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Lessons from Great Coaches and Other Myths
Posted By Dr. Wendell Williams On January 9, 2013 @ 6:45 am In Opinion | 5 Comments
Great coaches don’t work with players who pass an interview. Their players are thoroughly pre-screened by skilled talent scouts who watched each and every one of them excel at the game. Only the best and most talented players ever got to meet the coach. In the corporate world, coaches would be similar to line managers. Talent scouts are represented by recruiters. But the analogy ends with titles.
HR recruiters in the corporate world don’t use tryouts, so they don’t really know whether candidates can do the job. Line managers are generally promoted into their job because they were good individual contributors, so about 70% don’t have any coaching skills at all. Just imagine what a team would be like if talent scouts used corporate recruiting methods: “Are you fast? Yes. Agile? Yes? What kind of barnyard animal would you most like to be?” And, if coaching consisted of “Do what I tell you.”
Yep, organizations seem to think advice from great coaches them all they need to know about candidate skills. But have you ever considered how great people are really selected?
But, if you want to work in an organization, all you have to do is successfully answer a few questions. Do these questions screen-in people with skills? Generally not. They screen out people with bad answers. Is it any wonder so many employees fail on the job?
But this is just my personal idea, right? No. Best hiring and promotion practices were published over 30 years ago by the Department of Labor in the “Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures.” Yet, when I bring it to the attention of HR, recruiters whine about not having time to do all that stuff and managers complain about losing control. I could understand if they both were doing a great job … but, not so much. Can you imagine your lawyer, doctor, or anyone else claiming to be a professional complaining about needing to learn all they can about their profession?
Why am I making this into such a big problem? Hundreds of studies show employees in the top half of the workforce out-produce employees in the bottom half by at least 2 to 1 (e.g., it’s even higher for managers and professionals). Think about it. An organization staffed with fully qualified employees is either amazingly productive with the same number of people, or needs a much smaller payroll to do the same amount of work. Put some numbers to that!
What exactly do the ‘Guidelines suggest that bugs these whiners so much? Simply this: organizations should base hiring/promotion/selection standards on job requirements and business necessity; they should conduct validity studies to ensure each hiring tool accurately predicts job performance; and, they should reduce adverse impact whenever they can.
Now, if you are a recruiter who cares about hiring/promoting/selecting fully qualified employees, what part of the ‘Guidelines do you think is unimportant? Job requirements and business necessity? Using effective tools and doing validity studies? Reducing adverse impact? Or, do you only care about filling requisitions, and the hiring manager can just live with it?
Why don’t organizations follow the pros examples? It can be reduced to seven basic explanations…
Only one department holds the keys to immediate ROI; and, it has a choice: remain comfortably asleep at the switch; or, do an honest self-assessment, dump traditional interviewing in favor of job-tryouts in the front-end, screen-out more unqualified employees, and stop expecting line-mangers to sort-out bad performance later.
So, the next time you read an article praising the secrets of great coaching, remember talent scouts first sent them fully skilled people, and coaches are skilled at coaching. BTW: in case you think this idea is new, many of the Fortune 500 have been using best-practice hiring/promotion technology for almost a century, and many of the Fortune 1000 use it every time they open a new manufacturing facility. What benefits do they enjoy? Faster startup … higher quality … better productivity …and, less training. How about them apples?
Nevertheless, I’ll bet after reading this wake up call, 99% will just hit the snooze button again and fall back to sleep.
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