In the heady days of the 90’s, to many observers it appeared that money was no object for the pharmaceutical industry. Multi-million pound projects, rising share prices and vibrant job opportunities all added to this impression. Star Wars In the heady days of the 90’s, to many observers it appeared that money was no object for the pharmaceutical industry. Multi-million pound projects, rising share prices and vibrant job opportunities all added to this impression. Now, in the first few years of the 21st century, the picture is changing. Many new product pipelines are slowing, share prices are dropping and the impact of government legislation weighs even heavier on the opportunities for the industry. It’s by no means all doom and gloom, however few would say that it’s getting any easier. At times like this, the traditional ways of maintaining competitive advantage have to change and adapt in order to stay ahead of the game. Hence the battle for the “stars”, or the Talent Wars as it is sometimes called. When product differentiation becomes difficult, the real source of competitive advantage lies in the attraction and retention of talented people who can differentiate the services and representation of the company brand.
So what’s new I hear you cry?
Well in essence quite a lot, because knowing the importance of identifying the “stars” and being certain as to where the real talent lies within your organisation are often two different things. If you are a senior manager reading this, can you honestly say at any one moment, who are the real stars are in your company? Not just based on their sales performance but across a whole range of personal and professional competencies. If you are a field based manager reading this, can you pinpoint, quantify and justify the decisions you make regarding each of your representative’s careers, both to them and to your managers? In the “War of the Stars”, the need for consistent thorough, transparent and fair assessment of an individual’s performance is essential. Competencies have long been used as a way of achieving the measures and consistency that are now needed. Now before you throw the article aside at the sheer mention of competencies – yes I know at times competency and compatibilities frameworks are cumbersome, unreliable, over simplistic and time consuming to administer – I just want to impart to you some of the ways that companies (mainly outside of the industry but some within it also) are breathing new life and vigour into the whole subject of performance management and succession planning.
Let me ask you this question. If you could, at the touch of a button:
- Motivate people to take ownership for their own performance and development.
- Identify the best all rounder for a job vacancy.
- Pinpoint the gaps in performance in order to target limited T & D budgets
- Ensure that all re-grading and appraisal discussion is transparent and evidence based
- Demonstrate your capability and suitability for a promotion to others
- Plan your career on an ongoing basis daily or weekly if needed . . .
would that be useful to you? Because that’s what many companies have now achieved through well-designed on-line competency and performance management systems. Within the industry, where competencies have been put on-line as part of a coaching and development culture transition; many organisational, managerial and personal benefits have been achieved.
Lets consider some examples
In a couple of the on-line competency and talent management systems, each individual job profile is presented by a visual “web map”. This shows the schematic profile for the job role, the individual’s perception of their own competency rating profile, their managers view of their competency and the mutually agreed result. This mapping immediately supplies a gap analysis for any one individual in any one competency. The results however are far reaching in their value and application.
- Firstly, individuals with common gaps or needs can be instantly channelled onto the relevant training courses or directed towards the relevant learning resources. No more sheep dipping.
- Secondly, at the touch of a button, a full analysis of an organisations competency can be assessed in any one area against the business goals. At times like this, the traditional ways of maintaining competitive advantage have to change and adapt in order to stay ahead of the game
- Training and Development can be delivered well in advance of impending initiatives to address any technical or skills gaps.
- Thirdly, as gaps close, R.O.I. of training and Development spend can readily be assessed. confidential between the individual and the manager). Employees can therefore identify where they need to improve in order to fit the profile of their next career move.
Evidence-based on-line competency frameworks will inevitably become the next tools for creating the future
In another organisation, any permanent movement in the individuals profile result has to be evidence based. When you are responsible for collecting and collating evidence, testimonial, course attendance results etc. as well as sales figures in order to underpin your performance improvements, you can’t help but become engaged in and enthusiastic about your own development. This focus on “personal accountability” and ownership for success has made “development” an ongoing coaching and business tool, no longer reserved just for appraisal. Therefore evidence-based on-line competency frameworks will inevitability become the next tools for creating the future. Let’s consider the area of succession planning, with an engaging online competency tool. At any time, anyone can view the job profile of any other job or role (not the individual job holders results – they’ve confidential between the individual and the manager). Employees can therefore identify where they need to improve in order to fit the profile of their next career move. Likewise, where a job vacancy comes up, Senior Management can quickly call up a competency audit which will shortlist the “best fit” candidates within the company resulting in greater transparency, less bias and less subjectivity in internal appointments. The above examples only scratch the surface of what some of the online systems are capable of, a far cry from the rarely used, paper driven, procedural competency processes often found in the industry. With the complexity of selling to the NHS becoming even greater and the need for territory and product teams to all pull together, the ability to assess an individual’s performance and an individual’s sales is fast becoming a thing of the past. Retaining talent and identifying shortfalls in performance is key to the success of any business. On-line transparency of any one person’s competency profile is just one surefire way of making competency frameworks work for us. Today the battle for talent, the Star Wars, will be won and lost on the battlefield of the World Wide Web.
For more information on putting competencies on-line contact: Russell Curzon, IQdos Ltd, 45 West Street, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 2LS Tel: 01628 488556 www.iqdos.com For more information on competencies frameworks contact: Mandy Geal, Learning Partners, 88 Little Grove Field, Harlow, Essex CM19 4BX Tel: 07900 698098.