindset (thought processes), capability, skills, knowledge, personality, and 'other' variables such as interest and values, It is important to leverage effective and updated tools used by high-quality assessors to measure these factors more objectively. Talent assessments can provide a good measure of the potential of your talent (talent audit - individual or aggregate data to provide a good picture of strengths and development gaps) or provide information on how your talent compares by geography/job level/industry or business function (talent analytics). Another good application of objective measures is to provide you with objective data on culture intelligence and adaptation. People have the innate strength or raw intelligence, and yet they can be developed, especially if one is aware of the natural potential waiting to be tapped. So the systematic talent management approach is to integrate not only more talent management information, but also use analytics to digital through mind level, and determine the people drivers of business outcomes.

With "VUCA" characteristics of digitalization, Talent Management will see the urgency of being innovative- because the frequent digital disruption is inevitable and ideally, "Hiring for Digital Minds" should be common practice for talent managers to take innovative initiatives, set the course for people management, culture management, and business growth in a digital way.


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