Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Pajama Workforce - Talent Management

The Pajama Workforce - Talent Management
By Ken Lahti.

Step 1: Business outcomes: Identify the business outcomes that drive performance in the role. How do these roles help accomplish the organization's mission? This information can help clarify the sensibility of moving the work to remote delivery and also informs the choice of assessments. Solving for improved customer service may require a different approach than trying to drive sales or reduce project timelines.

Step 2: Competencies and skills:
Identify the work behaviors, including judgment and decision making, that drive successful performance in the role. What actions differentiate high and low performers? This information is usually gathered through a rigorous job analysis, the results of which are documented in a formal report. Typically, information about job requirements can be rolled up into a manageable number of competencies and skill areas that can be evaluated during the selection or placement process.

Step 3: Assessments: Identify the tests, simulations, interviews and performance information that will be used to assess candidates or employees to objectively evaluate job-related competencies and skills. Yes, performance is a form of talent measurement, and if current employees are being considered for at-home roles, take into account relevant competency-based information from their demonstrated performance in the organization.

By following this recipe, talent managers can integrate information about organizational goals, business metrics and job requirements into an objective assessment process that will produce business intelligence on which employees are more likely to perform well and stay with the organization. Today, given the maturity of the assessment industry, in most cases it is possible for organizations to build a valid assessment and selection process using some combination of existing tools, eliminating the need for costly custom research and development efforts.

Keep It Real

In recruiting and staffing processes, how talent managers assess at-home work potential depends on things such as:

  • Job type and level — contact center agents vs. technical professionals, for example.
  • Volume of candidates.
  • Number of at-home positions and the urgency with which they must be filled.
  • Criticality of the position and how important it is to get it right: What is the cost of a bad hire?
Often it comes down to how much time talent managers have to evaluate candidates and how much time they are willing to spend on the process. Are talent managers trying to squeeze an evaluation down to a 30-minute online assessment plus a one-hour hiring manager interview? Or do they have the luxury of 90 minutes for online testing, perhaps spread across two sittings or separate test events, plus another two to three hours or more for interviews?

Usually, potential for success in at-home work is one component in the assessment program, along with evaluation of other job-relevant skills, technical knowledge or key competencies. For example, in a one-hour assessment battery for at-home contact center agents, the assessment of at-home work potential may be only 10 minutes of the process. It may be administered along with a call center simulation, behavioral or personality scales, and biodata or background information — all of which are designed to predict success performing the full range of duties for contact center agents — delivering service, selling effectively and providing technical support — not just their ability to work from home. Other times, the at-home work arrangement is so unique or such a critical determinant of success that the evaluation of at-home work potential is nearly the entire focus of candidate evaluation.

Talent leaders can be successful sending people home to do mission-critical work for their organizations, but only if they choose the right people. Given the stakes, it is worth the investment to set up an effective talent measurement program to assess candidates for key competencies, skills and fit with the work environment.

Ken Lahti is vice president of strategy and content at PreVisor.

No comments:

Want to share something?

Hi! If you're a WAHM and have articles which you feel would contribute to the growth of all freelancers, independent contractors or home-based workers, or if you want to share any of your experiences or musings working from home, please feel free to send them over to bexmvpr at yahoo dot com.