Category Archive: Blog

  1. Is Your Company Brave Enough to Face the Truth?

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    Pat Hutchinson

    Most people use data the way drunks use a lamppost: for support rather than for illumination.

    Alexis Fink, General Manager, Talent Intelligence and Analytics, Intel

    There are any number of ‘talent analytics’ software offerings on the market right now.  Most offer to make the analysis of trends in already existing data such as staff turnover or absenteeism, easier to assess.  Some organisations use them to great effect, others not so much.  There are however, very few organisations offering talent analytics based on what makes people effective in the workplace.

    Advanced analytics are designed to support development interventions which will generate an engaged, progressive culture that is vital to the success of any organisation.  Such a culture will not only increase productivity, it will reduce absenteeism and staff turnover.   Interventions are often seen by the C Suite as a ‘nice to have’ in the light of lack of solid evidence.  HR specialists continue to make their case for interventions but often can’t compete with their operational colleagues who can provide data and statistics to back their arguments for specific actions and therefore investment.

    So what could research based on what makes people successful in the workplace do for organisations?

    Employee Engagement Expectations

    Engagement is a two-way process and surveys should form the foundation of progressive conversations between employer and employee especially if the aim of the survey is to keep talented employees.  This is just not possible if surveys are anonymous.  All an anonymous survey can highlight is that someone, somewhere in the organisation is not happy about something.

    With advanced analytics, you can ask the right questions, and analyse real engagement factors and expectations – such as development, authority, communication, remuneration expectation – across individual, group, and organisation levels. This ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains their best talent.

    Who will be Your Next Leaders?

    Expensive assessment centres are universally used for identifying upcoming leaders.  They can take anything from half a day to 5 days and sometimes more to make a selection.  The cost of taking people out of the organisation, and employing specialists to run such centres as well as venue costs, hotel bills (during non-Covid times) all make this a very expensive but still relatively subjective exercise. Current norms are preventing us in many cases from running traditional Assessment Centres but that doesn’t mean you can’t still identify top talent and potential leaders accurately and effectively.

    Companies who use predictive behavioural analytics to develop a framework for remote and automated online assessment can continue to screen for potential talent across areas including role-specific job success eligibility and behavioural success factors, leadership competencies, emotional Intelligence (EQ), engagement and retention factors, cultural fit aligned to organisational values, remote working compatibility and more. This means even if you can’t run a face-to-face assessment centre you can still get in-depth analysis to support the search for and identification of talent for your organisation.


    If you would like to know more about how to provide analytics upon which to make strategic decisions about the development of your teams and staff contact us at [email protected] and/or visit our website at

  2. The Lunacy of People Assessment

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    The Lunacy of People Assessment

    A thought occurred to me recently. If your organisation measured growth in sterling for the first quarter, US Dollars for the second, Yen for the third and Euros for the fourth would you think this a sensible idea? When your children were growing up did you measure their height in centimeters, then inches then centimeters again? Would you find it odd if your sat nav gave distances in miles and then kilometers and then back to miles again and then for special treat measured the last section of the journey in furlongs? So why do we use so many different assessments for people development?

    I work with organisations who use one assessment for beginners in an organization, another for aspiring leaders, another for teams and yet another for senior executives. The reason for this is probably simple – traditionally there has been no one assessment that has offered a complete talent solution. I have sometimes heard HR professionals say that as people progress through the organization they want to be able to offer ‘something different’ as if its special to change the yardstick in some way. Traditionally assessments measure a ‘moment in time’ and don’t offer the analytics that current, more progressive assessments offer which perhaps is the reason for the wide offering and a reluctance to change keeps people rooted in such thinking.

    Going forward analytics in the HR field are going to become prominent in organizational development. HR specialists are now able to offer the analytics to –

    · Match people accurately to specific roles

    · Assess retention and engagement expectations to enable organiastions to keep their talented staff

    · Develop talent through every level of management and leadership

    · Develop teams that are able to work effectively together

    · Create cultures that are progressive and in line with the strategic goals of the organization

    · Use emotional intelligence assessment to design personal development plans

    · Assess behavioural and leadership competencies in line with the organisations expectations.

    · Create a succession planning system to match prospective candidates to roles quickly and effectively

    · Assess cultural behaviours in teams and groups to ascertain the impact on productivity and design necessary adjustment programmes

    It makes sense therefore to choose a yardstick which is going to give like for like comparisons along the way – one that has been thoroughly researched, is highly accurate and benchmarked against excellent performance not norms as is the traditional approach.

    If you would like to know more about the unique Harrison Assessment Talent Solution which can provide all of the above do get in touch.

    Pat Hutchinson, Quadrant 1 International Ltd, [email protected]

  3. How do you measure the success of your leadership development programme?

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    The UK Learning and Development Report 2018 shows that 94 per cent of the best performers surveyed say learning and development is critical to success. Almost two-thirds of companies with increased turnover in the past year rate leadership and management development as their top priority.  The national average of £300 spent per employee on learning and development constitutes a big chunk of an organisation’s budget and it is essential therefore, that development programmes are successful, effective and represent an appropriate return on investment.

    Your organisation will probably have a leadership development programme in place. Candidates are typically selected to take part in this development programme as a result of demonstrating exceptional skills in the operational side of their role and they will have a willingness and an enthusiasm to progress.   Leadership, however, requires a completely different set of skills.  It requires people to let go of their technical skills, develop excellent communication and influencing skills as well as the skills to be visionary about the future and put together well thought through strategic plans.

    How then do you measure the success of the development programme?

    Traditionally this has been done in a number of ways  including anecdotal evidence of performance or leadership style following the programme, an annual appraisal, subjective measurement against company behavioural competencies, subjective 360 degree feedback which is time consuming and therefore expensive to collect and collate to name but a few.   Most methods have a large element of subjectivity which will affect the findings.  So how can we eliminate the subjectivity from the measurement process?

    What if, at the start of a leadership development programme, you could objectively measure the group of candidates against a set of pre-defined leadership-specific behaviours? And then objectively measure them again some time down the line following the completion of the programme?

    The Harrison Assessment Leadership Behavioural Competency framework can do just that. It measures people’s individual skills and areas for development against 10 essential Leadership Competencies in an objective way using a forced ranking questionnaire.  These include the following behavioural competencies –

    • Communication
    • Energizing People
    • Learning Agility
    • Problem Solving
    • Resilience and Perseverance
    • Achievement Orientation
    • Impact and Influence
    • Innovation
    • Leading People
    • Strategic Thinking

    Each competency is made up of a series of essential traits, desirable traits and traits to avoid. Development candidates complete a short, online SmartQuestionnaireTM, the result of 30 years research by Dan Harrison PhD who focuses on the link between results and the enjoyment factor.  It is well documented that people who enjoy what they do produce better results.  The SmartQuestionnaireTM therefore takes into account working preferences and cross matches 175 factors to define the individual’s ‘behavioural DNA’.

    Responses are then mapped against each of the Harrison Leadership Competencies which can then highlights areas of strength and areas for development both for an individual and for a team.  The image below shows a sample report for the Strategic Thinking Competency, and the responses mapped for the essential traits of this competency. We can see that Andrew Jones’* higher scoring essential traits – higher scores generally relate to better performance – are Analytical and Truth Exploring, where as his disinclination for Research/Learning could indicate this could be an area for further development.

    Once you have the group of individual reports, a team report can be created, as shown below in the example team report for the Competency of ‘Strategic Thinking’.  This example is based on the team’s position before the commencement of the leadership programme.  Candidate names have been replaced by numbers in the left hand column.  The red areas show clearly the areas to focus on for development. The green areas denote the areas where individuals show a preference for work that requires type of behaviour.

    In this case, from the graph above you can see that the team shows a clear preference for analytical factors in their work, with responses predominantly illustrated in green, whereas the high number of responses shown in red under the ‘systematic’ column shows that further training and focus for development may be required to help the team become more systematic in their approach to work, if appropriate. A personal or team development plan and additional training can then be designed around the real objective data provided here.

    If a second questionnaire is then carried out some time later following the programme, once the candidates have had time to embed the learning, the two reports can be compared to see where the individual has improved against their earlier results, and where further development may be required. Comparison of the two reports can show with laser clarity ultimately whether the leadership development programme has been successful.

    The HATS behavioural competency also measures desirable traits and traits to avoid. The same measurements can be carried out for these to provide further evaluation. The HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency and other standard, pre-defined behavioural competencies are available. Bespoke behavioural competencies can be developed according to the requirements of your organisation and built around your own set of required traits and behaviours.

    If you would like to find out more about the HATS Leadership Behavioural Competency, other pre-defined competencies, or indeed about creating a bespoke competency, please call us on 07768 922244 or get in touch with us online.


    *Andrew Jones is a real person, whose name has been changed & who has given permission for his reports to be used as Harrison samples.

  4. Identifying Career Development Expectations – before the competition does

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    Development Expectations

    This article on the 8 areas of employee expectation, and their impact on effective employee engagement and retention, looks at the career development expectations of the team and individual team members.

    One of the major reasons for losing talented staff is that they are not being given the career development opportunities they often think they deserve or expect, and look elsewhere. So understanding and exploring employees career development expectations is another key factor for engaging and retaining top talent.

    The organisational view

    Employees generally want to be good at their job and the vast majority, some 76% according to statistics, are looking for some kind of career growth and development. This could include access to training, being given the opportunity to gain experience in particular fields and having the prospect of advancing in their career through promotion.

    • What if an employee wants development but is not highly motivated or the business doesn’t have the right opportunities currently to promote them?

    Understanding what makes up each team member’s individual career development expectations is essential to identify those who truly want advancement and a desire for self improvement. Some team members may be very enthusiastic for development, buy may not want the challenges that come with it.

    For managers to develop their teams they need to know how expectations are made up so they can engage in meaningful conversations to identify a clear and achievable pathway for career development within the organisation.  For organisations they need to demonstrate development and staff mobility options if they are to retain their best people.

    The group’s career development expectations

    Organisational policies are great but how relevant to the group or team, and what is really important to them? Does everyone in the group have the same career development expectations and needs? Using Harrison Assessments engagement and retention analytics we can find out.

    Development expectations for the group

    What can we interpret for this group?

    • it considers career development to be very important and thus, it is very important to provide development opportunities.
    • this group has a reasonable tendency to be clear about goals, so will probably have career development goals in mind. Discuss these goals to obtain a clear understanding before suggesting or creating a development plan.
    • the group considers self-improvement to be reasonably important and may be reasonably willing to develop new competencies related to career development.
    • career advancement is reasonably important and so it is important to provide information about advancement opportunities that are available and what is required to achieve them.
    • the group is willing to pursue difficult challenges related to career advancement. If advancement is considered, they will probably embrace any challenges related to advancement.

    The individual’s career development expectations

    For line managers, understanding an individual’s development expectations, as well as their own expectations and behaviours, has never been more important to retain the best talent and develop their team’s full potential.

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent. People want to feel recognised but there are many other factors that need to be understood if they are to further engage in their work and the overall success of the organisation.

    Individual career development expectations

    What career development expectations do employees have?

    Here are five career development elements that can be measured and reported upon from the Harrison Assessment:

    Wants Development

    • The desire to have work opportunities to learn new skills or increase abilities
    • Many employees want to move forward with their careers and not remain stagnant. They realise there are many opportunities that could be taken if they just had the right skills set. While meeting this particular expectation is important for organisations that want more employee engagement, it comes with a few caveats. The employee may want further development and expect it but they also need to have the personal qualities to take on new ways of thinking, accept challenging study, and potentially move into new areas.

    Is Enthusiastic

    • The tendency to be eager and excited toward one’s own goals
    • Enthusiasm for career development and pushing forward down a particular career path can be a prime motivational key to success. If the employee’s enthusiasm is selective, however, it can be problematic particularly if there are certain areas that need to be developed that are a little too much like ‘hard work’. One of the reasons why employees often fail on the developmental pathway is that they don’t have a clear idea of where they are heading nor enough markers along the way to ensure that their enthusiasm stays high and their performance and abilities improve as a consequence.

    Wants Self-Improvement

    • The tendency to attempt to develop or better oneself
    • An employee’s engagement with developmental processes such as study courses and new challenges are often part of their own ethos of self-improvement. Some will make their own choices and work towards personal goals such as undertaking a degree or Masters qualification. Supporting this desire for self-improvement is imperative for companies that want to show they are behind their staff but it can also be financially burdensome if many employees are following the same track.

    Wants Advancement

    • The desire to have work opportunities to expand one’s career or responsibilities
    • Career minded employees will certainly want the opportunity of advancing within the company or elsewhere. If their expectations are that the opportunities will not come in their current position, top talent will eventually want to look elsewhere. Combined with the reality of what the company actually offers in the way of training and support, a clear way to advance is very important and needs to be demonstrated if the talent is to be retained for any length of time.

    Wants Challenge

    • The willingness to attempt difficult tasks or goals
    • Career minded individuals will no doubt be relishing their next challenge but if their expectations of the organisation are that it offers the same fayre day after day then they may soon start to lose focus and even become bored. Also important is what constitutes a challenge to a particular employee. For some it may simply be about getting through a large workload. Others may want the challenge of project management such as helping to develop a new product or service and market it or being put in charge of other staff in their own department.

    Using Harrison Assessments Talent Solution to understand career development expectations

    Managers can measure employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement, by analysing the 8 key expectation areas. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –

    • Research Report: Leading Technical People

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      Research Report: Leading Technical People

      In today’s knowledge economy, competitive advantage is no longer secured purely through the access to capital or information – but by having employees come up with creative and novel ways of solving clients’ problems. To achieve this, organisations are increasingly dependent on the passion, creativity, energy and engagement of the workforce, and in particular on expert employees in fields such as finance, engineering, design and technology.

      Read this report by Blessing White which outlines research they undertook on examine the dynamics specific to leading technical people – a competency that proves to be increasingly important for almost every organisation in every industry, even those we might think of as less expert-dependent.

      A leadership challenge with many pitfalls

      While the technical or creative expertise that these individuals bring to the table is of high value to the company, more often than not expert employees stumble when taking on managerial roles or leadership positions such as team lead, project lead or senior project manager. This is a typical first level ‘leadership turn’ challenge. The first transition to management is a difficult step for any employee, but in a technical setting, serious interpersonal challenges arise as the result of the nature of technical people both as followers and as leaders. “People management” is not typically the strong suit for a newly promoted technical person, and in today’s matrix-based structures they often have little formal authority which leaves them feeling disempowered.

      The pitfalls that leaders of technical people face are many, but the top ones we identified in our study include:


      A failure to embrace the manager or leader roles
      A counter-productive “project management” approach
      The development “tug-of-war.”
      Despite all of this, organizations have no choice but to increase their reliance on leaders of technical people. The consequences of poor leadership in technical teams results in:

      Disengagement, turnover & loss of talent
      Lower contribution / productivity
      Slower innovation in meeting client needs
      Slower adoption of new technology to move the organization forwards
      Greater resistance to change

      The issues that arise in technical teams can be perplexing to senior leaders who oversee such departments as technical teams can be more insular and the challenges less familiar to executives who are not from technical backgrounds.  These dynamics may be unfamiliar to them, making it hard for them to coach the technical leaders who report to them.

      To be successful, we have found that leaders of technical people need to:

      • Be leaders of people, not managers of projects.
      • Understand what makes technical people tick (even if they are a Technical Person themselves).
      • Be just enough of an expert to lead, not do.
      • Develop the skills to build trust by engaging in purposeful dialogue with team members.
      • Increase their influence outside of their team or department.

      This is a post by Engage for Success; the original can be found here

      Free Group Engagement and Retention Report

      If you would like to try the Engagement and Retention Report for groups of 30+ absolutely free call Pat on 07768 922244 or email [email protected]

      All that is required is half an hour of each participants time to complete an online SmartQuestionnaire



      Quadrant1 use a combination of Harrison Assessments Talent Solutions (HATS), NLP and coaching to take organisations beyond conventional training and development methodologies to achieve excellent results. HATS enables us to apply our expertise to identify strengths and potential in career development, leadership and succession planning. With increased focus on talent management, we have turned our skills towards helping organisations acquire, develop and retain talent to assist them in becoming an employer of choice in their industry. We offer a range of Talent Management services backed up with tailor-made training courses and bespoke consultancy solutions designed to meet your specific organisation and team challenges.

      Recruiting the best talentTalent DevelopmentBenchmarking ExcellenceEmployee Engagement and RetentionCulture ChangeCareer AssessmentHarrison Assessments