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July 22, 2019

Have you implemented 80/20 human science in your recruiting process?

 

The competitive environments of recruiting talent are intense and continue to grow as the supply and demand factors continue to escalate. Leading a recruiting firm focused on delivering top talented professionals and committed to continuous improvement, brought me to study this question: How many top performers are there in the building products industry?

The first quickly dispelled notion is that it’s the building products industry that has the problem. Humans have a great ability to rationalize a problem by providing cover from looking in the mirror and embracing the facts. Building Products companies with strong leaders are for more effective attracting and retaining. Rather the dispersion of talent is human science that is consistent not only in the building products industry, but any time you have a group of humans competing.

Does human competition drive a disparity of results regardless of whether the endeavor is capitalism or the arts?

Here are some facts to ponder: 

  • 66% of the researchers are below average in the number of articles published 
  • 84% of Emmy-nominated actors are below average in the total number of nominations 
  • 68% of US Representatives are below average in the number of terms they have served 
  • 71% of NBA players are below average in the number of points scored 

 

Studying the dispersion of high-performing humans, you can find similar disparity percentages in authors, composers and professionals in the business world that fall into the same pattern. How wide is the disparity of results? Based on performance outcomes, how many people fall into each category?

Fortunately, Laszlo Bock, Human Resources Chief at Google, studied this same question and published his findings in the book Work Rules! – Insights from Inside Google https://www.workrules.net/. He was responsible for increasing the Google employee count from 6,000 to 60,000 people from 2006-2016. Properly framing the task of hiring 50,000 people, Google’s performance expectations required they interview over 428 people for each person hired, for every 700 people hired they required a review of 3,000,000 resumes.  Science and being fact-based is a core value at Google; they carefully studied these human performance questions and came to some clear conclusions:

– Power Law/Pareto Distribution: 80% of the productivity comes from 20% of the people

– 60% of the population generates 10% of the combined productivity


 

Based on these facts, smart leaders are asking: How to do I avoid 60% of the population in my hiring process? 

  • Adopt the proven history of success hiring method. Simply ask has this professional been successful in exactly, specifically and precisely the role we are hiring for? If they have been successful multiple times, and have adapted to multiple cultures, it minimizes risks such as they rode someone else’s coattails or took advantage of the rising macroeconomic tide.
  • Understand great recruiting requires great sales skill. Great salespeople are generally poor critical thinkers; vetting is a critical thinking process.  
  • Uncover your hiring biases. The book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is the foundation of our internal process for eliminating vetting biases. 
  • Increase the flow of top talent in your hiring process. Increased top talent flow gives you the power of selection and negotiation. 

 

The amount of broad sweeping social pressure fighting this proven science is coming from multiple fronts. The topics of universal income and other social leanings stem from the belief that we are all equal, and productivity will be either random or even regardless. Low performers lack the resilience to embrace the facts, and if allowed, will continue to hide in organizational structures. Weak leaders avoid defining the individual value, thinking it will erode their position when addressing compensation, making the choice to lose that talent to a competitor who is more transparent in their business measurements and rewards. If the top 20% of talent is producing 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x more profit than the average person on the team why would they stay anywhere there is a lack of performance transparency and merit-based compensation is not commensurate?

 

Hire smarter – Tony

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