Bias Can Create Talent Management Traps You Want to Avoid
Unfortunately, no one is completely unbiased when designing and implementing talent management programs. It is simply human nature to let some lenses distort the behavioral characteristics we favor and those we avoid.
Culture Can Weigh Heavily Against The Changes We Desire
But these prejudices can severely hamper the best-intentioned efforts to change and improve the talent in our organization. As much as we strive to hire individuals we know can make a difference in our company, we must recognize that there is a social system or culture that weighs heavily against the change we desire.
Three Talent Management Traps You Want to Avoid
Real change in terms of talent management means coming to terms with several forces working against us.
1. People Resist Change and Prefer Familiarity
It is just natural to seek like-minded people. But when a team is comprised of all-too-similar employees with the same working styles, it loses the richness that comes with diversity.
If everyone on a team thinks alike, where is the opportunity for innovation? Where are ideas challenged and strengthened? How can you think out of the box if you’re all inside the same box?
The Takeaway – There is high value in different backgrounds and perspectives. Teams are far more flexible when problems arise because they have far more solutions from which to choose.
2. People Reward Conformity Over Creativity
Just think of an old-fashioned school classroom where the “good” student (the one that behaved and followed the rules) was smiled upon whereas the student who asked questions and challenged assumptions was met with disapproval.
And yet the challenging thinker was often more likely to be the deeper thinker. We have to beware of promoting employees simply because they are compliant and don’t cause waves.
The Takeaway – Compliant workers may make our teams look cohesive, but they often don’t come up with new ideas and innovative approaches.
3. People Discount the Importance of Workplace Culture
Remember the stereotypical “uniform” of the IBM employee or the Wall Street executive? Pin-striped suit, conservative tie, white shirt and leather briefcase. They all looked as though they were clones. Granted, attire is much more individual these days but, I wonder, if the attitudes are all that different.
The Takeaway – Once a cultural norm becomes prevalent, it can take over as a social system and almost dictate who will thrive in it. If your culture is aligned with your strategy, this is a good thing. If your culture is not aligned with your strategy, it will derail your success.
The Bottom Line
So ask yourself – if we continue to hire the same types of employee, will our talent management goals be achieved?
If you want to drive higher performance, you need to take a close look at the mix of behaviors that get you there. It is likely that you will have to look beyond the familiar to truly challenge the status quo. Be aware of the lenses that can blur your vision as you evaluate job candidates. Acknowledge and appreciate the biases we all have and try to overcome them.
To learn more about the top talent management traps to avoid, download Why Talent Is Surprisingly Only 1/3rd of the Talent Management Recipe for Success
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