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

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October 2012
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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Halloween Special: Death to the Zombie Manager

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Embracing the theme of Halloween today, Capp’s Emma Trenier has been published on the Management Today blog, calling for “Death to the Zombie Manager”:

 

“Managers across the country are becoming infected with stagnant routines and are behaving like lifeless zombies. Emma Trenier, from management consultancy Capp, gives her advice on how to slay the zombie manager and break the sluggish cycle….”

 

Read the full article on the Management Today website.

 

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Recruiting the Right People for the Right Roles

Posted by: Alex Linley & Celine Jacques

 

In our blogs last week, we looked at The Ten Challenges of Modern Recruitment, and Solving the Challenges of Modern Recruitment with the Situational Strengths Test.

 

In this blog, we turn our attention to how the Situational Strengths Test works in helping organisations to attract, select and recruit the talent they need for the future.

 

Imagine an assessment methodology that:

 

  • Gives candidates a realistic insight into what it is like to work at your organisation
  • Helps candidates understand the situations they will face and the decisions they will need to make
  • Assesses the strengths of candidates that will deliver success in role – both now and in the future
  • Sorts the best candidates from the rest, by identifying the talent that is best suited to the role.

 

Too good to be true? Certainly not – this is what we designed the Situational Strengths Test to do.

 

The Situational Strengths Test works by presenting candidates with a series of scenarios that showcase different situations and circumstances in which they might find themselves. Candidates then select their response to what they would do, and/or how they would feel – either by choosing one option, or by ranking their choices from best to worst.

 

Each scenario response not only tells a recruiter whether the candidate is likely to make the right choice in that situation, but equally as important, whether they have the strengths that will consistently help them to do so.

 

Every scenario in the Situational Strengths Test includes a strengths core and a scenario context. It’s through this combination of Capp’s strengths assessment expertise, embedded within the right example context for the organisation, that we ensure we get the right people into the right roles.

 

If, as a candidate, you find that you are making the right decisions about what to do and when, and you’re enjoying the scenarios being presented to you, then there is every chance that you are a good fit for the role. If you’re not, the chances are this isn’t the job for you.

 

The Situational Strengths Test helps candidates make more informed choices about their job decisions, as well as providing organisations with the data and information to decide who will fit best as they strive to get the right people into the right roles.

 

This is just what the Big Four professional services firm Ernst & Young is finding (as reported in The Recruiter), as they use the Situational Strengths Test as part of their strengths-based graduate recruitment process.

 

Find out more about how the Situational Strengths Test could help transform your recruitment, by visiting the Situational Strengths Test website.

 

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Solving the Challenges of Modern Recruitment: The Situational Strengths Test

Posted by: Alex Linley & Celine Jacques

 

In our blog on Tuesday, we shared the 10 major challenges facing the modern recruiter. In this blog, we turn our attention to how our work in developing the Situational Strengths Test has been designed to address and solve many of these challenges.

 

The most resource-intensive challenge for the recruiter is often at the front-end of the funnel, with hundreds or thousands of candidates applying for only a handful of roles. How do you sort the talent from the also-rans, and ensure you attract the right people to apply, knowing they will have a better chance than most of succeeding in the role?

 

I once spoke to a retired recruiter (who will remain totally anonymous) and asked how he/she handled this problem in his/her day – this would have been in the 1980’s.

 

His/her response was strikingly simple: “We receive two mail sacks of applicants. I take one and give it to my secretary, instructing her to tell all those applicants that they have been unsuccessful. I take the other sack myself and work through the letters of application and CVs.”

 

Thankfully – for recruiters and applicants alike –  this “mail sack method” has now been replaced. New assessment methodologies and technology solutions – such as the situational judgement test and strengths-based recruitment, which we combined in developing the Capp Situational Strengths Test – have allowed us to move beyond this crudest of initial sift methodologies.

 

One of the best assessment methodologies is often considered to be the situational judgement test (SJT), since there is strong academic evidence showing that situational judgement tests demonstrate lower adverse impact and greater predictive validity than other assessment methodologies for recruitment.

 

Add in the fact that SJTs can be readily delivered online, and this becomes an attractive proposition. Combine this solution with the advances made by the strengths-based assessment and recruitment methods that we have pioneered at Capp over recent years, and you have a compelling solution to the modern recruiter’s most pressing challenges.

 

The assessment of strengths identifies the performance and energy that will differentiate a high performer in role. Strengths assessments are about finding out not just who can do the job (what a competency-based approach might show), but who can do and will love to do the job (the distinctive essence of strengths-based recruitment).

 

It is this combination of doing something well and loving doing it that delivers the many benefits we see for individuals and organisations from strengths-based recruitment.

 

By taking the best of SJTs and strengths assessment, and marrying them in the Capp Situational Strengths Test, we have solved many of the most pressing problems for recruiters. The Situational Strengths Test delivers a compelling online volume sift solution that differentiates the best talent from the rest, at the same time as helping candidates to really understand what the role is about and whether they are suited to it and the organisation.

 

In future blogs, we will explore in more detail how the Situational Strengths Test works, as well as delving deeper into the benefits that it delivers for candidate experience, together with the business-critical outcomes for organisations.

 

In the meantime, visit our Situational Strengths Test site to learn more about the Situational Strengths Test and how it could help you solve your recruitment problems.

 

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The Ten Challenges of Modern Recruitment

Posted by: Alex Linley & Celine Jacques

 

Speak to almost any recruiter, and you’ll quickly gain a picture of the recurrent challenges they face in their role, and how difficult these challenges can make their job for them.

 

Across our many recruitment clients at Capp, we have identified the 10 recurrent challenges that recruiters face:

 

1. “Gis’ a job, mister, any job”: For almost any organisation, and for graduate recruiters in particular, unease around the prospects of the economy means that more and more people are applying for any role they see advertised, rather than being more targeted and specific in their approach. The result is a volume problem for selection.

 

2. Candidate volume: More candidates than ever seem to be applying for the reduced number of roles available. Differentiating the best from the rest becomes ever harder and more resource-intensive as a result.

 

3. The war for talent: You might think, given the state of the economy, that the war for talent was over, and organisations had won. You couldn’t be more wrong. The best candidates know their worth, and expect hiring managers to convince them of why they should join – starting right from the organisation’s attraction and selection campaigns.

 

4. Here today, there tomorrow: Where once organisations might have recruited for a specific role, increasingly now they have to recruit people who will be able to adapt as fast as they do. The result is that you no longer have to just be a fit for the role, but also fit for the future.

 

5. More global and more ‘future leader’: For many organisations, this fit for the future means more global and more ‘future leader’, adding yet another lens to what organisations want in their new people.

 

6. “A great example of that was when…”: One of the major drawbacks of the prevalence of competency-based approaches is that candidates are so often well-rehearsed rather than well-prepared, making it difficult for recruiters to see behind the polish to the person they would really be hiring.

 

7. The curse of WikiJobs: This challenge is made all the more virulent through the ubiquity of WikiJobs, especially in the graduate recruitment arena, where candidates have been known to share interview questions and model answers within minutes of them first being asked in a live interview or assessment centre.

 

8. “You’re all the same to me”: Not only do candidates look and sound alike, but so do the selection methods and approaches used to recruit them. Competency-based recruitment was a big step forward from the intelligence testing (if anything) that we had before, but after 30 years and almost every organisation using them, the differentiation of competency-based interviews has passed.

 

9. Employer brand and being a ‘good rejecter’: When you’re in the volume recruitment game – whether you intended to be or not (see #1 and #2 above) – it’s all the more important to be seen as a ‘good rejecter’, since by definition, you’ll be saying ‘no’ to a lot more people than you say ‘yes’ to. Depending on your business, some or all of these people could well be current or potential future clients.

 

10. Twice the value, half the price: On top of all of these, recruiters are being asked to do more with less. “Yes, we want the best possible candidates you can find. No, we can’t increase your resources to do this – in fact, we’re going to have to top-slice them in line with the rest of the organisation.”

 

With these 10 challenges keeping them awake at night, it’s hardly any wonder that recruiters can sometimes feel like they’re up against it.

 

That’s why at Capp we developed the Situational Strengths Test, as one element of Strengths Selector, our five steps to strengths-based recruitment, to help recruiters solve all of these problems and more.

 

Visit our Situational Strengths Test launch site to see how we can help you.

 

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Launching our New Situational Strengths Test

Posted by: Celine Jacques & Alex Linley

 

Capp has always been a thought-leader in strengths-based recruitment. We see selection as a really critical process for our clients; the point at which the future make up of an organisation is decided.

 

Your brand, your performance, your very survival is dependent on those appointments and we feel privileged to be able to help our clients make effective, predictive and legally defensible decisions.

 

We understand the challenges facing recruiters and this year we have harnessed our innovation and thought leadership to bring you the latest in strengths-based recruitment, with a solution for online volume sifting for candidates based on their strengths – the Capp Situational Strengths Test.

 

This week sees the formal launch of the Situational Strengths Test, which is already being used by Ernst & Young and a major UK-based FMCG company as part of their strengths-based graduate recruitment processes, supported by Capp.

 

Over the next three weeks we will be posting a series of blogs all about the challenges of recruitment and how strengths-based recruitment, and the Situational Strengths Test in particular, are addressing these challenges.

 

Through these blogs, we will share our latest thinking around:

 

  • The current challenges faced by those attracting, assessing and selecting talent

 

  • The impact of our economic climate, and the changing profile of high volume roles

 

  • The need for innovation combined with exceptional science and rigour

 

  • The specific challenge of high volume applications, and the market and place for online sifting tools

 

  • The organisational outcomes and candidate benefits delivered by the Situational Strengths Test, our strengths-based sifting tool

 

  • The link between attraction, online sifting, further assessment and on-boarding

 

  • A look to the future in relation to what we all need to do better in order to spot talent more effectively and efficiently.

 

We hope you enjoy exploring this new frontier in strengths-based recruitment, and that you will be as excited and inspired as we are by the possibilities that this offers.

 

And by all means, if you can’t wait for the blog series, please check out the Situational Strengths Test website, which should answer many of the questions you may have.

 

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Two Great Performance Management Downloads

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Last week we saw a lot of focus on our work in performance management here at Capp.

 

First, we launched our Performance Manager White Paper, showcasing the 8 steps of active management, to help you deliver better performance through your people by managing strengths.

 

Second, on Thursday I spoke at the CIPD Performance Management Conference on Strengths-based Performance Management as a Driver of Growth.

 

As promised, you can now download my presentation. In doing so, you’ll also find out the results of our CIPD poll on the future of strengths-based performance management.

 

Are companies using this approach now? Are more companies planning to make the change and adopt strengths-based performance management in the future?

 

Find out from the results of the poll we conducted at CIPD, included in my presentation slides download.

 

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Don’t Panic! Managers Don’t Need to be Perfect

Posted by: Emma Trenier & Dr. Sue Harrington

 

Don’t panic! Employees don’t expect their managers to be incredible at everything.

 

Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey revealed that there are four strengths that employees consider to be only ‘slightly important’ for their managers:

  • Adherence: Sticking to guidelines and best practice templates as required;
  • Detail: Ensuring they do not make small errors or mistakes in their work;
  • Order: Being very organised with a place for everything;
  • Change Agent: Being involved in bringing about change.

 

Three of these unpopular manager strengths – Adherence, Detail and Order – sit within the ‘Thinking’ strengths family. It is interesting to see this pattern, but why might employees think they are less important than the rest?

 

  • ‘Acceptable’ weaknesses: Over 50,000 people have now taken Realise2, Capp’s flagship strengths assessment tool, and we see that Adherence, Detail and Order are frequently reported as weaknesses – more so than the vast majority of the other 60 strengths measured by Realise2. Perhaps, as a result, employees perceive      these as ‘acceptable weaknesses’ in managers?

 

  • The flip side of relating: Alternatively, employees may perceive these three thinking strengths as the flip side of the relating strengths, such as Enabler and Esteem Builder that are rated as most important in a manager. Perhaps the reduced importance of paying attention to details and adhering to guidelines reflects the relatively higher value and weighting placed on managers’ relating strengths?

 

  • Team member roles: Another possibility is that employees do not see these as critical roles for managers – perhaps the roles that require strengths of Adherence, Detail and Order sit with team members rather than managers?

 

And what of Change Agent? Perhaps employees value stability and consistency from managers, over and above their ability to be constantly bringing about change.

 

So, as a manager, if these four are not your strengths, and you think they might be tripping you up – even though your employees won’t necessarily be expecting them of you – what can you do?

 

  • Check impact: Check the impact of your lack of fervor in these areas by asking:
    • Do I waste my team’s time by constantly changing parameters?
    • Do I lower standards by not focusing enough on detail?
    • Does my lack of ability to organise my tasks effectively frustrate others?
    • Do I cause anxiety within my team by championing and pushing through change too fast, rather than taking my team with me?

 

  • Use your strengths to compensate: Consider how you might use your strengths to help you look at each of these issues afresh. You might also consider seeking complementary strengths from your team to polish up your approach!

 

  • Play to the strengths you do have: Finally, know that your employees value these strengths in their manager less than all others. The best advice you can take is to play to the strengths that you do have to enable you and your team to reach your goals.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

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Practical Strengths-based Performance Management as a Driver of Growth

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Later today I will be speaking at the CIPD Performance Management Conference in London, on Practical Strengths-based Performance Management as a Driver of Growth.

 

Co-presenting with me will be my colleague Mike McClellan of NFU Mutual, who will be sharing his experiences of our work together in introducing strengths-based performance management at this major insurance company.

 

Our talk will introduce Capp’s 6 Steps to a strengths-based performance review conversation, using the Realise2 4M Model.

 

If you’ll be joining us for the session today, I look forward to welcoming you!

 

Otherwise, I’ll let you know just as soon as our slide deck is available for release. Watch this space!

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Why Men Want a Manager Who is Competitive

Posted by: Nicky Garcea & Emma Trenier

 

At a time when organisations are often reluctant to provide gender-differentiated development, it is interesting to see some notable differences between men and women in their responses to the Capp Ideal Manager Survey.

 

Our Ideal Manager Survey showed that men consistently seek one strength from their managers more than women do. This one strength is Competitive.

 

So why might men want to work for a manager strong in Competitive? Multiple gender studies show that men like to compete, they are confident in their ability to compete, they are less risk averse and less sensitive to critical feedback than their female colleagues.

 

Researchers seeking to support a ‘nature’ argument for why men are competitive offer suggestions relating to evolutionary studies. One such researcher is Harvard Professor Harvey Mansfield.

 

In his book Manliness, Mansfield states that men are innately better equipped to be aggressive and compete. In contrast, women are seen as having an innate ability to empathise and communicate.

 

Supporters of the ‘nurture’ debate show that women are most frequently taught to cooperate whereas men (often through their involvement in sport) are encouraged to compete from a young age. Evidently both arguments are controversial and inconclusive.

 

The interesting question for us, however, is what our male direct reports hope to gain from this strength.

 

When asked this question, men state that they hope their manager’s strength in Competitive will result in the following:

 

1. Working for a winning team – managers with Competitive are described as managers who like to win and develop winning teams. This idea of working for a winning team is described by men as providing a greater sense of accomplishment and job security.

 

2. Clear direction and contribution – managers with Competitive are thought to provide a clear sense of how the contributions of their direct reports relate to the overall business success.

 

3. Contagious success – working for a manager with Competitive is believed to offer more opportunities for profile raising and recognition. Being associated with a successful manager is considered to enhance an individual’s positive reputation.

 

4. Greater investment – managers with a strength in Competitive will categorically agree that ‘losing hurts’. The determination, therefore, to win and succeed can mean that managers invest heavily in the success of their teams and their direct reports.

 

5. More opportunities – in a business context success often breeds opportunity. This might come in the form of new and interesting projects or the chance to be involved in creating a successful product or launch.

 

All strengths can be overplayed and the manager with Competitive who takes this to the extreme might be described as ‘focused on nothing but winning, creating unhelpful internal rivalry between individuals and teams and distracted by their own success.’

 

Guiding and applying the strength of Competitive in service of winning the ‘right things’ is perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn here.

 

At a time when manager research often concludes that managers need to be emotionally intelligent and demonstrate ‘soft skills’, this research provides a useful reminder that there are always other lenses which can be applied to how managers can lead. There is certainly not just one way to manage.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

You can also read more about what women want from their managers in Nicky Garcea and Emma Trenier’s recent blog, published on Changeboard.

 

 

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Managing Generation Y? What Do They Want From You as Their Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

It’s pitched as a strap line on the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) website: Attracting and retaining the cream of the nation’s graduate talent is getting harder and you need all the help you can get”. And they are absolutely right.

 

The growing research about Generation Y echoes this, where today’s younger employees are achievement-oriented and hungry for challenge and meaning in their work. As organisations compete for available talent, employers cannot ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this emerging generation.

 

Over a four month period, 1180 people took Capp’s online Ideal Manager Survey, where employees across all ages, genders and backgrounds answered questions about whether anyone can be a good manager.

 

Fascinatingly, the results reported by younger employees revealed specific strengths that they want most in their managers. These include:

 

  • Work Ethic: Younger employees value managers who role-model working hard, putting a lot of effort into everything that they do;
  • Resolver: Solving challenging problems is a strength that younger employees feel is important for managers to demonstrate;
  • Spotlight: Managers who demonstrate a love of being the centre of other people’s attention are valued highly amongst younger employees;
  • Detail: Conscientiously focusing on the small things to ensure everything is accurate and error-free is important for managers to demonstrate to younger employees.

 

These strengths paint a picture of a Generation Y that is strongly inspired and driven by managers who work hard and make high quality contributions, showcasing their knowledge and talents, whilst all the time ensuring accuracy and high standards.

 

So as employers and managers, how can we fulfil the needs of our younger employees, and thereby retain their engagement and talent? Below are five top tips:

 

1. Be a role model of working hard, meaningfully: As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”. Demonstrate a healthy level of work ethic towards meaningful goals. Bring employees on board and get them involved in specific strategic goals by helping them see where their best contribution lies.

 

2. Ensure you resolve challenging issues: Identify problems or challenges that may be impacting on younger employees and/or your team more widely. Support younger employees to develop confidence and autonomy to resolve challenges successfully themselves too.

 

3. Provide exposure to different audiences: Identify opportunities for raising awareness about your team’s contributions in the spirit of knowledge management.  Find opportunities for younger employees to do the same through developing new connections for them, seeking speaking opportunities, or writing about their work through emails, articles or blogs.

 

4. Exemplify high quality work: Reflect on ways in which you can use your strengths to promote quality and accuracy as a manager in all your work and interactions. In addition, if younger employees are demonstrating other positive behaviours, then encourage and affirm these.

 

5. Adopt strengths-based team working: Identify how younger employees could partner with other members of the team, so that they complement each other’s strengths on a particular task or project. This is a powerful way of collaborating.

 

So starting from today, how will you adapt your management style to inspire the talent and engagement of your younger employees?

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

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