Create The Benchmark For Success

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Take uncertainty out of your hiring and promoting processes with accurate and objective job benchmarking.

job benchmarking

It can be hard to pin down what you are looking for when hiring for a role. Especially if the role is new or you are replacing a long-term incumbent. For the former, the world is your oyster – but where do you start, who do you ask? For the latter, it’s all too easy to look for the same old-same old. Neither approach is likely to be successful.

Instead, the answer is to benchmark. The benchmarking process takes in the views and experiences of stakeholders who will have contact with the person in the role: senior management, co-workers and reports. Anyone who in some way needs that individual to be successful in the role.

Job role benchmarking is more important than ever. We have long advocated the practice, but post-pandemic challenges and ongoing economic pressures leave employers with increasingly tighter margins when it comes to recruitment. With the cost of a bad hire running into tens of thousands, employers need to get their hires right the first time.

The qualities, skills and behaviours that you hired for in the past may have shifted. Line managers in particular need to be of the highest calibre if they are to inspire, maintain and retain high performing teams. Bullies need not apply and there is no room for ‘box tickers’ who simply go through the motions of their jobs.

"Do we have a crisis in finding the right talent? Yes, but that’s not because the talent isn’t there – we just don’t recognise it. We think some paper called a CV is the beginning of any career. As soon as we can actually define what skills are and talk about them, the talent crisis is over."

Bas van de Haterd, founder and MD of Digitaal-Werven

Bespoke job benchmarking

There is no such thing as off-the-shelf benchmarking. Every organisation and role is unique. Hiring managers, stakeholders and HR need to collaborate to identify what success in the role looks like. Do you simply need someone to single-mindedly hit a target? Or someone who can build strong workplace relationships? Will they have to work in isolation, or within a sociable team? Do you need a driven individual who will challenge the status quo, or a peacemaker who brings out the best of their colleagues without being a pushover? Or perhaps none of the above? You need someone who matches the unique requirements of your organisation.

Getting around the table to discuss and debate a job role benchmark is a valuable exercise. It might be uncomfortable, and there may be some discord, but set the ground rules and you will find it’s possible to be open minded and focused at the same time.

"Benchmarking promotes a collaborative opportunity to truly define which behaviours will encourage success. Far too often it is left out of the recruitment process which can lead to ambiguity for both hiring managers and candidates."

Grant Taylor, Holst Consultant

Benchmark to attract the right talent

Benchmarking gives you the appropriate language to use in your job adverts and descriptions. With a clear picture of the traits, behaviours and skills that you believe the role will need, you can refine how and what you ask for in your candidates to create a vision they can identify with.

Perfect fit or potential match?

You might get lucky and discover a slew of ‘perfect fits’ to your benchmark. More likely though is that you’ll find many more ‘potential matches’. These candidates may not tick every box right now, but you’ll see where the gaps lie and decide if it’s feasible for the candidate to develop and grow those areas. Benchmarking opens up the opportunity to have honest conversations with your candidates, helping you to further assess how they will fit into your organisation.

“Talent requires development. If all you end up with is what you start out with, you’re not going to be good, really, at anything.”

Tyler Cowen, George Mason University

Benchmarking for retention

Hiring for ‘great fit’ will ultimately lead to greater retention and effective succession planning. Having objectively analysed the role, you can be honest about the needs of the job. No false promises or mixed messages. Your candidate can be sure that what you offer is what they can confidently expect to experience.

You’ll know where the areas of development lie from the off, rather than discovering them too late in the day i.e. halfway through the probation period. These insights mean you can decide whether there is time and/or budget to put in interventions, training or coaching, in place from the start.

It’s also possible to make sure that your new hire’s line manager is ready and able to manage them. Perhaps your new hire will need specific support to bring out their best. Perhaps your line manager will also need additional support to manage their new addition effectively.

Begin benchmarking with Holst

With all this in place, you’ve maximised the chances that your new hire or promotion will work out well in the medium to long term. To find out more about the benefits of benchmarking, talk to our experts Grant Taylor and Vanessa Lovegrove.

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