This is the third and last article in the three part series on Multipotentialites.
In the first part, I introduced five core traits to identify multipotentialites, possibly hiding in your accounting department and why it is important to find them now. In the second part, I elaborated on how to keep them meaningfully engaged in your organization before they are bored and move on to the next cooler company down the road or create their own venture.
This last article will focus on having a simple way (or two)to measure growth and development of multipotentialites so that they can build new skills that are helpful to them as well as your company.
Learning and Development is key to employee engagement
Ten years ago employees in general were not as concerned about learning and development opportunities. However, the world has changed and any employee today looks at learning and development as an important way to build their careers. As a HR person, please remember that without learning new things and/or mastering existing skills, these polymaths can easily start complaining about quality of work, not having enough challenges at work and eventually leave for a new role at a new organization. Besides, all employees (and not just multipotentialites) are now cognizant of the fact that employability in the future requires ongoing learning and development.
Measuring Learning and Development/ Employee Effectiveness
Before we dive into measurements, lets agree that in general today we have more data than we have ever thought of, yet we are always struggling to make the right decisions. Data doesn’t change a thing, what changes conversation is when that data is able to answer questions that an organization may have for identifying and rewarding high performers while helping the high potential ones who are struggling. So before you blindly collect any data, please make sure you know how you plan to use that data.
Here is a very simple radar chart that I have used before to make sure we are not measuring a multipotentialite hires on just one or two different dimensions but on many different dimensions that are of interest to the polymath employee as well as of value to the organization.
In this particular example, you can see how Samantha has made progress towards her target on Research, Prototyping and Modeling along with Strategy Formulation within a single quarter. She may have focused on those two dimensions as her areas of interest to build on based on OKRs (Objective and Key Results) identified at the start of the quarter. While the dimensions are rather arbitrary, in real situations most of the sophisticated Human Capital Management solutions should be able to configure such dimensions and allow the employee and the People people to fill these values based on self inputs and 360 degree feedback.
Get Fancy with Measurements
If you are slightly sophisticated about this, you can very quickly take print outs of such charts for all your multipotentialites and put them side by side to do some raw and relative comparisons. In our test examples, we can see that while Samantha have developed on only two dimensions, Isabella have actually progressed on five different dimensions. Isabella also have stretched closer to the company targets than Samantha. Given all other things equal, we can make a quality judgment on who lands in the upper right hand quadrant of a 2 by 2 for high potential-high impact. If you want to get more sophisticated, you can measure the integral (yes, calculus!) of the area between the measurements in each quarters and actually quantify the impact of learning and development for each of them.
In the end, pundits will tell you that technology has reduced the cost of doing business, however the real costs for sourcing, and recruiting talent, and keeping them engaged through meaningful learning have increased multifold. The focus needs to be not just spending dollars on learning and development but also transparently sharing the results of such progress for individuals and what does it mean for the organization to understand the true benefits of such investments.
So if you are leader in your organization responsible for hiring and retaining exceptional talent, are you measuring multipotentialities using multiple dimensions and sharing the results transparently?
This is the last part of a three-part series.
Hope these spark more quality conversation that helps everyone who is interested in the future of work. Feel free to reach back with comments and suggestions.