Businesses that don’t make a conscious effort to stay ahead get overtaken by the fitter, faster businesses coming up behind them. The one, genuine source of long-term competitive advantage today is people. And the secret to getting and staying ahead (without blowing the budget) is making the most of the people you already have.
Better people, better business
In a perfect world you could afford to hire the perfect person every time. Unfortunately the real world comes with budgetary and time constraints, and hiring perfect people might not always be possible. Instead of hiring one superstar for top dollar, doesn’t it more sense to work with the people you already have, developing your talent from within?
Best case scenario, you take your high potentials, give them development opportunities and projects that stretch their capabilities, and come out with a whole TEAM of superstars for less than the cost of that one ’perfect’ hire.
What do you already have?
By collecting and analyzing detailed performance review information, you’ll get a good idea of what your business excels at, and where your skill gaps are. To do this you need to be able to slice and dice the people data you collect by job, department, region, etc.—it’s invaluable for finding and nurturing the right people within the organization. This means having strong analytic and reporting capabilities that allow you to visualize and leverage real-time talent data.
Ask yourself: what metrics define great performance for your organization? What are the key behavioral traits of your current rockstars? How can you translate this information into clear, understandable criteria that’s shared and implemented across the organization?
Know where you're going and what will get you there
If you can’t get where you want to be with what you have, address your skill gaps. Use 180 and 360 degree reviews, self-assessments and competency evaluations to get the big picture of strengths and weaknesses, and assign training that specifically addresses the improvement areas you identify. Clearly link performance with learning: a Bersin study found businesses with tightly aligned talent processes experienced 40% less turnover of high performers and had a 156% great ability to "develop great leaders."(1) Knowing where you’re strong, where you’re weak and how these areas can be developed is not only important for current employees; it also gives you the information you need to successfully grow and future-proof your business.
Engage employees and make your good people great
If you want to develop your solid performers into star performers, you’ll need to invest in their development and keep them engaged. Link performance with learning opportunities, and make sure employees understand how their efforts contribute to your success. It’s important to create and champion a cycle of continual improvement: Millennials, who’ll make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, are much more attracted to companies that invest in employee development.(2)
To see how YouGov is using Cornerstone Growth Edition to get better insight into workforce performance and drive engagement, check out this case study.
1 Bersin, "Talent Management Systems 2013: Market Analysis, Trends and Provider Profiles," page 21.
2 Jessica Brack, "Maximizing the Millennial in the Workplace," UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, page 2.