Talent Management

Talent Management (2)

Monday, 30 July 2018 22:11

Breaking Talent Biases: 3 Things Brad Pitt Can Teach HR

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“Adapt or die,” is how we hear statistical mastermind Billy Bean -- played by Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” -- describe the application of analytics to baseball, and it is time HR managers heard the same thing. Here are just three of the many ways HR managers and leads can turn to baseball-inspired predictive analytics to improve their efforts and break existing talent biases.

Promote to the Majors More Effectively Before analytics arrived in baseball, Peter Brand saw a world based on player affection when what a team really needed was wins. In the film, we hear how pitching star Chad Bradford’s submarine style pushed his acquisition cost under 10 percent of his value because it “looks funny.” Without statistical predictions on performance, his future and that of the Oakland Athletics’ would have been troubled.

In hiring and managing our talent, there are plenty of attributes that may keep someone from making the promotion cut. Predictive analytics can help remove those roadblocks and support the people who deserve it by judging based on performance data since their hire.

Objective ranking of candidates on their past successes help HR managers promote people who consistently knock it out of the park. Analytics doesn’t remove gut instinct, but can provide a reason to look past it.

That same Big Data baseline also helps HR talent add new people to the roster based on known leading indicators of job performance. When a top candidate is found, they can be fast-tracked through the process to move quickly and secure them at optimum value.

Learn What Your Roster Needs Organizations that have very specific indicators can also use baselines to determine which skills combinations play best. “Moneyball” views wins above replacement (WAR) as the most important stat for a player’s performance, and it’s a complicated thing to incorporate innately.

WAR is essentially a numerical representation of how valuable a player is -- based on a review of nearly every available stat -- relative to a below-average replacement from the minors.

Businesses with lengthy data recordkeeping can create their own metrics similar to WAR thanks to modeling and predictive analytics. Performances based on certain categories or characteristics can be evaluated historically, limiting the need to make changes to learn outcomes.

Just as in baseball, these metrics are always relative to the position you’re looking to fill, so a strong hiring model can point out candidates that are the fit you need.

Scout the Right Talent Knowing what you’re looking for doesn’t always mean you find it, but predictive analytics has a benefit here too.

By analyzing past successes in individual hiring and hiring events, HR can optimize placement relative to job responses. Firms can generate high-quality responses by precisely targeting posting locations and determining what characteristics -- such as current certifications, title or employment duration – must be listed as requirements.

A deep dive into existing HR data often provides a clear look at past time-to-fill and fill ratios. Predictive modeling here can help HR managers reduce overall search time and improve candidate ranking. That means the right talent is found, matched to the proper position and offers are made sooner and more afford-ably.


Always Update Your Playbook Past behavior has its best chance to guide future success when companies implement predictive analytics. Because of its historical nature, data paradigms need strong collection and retention strategies plus the talent to maintain and improve models.

Adopting an analytics mindset will help businesses to incorporate traditional achievement characteristics as well as specific talent management attributes, behaviors and activities. Updating this data with new attributes and requirements, such as social media expertise, can help prevent any company from misjudging their players or mismanaging their teams.

Predictive analytics can optimize any talent management team by helping them -- as Peter Grant would say -- stop buying players, and start buying wins.

The best way to keep your statistical playbook up-to-date is to keep learning from the best in the industry, like the analytics heads for the giants of baseball, the Texas Rangers. Join them and other Rangers executives for a thought-provoking discussion on where analytics performs best and what is needed to help it thrive at BPI's annual Conference.

The Best Practice Institute strives to deliver high-quality services and support for companies of all sizes as they optimize talent and encourage growth from within. We hope you’ll join us at the home of the Rangers for this unique collaborative experience designed for talent acquisitions specialists, development executes, and CHROs.

As a Human Resources executive, you already know how important a technical competency model can be to your organization. For those who are in the process of developing a technical competency model, and already have an existing centralized talent management system, this article will give you some great tips to help when implementing your model.

What can an effective technical competency model do for you?

Technical competency models have become an important part of organizational leadership. This type of framework can do many things for an organization such as the following:

  • Provide specific skills and experience of what is required in order to be successful within a particular job;
  • Find the right person for the job;
  • Facilitate better employee performance;
  • Set clear requirements for performance management;
  • Identify which employees can be promoted and recognized; and,
  • Improve the organization’s bottom line.

Best practices

It is essential to be able to successfully designed, developed and implemented a technical competency model. Some of the most important elements are that these models are at the center of a successful Human Resources Department. These elements include being able to understand the specific knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) that are most needed in a specific position. Recruiting should be looked at as a type of art form and people outside the Human Resources field don’t understand the importance of this.

Here are some tips to help with the integration of a competency model with your overall talent management system:

  1. Analyze the different HR processes to see which ones need improvement such as recruiting, performance reviews or disciplinary procedures.
  2. It is helpful for the company to consider implementing a main competency model and then adding on to that.
  3. Take the time to set the criteria for the model based on what the organization needs. Don’t forget to consider the overall strategy of the entire company as well as identifying the key positions. All of the other positions should be built around this.
  4. Once all of the jobs are identified, it is essential to define the measures of performance for each job.
  5. Use the model to create a compensation to structure the different pay differences between the each individual job and employee (based on skills, education, experience, etc.)
  6. Think about who the key users will be and build the model around that.
  7. Decide how much data collection needs to be done in order to have a successful model. It is critical to know what you want in a clear plan in order to achieve success.

Technical competency modeling is an innovative way to improve strategic management decisions.

Case studies

Planning and implanting technical competency models has sharply increased over the past few years. Organizations all across the nation are seeing that it has become a necessary part of strategic planning. One such company is Devereux Cleo Wallace, a health care organization located in Colorado. Turnover became so bad that it had a rate of 60 percent. The Human Resources Department had been doing an excellent job of recruiting and hiring some of the best candidates who had the right experience and education for the job; however, that wasn’t enough. The company designed and implemented a competency-based candidate selection process and the turnover rate quickly fell between 15 percent and 20 percent. This is an excellent example of how important this process is for any organization, and competency-based interviewing is one of the most frequently used interview styles used in companies all across the U.S.

There are many Fortune 500 companies who are designing and implementing these policies with excellent results. Some of these companies include AT&T, PepsiCo, General Electric, KPMG and American Express, just to name a few. In fact, AT&T had a major transformation recently in its HR Department. When the company had to go through many hard transitions in the late ‘90s, they lost many employees and had a very high turnover. After much analysis, the company found that they were able to make positive changes that ended up having a great change. They also found that they were able to locate the right candidates by looking for those who are good with people and are also competitive and high performing.

Taking the next step

A recent study by Towers Watson revealed that competency models are vital to an organization’s culture, and this particular competency framework assists with attracting the top candidates and retaining the talent who has already been hired. Once the appropriate analysis has been made for your organization, it will give you a better idea of what would work best. Designing and implementing a competency model for any organization will bring about a positive change that will in turn help the overall strategic planning.