Today’s post is by John C. Kolencik, who has been conducting business simulations for client companies for more than 20 years. His company, Matrix Impact (http://www.matriximpact.com), focuses on increasing clients’ sales revenue an average of 42 percent by finding the best people, training them, and providing high-producing lead generation.
Organizations are only as strong as the people who work for it. That makes people your most precious resource. It also makes the hiring, assessment, and development of A-Players critical best practices in any company. Nobody wants to make a mistake in hiring or promoting. So why is it one of the most under-taught, under-improved processes in all of business?
One of the best ways to improve your hiring, assessment, and development of A-Players is the use of simulations, but fewer than 2 percent of all businesses use them – and it is a mystery to me. What this stat screams is that, when simulations are utilized correctly, you can differentiate your business from at least 98 percent of your competition.
I mean, nobody would buy a car without taking it for a test drive, nor would an airline hire pilots unless they could prove – in a flight simulator – that they were competent. So why choose to hire or promote someone without seeing their true ability to perform required business tasks with your own eyes?
Here are the six reasons simulations should be an integral part of any hiring, promotion, and training processes.
#1: The 5:1 Ratio
A mis-hire/promote costs the company 5 times the candidate’s annual compensation (e.g., a $50,000 salary costs the company $250,000).
With training, it’s just as easy to see the ROI. A business parable for you:
CEO said to the CFO: “We have to train our people to get better.”
CFO says: “But what if we invest time and money to train them and they leave us to go to our competitor?”
CEO shoots back: “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”
Whether it is a mis-hire or a less-than-adequately-trained employee, the impact on client relations, revenue, productivity, supervision time, and morale is negative – and it is huge.
#2: The Power of Proof
Have you ever had an interview where the person told you they couldn’t do the job? Or have you ever had a person who “stretched” their abilities in the interview and, as a result, you were cleaning their messes for days, weeks, or months after?
A best practice simulation provides you “point-to-point correspondence” with the job. When the activities found in the simulation are a replica of activities required on the job, you get an accurate portrayal of skill level.
This is also why simulations are critical to training. Do you really want salespeople “practicing” on customers? Of course you don’t! General George Patton once said, “The more my troops sweat in peacetime, the less they bleed during combat.” Simulations are a must in all continual development.
Reason #3: How They Handle the Debrief
Once they perform in the simulation, how do they respond to constructive criticism? Are they thin-skinned? Do they gloat? Is their self-confidence warranted? Many times, you find out the best and the worst of people by observing how they handle coaching.
It also opens a window to know how they learn best. Through the debrief, you will discover what they will and won’t respond to. This can be invaluable as you continue to train and develop your team.
Reason #4: Go to the Video
When recorded, simulations help reduce – if not remove – bias and subjectivity in the hiring process in one big way: “The eye in the sky does not lie.” You don’t want a he-said/she-said situation in any business scenario, but especially in simulations.
Here’s a great example of the benefit of recording simulations: A hiring manager who got a “good hit” off a candidate in an interview might get a completely different feeling after watching a recorded simulation. The candidate might be the most charming person in the world, but, when the time came, he didn’t have the skills he had trumpeted. In any business, that is a disaster averted.
Recorded simulations are irreplaceable in training as well. There is nothing better than being able to go back and review specific areas for either praise or correction. Plus, reviewing with individuals their recorded progress or regression is a very powerful training tool.
Reason #5: Onboarding
Even if somebody is an A-Player, it does not mean he or she is perfect. Too many onboarding programs fail to adapt to the candidate, thus slowing the speed to effectiveness of the new hire.
Simulations don’t just weed out bad candidates. They also help assess a good candidate’s specific strengths and weaknesses in a hyper-accurate way. This allows you to design/implement an onboarding process to speed them to productivity. Not to mention, it helps in offer decisions such as salary negotiations.
Reason #6: Positioning Your Company as the Best
The War for Talent is upon us and there are only so many A-Players out there. The mistake most organizations make is purposefully making the hiring process easier out of fear of losing the candidate.
Thomas Payne said, “What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” Being with the best requires paying the price. Candidates learn respect for the position and respect for the company by seeing how seriously the company takes the hiring process. The best candidates don’t want to be with some company that just rolls over. Remember: Everybody wants to belong to The Club that is impossible to get in.
87 percent of people who voluntarily (i.e., quit) leave a company do so because of a lack of growth and development opportunity. It’s human nature to want to improve, develop new skills, succeed, and advance. If you have good people, make them better. Use simulations to continually train and develop your team. And you know what they call the company with the top employees…they call that company the best!
Andy Grove, the Intel visionary, said, “The most important charge a good manager owns is the responsibility to continuously train his/her employees.” When you add in the training component, you have three areas where you can either irreparably damage or exponentially advance your most precious resource.
To ensure you are hiring A-Players – and for training to be both impactful and “sticky” – you have to closely tie how things are actually done in your organization to any evaluation and development of personnel. This is why simulations are such a critical management tool.