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

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December 2017
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Emma Trenier

AGR Graduate Development Conference 2015

Posted by Emma Trenier

 

It was great to attend this year’s AGR Graduate Development conference yesterday and meet with graduate development professionals from a wide range of businesses. Representatives from Transport for London, Thomson Reuters, Morrisons, John Lewis, Fujitsu, and the Bank of England were there, amongst over 200 others, and it was great to hear about both best practice and challenges from these experienced development professionals.

 

Francesca Campalani (Senior HR and Brand Manager at Lloyds Banking Group) and I ran a session called ‘Test the Strength of your graduate development’ where we shared the graduate development journey that we are currently delivering in partnership.

 

Following the morning’s challenge by Marcus Orlovsky for organisations to take the risk of allowing greater complexity and less support, we discussed how LBG have built gaming principles into their programme- allowing for high challenge and opportunity, lots of freedom and fun, and the potential to win prizes.

 

We also shared why LBG now both recruit for and develop strengths rather than competencies for their early talent. The top reasons include a desire to differentiate themselves as an employer of choice, reduce the recruitment of company clones (!), and provide recognition to every new recruit.

 

Finally, we discussed the role of managers in developing early talent potential. With strong research evidence suggesting that strengths focused conversations lead to increased performance, we shared how we have engaged with line managers- through graduate led conversations, good communication, and supporting information and tools.  This engagement has led to 97% of managers having strengths conversations with their graduates and apprentices.

 

To view our presentation, please click here

 

To view a case study describing the Graduate and Apprentice Journey at Lloyds Banking Group, please click here

 

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Five Steps to Building a Winning Team

Posted By: Emma Trenier

 

Last month we spent the day with 280 Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) graduates at the spectacular launch of this year’s Responsible Business Challenge.

 

Sponsored by HR Director Stephen Smith, along with many other representatives from the emerging talent team and the business, this event prepared the graduates for their challenge of collectively raising at least £250k for Children in Need.

 

With last year’s graduates bringing in at least £200k more than that, the bar is set high. So, to start the teams off on the right foot, Capp brought the teams through the first five steps of building high performing teams, learning from last year’s winners at every stage.

 

Here is the essence of what we shared:

 

1.      Rules of engagement

The first step to building a winning team is to be clear on your team rules of engagement. These are the rules that every team member must stick to at all costs, e.g., must attend all meetings, must be on time, must contribute the actions promised, must be respectful of other team members, must stay on topic.

 

It is always helpful to include a rule which outlines the reasons a non- contributor can be kicked out of the group. This way, you won’t fall into the trap of being hindered by some people’s poor performance.

 

2.      Begin with the end in mind

Next we spoke about the ‘Duvet Shove’, the principle that every team needs to have a shared purpose and vision that will (hypothetically) drag them out of bed in the morning (shove the duvet off!), or help them focus on the challenge when everyday priorities get in the way.

 

The graduates’ next challenge was to define their vision- for some this was to promote what Children in Need do, for others it was to run an event or activity every single week of the challenge.

 

3.      The right group

The third step to building a high performing team is to define the team roles that are necessary at each stage of the project, bearing in mind that these will change many times. Understanding the strengths and passions of each team member helps to give every person the opportunity to contribute their best.

 

The graduates considered their strengths and the roles they would most like to take- referring to the Lloyds Banking Group strengths definitions for ideas.

 

4.      Set the pace and structure

Meetings! We discussed the pain that comes from meetings with no purpose or no outcomes. For all meetings we shared the importance of considering:

 

-          TYPE- what is the meeting for?

-          STRUCTURE- how much structure is needed?

-          OBJECTIVES- what are they?

-          AGENDA- what were our agreed actions from the last meeting and what do we need to decide today?

-          ADVANCE- what should be done in advance?

-          ON TIME- Start, stay, finish on time

-          MOMENTUM- never cancel a meeting without rearranging

 

5.      Generate ideas

Finally, we shared tools for idea generation that will help every team think of winning ideas. Through methods of divergent thinking (do this first), and then methods of convergent thinking (do this after a coffee), the teams were able to select their best ‘first burst’ ideas. The graduates also learnt that an IDEA is different from a THOUGHT. For a thought to become an idea it needs to be developed into an actionable suggestion that somebody who did not think of it could deliver.

 

For LBG, the principles of gamification are central to making the graduate journey impactful- learning socially, through fun, and winning prizes is all part of what makes their development approach stand out. The Responsible Business Challenge is the first of a series of competitive and stretching ‘games’ still to come this year!

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Advice to parents of school leavers – top 4 tips

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp.

 

 

 

Every Saturday I love to read The Inventory in the FT Weekend. In twenty questions (the same each week), experts in their field are asked about their lives and careers, including whether they had a mentor, whether ambition or talent matters more and whether they consider their carbon footprint. The question I love the most though is:

 

If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would they think?

 

Apart from writer P.J O’Rourke who said he wouldn’t even notice himself, almost every other interviewee has said that their younger self would be pleased to see that they had taken risks, followed their dreams and fought to succeed against the odds.

 

So, parents, whilst we rush around helping our young people to master the basics of workplace etiquette and summer job politics, we must not lose sight of our broader role – to help them take risks and dream big dreams.

 

To start with,

  1. Coach them, don’t instruct them. Build their confidence and motivation by helping them work out what they want to do and why. Help them imagine the benefits they will get if they go for it.
  2. Open their horizons. Help set up experiences, e.g., watching movies, visiting friend’s workplaces or reaching out to potential mentors, that will inspire them to believe they can achieve great things.  
  3. Focus on their strengths. Help them courageously follow a route that plays to their strengths- their areas of greatest potential (They can take a free Strengths Test on Jobmi which will give them some great insight).
  4. Build their resilience. I love the ‘Worth it Guide’ booklet (free to download) designed by young people to help others find their flow, focus on the positive and build their confidence.

 

And, finally, why not ask them,

 

If your 20 year old self could see you now, what would they say you should do?

 

If you’re helping your child, or advising friends who have children this A Level Results Day, two essential places to check are: The Telegraph Clearing Hub http://clearing.telegraph.co.uk/, and UCAS, who offer telephone support for school leavers and parents on 0371 468 0468, and for latest news and updates see their website http://www.ucas.com/ 

 

For more information on Jobmi and strengths development please call Capp on +44(0)2476 323 363 or connect with me, Emma Trenier, on LinkedIn

 

 

 

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Maximising performance through strengths: An illustration of strengths-based performance management

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp.

 

 

If delivering performance is the number one objective for all managers, isn’t it about time that we got it right?

Amongst managers, the term ‘performance management’ can conjure up images of bureaucracy, paperwork and having ‘difficult conversations’. As occupational psychologists and HR practitioners, it is not uncommon to work with demoralised managers struggling to complete performance reviews in time for internal deadlines.

 

From experience, managers can believe that they only need to focus on ‘performance management’ through formal structures, and therefore lack the motivation to engage in the daily tasks of giving feedback, challenge and support. Despite these challenges, however, there are reliable benefits for those who get it right.

 

To read our research on the benefits and challenges of adopting a strengths-focused approach to performance management, please see my recent article here in The British Psychological Society (BPS) Assessment & Development Matters, Vol 5 (No 4) Winter 2013. Maximising performance through strengths: An illustration of strengths-based performance management.

 

To find out more about how we can help you find the right talent:

Call +44 (0) 2476 323 363

Email capp@capp.co

 

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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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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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What Darwin Teaches Us About Strengths and Career Planning

Posted by: Emma Trenier

 

Depending upon the season, there can be as many as 58 distinct species of birds inhabiting the Galapagos Islands. During his voyage on the Beagle, Charles Darwin puzzled over how so many different types of finches could not only survive together, but thrive on the island food chain. The conclusion he described years later was ‘variation and differentiation’.

 

In essence, variation and differentiation are at the heart of adaptability. For the Galapagos finches, they are the means by which so many different birds make a place for themselves and survive.

 

As we seek to carve out the niches of our own careers, we are more adaptable to changing environments when we are able to do the same. As we present ourselves in ways that differentiate us from others, we are more likely to adapt and find a unique space within our ever changing environments.

 

One of the most effective ways to do this is through showcasing and harnessing the unique combination and profile of our strengths.

 

As Greater London Authority (GLA) employees come out the other side of the Olympic Games, many have been educating themselves to identify the skills and strengths that they have gained through this life changing experience. Most importantly, they have been articulating how their strengths differentiate them, enabling them to make their greatest contribution at GLA.

 

Organisations that enable employees to develop their careers by identifying their strengths help them in turn to recognise where they can make their greatest contributions. As a result, they prevent the most talented from being attracted by bright and shiny opportunities elsewhere, because they have found their niche in the food chain of their existing organisation. They also build a culture which allows growth and adaptability to blossom – like the Galapagos Islands.

 

Through celebrating then harnessing the different strengths profiles of your employees, enabling them to deliver their best performances through using their strengths, you create a fertile organisational ecology that allows everyone to flourish. Just as Darwin found 180 years ago, differentiation leads to maximization.

 

Explore what your own unique strengths profile through the 60 strengths of Realise2, and see what you can do to differentiate yourself with your strengths.

 

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Spring Forward! Five Ways to Get More Energy

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Senior Psychologist, Capp

 

March in the UK was very un-spring-like, with the enduring snow and cool temperatures. It’s no wonder that everyone seemed a little under the weather.

 

So, with clocks having gone forward last weekend, what can you do to put a spring in your step?

 

1. Take time out from energy sappers - we all spend time with some people who make us feel great and others who sap our energy. If you are already feeling low, take a break from the interactions and situations where you know you will leave feeling worse than when you arrive.

 

2. Find a different way to tackle draining tasks - if the approach you are taking isn’t working, don’t keep doing it. Seek the exception to the rule, a time when you found a similar task enjoyable. Why was this occasion different? Could you do it this way again?

 

3.   Stop mulling over things that have gone wrong – when we do something wrong or make a mistake, many of us are inclined to dwell on it. We might think it is our fault, we won’t be able to change and the consequences will be dire. Instead, take a leaf out of the optimists’ book and try considering the other factors involved. What can you do to put it right? Put the consequences into perspective.

 

4.   Celebrate other people’s good news – relationship researchers tell us that active responding versus passive responding is beneficial to relationships when things go wrong in people’s lives and also when they go right. When someone greets you with their good news, why not ask them to tell you more, share their happiness with them and capitalise on the moment.

 

5.   Use your unrealised strengths - discover what your unrealised strengths are by taking Realise2 or asking yourself what you are good at and enjoy doing but don’t do very much. Find a way to do it more. For example, if you have an unrealised strength in Courage, challenge yourself to do something scary every day – or at least every week!

 

Put these tips into practice and feel the energy start to flow. After all, summer is just around the corner!

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Getting On-boarding Right

Posted by: Emma Trenier, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

With BA recruiting 2, 500 new employees last year, it was a prime time for them to discover what makes on-boarding a success. Their research discovered that 90% of employees make a decision to stay with an organisation in the first 6 months, the failure of a successful transition costs between 1.5 and 5 times annual salary, and Generation Y expect to make 5-7 career changes in their life, compared to Baby Boomers who only wanted to make 2-3 career changes.

 

Clearly, with the coming trend for more frequent career changes and the high cost of getting it wrong, it’s getting more and more important for companies to get on-boarding right.

 

I’m prone to a little day dreaming, so let me describe how I would like to be welcomed ‘on board’ in an ideal world…

 

Before I arrive on my first day I am already excited. I have shared the freebies I received with my friends and family who already think this company is phenomenal and I am the luckiest woman they know.

 

On day 1, my manager meets me and gives me a tour of the building, introduces me to a number of my colleagues and gives me my laptop and phone, already sorted. I spend time speaking 1:1 to one with a handful of colleagues, finding out what they do and who I can go to for what. I am tasked to discover my strengths overnight with an online questionnaire and bring the results back in the morning.

 

On day 2, my manager and I talk through my Realise2 strengths profile – what makes me tick and what I find draining. This is enjoyable and insightful as I discover she is as keen as I am for me to be my best self at work.  I spend the day satiating my curiosity about the company’s culture through conversation, watching (non-cheesy) videos online and meeting one of the senior leaders for a thought-provoking and honest Q&A. By the end of the day I LIKE this company and I feel as if they LIKE me.

 

On day 3, my manager gives me my first assignment that plays to my strengths. I am delighted to be given a chance to show what I can do as I prepare to get started. I’m now excited to be working here, knowing that they want me to bring my best self to work, and that they want me to succeed through using my strengths. This company’s culture is all about helping me to do what I do best and love to do each day. It’s the perfect match!

 

I’ll end my dream here, although ‘on-boarding’ will continue for the next six months as I develop my skills in new areas, work closely with partners who show me the ropes and receive feedback from colleagues as I venture into new terrain.

 

It doesn’t sound so difficult, so why is this not every new employee’s experience?

 

For a start, companies don’t recognise the financial impact of getting on-boarding right.  As a result, managers are not given the right resources and don’t realise that it is they themselves who can make or break each new employee’s spirit and resolve to stay.

 

The sad result, when they get it wrong, is that talented people prepare to leave within the first 6 months and everyone’s a loser.

 

In contrast, get on-boarding right, and everyone is well on the way to being a winner.

 

Strengths On-boarding is a key way to achieve this, by celebrating the best of why you recruited someone, then putting them to work by doing what they do best and love to do every day. That’s the way to love Mondays!

 

Strengths On-boarding is part of Strengths Selector, Capp’s five steps to strengths-based recruitment. Find out more about Strengths On-boarding here.

 

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