“There are dangers of being too good at your job”, said the CEO of a large South East Asian bank to our consulting team. He went on to elaborate how important he the High-Potential talent program was to the organisation, but how it was not executed properly. He mentioned that when people are too good at their jobs, they are not encouraged by their mangers to move to other parts of the organisation, learn rapidly, gain new experiences and take on higher responsibilities. There was also a prevalent mindset among senior leaders that talent may not be fungible across related business lines and should be allowed to specialize in a particular area. The CEO understood the need for specialization, but also wanted to develop multi-skilled people to take on senior roles at the bank.
We decided to take an evidence-based approach to addressing the problem. Working with the HR team, we identified a group of 760 employees who were in their HiPO talent pool for the last 3 years. Collectively this pool had over 500 job movements in the last 3 years. Job movements could be across divisions and across departments within a division. It also included promotions.Next, we identified common measures of performance to track how performance changed when HiPO employees experienced job movements.
Our analyses revealed that employees who moved across departments within a division had 13% points higher performance than those who did not experience job movements. Furthermore, when employees moved across divisions (where skill-sets were presumably even more different), their performance was still 10% points higher than HiPOs who did not experience job movements. In parallel, we also tracked the Engagement scores for this group of people to find that employees who were seeing a meaningful number of job movements were more engaged and more likely to stay with the company.
Though the CEO intuitively knew this, the numbers became the basis for driving a deep conversation about how the organisation and leaders thought about talent. Not only was it important to deploy talent across for business success, but it was also important from a talent engagement and retention perspective.
What evidence-based approaches have you tried or want to try in your organisation? Happy to discuss over a cup of coffee or here.