Capp’s five-step approach to strengths-based recruitment

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January 2012
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Monthly Archives: January 2012

What is Strengths-based Performance Management?

There are two core elements to any performance process: performance measurement and performance management.

 

Performance measurement is concerned with how we track, monitor, record and measure the outcomes of performance. The emphasis should always be on outcomes – what the person achieves – rather than inputs, which relate to how they got there.

 

Performance management is about the conversation that supports the performance. How we set goals, work to achieve those goals, receive feedback and calibrate along the way. Managers have a crucial role to play in effective performance management, since they help (or hinder) us in delivering our best performance.

 

Strengths-based performance management puts strengths at the heart of this process. When people use their strengths they are more likely to achieve their goals and objectives, as well as gaining a host of other benefits.

 

The central premise of strengths-based performance management is that using strengths is the best way to achieve outcomes. Hence, the measurement is still always focused on outcomes, but the management will be more focused on harnessing strengths.

 

As you’d expect, we put this into practice in our own work at Capp, using a balanced scorecard that links individual objectives to our corporate strategy. Each objective has a strength aligned to it, so each member of the team is encouraged to use their strengths as the best way to achieving their objectives.

 

With strengths linked to objectives in this way, it also becomes easier to highlight where people might need help, so we use the Realise2 4M Model to align strengths and goals across the team, using complementary partnerships and strengths-based team working to achieve more together than would ever be possible on our own.

 

After all, as the late, great Peter Drucker prophesied in The Effective Executive in 1967, “the unique purpose of organization is to make strength productive…one cannot build on weakness.”

 

Despite this, many companies thought for many years that measuring performance against generic competencies was the answer to everything. But the times they are a’changin… There is a better way, as strengths-based performance management shows.

 

What are your performance management experiences?

 

Share your comments on The Capp Blog and let us know if you get to use your strengths at work, or if your company is stuck in a competency mindset of everyone being good at everything (tip: they’re not, however hard they try).

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Anniversary Reflections on Alex’s Extreme Swim

It’s one year today since I completed my extreme swim across Llyn Llydaw on Snowdon, on Saturday 29 January 2011. If you followed the swim at the time, you might remember that this was a 200m swim across open water that was just above freezing, where we had to break the ice to get the support boat and me into the water. Just to complete the picture, the air temperature was -2C and I was wearing only Speedos and a swimming cap. You can watch the video if you’d like to see what this was like.

 

I often think back to this day, since it represents what I consider to be one of the greatest achievements of my life. Through the generosity of our supporters – both individual and corporate (thanks to our friends at Napp Pharmaceuticals, Ernst & Young, and Co-operative Funeralcare) – we ultimately raised over £25,500 for the Children’s Heart Appeal, helping Birmingham Children’s Hospital reach their Appeal total of £2m for a state-of-the-art hybrid cardiac operating theatre.

 

I like to think of this swim, and everything that it achieved, as positive psychology in practice. You can share in the story of the swim, as well as the techniques that I applied and the lessons that I learned along the way. Find them in the Swimming for Sophie: A Story of Strengths, Resilience and Success download, available here.

 

I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support, and especially the team who made it possible (you’ll meet them in the download).

 

I hope our achievements inspire you to do more than you believed was ever possible as well.

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An Alternative View on Executive Bonuses

Executive pay and bonuses have hit the headlines again as we approach the bank bonus season, and politicians from all sides wade in to share their views on how and how much top executives should be remunerated. Rather than debate who is right or wrong, I’d like to share with you some research which provides an alternative model for how we think about the links between reward and performance.

 

The received wisdom has it that people will work harder and perform better if they are to receive a bonus that they spend on themselves. Yet there is also a growing body of evidence from the psychology research literature that shows that it really is better to give than to receive. But what does this mean for bonuses?

 

Michael Norton and colleagues asked this question, examining whether people who received a prosocial bonus (that they then spent on others or donated to charity) differed from their colleagues who received a personal bonus (that they spent on themselves).

 

Compellingly, they did.

 

In Norton’s first study, a group of Australian bank employees who were given a $100 voucher to give to charity reported higher levels of happiness and job satisfaction than their colleagues, who either received a $50 voucher to give to charity, or no voucher at all. Donating the company’s money to charity helped employees feel happier and more satisfied with their jobs. But what about their performance?

 

To address this, Norton’s second study looked at how prosocial incentives impacted performance. With a sample of Belgian pharmaceutical sales people, and a sample of Canadian dodge ball players, Norton found that prosocial incentives significantly outperformed personal incentives in their impact on team performance.

 

When team members received a prosocial bonus as distinct from a personal bonus, the performance of the team as a whole was significantly higher. For the pharmaceutical sales team, this computed to a significant return on investment: €10 spent on prosocial incentives returned a massive €52 in superior sales performance.

 

So, when it comes to thinking about how to ensure bonuses deliver performance, it seems that prosocial bonuses have the edge. Perhaps Vince Cable could offer a sizable donation to their favourite charity for the first FTSE 350 remuneration committee to adopt this approach?

 

Source: http://rady.ucsd.edu/faculty/seminars/2011/papers/norton.pdf

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The Emerging Practice of Strengths-Based Recruitment

There are greater numbers of candidates and more people with high potential on the market than ever before.

As a result, it is vital that HR professionals think differently about recruitment and approach interviews in a new way in order to ensure that the right candidates are chosen for the right roles.

 

Although the competency-based method of assessment is still being used unchallenged in many HR departments, the method has fundamental flaws.

 

While the focus is on assessing what people claim they can do or to have them provide examples of what they have done, the problem is that most recruitment and careers advice services run classes to help candidates practice their interview technique on this basis.

 

In contrast, using a strengths-based method helps employers to recruit people based on their natural talents by enabling them to identify and assess the things that candidates not only do well but also love doing. The approach is more reliable because it matches an individual’s strengths to a given role, ensuring that job applicants are not just capable, but will actually be engaged and motivated enough to live up to expectations.

 

Strengths-based recruitment likewise enables people to be more authentic and to show themselves for who they genuinely are. Practitioners are trained to look for energy and authenticity as well as evidence of high performance in relation to the strengths under consideration – a combination that should guarantee the appointment of a genuine high flier.
To read more, join the 1474 HR directors and professionals who have read this article on strengths-based recruitment in full on HR Zone.

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Are Managers Better Loved or Feared?

Well, it depends what you want to achieve, and when you want to achieve it.

 

Machiavelli considered that while it was best to be both loved and feared, it was difficult to combine the two. As such, he concluded, it was better to be feared.

 

But forthcoming research from Stanford’s Nir Halevy and colleagues shows that it isn’t quite as simple as this. When we do things that benefit our in-group, we are more loved. When we do things that disadvantage our out-group, we are more feared.

 

But whether we are loved or feared has consequences. If we’re loved, we’re more likely to be voted in as leader and put in charge. If we’re feared, people are more likely to be submissive to us, and to give up their resources for our control.

 

If Machiavelli were reading this, he might now decide that it is better first to be loved (so you are put in charge), and then to be feared (so you stay in charge).

 

Of course, this is just one perspective on what it takes to be a manager. Some people manage through being loved, others through being feared. And very, very rarely, exceptional people are able to combine the two – think Steve Jobs, and read Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography if you’d like to know more.

 

For most of us, though, we’ll do far better if we manage by using our strengths.

 

Are there certain strengths that make you a better manager? This is a question we’re trying to answer. You can help us find out, by sharing 10 minutes of your time and completing our Ideal Manager Survey.

 

Thank you – we’ll love you for it!

 

With best wishes,
Alex Linley & the Capp Team

 

Reference:

Halevy, N. Chou, E. Y., Cohen, T. R., & Livingston, R. W. (in press). Status conferral in intergroup

social dilemmas: Behavioral antecedents and consequences of prestige and dominance. Journal of

Personality and Social Psychology.

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