To unlock human performance, you need to understand the environment 

Capability frameworks are nothing new. People have been seeking to define the needs for a particular role for a very long time. It makes sense, of course, to understand the human requirements for a role whether you’re recruiting for it or filling it internally.  

The trick is that there has never really been an efficient and cost-effective way to assess and define the priority of capabilities within a role, function or environment. That’s why we’ve seen a lot of attention paid at what you can call the “pointy end” like leadership roles where costly protocols, often involving behavioural psychologists, psychometric assessments and other methodologies are employed in a months-long process of ensuring the right fit. 

Many organisations have sought to get similar insights by benchmarking themselves and their roles against industry norms and competitors. This is understandable since it’s an attempt to find an objective baseline for understanding and executing on capabilities, but there’s a glaring problem: this approach ignores environment and cultural variability.   

This method has endured because the thinking usually goes something like this: “What does somebody else’s model for role fit look like? Well, that one’s better than mine. Let me copy that. If I’m copying theirs, I’m probably going to be doing better than I am right now.” 

This sounds like a reasonable approach, but it ends up missing the particularities of your organisation. And without those, you’ll end up with diminishing returns even if this method does improve the performance and happiness situation for a while. Eventually, as a result of not having a customised and data-driven approach, you’ll never be able to fit individuals into your organisation or their roles with anything nearing consistent objectivity. 

Map the unique human patterns in your organisation 

 Individual human assessment seldom stands alone, and it seldom stands apart from the unique aspects of an environment. Let’s think of environment and culture as a pattern. In other words, every organisation has its own pattern, its own distinct set of variables, when it comes to environment and culture.  

Two organisations in the same industry may have very different ways in which similar works gets done, their own patterns. One may be hyper-collaborative. The other might be hyper-competitive internally. One may be nurturing. The other dog-eat-dog. The same individual will inevitably have two radically different experiences in these environments. In one they’ll thrive; in the other they’ll likely struggle. 

Similarly, “identical” roles in different sectors will have radically different patterns that match, or don’t, to different individuals. In government, where consensus is often a key value and hierarchies are a part of the structure, an otherwise high performing individual who struggles with “handling authority” might struggle, but move them to a smaller organisation without these environmental factors and the individual no longer has a characteristic that impedes performance. 

For the most part, individuals and organisations avoid what you could call “pattern clash” with intuition, subjectivity, word-of-mouth (e.g. what’s the reputation of the various environments and cultures?) and, let’s be honest, a fair bit of guesswork. 

Fortunately, there is another way.   

How Next-generation human assessment technology matches the patterns 

Next-generation human assessment technology looks at the individual, the environment and the role, delivering data-based insights into each independently and in relation to each other. An individual has preferred patterns, so does a role and an environment. They all have patterns that become apparent in the data. Next-generation human assessment technology acts as a pattern matcher. Decisions previously reliant on incomplete data and gut feel, become apparent: The high performer will perform at her best in one company, but languish in the other (and now you know which one). 

Next-gen human assessment technology attacks the challenge by improving: 

  • Fit to performance and organisational DNA in hiring;  
  • Personalised onboarding plans focused on areas for development; and  
  • Targeted development of your average performers.  

Patterns change and evolve —this is a people and organisation lifecycle process 

  The technology doesn’t purport to be a perfect predictor or a crystal ball. It’s an insight generator that enables organisations to rapidly identify where the patterns don’t match among individual, role and environment and either avoid them by passing on the hire or the internal re-assignment or remediating them through development. In this way, the technology is a lifecycle tool that is used initially and then serves as a touchstone, like a health check. 

After all, strategic and role configurations change, so the patterns will change. Agile organisations understand this and continue to assess and adapt accordingly. What matters is that for the first-time, a technology exists that enables rapid pattern matching at scale that can grow with both an individual and an organisation. 

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