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back to index backGLOBALtalk March,  2015


German Companies Need Talent-Based Hiring and Development

Only about four in 10 employees in Germany strongly agree that they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day. That's an improvement from five years ago, when just three in 10 employees could say the same.

But it's still a reality that should concern every business leader in Germany because it means a majority of the country's employees are working in roles that don't fulfill their needs or allow them to fully contribute their talents at work.

Employees who lack opportunities to do what they do best will rarely achieve a state that the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes as "flow": the satisfaction that comes from performing a task that makes full use of their abilities and completely absorbs their attention. Flow is both the result of and a prerequisite for excellence.

When selecting employees, too many companies don't aim for excellence. Instead, they compare an applicant's qualifications with the minimum competencies required to meet a role's job requirements. Once an employee is hired, managers are expected to identify performance gaps and offer training to help minimize those gaps if that employee's performance falls short of what's expected.

What's missing in this approach is a serious consideration of the talents that are required to perform a role consistently with excellence. Each person has a set of talents, or the innate capacity for excellence. When those talents are refined with acquired skills and knowledge, they become strengths -- or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance -- and strengths are the foundation of excellence. Companies that hire for talent and help employees develop their talents into strengths can harness the power of excellence and turn individual performance into organizational growth.

Hiring for Talent

The aim of talent-based hiring is to reveal an applicant's natural talents and match them -- along with the applicant's acquired competences, skills and knowledge -- with the requirements of a given position. Though skills, education and knowledge are important, nothing predicts long-term success and high performance like talent.

One example of a business that has successfully used a talent-based hiring approach is an international medical technology company with a broad and complex range of products. The healthcare marketplace is highly competitive, and successful sales representatives need to build and maintain long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with doctors and buyers. Hiring an outstanding sales force is crucial to meeting the company's mission and achieving its goals for growth.

This medical technology company partnered with Gallup to develop a selection assessment to find the right candidates for the job. First, the company identified its best sales representatives and asked them questions about their motivations, enthusiasm for the job and relationships with their customers. Gallup used these data to identify the talents required for outstanding performance in different sales roles, and then developed a series of questions to assess whether an applicant has those required talents.

Gallup studies have shown that candidates with high talent achieve significantly higher sales compared with candidates with less talent. In the medical technology company's division in Germany, for example, candidates who Gallup identified as highly talented achieved an average annual sales growth of 37% over a five-year period. In contrast, candidates with lower talent scores achieved an average annual sales growth of 15%, while candidates with the lowest talent scores achieved an average annual sales growth of 7% over the same period. The same study found similar results in the company's sales regions in France and Great Britain.

Candidates with varying levels of sales talent also differ in the degree to which they achieve their sales goals. Candidates identified as having high talent for sales exceed their goals, while candidates with less talent meet their sales goals. The candidates with the lowest talent scores don't meet their sales goals. By hiring for talent, this company loads its sales force with salespeople who are highly likely to excel, ensuring many years of ongoing organic growth.

Despite this kind of proven success, many companies still rely on their hiring managers' "gut feelings" or evaluations of candidates' acquired knowledge, formal qualifications or work experience when selecting people for sales or other roles rather than using a scientifically validated talent assessment. As a result, these organizations don't consistently hire employees who are likely to succeed -- or excel -- in the role they were hired for.

Using a talent-based hiring approach improves the quality of decision-making throughout the selection process. It increases the effectiveness and efficiency of the process itself, reducing the organization's costs. It can also minimize bias and increase diversity in the applicant pool and the company. Most importantly, it increases the likelihood that candidates who the organization hires will meet or exceed performance expectations, setting the company up for ongoing growth and success.

To read entire article, please click here.

Source: Gallup - GAI




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