UK: Employee Performance: Do You Have The Right People On The Bus?

When Jim Collins' team of researchers conducted their analysis of the most productive, efficient and effective of the 126 major corporations they studied, the common denominator was that the "good to great" companies put "the right people on the bus in the right seats".

His book, From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't, is the external validity that the best way to take your company from good to great is to select and hire peak-performing employees before pointing your bus in the right direction.

Prioritising employee selection improves productivity

In the US, an assessment company's 25-year research project involving personal interviews with more than 10,000 managers and assessments of more than 1 million applicants and employees found that prioritising your employee selection process and putting only peak performers on your bus can have a quantitative impact on productivity.

The company's repeated predictive validity studies showed that employees who "passed" its employment tests were over 100% more productive than those who didn't pass. In one financial services company, sales representatives with passing scores were more than 67% more likely to survive the first year of employment.

"Right people on the bus" checklists

Deciding whether you have the right people on the bus means looking at both your hiring practices and your organisational chart with an eye to the "three dimensions of success".

Only if your candidates/employees are compatible with all three of these dimensions can you rest assured that your company can make the move from good to great. The three dimensions are:

Can Do (skills, knowledge and experience)

Will Do (personality and motivation)

Follow-through (values and disciplines).

To get an idea of how well you are applying the three dimensions in your organisation, share these checklists with the appropriate managers or executives, and ask for their feedback.

Checklist for new hires

Assessing "Can Do"

  1. Have we defined the job description to determine the importance of its core competencies, such as skills, knowledge and experience?
  2. If we hire candidates who are not proficient in these competencies, do we have the time and resources to train them effectively?
  3. Do we efficiently and effectively pre-screen our candidates via the internet or over the telephone to assess each of these "Can Do" competencies?
  4. Do we routinely eliminate candidates who do not possess the required "Can Do" for the job for which they are applying?

Assessing "Will Do"

  1. Have we analysed the job description to determine the importance of personality factors such as the candidate's confidence, drive and motivation?
  2. If we hire candidates who do not have the personality and motivation to be peak performers, do we have the time and resources to coach/motivate them?
  3. Do we administer a highly valid/reliable personality test in-house or via the internet to assess these "Will Do" personality traits?
  4. Do we routinely eliminate candidates who do not possess the required "Will Do" for the job for which they are applying?

Assessing "Follow-through"

  1. Have we analysed the job description to determine the importance of the values and disciplines that are characteristic of our unique culture?
  2. If we hire candidates who do not have compatible values and disciplines, do we have the accountability systems to monitor their productivity?
  3. Do we use effective, structured interview questions and reference checks to assess the candidates' "Follow-through"?
  4. Do we routinely eliminate candidates who do not possess the required "Follow-through" for the job for which they are applying?

Checklist for existing staff

Assessing "Can Do"

  1. Do we have, for each of our positions, effective job descriptions that define the importance of having relevant skills, knowledge and experience?
  2. Do we use annual reviews and/or 360 feedback to rate/assess employees' proficiency in their core competencies?
  3. Do we offer educational opportunities to employees to master the required competencies?

Assessing "Will Do"

  1. Do we have, for each of our positions, effective job descriptions that define the importance of having compatible personality and motivation?
  2. Do we use personality profiles and/or 360 feedback to assess employees' personality to determine if it is compatible with their position?
  3. Do we offer effective coaching/counselling opportunities for employees who have incompatible personality or motivation?

Assessing "Follow-through"

  1. Do we have, for each of our positions, effective job descriptions that define the importance of compatible values and disciplines?
  2. Do we use annual reviews, accountability systems and/or 360 feedback to effectively assess employees' compatibility with our organisation's values and disciplines?
  3. Do we offer effective coaching/counselling opportunities for employees who have incompatible values or disciplines?
  4. When we find "Can Do", "Will Do" or "Follow-through" incompatibilities that cannot be corrected, do we try to reassign the individual to a position that is more compatible?
  5. If reassignment is not an option, do we decide that this is the wrong person on the bus, and take steps to immediately get them off the bus?

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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