Posted by Danielle LaVigne ● Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 11:10 AM

Is Your Sales Organization Ready For Topgrading?

If your leadership team understands that the Company’s most valuable asset is its people then the answer is yes.

In a time where hiring and re-hiring top notch talent has become necessary in order to run a successful business and set yourselves apart from your competitors, it is critical that your organization implements a recruitment method that attracts, screens, and secures the best talent, both internal and external.

Hiring and retaining A Players is the most important responsibility assigned to leaders in your organization. When referring to leaders, we don’t refer exclusively to executives, managers, and supervisors, but rather all members of the organization with the drive and desire to excel. We refer to high performers longing to work with other high performers.

Amongst some of the most common challenges being faced today by organizations using traditional recruitment methods are vague job descriptions, screening from resumes, competency & behavioral based interviews, and ineffective reference checks.  By implementing the Topgrading methodology in your organization you will be able to resolve these issues and more.  You will be able to improve your organization’s hiring success, reduce the cost of turnover, increase profits and market value.

What is Topgrading?

Topgrading is a talent acquisition method that allows your organization to achieve teams consisting of 90% or more A Players, those in the top 10% of talent available for the pay. There are 12 steps to follow in the Topgrading Timeline; each step plays a significant role in the hiring success of your organization, from executive hiring to front line personnel.

Following are a few reasons your organization should consider the implementation of Topgrading: 

Calculating the Cost of Mis-hires

When calculating the cost of a mis-hire, take a sales representative for example, consider the following factors: hiring costs, compensation, maintenance, severance, opportunity costs and disruptions costs and you will be surprised by the outcome. 

Blog Jenny%27s Chart

Vague Job Descriptions vs. Job Scorecards

Most companies use a job description to help them identify the responsibilities assigned to the employee; job descriptions tend to be broad and general.  In the long run, they lead to disappointment, due to the ambiguous delivery of expectations.  Topgrading uses the Job Scorecard to identify clear accountabilities and metrics assigned to a specific job.  It also identifies the key competencies necessary to achieve the results your organization is looking for.  Expectations are clearly defined prior to the person being hired or promoted so you can communicate those expectations from day one. Your performance document is created before a person is hired and you can clearly determine whether a new hire is an A Player or not.

Screening from Resumes vs. The Career History Form

Resumes tend to carry a lot of weight, an opportunity for job candidates to exaggerate their roles and accomplishments. By using the Topgrading Career History Form you will ask candidates to identify their strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, challenges, relationships with supervisors, and reasons for leaving the job; the good and the ugly.

Behavioral Based Interviews vs. The Topgrading Tandem Interview

Candidates come prepared to behavior-based competency interviews.  They expect questions revolving around integrity, communication, teamwork and initiative (going the “extra mile”) along with the organizational values you list on your website.  In today’s world there are books candidates can actually purchase that help them prepare for these types of interviews.  The Tandem Topgrading Interview is a chronological, in-depth, and structured interview focusing on education, work history, plans, goals, and self-appraisal.

Reference Checks

Are you guilty of hiring without checking references? You’re not alone. Reference checks are often not executed or done poorly.  Some of the challenges with reference checks are: allowing candidates to provide only positive references, “the cheerleading squad”, hiring managers trying, often in vain, to chase down references, and getting references to talk, typically sending you directly to their HR department.  By using what Topgrading refers to as “TORC”, threat of reference check, candidates are asked to arrange personal reference calls with references such as their bosses from the past 10 years, peers, direct reports, and customers. You decide and identify which references the candidate will be arranging.   

Topgrading Fixes Hiring Problems

Tograding at every level in your organization will have a positive impact on both your customers’ and employees’ health index. High performers will support your brand promise and in return you retain and grow your existing clientele by developing relationships built on trust, where clients feel comfortable referring new clients.  By supporting your talent promise of hiring high performers to work with high performers your employee engagement will increase as well as your employees’ commitment level, resulting in low turnover.  Bottom line, hire more high performers who fit your culture, avoid mis-hires that cost you a lot of time and money, get to know employees very well before they even become employees, grow faster, gain market share, increase profits, create fulfilling jobs.  Become a talent magnet!

Topics: sales hiring

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