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HRHeadStart #30: Talent Management; Personality vs. Pay; Rethinking Flexibility
The Talent Agenda
The term Talent Management is so common in HR circles, yet I have found people struggling to succintly describe what it truly means. I have seen people equating it with talent acquisition, leadership development, succession planning, training for high performers etc. Talent Management is an extremely strategic area for HR, as it is all about placing bets on people. In essence, it consists of 1) identifying organisational capabilities that will help the organisation to execute its strategy, 2) identifying all the "A" positions related to those capabilities, 3) identifying all your "A" players to staff those positions, 4) placing your "A" players in "A" positions through assessment, selection, development and rewards and 5) figuring out a game plan for "B" players to become "A" players. I highly recommend The Differentiated Workforce - a classic to help you master the concept and sharpen your thinking.
There’s been a fair bit of research on the linkage between personality and pay. But I have also been curious how does the linkage play out across different age groups. This piece from HBR has some interesting analysis on this topic (caveat: it focuses on data from men only). Some highlights and food for thought as we consider our own personality traits:
…in early years, earnings were no different for men with strong personality traits. At around age 30, a gap emerged, as men who were more conscientious, extroverted, and less agreeable started earning more. These gains from conscientiousness and extraversion (between $10-20,000 annually)…
How does this difference in annual earnings add up over a lifetime? Consider two men in the Terman study, who are equal on all background characteristics and all traits, except for extraversion. The man who is average on this trait will earn $600,000 more over a lifetime than his more introverted peer (whose extraversion is, say, in the bottom 20% of the distribution). This effect size corresponds to about 15% of lifetime earnings. The magnitude of this effect is equally large for conscientiousness…
It turns out that highly educated men benefit more than twice as much from these three personality traits (conscientiousness, extraversion, and low agreeableness) than less educated men. For example, when comparing two men with a bachelor’s degree, the introvert (bottom 20% of extraversion) will earn about $290,000 less than his peer with average extraversion. This earnings difference increases to about $760,000 when we compare an introvert to someone at the average extraversion when both hold a Master’s or doctorate.
My key takeaway is that the combination of two inputs - soft skills and education - creates an impact which is bigger than the sum of its parts.
A Productive Workout
A workout is a great way to create mindspace for processing and learning new ideas. And it primes you for creative thinking. For your next walk, run or workout session, I recommend thinking about the notion of “flexibility”, which is currently narrowly construed to be about “the place you work from”. Ultimately, flexibility is also about what you work on, who you work with, when you work etc. Grab the links: Apple Podcasts, Spotify.
It is not enough to play the game well - you must also make sure you are playing the right game.