From the Desk of Brad Smart:
A Sure Way to Enjoy Job Security – A Primer in Topgrading

Your career has survived the pandemic (so far) but you know a lot of managers must worry about their near-term and long-term job security. Maybe you’re a bit worried too? The pandemic caused most companies to cut costs – not temporarily but permanently. Are more jobs in jeopardy?

Fortunately, there is something managers can do, starting today, that will likely provide more job security and improve their performance: Topgrade. Meaning: make sure your team is made up of high performers, A Players.

As the founder of Topgrading, you suspect I’m a bit biased, right? Ok, but consider:

  • Topgrading professionals have interviewed tens of thousands of senior executives who, on average, have had 10 management jobs. In those jobs, they had teams of 25% A Players, 50% Bs, and 25% Cs. Wouldn’t having a higher percentage of A Players assure better performance and more job security?
  • Hundreds of companies have Topgraded, and the average improvement hiring A Players is from 26% to 85%. It’s not just the “company” that benefits from that stat – every manager enjoys more career success as they pack their team with mostly high performers.

A Primer in Topgrading

If you are intrigued and new to Topgrading, here it is in a nutshell:

  1. Conduct a hard-hitting talent assessment. Privately rank your direct reports from the one you would most likely take to a new job, to the one you would be least likely to take. Then rate all of them either A Player (you would enthusiastically take them to a new job) or not.
  2. Replace low performers. First, be sure their accountabilities are clear, provide training and coaching to help them achieve the stated goals, and if achievement of the goals is not occurring, look for another job where they likely will be a high performer. If those attempts to be totally transparent, fair, and helpful fail, chronic low performers are smart enough to find another job rather than wait to be replaced. But, of course, you want to be sure the replacements are better performers, right?
  3. Assure candidates will be forthcoming in interviews. If you use recruiters, be sure they tell candidates a final step in hiring is for them (the candidates) to arrange calls with their managers in the past decade. This motivates low performers with hyped resumes to drop out – good! This one tool to assure transparency in hiring has worked beautifully for decades.
  4. Conduct tandem Topgrading Interviews of finalists. Do whatever your hiring process consists of but be sure to add the “secret sauce” of Topgrading: It’s the Tandem Topgrading Interview. Pick a tandem partner, and the two of you conduct a chronological interview with finalists, starting with high and low points during their education years, and progressing through each job in their careers. For each job you’ll ask the same standard questions which will provide you with the information you really need to determine if they are the right fit for your role, and will perform well. For more information about the Topgrading Interview, and for hands-on practice, attend one of our virtual workshops.
  5. Have finalists arrange calls with their managers – and make the calls. Ask the finalist candidates to arrange calls with their bosses (and any others you want to talk with) and spend at least a half an hour with each of them, confirming the conclusions you made during the interview.

Using Topgrading achieves A teams because it is the most honest, thorough, verifiable hiring method.

Conclusion: When you have almost all A Players you’ll regret having not Topgraded earlier in your career. Life will be better now – a lot better. Your performance will improve a lot, you’ll have a lot more fun, and you’ll be worth a lot more to your present and future employers.

If you think this is good advice, pass this blog on to other managers. And if you would like to learn more about Topgrading, download our eGuide. If you have questions, give us a call to speak with a professional.

Improve your hiring success with Topgrading. Our proven hiring process will transform your selection methodology so that you get better hiring results across all industries, including hiring HR professionals.  Our leadership and candidate assessment tools will help you assess, hire, retain, and grow outstanding team members. Contact us to learn more!

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