Leading Blog






10.18.06

Hiring Teams as the Talent

Often overlooked in the rush to find that one person that can make a difference in your organization is the context that that superstar worked in. Rarely is an individual great of and by themselves. It usually requires a team of people working together in a great environment to make something great happen. Taking the superstar out of that context can often lead to less than great performance. Thinking of and hiring the team as the talent may be what we should be looking for when trying to hire-in great performance.
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Bob Sutton makes this point in an excellent post on his blog. Commenting on a May 2006 Harvard Business Review article by Boris Groysberg, Andrew McLean and Nitin Nohria entitled, Are Leaders Portable? he writes:
One of the most interesting findings … was that GE executives who brought along 3 or more GE alumni to join their teams had “annualized abnormal returns” of 15.7% above average; while those that hired one or none from GE had -16.7%. Groysberg and his colleagues call this past experience working together “relationship human capital,” horrible language from economics. Other researchers call it “prior joint experience,” which isn’t much better. But whatever you call it, while HR practices turn attention to individual stars, study after study shows when people have experience working together – and have learned who knows what, how to read those little signals that people send off, and can communicate ideas quickly and efficiently – their teams and organizations perform better.

The implication of this research is pretty clear and shows the limits of modern HR practices, assumptions, and even the enterprise software systems that they use. If you are going to hire some “talent,” don’t focus on just landing that lone star – focus on hiring as much of his or her team, or network, as possible. You win the war for talent by bringing aboard talented sets of people, not talented solo acts.

[A]s the war for talent seems to be heating up again, companies that fight it right will spend less time looking for solo stars and more time looking for dynamic duos, teams, and networks of people that have worked together in the past and want to work together more in the future. And perhaps it is time for modern HR practices to catch-up with the evidence.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:50 PM
| Comments (0) | This post is about General Business



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