Conduct a Talent Assessment of your staff

Today’s business owners and managers are tasked with getting the greatest productivity out of their team – it’s all about leading, motivating and inspiring people to do their absolute best. A Talent Assessment is a tool that managers can employ to ensure that they’ve got the right people in the right jobs, and can really make a profound impact on performance when done correctly.

A Talent Assessment is a process by which a business owner or manager takes stock of their current staff by asking two simple questions:

1. Is there anyone on this team who is (or appears to be) struggling with consistently hitting their performance objectives?

2. Do I have the best possible hire in each position in my company or department?

Question #1 is fairly straightforward. Chances are, you can immediately think of one or more team members whom you know are not meeting expectations on a consistent basis. If that’s the case, you have an obligation to the business to take action. For many of us, the “not-so-fun” part of managing a team starts with telling someone that they aren’t performing at the level expected; so we avoid doing it. You don’t need my help to figure out what to do in this instance. Coach, and then monitor results. Make changes if the situation doesn’t improve.

Question #2 is much more complicated, but it’s where the real payoff lies if you can determine the right answer. Sometimes, the answer may be that you have a superstar employee, but you have them in the wrong role. Many managers are hesitant to move A-Player staff members because they’re worried about losing or offending that person. However, that’s simply counterproductive.

Think of it like the coach or manager of a sports team who takes a high-performing player and puts them into a different position on the team because it’s more suited to their skills – like a baseball manager who moves their leadoff batter into the second or third spot because such a move increases their chance of scoring runs. Done haphazardly, reactively, or without forethought and analysis such moves can be risky and even destructive to team production. Done well, however, and you can turn a good team into a World Series contender. Tweaking your lineup can help people from becoming static in their role and lets others know that you are watching and aren’t willing to accept the status-quo.

The methodology for addressing the situation outlined above is a process I refer to as the Talent Assessment and it’s a tool that you should invest time and effort in. Simply put, the Talent Assessment is the process by which you analyze each position in the organization, asking the question, “Do I have the best possible hire in this position?” The process begins with reviewing the Job Profile for each position, and then scoring the team member currently in that role against the benchmark score for a “perfect hire” that’s contained in the job profile. The goal is to make an emotions-free assessment about whether or not it’s time to make personnel adjustments that will have a positive impact on team performance.

I advocate the continuous use of the Talent Assessment by owners and senior managers because performance is never static. It’s an especially important process to consider if any of the following are true:

• You’ve had the same team in place for longer than 12 months, with no adjustments to personnel. Time to look at that lineup.

• Your hiring process is ad hoc or you’re getting inconsistent results from your interviewing / hiring process. Time to validate your original decisions.

• Your business or team is not hitting the performance objectives that have been set. Time to analyze the problem at what is likely the root cause – the wrong people in the wrong jobs.

• You have high staff turnover. Time to find out if you have the wrong person managing staff.

Think of the Talent Assessment process like any other investment decision – by dedicating a little bit of time on the front end, you can dramatically cut your risks and improve results over the long run. Cutting risk and increasing reward – two no-brainer reasons to consider a Talent Assessment for your business or organization.

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