Performance Management and Mastering Talent Acquisition

Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2 – TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives.  TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and having the cultural mindset to embrace the needed diversity of the workplace.

Today’s guests are Kathy Hammond, Account Manager of Talent Assessment, Western Region for PSI Services and Tamra Chandler, CEO and Founder of PeopleFirm. To hear the entire show, click here.

On the show today, two talent experts talk about talent assessment and performance management.

Kathy Hammondperformance management

Kathy Hammond is currently an Account Manager in the Talent Assessment division of PSI, one of the oldest talent assessment companies in the US that provides selection testing and leadership development services to its clients. While spending most of her career in business development, Hammond always wondered what propelled companies, and humans, forward in order to accomplish tasks. It led her to study business coaching in South Africa and later to pursue a Master’s in Organizational Management. She has been with PSI for two years now.

PSI has authored over 1800 assessments since its inception in 1946 and has thousands of validation studies behind those assessments. PSI has a modular approach wherein they look at a job description and, based on that, take an assessment that they’ve already authored and use that for the recruitment process. “This way, there’s a customized approach without the price tag that comes with a customized test for each job,” says Hammond. There are 193 core behavioral and cognitive tests in PSI’s database. These are very powerful predictors of performance. Since human nature doesn’t change with changing times, these tests are as relevant as they were years ago. Skills can be trained but the intellectual ability and work attitudes cannot be trained. These are the qualities that PSI tests through its assessments.

Selection Testing

Selection testing is all about helping companies find top tier candidates, according to Hammond. The talent market is very competitive right now and it is extremely important to find the right team. Testing helps find people who are a good fit and have the intellectual horsepower to do the job as well as the willingness to do the job well. There are studies that suggest that if you test earlier in the recruiting process it helps save a lot of time that recruiters otherwise spend in interviewing the wrong candidates. Testing helps weed out the candidates that aren’t cut out for the role. It helps focus on pursuing people that are actually going to help make the company move forward. “Selection is a huge strategy for companies to be able to build the best teams,” says Hammond. Companies that have tracked the value of assessments have noticed a significant commercial value in it over the years.

The Road to Ne

Hammond has authored a book called “The Road to Ne” which was born out of her business coaching studies in South Africa. It’s an allegory about a man who isn’t where he wants to be and doesn’t know how to get where he wants to go because he doesn’t know that things are possible. “They say in Ne all things are possible. It’s not just the story of this man but is also a workbook to actually take you step-by-step on being able to achieve any goal you wish,” explains Hammond.

Trust Your Abilities

Hammond believes that people often fail because they doubt their abilities. Her given example comes from a security solutions company she worked for when she lived in Florida. The company had adopted a new business model and within four to five months it went out of business. According to Hammond, the single largest mistake they made was that they didn’t plan for success. They had everything working for them but in the end that was the thing that undermined them. “A lot of us are very short-sighted and we don’t believe in what is possible. This happens a lot in organizations. We don’t have trust in our own abilities and our people’s abilities. If we did that a little bit more, a lot of organizations would see themselves transform overnight,” Hammond explains.

What Are You Reading?

Kathy Hammond is currently reading “What Are You Waiting For” by Kristen Moeller. The book talks about how people keep waiting, endlessly, for the right conditions and the right time to do things and look for answers outside of themselves. They never end up doing anything because it’s never the right time. The author inspires the readers to move forward and take the shot because the right time is now and that is all we have.

How Can People Connect With You?

Connect with Kathy via PSI’s website

Tamra Chandlerperformance management

Tamra Chandler is the CEO and Founder of PeopleFirm, a management consultancy based out of Seattle. They focus on driving and inspiring people and in turn inspiring their performance. They partner with their clients and help them identify the key drivers of performance starting with strategy and connecting that to culture, structure, people and the nature of work. These are the five rings of high performance that Chandler’s company uses to provide solutions to its clients.

Chandler has been helping clients drive strategic change for roughly 27 years. She started out as an engineer and then eventually ended up in consulting to help her clients drive strategic change and build high performing teams.

Current HR Scenario

According to Chandler, HR professionals have started to think about their role in building high performing organizations. They’re exploring how to build purpose driven organizations so that the employees are really connected to the company’s values and mission. They’re also focusing on building cultures where teams thrive which means creating agile cultures that are safe for people to do great work. They’re also starting to think about how to question some of the old thinking and how to challenge traditional performance management methods and the way organizations drive and measure engagement. Lastly, HR folks are also thinking about how to create a collaborative and virtual environment that encourages people to be creative in order to get the work done.

Getting Most Out of Your Talent

As HR professionals begin to question the age-old processes and methods in their field, two themes emerge – trust and customization. The company’s leaders have to have a level of trust that their people are doing their work and that they’re giving it their all. In return, the employees also have to trust their leaders to operate on their behalf and create an environment where they can really thrive in order to be successful. As far as customization goes, there is no one right answer for all companies. Leaders need to first agree on a strategy for their people. They need to think about the promises they made to their people which are unique to their environment, their industry, their culture and so on. Once that is understood, they should figure out the gaps in order to deliver those promises to their people. This way, when they go out in the market for recruiting they have a differentiated point of view and they can sell exactly what they’re going to deliver. At a micro level, Chandler believes it all boils down to relationships. One on one relationships between the leaders and their employees goes a long way in getting the most out of them. Simple questions and dialogues on what the individual employee is working on and how can the leader help in achieving goals can be very helpful in creating an environment of trust and productivity.

Performance Management Reboot Solution

“Our traditional approach to performance management doesn’t work,” says Chandler. She has observed that the goals of performance management don’t match the outcomes and the efforts that are being put in. Thus, Chandler helps her clients step back and identify the top three goals that they should achieve via performance management – employee development, fair rewarding and driving organizational performance. These goals are common to most companies. However, the customization bit comes in when a company figures out how important is the relative priority of those three goals. For instance, a nonprofit that doesn’t have a lot of money would put a lot more emphasis on driving organizational performance and developing people because that is why people are there. They care about the organization’s purpose and are looking to develop a skill or expertise. However, a hi-tech company that’s on the bleeding edge of technology and is trying to attract top engineers may put a lot more importance on rewarding equitably and connecting that to driving performance. Thus, Chandler helps clients create specific design principles that map to these goals and help them understand which of the three are the most important to them. She then recommends different tools and techniques that would help them achieve their goals. Chandler believes that in the past, performance management tried to achieve all of these three goals with the same solution and that didn’t work. Thinking about these goals independently and in the context of a company’s priority is important since it’s all about customization.

Rethinking Performance Management

Chandler authored a book earlier this year called How Performance Management Is Killing Performance-and What to Do About It.It offers solutions for revamping the old school, top-down approach of traditional performance management. “The first step is realizing you have a problem,” explains Chandler. Some companies keep on tweaking their existing systems and eventually realize that they need something new and they are excited about creating great experiences for their employees. On the other hand, there are some companies who are forced into it because they see all their competitors doing it and feel compelled to change their methods. Chandler has observed that what’s common between most organizations is that they don’t know what to do and how to get started. Companies need to go through an educational process where they step back and figure out what they’ve done before in their performance management and what hasn’t worked. It’s important to understand the contemporary multicultural, volatile, always-on kind of workplace in order to make the shift in the systems to make them work. It has to be followed by appropriate goal-setting and then identifying the right tools and techniques to “configure the solutions.”

What Are You Reading?

Tamra Chandler is currently reading The Girl in the Spider’s Webby David Lagercrantz. It’s the fourth book of the famous Millennium series. She is also planning to start reading “StandOut 2.0” by Marcus Buckingham.

How Can People Connect With You?

Connect with Tamra by visiting her company website