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

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May 2013
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Monthly Archives: May 2013

We’ve Recruited for Strengths. What Next?

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, & Celine Jacques, Managing Psychologist, Capp

 

So you’ve recruited round pegs for round holes, and square pegs for square holes – you should give yourself a big pat on the back! You have given your organisation the most powerful ammunition to succeed – the right people in the right roles for the business. But does the work stop there? If only!

 

As HR professionals, line managers and colleagues, you now have an ongoing responsibility to help these people maximise their potential. This could take a number of forms:

 

Ongoing Performance Management

 

On an ongoing basis, people need to be supported to understand and manage their motivations, use their strengths to reach objectives, and to minimise the impact of their weaknesses.

 

The reference to strengths, and discussion around them, should not finish when the job offer is made. Instead, weave it into onboarding, performance reviews, appraisals and day to day management conversations. Champion the use of the strengths language. Help people to take control of their own performance, and their own career.

 

Strengths-focused Career Development

 

To enable really meaningful and effective career progression, and to genuinely encourage retention, you can map strengths for roles across your organisation and then support people to understand which career pathways would suit them and play to their strengths.

 

Don’t just think about what someone is good at, consider also what energises them. Which part of your business would suit their motivational needs? Which role would really bring out the best in them?

 

Talent Pipelines that Recognise Multiple Pathways

 

Finally,  as organisations seek to promote flexibility and agility, we see an increasing focus on working cross departmentally and internationally. Take a strengths- based approach for identifying the right talent for these important roles.

 

As many organisations are familiar with developing ‘talent pools’ for the identification and development of emerging leaders, identify those people with the strengths to be future top change agents. Or innovators. Or international collaborators. In fact, whatever the business needs…

 

We would love to hear your stories on what you have done to embed a strengths-based approach after recruiting for strengths. What difference has it made to you and your organisation’s performance?

 

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Are You a Good Performance Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

“People leave managers not companies” – You have more than likely heard this said before, but the statistics behind it are quite staggering.

 

A Gallup poll of more than 1 million employees concluded that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a poor manager or immediate supervisor. The results also showed that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams.

 

The results of a recent national survey also showed that 80% of employees who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged, and that 62% of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example, compared to 25% of people who are not fully engaged.

 

What are the reasons for these dismally low levels of engaged employees?

 

People Have Changed

 

Employee expectations have changed. It’s not just Gen Y – employees everywhere and of every generation expect more: more involvement, more accountability, and more recognition. When it comes to managing their performance, employees have shifted from being passive recipients to active agents.

 

Managers have changed too. Command and control is no longer cutting it – managers are expected to guide and coach, provide balanced, constructive feedback, and inspire people to achieve great things, rather than just to enforce performance standards.

 

Reassuringly, research by CIPD shows that when managers do get it right, many good results follow:

  • 25% increase in employee performance
  • 40% higher employee engagement
  • 18% growth in customer loyalty
  • 25% decrease in employee turnover
  • In the NHS, 1090 fewer deaths per 100,000 patient admissions.

 

Is Your Organisation Managing Performance in the Right Ways?

 

So how can your organisation develop the kind of managers that engage and inspire employees?

 

Through Capp’s 2012 Ideal Manager Survey and our work with highly engaged employees, we have identified 8 core questions to help you identify whether managers in your organisation are driving high performance in the right ways:

 

1. Are managers in your organisation skilled at identifying the strengths of their team members and managing high performance through these strengths?

 

Research by the Corporate Leadership Council in 2002 revealed that when managers focus on the strengths of employees, performance is likely to increase by 36%. Whereas when they focused on their weaknesses, performance decreased by 26%.

 

2. Are managers effective at building trusting, open and two-way relationships with their direct reports?

 

Research by the CIPD in 2012 showed that trust in a line manager is more important than trust in senior leaders or the organisation during times of difficulty and change.

 

3. Do managers develop better solutions through harnessing the diversity of their teams?

 

90% of respondents to Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey disagreed that all managers should manage in the same way, and instead, would develop better outcomes through harnessing the diversity of their teams.

 

4. Do managers in your organisation lead others with a sense of meaning and purpose?

 

99% of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey respondents rated Mission as the most important and desired strength in their managers – managers that would engage them with a compelling vision, meaning and purpose, and authenticity.

 

5. Do managers in your organisation use effective delegation in order to play to the strengths of their team members?

 

Strengths-based delegation has become known to be a manager’s core tool for translating organisational strategy first into team goals, and then into each individual’s objectives, in a way that engages and plays to each individual’s strengths.

 

6. Do managers in your organisation provide regular positive and constructive feedback to their team members?

 

When researchers investigated the drivers of high performance amongst 19,187 employees in 34 organisations, they discovered that the top driver of performance was giving fair, informal, and accurate feedback – and not waiting for the dreaded annual performance review.

 

7. Do managers in your organisation coach their team to encourage daily progress and longer term career development?

 

The evidence shows that the crux of motivation is actually day-to-day productivity, as well as being able to see a path for career progression. As such, job satisfaction typically results from being productive towards one’s day-to-day goals, as well as one’s intrinsic goals for the future.

 

8. Do your managers build resilience and manage change and uncertainty effectively?

 

Capp’s recent research with leaders nominated as being ‘wise’ across dozens of blue-chip companies revealed that employees develop change readiness, agility and resilience when their leaders and managers manage change and uncertainty effectively and with confidence.

 

We know that many people are first promoted into management for their strong “technical skills” – solid knowledge of their own business. But that’s only part of the managerial equation; everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. It’s worth reflecting on the way that you use these to engage your people.

 

What other skills do you think are important to engage employees for high performance? Share your thoughts using the Comment function below.

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Three Things Organisations Must Fix Before Performance Management Will Work

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp

 

When we’re working with organisations to develop line manager performance management capability, we often need to tackle wider issues first.

 

Here are the three most common challenges that organisations must address in order for a renewed focus on performance management to succeed.

 

1.      Trust must trump suspicion

 

We don’t live in a trusting culture. The norm is not to trust but to establish fault and blame.

 

One organisation I recently worked with spoke of how Twitter has become a management weapon. Every time negative customer feedback is tweeted, managers go and find who is to blame - trusting the public but not trusting their teams.

 

Last year’s Where has all the trust gone? report from the CIPD describes how line managers are the first port of call for building organisational trust which is essential when employees are expected to take risks or walk into the unknown. They do this best by demonstrating their consistent ability, benevolence, integrity and predictability.

 

A performance management approach that demonstrates a lack of trust, e.g., focusing on fault finding, models a lack of transparency, will jeopardise vital trust building.

 

2.      Individuals must be working on the right things

 

Then, presuming trust prevails, for performance management to be a successful process, people must be working towards the right goals, i.e., those that best serve the purpose and mission of the organisation.

 

I take the example of Accenture’s recent Why ‘Low Risk’ Innovation is Costly report. This explains that despite technology companies’ increased funding for innovation, only 13 per cent of executives believe their companies’ innovation initiatives deliver a competitive advantage.

 

One of the main reasons is that companies focus on low risk activities such as extending existing product lines, rather than pursuing new products and breakthroughs.

 

In a situation such as this, an executive may be seen to be high performing through demonstrating the right behaviours and achieving her quarterly objectives. However, if she is working on the ‘wrong’ things (in this case ‘low risk’ innovation) then the genuine line between individual and organisational performance is broken.

 

3.      Managers must be motivated to manage

 

Finally, to bring out the best in each employee, managers must be motivated to manage performance.

 

This sounds obvious, but often while managers are competent, successful, technical experts, they are not always motivated to manage performance.

 

Capp’s 2012 Ideal Manager Survey showed that employees believed the best managers were both competent and deeply motivated to provide mission and purpose, enabling others to grow in skills and self-esteem, and taking ownership for leading their teams with humility.

 

Recruiting managers with the right strengths and supporting them to stay engaged isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a pre-requisite for building a high performing organisation.

 

What is your experience? What other pre-requisites do you think exist for successful performance management?

 

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Performance Management: There is a Better Way

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp

 

With the CIPD’s latest research finding that only 20% of HR professionals believe performance management has a positive effect on results and 21% believing it doesn’t, common performance management methodologies are clearly broken.

 

This is a critical problem for the economy, the government and the taxpayer, because we all rely on effective business performance.

 

The most common reason these systems go awry is that a skewed focus on collecting faulty data leads to systems and approaches that oppose the agile, responsible, learning cultures they are supposed to be driving.

 

These systems have managers being led down the garden path of paperwork, completing review documentation once or twice a year – leaving a wake of unimpressed employees in their trail.

 

But there is hope. With Google’s People Operations reinventing the way in which data is used to make people decisions – from retention algorithms to results-focused workplace design – faulty performance data may hopefully soon be something from the past.

 

Being led by the data, we know that past performance isn’t always a good indicator of future performance, and also that the quality and warmth of the supervisor is more predictive of results than the attributes and experience of the employee.

 

Future performance is dependent on manager ability to provide clear expectations, focus on strengths development and provide quality fortnightly feedback.

 

For performance management to be fit for the future – motivating Generations Y and Z to rise up the ranks – managers need to re-engage with their role as team performance coach and start:

 

-        Collecting the right data (sales, customer satisfaction, quality) to track outcomes – you can’t easily argue with objective evidence

-        Taking responsibility for building trusting, supportive relationships and providing direction and feedback

-        Giving employees responsibility for driving their own performance and collecting ongoing performance evidence

-        Using technology to track feedback and evidence all year round, not waiting for ‘the review’

-        Enabling employees to use their strengths every day to reach their objectives and overcome performance challenges.

 

Over our next blogs, we will be talking more about our vision for performance management and how managers hold the key to unlocking strengths in their teams.

 

We hope you will join in the conversation!

 

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Teaching Strengths in West Bengal

Posted by: Avirupa Bhaduri & Alex Linley

 

In her latest blog below, Avirupa shares with us her experiences of teaching strengths approaches to future managers, and contrasts this with her further work in developing strengths in underprivileged communities, through the Action Aid-sponsored workshops that she has been delivering in the remote Bankuria and Purulia districts of West Bengal…

 

“March is quite pleasant this year, the mercury hasn’t been cruel. Spring is in the air, and I feel fortunate to wake up every morning to a cuckoo’s call living in a city. By now I’ve settled down to the changes and have begun to enjoy my new life. However, I wanted to push my role as a strengths practitioner further.

 

With that positive note I sought counsel from Alex. We spoke after quite a long time, for over an hour, during which a number of significant pointers came up. That conversation helped me immensely to set my direction ahead with clarity and constructive plans. We decided to pursue the options available to generate work, however small, for Shiriti group.

 

But alongside I wanted to integrate my other assignments to strengths. I teach Human Resource Management in a college, as a part time lecturer. My students are young graduates studying to be future managers. I go to class the next week armed with “The Strengths Book”. We were to cover chapters on motivation and leadership. As I speak on different theories of leadership and motivation, I notice the usual loss of interest.

 

This time though I start speaking about the strengths theory. I explain how each one of us is in possession of unique strengths, which if realized and applied intelligently can unlock latenpotential. It piques their interest and they start asking questions, like if this is just a theory or is it functional. I talk about Capp, Aviva, Ernst & Young and show them The Strengths Book. I read excerpts and stories of some of the most common strength they can relate to. It always works.

 

After class I gave them the assignment to think about their own strengths and at least one perceptible strength of their best friend. After class 3 to 4 students came up to ask where they can find the book. I advised them to use the internet.

 

Next week more good news followed. The Action Aid supported workshops in marginalized communities have started again, and they once again invited me to take a workshop in Bankura district of West Bengal. I gladly agreed. By now the weather has worsened. Bankura and Purulia are the hottest districts of Bengal. The day we board the train it’s sultry and uncomfortably hot. I was worried whether the participants will attend the workshop braving the heat.

 

We reached Chhatna around noon and from there it took 20 min on a motorbike to reach the venue, which is a Govt. sponsored primary school. As I was getting down, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by the delegates, many of whom I realized had participated in my previous workshop in Baghmundi. They seemed happy to see me again!

 

The first class was on rights. Surprisingly the group showed their awareness of rights quite well. It definitely proves the success of this project, and I feel proud to have contributed to it. I began my session by asking those who had attended the previous workshop to identify themselves. There were quite a few members, I then asked them to relate to the others what they felt were the take aways of that seminar.

 

I was amazed to find a lot of the women articulating about positive attributes about themselves, albeit mostly related to their performance as a homemaker. Then I asked what strengths have they used this time, if at all. The group answered that since for most of them cooking is a great strength area, they told the organizers not to hire a professional cook, instead they themselves took the collective initiative to cook for all 50 of us. It was wonderful!! I cheered!! Lunch indeed was delicious!!

 

However, I observered that although they are conscious of their rights, they lack confidence to talk about it, let alone exercise them. So I decided to design this workshop around one of strength area, i.e., Spotlight. In my experience, theatre is a wonderful medium that brings alive people’s strength.

 

So this time again I let the pilot group do most of the briefing about strengths back to the 1st timers. Then like before I divided the group into 5 teams, to compete about the best approach to solve a crucial topical problem, boring deep tubewells for water.

 

Bankura and Purulia are worst hit during summer as rain-fed rivers dry up and ground water supply drops drastically. The only relief is boring deep tube wells by the Govt. agencies. But the contractors often dupe villagers by setting up tube wells without adequate depth, so that water is not available.

 

We try to find a way through role play where I pose as Govt. officer, a colleague as contractor etc. The participants come in groups and try to use their collective strengths in order to force the officer to inspect the faulty tube well, and thereafter sanction another. The members of pilot group are distributed evenly among the teams. The teams come one after another and try to overcome the intimidation and poor self-esteem to fulfill their target in 15 mins.

 

The performance as expected was much better this time thanks to the pilot group, who acted as catalyst, and energized the teams. I felt it is easier for people coming from marginalized communities to open up to the idea of strength if it came from one of their own. I resolved then and there to develop as many pilot groups as possible to take the torch of strength based living ahead.”

 

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Capp’s new name – Capp & Co Ltd

Posted by: Alex Linley

 

Exciting times at Capp – we’ve changed our company name!

 

We’re sure you’ll agree that ‘Centre of Applied Positive Psychology Ltd’ is a bit of a mouthful, and while it speaks well of our heritage, it doesn’t accurately portray who we are now and where we’re going.

 

So we’ve changed our name to a much simpler ‘Capp & Co Ltd’. We will continue to use our trading name of ‘Capp’, as we have done since we began back in 2005.

 

Be assured, The Capp Blog will continue to function as normal, so you don’t need to do anything - but you might notice some small changes as we roll out our new name over the next few weeks.

 

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