Great Ideas for Attracting, Hiring, and Retaining Great People
  February 2008  

Below are two articles that I thought you could use as you think about attracting and hiring the right people in your company. One summarizes the recommendations of a Pennsylvania Bio trade association panel on Human Capital's Effect on Financial Performance that I recently moderated. The other is from my strategic alliance partner, Delta Consultants, on the roll that expert assessments play in ensuring a top-notched team.

Does Human Capital Impact a Company's Financial Performance?
PA Bio
By Jim Geier, President, Human Capital Consulting Partners

How many times have you asked yourself:

  • "How important is it to have a human capital or people strategy for my company?"
  • "Does hiring and developing the right people have a direct impact on my business?"
  • "What key parts of the human capital strategy should my company focus on first?"

These questions were addressed recently at the monthly breakfast program for Pennsylvania Bio, the statewide trade association representing Pennsylvania's bioscience industry, where I moderated a session entitled, "Human Capital-Driving Growth and Value through Human Capital." To an audience of more than 160 biosciences professionals, this panel of industry and private equity professionals shared their experiences, challenges, and solutions in dealing with the people issues that face early, mid, and fully integrated biosciences companies.

The consensus of the panel was that when developing a human capital strategy, a company should focus first on:

  1. Culture
  2. Identifying and Attracting the Right People
  3. Building a Cohesive Team

It was clear from the panel discussion that regardless of the stage a biotech company finds itself, people issues are common to all companies and getting them right is crucial to success. In summary, the panel stated that the following human capital issues must be addressed if you want your company to succeed:

  • Spend time developing a people strategy: it's a good investment.
  • Understand the type culture you want and drive it throughout your organization in everything you do.
  • Define upfront the requirements and competencies needed for a job to be sure you hire the "right person."
  • Ensure that job candidates get to meet as many people as possible during the interview process to ensure they are a "good fit" for the new team.
  • Consider using a formal assessment process to insure that a candidate's fit is right for the job, team, and company culture.
  • If the people processes and programs are done right they will have a direct impact on your bottom line. (A global workforce study covering over 90,000 workers in 18 countries conducted by professional services firm Towers Perrin confirmed that companies with the highest levels of employee engagement increase operating income and earnings per share.)

More articles and presentations on developing sound Human Capital strategies

Assessment Tests Contribute to Sound Selection
By Dr. Mickey Fineberg, Managing Partner, Delta Consultants

A note from Jim Geier:
Bottom line-people are an organization's most valuable asset. Attract, hiring, and developing the right people will lead to business success. However, many times organizations struggle with, "How do I know if this person is right for the job?" As discussed during the PA BIO breakfast program, assessments are one way to assist you in answering this question. To explain how the assessment process works and its impact on increasing the success rate in hiring the right person, I have asked one of my strategic alliance partners, Dr. Mickey Fineberg of Delta Consultants, to give his insights based on 30 years of selection testing.

When you're starting up, running, or participating in building an enterprise, there is nothing more rewarding (other than profitable growth) than knowing you have the people playing the right roles with the right skills, styles, and attitudes. Nothing is more frustrating than the realization that you've made the wrong choice. You might also be aware that with the wrong choice comes the penalty of two- to three-times base salary when considering training and orientation costs, lower productivity, missed opportunities, and the adverse impact on other people's morale and performance.

Increasing Success-Prediction Power
A well-conceived test program adds 25 to 35% success-prediction power to the other important elements of screening that include experiential review, interviewing, and referencing (including various background checks). In essence, assessment provides a dimension of critical information that cannot be determined reliably by the other pieces when it comes to identifying and selecting the best possible people.

Essentially, selecting great people is a combination of using one's mind and gut or applying both science and art. Experienced business psychologists optimize both and enable their clients to do as well. In this sense, a business psychologist understands assessments, their strengths and limitations, and how to interpret various test results (along with interview impressions) to determine how people will actually think and act in the role through which they are expected to contribute. And, the psychologist (or test consultant) will help clients avoid the pitfall of falling in love in the first ten minutes and spending the rest of their time defending their choice.

Checks and Balances
It is most effective to use multiple tests-aptitudes, preferences, values, attitudes, and styles-that complement and check and balance each other, along with psychologist involvement. A psychologist's involvement can include in-person or telephone interview and assessment, or depending on the job, client consultation (without candidate contact) on an assessment package that is selected based on job content or performance-based validity.

Single published assessments that are on the market, despite whether they purport to being tied to a job analysis, might be okay for ruling out already unacceptable people but are less potent at predicting those who will be truly successful from the standpoint of job competency and environmental or culture expectations. The lack of or limited involvement of a seasoned business psychologist also limits the capacity to predict a truly successful contribution as well as to provide proactive insight on how to maximize development and retention.

A comprehensive assessment package and the right level of psychologist involvement can enable the projection of future potential and the most opportunistic career track beyond the entry position. Assessment can enable sound promotional decisions and development strategies for those who are perceived as having succession potential or the capacity to take on bigger or broader responsibilities.

More on Delta Consultants

I hope this information will help you formulate your approach in dealing with your human capital issues. If you are interested in other Human Capital Consulting Partners articles, please visit our Resource center.

If Human Capital Consulting Partners can be of any assistance in helping you solve your people problems, contact us at 215-244-8110 or info@hccpartners.com.


Jim Geier
Human Capital Consulting Partners

phone: 215-244-8110
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