Assess your talent for the new year

By Wendy Sheaffer, Chief Product Officer, The Omnia Group

The ball drops.

As they ring in the New Year, people are going to be making resolutions on things they want to improve. Most of those resolutions will be forgotten by the end of January, not surviving contact with the reality of whatever the year will bring.

The ball bounces and then hits the wall. It ricochets and rolls down the hallway.

My dog runs after it. She grabs it in her mouth and runs back to me and sits, waiting, not-so-patiently, tail pounding the floor.

I pick up the ball and throw it, and she scampers after it, her tail waving joyously. She grabs it and then brings it right back again.

2020 was that ball. No one was sure where it was going to land. For some industries, it ended up going really well; not so for others.

2021 is the next throw. It could take a bounce and hit three different walls before coming to a rest. It could roll under the couch. There’s a chance it could go a little high and end up breaking something. Every throw is a chance you take. Every year is full of those new choices and new opportunities.

Playing catch and retrieve with my dog can last a few minutes. It can last a half hour. I’m sure if I let it, it could go on forever. The repetition continues until an outside force disrupts it or she just gets bored. My dog isn’t the only one who gets stuck in her patterns though. We all do.

I’ve had plenty of times when I’ve been stuck on a problem, and it takes a new set of eyes to help guide me to the solution that was there the entire time. Sometimes it’s just a new perspective, and other times it is someone coming in with a different skill set, someone who thinks about the situation in a different way.

It’s helpful to know the patterns of everyone on your team. Learning how they work and being able to compare them to each other helps you to better understand the underlying behaviors of what makes them excel in one area and possibly challenge them in another. Armed with this data, you can map the possibilities of what comes next.

Who on your team needs a little more time to get everything perfect, and who will find a way to get it done, one way or another? What is the difference between someone who gets recharged by interacting with people and someone who prefers purposeful conversation where they can convey specific information? Who in your organization will push themselves the hardest in commission-based sales, and who is better in a team-oriented position? Every successful organization needs all of these qualities. But knowing how to identify and how to make the best use of those traits within someone is where the Omnia Assessment is a valuable part of your long-term people management plans.

Even within those patterns though, there is a lot to learn about persistence and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes in direction.
The ball drops and bounces. Once. Twice. Where is it going next? You can make your best guess, but it could just as easily go off in an unexpected direction.

Failing to adapt to the way the ball bounces is one reason so many businesses continue to have staffing retention issues as people move on to other positions with other companies. Far too often it ends up being a plug-and-play situation of just filling the position instead of addressing the underlying questions of “what does a person need to be successful in this environment” and “what motivates those people to stay?” Taking the time now to assess the characteristics of your best performers in each position and mapping them out for future candidates will help you stay ahead of the curve.

If the ball rolls under something, my dog barks for help, and I go over to retrieve what was lost. She doesn’t have the ability to get it on her own, any more than I am able to chase after things as quickly as she does. We are built for different things. It’s like trying to put someone who isn’t naturally competitive into a sales position. Sure, they can do it in a pinch, but they may never be particularly good at it.

When you need a CSR, you look for a helpful demeanor and strong attention to detail. When you are trying to market in the digital world, you hire a marketing specialist with a strong background in social media to steer you in the right direction. When you want long-term solutions for your personnel development, a behaviorally based tool like the Omnia Assessment can help.

Watching my dog react, with the base instinct of following the ball and figuring out where it is going to land, has taught me a few things. She’s able to predict quite a bit based on what she’s seen before. But the ball can also hit an unexpected angle and go off in a different direction, causing her to scramble after it.

This past year saw businesses shift in unexpected directions. For example, no one predicted a global pandemic or the role that remote work would have on keeping many businesses afloat and people employed. You may not always know where that ball is going, but with data gained from the Omnia Assessment, you will be able to react to bounces more quickly.

What will 2021 bring? All I know is that the ball is going to drop, it’s going to bounce, and you need to be ready.

While other people are making resolutions, commit to making that next throw.


Wendy Sheaffer is Chief Product Officer at The Omnia Group, an employee assessment firm providing the power of behavioral insight to help organizations make successful hires and develop exceptional employees. Wendy is a subject matter expert in using Omnia’s 8 columns as a tool to make more-informed hiring and development decisions and effectively engage staff. She works directly with clients and Omnia staff to provide a deeper understanding of how to use personality data to meet business goals. For more information, visit OmniaGroup.com, email [email protected] or call 800.525.7117.