How the Digital Age is distrupting the leadership market

By October 4, 2016CEO Blog
CEO blog Ccentric

Ask any organisation what their key priorities for the year and beyond are, and the odds are pretty decent that talent agenda is at the top of that list.

In today’s highly competitive market, businesses recognise that they are only as strong as the people they attract and retain – and importantly, the leaders they appoint. Leadership has the potential to make or break an organisation – research has consistently shown that employees quit managers, not companies. Take for instance a study by management consulting firm Gallup, which revealed that half (50 per cent) of employees surveyed left a job “to get away from their manager”.

With people being one of the most critical assets of any business, organisations will no doubt continue to pump more investments into seeking the best-in-class to join and lead their team. In fact, novel ways of addressing the talent conundrum are already starting to emerge, and it is only a matter of time before these approaches go mainstream.

The advent of technological advancements in this digital age, for one, is starting to play a key role in candidate selection procedures. From leveraging video to remove the geographical boundary that comes with assessing overseas candidates, to vetting prospects via their social media profiles, there is clearly so much we can do to boost the efficiency of the hiring process for both parties.

Yet, bad hires still remain a massive predicament for businesses.

Why are businesses still making bad hires?

During a recent Leadership Series Event, Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, CEO of Hogan Assessments and Business Psychology Professor at the University College London and Columbia University, shed some interesting light on the key barriers to hiring the right person.

Indeed, we still hear a lot about organisations making the wrong hiring decisions – and the primary reason lies in the basis of their judgment. Despite operating in an increasingly data-driven economy, where analytics and insights have become vital elements of boardroom discussions, it’s surprising to see that people still largely hire based on intuition – the fact that “it just feels right”.

Another key and obvious aspect that equally contributes to the selection process is the assessment of past performances. While this is often a good indicator of future performance, it doesn’t exactly hold true when we’re talking about moving people up the ranks into a management position.

More often than not, people are hired because of their expertise and technical abilities. However, a lot of these individuals are actually neither interested nor capable of leading, motivating and engaging a team. Herein lies the fundamental mistake. Candidates are typically appointed based on their performance in a current role, as opposed to whether they possess the capabilities relevant for the intended role.

Core measures of leadership potential

So how then do we accurately measure leadership potential? According to Dr Chamorro-Premuzic, there are three basic ingredients of employability that businesses should always look out for when assessing any potential employee: ability, likability and drive.

Ability does not only refer to hard skills, it also includes soft skills such as the ability to manage people, innovate and exercise good judgement whilst under pressure. These can’t simply be judged based on a couple of interviews and a candidate’s LinkedIn profile. Moreover, likeability and drive are also largely dependent on dispositional factors such as personality.

On top of these core ingredients, another mark of a solid leader is that of entrepreneurial qualities. More and more organisations seek to hire disrupters – people who can see and exploit even the smallest of opportunities.

Evidently, these core measures of leadership potential are all innate qualities that go beyond intuition and the skills candidates have put down on paper.

The rise of data-driven leadership selection

The answer to accurately measuring leadership potential could very well lie in big data, which is already massively disrupting the recruitment market.

In fact, Dr Chamorro-Premuzic indicated that by developing certain algorithms aimed at profiling a candidate’s voice, facial expressions and body language, they can actually pick up a whopping 80 million data points within a 25-minute interview! By leveraging those insights, they were able to correlate significant attributes to future job performance and the candidate’s ability to lead, thereby reducing the implications of current human biases.

As organisations learn to acknowledge that bad leadership hires will not only cost the business money and invaluable time, but also lead to plummeting employee morale and stakeholder relationships, the prevalence of data analytics in hiring decisions will only skyrocket.

Undoubtedly, the future of recruitment is already here and it is only a matter of time before data-driven leadership selection goes mainstream.

by Wayne Bruce, CEO, Ccentric Group.

Recently Ccentric hosted a breakfast with Dr Chamorro-Premuzic as the guest speaker. Click here to see the video footage from this event.

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