An outdated, untested competency model.
A large life insurance and financial services company wanted a new way to identify, track and measure the critical success factors for one of its key positions, the Managing Director. The company had an existing competency model for this position, but the model was no longer accurate as the position had evolved and taken on more responsibility. The company needed a new competency model, one that defined the skill set necessary for high performance and could be scientifically validated.
Proven competencies and leadership factors that guide the company and individuals to success.
Vaya developed a new competency model through an extensive research process that included document review, focus groups with stakeholders and subject matter experts and stakeholder interviews with veteran Managing Directors and their supervisors. Vaya then gathered and examined the data to identify 21 key competencies that differentiated high performers from their lower-achieving counterparts. The final competency model grouped the 21 competencies into seven broader leadership areas and included a structured behavioral interview to measure the competencies in an individual’s performance.
To verify that these competencies were tied to high performance, Vaya conducted a validation study, using the new competency model to assess both top performers and “other” performers. The new model was found to be statistically valid: managing directors who scored higher on the competencies were more likely to be top performers than those who scored lower. Not only were the 21 competencies correlated with top performer status, they were shown to relate to greater success in a wide range of outcome metrics. For example, the validation study found that greater coaching skills were associated with much higher sales among new representatives.
The insurance and financial services company now has a clear, scientifically grounded competency model, customized to the role and organization, that it can use to select future Managing Directors and help current Managing Directors develop the skills that are most integral to success.
Making the Best even Better
One size fits all leadership programs.
A fortune 10 company prided itself on measuring executive performance and identifying the “best and brightest” for its leadership development program at its Corporate Education Center. The multi-week program exposed the executives to thought leaders and distinguished professors; however, the company wanted to provide a more tailored and action-oriented approach to accelerating the development of each program participant.
Programs tailored to the individual.
Vaya developed a leadership assessment battery to measure the leadership strengths and development needs of each executive attending the program. Prior to arriving at the Corporate Education Center, the Vaya Group conducted a rigorous assessment on each participant. At the onset of the program, Vaya coaches met with each participant and provided assessment feedback and coaching. The discussion of key strengths to leverage and specific leadership behaviors to develop led to the creation of a personalized leadership development plan for each executive. During the executive development program, each participant publicly declared the two specific leadership behaviors that they had chosen from their Vaya Assessment. During the program, leaders sought ideas and suggestions from their peers regarding how to improve in their targeted areas, as well as feedback on their development progress. In addition, Vaya coaches provided best practices and real-world development actions to the participants.
After the program was completed, Vaya conducted follow-ups with each executive to assess development progress and to assist each executive to transfer their learning from the program back to their executive leadership jobs. Vaya helped the company find the missing link in its leadership development program: personalized and meaningful development plans with specific actions and pull-through.
No talent framework.
An international real estate developer had a fragmented approach to talent management. The new VP of HR walked into the organization and was quickly faced with a myriad of talent issues: lack of leadership bench strength, unwanted turnover of high potentials, low employee engagement. The new HR leader needed to develop a strategic agenda for improving talent management within the company.
Talent optimization framework and a strategic path forward.
The VP of HR had read about Vaya’s Talent Optimization Framework and wanted to utilize the framework to gather data and build a roadmap for talent management practices within the company. Vaya utilized the Talent Optimization Framework survey to gather data regarding the current TM practices in the company. The survey results provided a snapshot of how the company was performing in each of the eight Talent Levers in the Framework. Vaya was able to educate the client on how their Talent Optimization results compared to best in class organizations. Based on the gaps identified, Vaya assisted the Senior HR team to develop a talent strategy that was aligned to the business strategy and had the necessary components for talent assessment, development and talent data analytics.
Armed with the requisite data and a clear plan of action, the VP of HR was able to gain the buy-in and support of the Senior Executive Team.
Identifying High Potential Executives
Past performance equals potential.
A fortune 10 company struggled in its efforts to identify junior leaders with the potential to be successful executive leaders in the company. When the HR team attempted to assess leadership potential, they quickly found that the same junior leaders who were highly rated on their performance review for meeting short-term, tactical goals were also the ones nominated as high potentials. The company recognized they had an assessment gap when it came to assessing potential and they enlisted the talents of Vaya to close this gap.
A rigorous framework for accurately measuring potential.
Vaya leveraged its extensive database of executive assessments linked to measures of potential to design a research-based and rigorous approach to assessing potential. Vaya began by identifying the leadership characteristics and behaviors most associated with leadership potential. Next, Vaya conducted an assessment of highly successful leaders within the client organization to establish a benchmark for internal company comparisons and to identify any unique drivers of potential within the company. Vaya assessed junior leaders in the organization versus the characteristics and behaviors most associated with leadership potential and were able to segment out the “true” high potential leaders from those who were excellent in their current role but had far less potential for future promotions.
Vaya provided this customer with a clearer understanding of who their high potential candidates were, as well as a specific roadmap for how to accelerate the development and growth of this valuable group.
An Easier Way to Find Your Future Star Performers
Wasted time and frustrated managers.
A large international pharmaceutical company was spending a great deal of time and money trying to find new sales representatives. District managers were frustrated because they ended up wasting a lot of time interviewing low-quality candidates. The pharmaceutical company needed a way to identify high-quality candidates before devoting time and resources to the interview process.
An efficient hiring process that separates the wheat from the chaff.
Vaya created an innovative questionnaire for sales representative candidates to complete as part of the Internet-based application process. The questionnaire, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, gives the client real-world situations and asks them how they would resolve the given problems. Vaya constructed the questionnaire carefully, ensuring that it prioritized the behaviors most critical to success within this particular organization and complied with all legal hiring procedures. Vaya then analyzed the candidates’ answers and conducted a rigorous study of the company’s existing sales staff to identify the response patterns and profile of high-quality candidates.
The questionnaire allows the pharmaceutical company to figure out which candidates are likely to be a good fit for the role before they step in the door. 10,000 questionnaires later, the company’s district managers report that Vaya’s tool effectively identifies high-quality candidates and that the interview process is more efficient, now that the managers are able to devote their time, money and energy solely to candidates with high potential.
Bring the best people to your organization—and keep them there
Uncertainty about who to hire.
A medical division of one of the world’s largest companies was concerned with selecting and retaining top leadership talent. It wanted an easy-to-implement interview process that would identify high-quality candidates—and it wanted to make sure that the competency model the interview was based on was scientifically sound.
Accurate measurement of internal and external leadership candidates.
After an extensive study of the organization’s culture, processes and high performer behaviors, Vaya developed a global leadership behavioral profile, identifying the competencies that were strongly linked to top performance. Vaya then designed a 2-hour phone interview that would screen for these key behaviors to be incorporated into the company’s hiring process.
Before the interview could be deployed, however, the model needed to be scientifically validated. A study of existing strong performers and their less-successful peers found that 30 out of 34 times the behavioral profile results matched their prior performance evaluations. The medical division was so impressed with the accuracy of the model and interview that it started using the interview immediately, both to identify external leadership candidates and to coach internal leaders.
Helping your employees fulfill their potential
Unfocused training program.
While this pharmaceutical company had a training program, it was not focused on the competencies with the most potential for positive impact on the individual and organization. The company wanted to provide its employees with more development opportunities and help its Account Managers be more successful as a whole.
Targeted growth and team development.
First, Vaya gathered together the organization’s top Account Managers and Directors to learn more about their roles, responsibilities and behaviors. With the information gained from this research and interviews with key stakeholders, Vaya was able to develop a behavioral competency model specifically for Account Managers, with 23 skills determined to be most critical to high performance.
The model served as the framework for the organization’s development of its Account Management team. Each Account Manager took an assessment based on the model and received a detailed report of their results. To ensure that the Account Managers understood the results of the assessment, Vaya provided a one-hour feedback session for each team member. The feedback session also marked the start of each individual’s development plan, with Vaya helping to identify action steps for future growth.Using the Account Manager model and assessment results as a guide, the pharmaceutical company was able to coach its Account Managers to significantly higher levels of performance by targeting the behaviors most integral to each individual’s success. Two years after Vaya created the Account Manager model, we performed a follow-up assessment to measure the team’s progress. The company was thrilled to find out that the competency areas that showed the greatest improvement overall were the same ones that it had invested in developing.