How to Build Your Bench of High Performing Players by Jenn O’Brien

If you happen to follow baseball, you may have recently heard that Buck Showalter, Manager for the Baltimore Orioles, was named Manager of the Year for the American League for third time since 2004. Being from Maryland myself, this is a really big deal. Marylanders love their Orioles baseball team…and having Buck Showalter, who is known for building baseball teams such as the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks into post season contenders within a short amount of time, has been a true baseball blessing for Baltimore baseball fans. So what does any of this have to do with recruitment and team building strategy? Well, even if you don’t follow baseball, one thing to know is that Buck Showalter is one of the greatest minds in baseball simply because he knows how to build his bench with high performing players.  He recruits players based on the competencies needed to win games. He knows the game, knows his competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and most of all, knows how to utilize the talents of his team. So when one player isn’t able to perform, there is a clear cut plan of how to fill the void.

See where I am going with this?

So when it comes to building your bench, you have use a similar strategy so that your business is a contender.

Here are the steps to build your bench.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

Take a good look at the business around you and ask yourself:

  • Is there anything about the business that is changing?
  • How are behavioral trends changing with clients?
  • What is your competition doing to get ahead?
  • What are your long term growth plans?
  • What talents would be needed to take your business to the next level?
Step 2: Assess Your Team

Take a look at your current bench. Are they performing at the level you need them to? If not, can their performance be developed or enhanced through training? Perhaps you need make a call to the bullpen and get someone in there that can perform at the level you need and with the appropriate skill set.

Step 3: Determine Key Accountabilities

Define, Prioritize and Weigh Key Accountabilities for each role. Work with a current employee or a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to define a comprehensive group of 3-5 key accountabilities needed to perform the job at the highest level. Rank them by importance and time requirements.  This process should be conducted through a live discussion that involves the SME and any additional stakeholders.

Step 4: Evaluate

This is probably the most difficult step in this process. Once you establish the key accountabilities for a particular position, it will become clear what you need. It will also determine whether or not the current employee is a high performing player.  If they are not at the level needed, you will need to determine if the void can be filled through coaching and training or through replacement.

Step 5: Setting Roles and Goals

We all set goals to help us make improvements and move forward, but are we setting the right kind of goals? A big part of building the bench is to keep your players motivated and productive while pursuing personal and organizational goals. They need to “know their role” and understand the exact part that their role plays in the bigger picture.  In addition, everyone from the top down needs to have clarity on how their individual contributions will affect the bottom line.

Setting “SMART-e Goals” is a highly effective way to keep your bench accountable and on track.  Goals for the organization and individuals need to be Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, Time-based, and sensitive to the cultural and social environment.

Step 6: When in Doubt, Get a Recruiting Scout

Every sport utilizes scouts to help them find the best talent out there and no matter how you slice it, recruiters, regardless of industry, are essentially matchmakers. They strive to find that undiscovered gem for your organization. So let’s say you want to build a new bench of high performance players. You may want to consider using a recruiting professional to conduct the benchmarks and find the talent. But a word of caution. If your recruiter is not providing with a scout report highlighting the reasons why the candidate is a fit for YOU, find one that does. I have seen recruiters out there who simply don’t provide this level of service and are sticking you with nothing more than a warm body.

We live in a data-driven world and having a scientific, validated, bias-free and fully integrated assessment that meets EEOC and OFCCP requirements is the best way to determine whether a candidate is going to provide you with superior performance.

You need to know how past performance and competencies will deliver the results you need to build your business, right? What if you could have a scouting report that provided you with specific details that describe the “how,” “why,” “what” and “can” of a candidate’s level of performance?

Coming early next year, Pro R.E.A. Staffing will start providing a deeper analysis of prospective talent through the TriMetrix® HD. This report examines the Behaviors individuals bring to the job, the Motivators that drive them, whether they possess the Acumen to perform the job successfully, and the ability to demonstrate the Competencies required by the job.


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