Ask any business leader what their top priority is for the next few years, and they likely will tell you the same thing: “I want to grow the business.”
Expanding revenues and market share are important goals for business leaders, though their confidence in achieving those goals has wavered in recent months. PWC’s 2019 CEO survey found that just 36 percent of CEOs are very confident about their three-year revenue growth prospected, down from 45 percent in 2018. One reason for their pessimism is the ongoing struggle to find talent. Availability of key skills was ranked as a top three threat to business growth (up from fifth place in 2018).
This conundrum underscores a misconception about the role that new talent plays in long term business success.
Many companies see business growth as a driver of new hiring – if the company grows, we need to hire more people to meet increased demand, but that theory puts the cart before the horse. To successfully grow a business you must first hire the right talent to take it forward. That means finding people with the skills and aptitude for identifying future business opportunities, managing new risks, and delivering innovations that will delight customers and increase product demand.
Re-set expectations through workforce planning
Most agree that success in the future will require leaders with greater creativity, entrepreneurship and complex problem-solving skills; and employees will need skills to adapt to a constantly evolving marketplace. That means companies can’t rely on past profiles of successful candidates to vet new hires. You need to take a fresh approach to workforce planning by bringing the HR team, business unit leaders and the c-suite together to link the required talent and skills with business strategy.
The outcome of the workforce planning meeting should be:
- A common set of attributes and traits that reflect the culture of the company. These qualities can be infused in all job profiles.
- The identification of specific skills and traits necessary for future key roles.
- The determination of any talent risk related to these roles (i.e., high demand for skills, time to onboard, high turnover).
It is critical to align job profiles with future expectations. Will your leaders need to have greater digital aptitude? Will they be required to lead in times of duress? Solve complex problems? Even if these qualities were not a priority for talent in the past, they might very well define your highest performers in the future. Once these roles and attributes are defined, assessments can identify who in your talent pool has all of the qualities you need to drive the business forward.
Assessments and workforce planning
Before you can scale your team with the right talent to drive business growth, you need to create predictive hiring profiles that define exactly what traits and capabilities you need in each role to position the business for future success. IO psychologists will validate whether the skills and traits that were identified during workforce planning are accurate and will determine the level of each trait that is required to succeed.
Workforce planning sessions help determine what qualities future employees need and how many people are required to achieve objectives. They don’t tell you who in your talent pipeline possesses the qualities needed. Psychologically validated assessments make it easier to identify “quality” candidates because they allow you to compare each candidate’s traits and abilities with the traits and abilities required to succeed. Filling new positions for roles that didn’t previously exist comes with increased uncertainty. Assessments add certainty by providing another data point to round-out hiring decisions.
Business growth can’t occur without the right team in place, but if you take the time to identify the skills you will need in the future, assessments will become a vital tool for building the right team to get you there.