I came across this interesting blog post by Josh Bersin. He clearly outlines a possible approach an organization might take to identify high performing teams, replicating such success and what all of this means for HR.
How do you Differentiate? Who are really the High Performers?
The more difficult question is identifying who these high performers are. When one team outperforms another (e.g. a sales team), is it because of a single person, the manager, the teamwork they have, or just luck? How does a manager identify what we may call the “pivotal” talent in the team? And just because a manager gives one person a great performance appraisal, does that really mean that this person is “the top contributor?”
One way do to this is called “high performer analysis.” One of the companies we’re working with (I will talk about who this is soon) is a large consumer brand with thousands of stores throughout the US. This organization looked at store sales across all its geographies and selected the top 40 performing stores. They then did a detailed analysis of the store managers in these stores and compared them to the store managers in the 40 “average” performing stores.
They looked at age, tenure, experience, personality characteristics, skills, competencies, and a variety of other factors. What they found was essentially a “heat map” of the specific characteristics which “define” high-performing managers in this particular company.
How do you Create More of these High Performers?
Once this work is completed, the next step is to redesign the employee branding, recruiting, succession, training, and leadership development for these roles. This redesign will build directly upon the upon the key characteristics of these high-performers.
In this particular case, for example, the client found that one of the attributes of a high-performing managers is a passion for quality. In this particular business store cleanliness, order, and accuracy have a huge impact on sales. The managers who are meticulously organized and quality-oriented drove much higher sales. (This may or may not be true in all businesses, by the way.)
So what does this Mean to HR?
Which gets me back to the original point of this article. In the “fourth stage of HR” (and I will describe these four stages soon), human resources professionals stop spending so much time worrying about “overall employee wellness” and spend far more time helping the business leaders “find and replicate” high-performance.
Look at it this way. Businesses spend 3-5% of payroll on HR and training-related activities. And much of this is dedicated to must-have programs like compensation, benefits, employee communications, and record-keeping. With the discretionary training and HR dollars we have, shouldn’t we spend most of them on finding and replicating high-performance? I think so.
What do you think? What is your approach to differentiating talent and building high performance teams?