Using key performance criteria to avoid costly hiring mistakes
Thinking carefully about key performance criteria for different roles is critical in order to avoid costly hiring mistakes at scale. Read more about McKinsey’s take on how becoming more thoughtful and data-driven about hiring is sure to increase the quality of hires in total.
When the goal is to improve the quality of hires, many organizations often find it quickest, and easiest, to simply add more assessments to their hiring processes. Starting with the end state in mind – a clear definition of job performance – before adding more assessments may go against instincts to make quick and decisive talent decisions. However, a more objective and data-driven approach is critical to avoid costly hiring mistakes. These are the three specific steps you should take to become more thoughtful about hiring:
1. Defining the ‘what’s and ‘how’s of performance
For many roles, defining and measuring job performance can be surprisingly hard. To help frame the discussion, consider the ‘what’s and ‘how’s of performance. The ‘what’s captures the core technical aspects of a role and the ‘how’s should refer to the fashion in which technical work is executed. For an HR professional for example, resolving employee relations issues would be considered a ‘what’, while volunteering for non-role tasks and maintaining a positive attitude would be considered a ‘how’.
It’s important to consider a holistic view of performance that accounts for both ‘what’s and ‘how’s that drive distinctive value for the organization. For instance, maybe the HR professional in our example above has a great track-record of resolving employee relations issues (‘what’s), but if this person also tends to not maintain a positive attitude (‘how’s) it might not be the best fit for your organization. Considering the trade-offs that may exist between the ‘what’s and ‘how’s is therefore key to getting more concrete about performance.
2. Finding the right performance data
Today, the challenge is rarely finding performance data, but rather in identifying the “right data”. Data that will accurately capture the unique contribution from a given role to the achievement of organizational goals. As any single measure of performance is likely to be flawed in some way, try to acquire and combine several different data sources. Several different data sources combined is more likely to prove if someone is a high performer.
For salespeople for example, sales revenue numbers can be significantly impacted by assigned region. Overreliance on revenue numbers alone could therefore create a flawed view of who the best salesperson is. However, combining revenue numbers with data showing the effort needed to generate each lead per region can in this example solidify our view of the level of performance per salesperson.
3. Connecting performance and assessment results
As we all know; what works today will not necessarily work one year from now. For that reason, to continually track and measure all new hires’ performance alongside their hiring assessment results is crucial. All to ensure that the criteria that predicted performance last year continues to predict performance accurately this year. If not, it may be time to start back at step one. Adding this third step does not only add a deeper understanding of high performance to your hiring approach, but it also adds a data and analytics infrastructure that allows for ongoing monitoring and optimization post hire.
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