Use these metrics to Rev your talent engine: Development

In this third post in a series on maximizing the talent in your organization, we’ll highlight five metrics focusing on the development of your team members. Last time we looked at talent intake: from the first touch in recruiting through day 90 of employment.

Now that your new employees know where to find the coffee machine, the emphasis shifts to building competency in role quickly so that the organization can maximize the contribution each employee makes in role. By my rough math based on surveys from OECD, BusinessInsider, and US Department of Labor, companies should expect about 2 years of contribution from each employee. So getting each person up to speed quickly and delivering in role is essential.

The essential component of the Development stage is competence in role. Reaching full competency in role doesn’t mean never making a mistake, like a fat-finger trade, it just means being able to do a job effectively and independently. Being able to measure competency in role means that your organization:

  • has a competency model in place for each role
  • assesses competency during hiring/selection
  • uses on-the-job training and assessment to close any remaining gaps
  • actually verifies that the written capability requirements for roles match reality over time

This can seem like a lot of paperwork to manage, but the alternative is an ad hoc system where new employees get thrown in over their heads, ask the people that sit nearby “do you remember how [person who had my job before] used to …,” and then just make it up. So the effort to document tribal knowledge into a current competency database supporting hiring and training can pay off quickly. especially when the cost of low productivity can easily outpace an average cost per hire of $5,100.

Now that we’ve covered a high level introduction to competency in role, here are the essential metrics for the Development stage of your organization’s Talent Engine:

  • Engagement: go beyond satisfaction to measure engagement, especially if you use Gallup’s method which has been validated to correlate to productivity
  • Percent at fully competent in role: this snapshot can be summarized by functional group, business segment, level, or geographical location across an organization
  • Time to reach fully competent in role: show this as a histogram over a certain time period with lines demarcating the current period and previous period averages
  • Percent attrition: total exits divided by approved headcount during a time period (can be summarized as in percent fully competent above)
  • Percent regrettable exits: same calculation as above, but in the numerator only include voluntary exits for which the hiring manager would re-hire the individual into the role

Accelerating the development period of your talent cycle is the “tide that lifts all boats” in the organization, because both your above- and below-average employees will benefit from learning their jobs faster. While we all hope to avoid suffering from the Peter Principle, reaching competency faster is something every employee will welcome.


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