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Is HR Guilty: Part One?

January 19, 2014

Having worked in HR for almost 20 years, and now serving as a consultant in OD/Talent Management for about 15 years, I sometimes wonder if HR truly has advanced its capability to make a significant impact on a company’s bottom-line. How many company CEOs would say “Without the CHR  and the great work the HR function does, the 2013 revenue goals would not have been achieved.”? I think the moral of the following story may be part of the problem.

You may have seen the viral Youtube video going around since 2007. On a cold January morning in 2007, at a Washington DC underground station, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time:

Approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.

He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar.

A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes – a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes…

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time.

This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent; without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes – the musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.

The man collected a total of $32. See the actual video:

Joshua Bell at the subway stationAfter 1 hour…

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to listen to him play the same music. Watch Joshua Bell in concert:

This is a true story.

Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. underground station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

The experiment raised a number of questions most notably:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…

  • How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?
  • Whilst the phrase Carpe Diem is a useful reminder to live each day fully, it’s not very practical since you can’t actually seize the day.
  • What you can seize, however, is the moment.

Life is a series of moments, and it’s the quality of each moment which determines the quality of our lives.

The revered psychologist Abraham Maslow said that each moment presents an opportunity, where we can either step forward into growth, or step back into safety.

Whatever we decide to do with each moment, once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

If we want to close the gap between the results that we’re capable of achieving and what we’re actually achieving, then we need to seize the moment or in Latin, Carpe Punctum.

HR’s ChallengeTTI Success Insights - Discover, Engage, Advance, Perform, TriMetrix HD assessment

At The Nielson Group, we enjoy very much the opportunity to introduce disruptive assessment technology. Specifically, the TriMetrix HD® suite of assessment tools and patented process for job benchmarking. When we have the opportunity, we are delighted by the response. But many times we also feel much like Joshua Bell probably felt in the Washington DC subway station. You see Joshua Bell isn’t a salesman. And we aren’t either. There are many “consultants” in the HR and Talent Management assessment industry who are salesmen. And I can appreciate what they do for a living.

There are also CHR folks that refuse to look at assessments. They’ve found one they like and they don’t have time to do another market scan. Or better yet, they’ve found one their internal clients like and they don’t want to rock the boat. I get it.

TriMetrix HD Assessment

I recently had the unique opportunity to compare a candidate evaluation done by a Psychologist who interviewed the candidate for about three hours versus an evaluation of the same candidate using TriMetrix HD®. The significant difference in price is enough to make you pause. However, even I would pay the significantly higher price for the Psychologist’s report if it were accurate and relevant.  It was not. The company was paying a significantly higher price for the Psychologist’s candidate evaluation and missed some very important aspects about the candidate’s talent and abilities. The psychologist gave a “recommended” rating. We did not.

Why Such a Big Price Difference

To get respect in the marketplace, the experts say price high. That is the golden rule. With disruptive technology, everything about what you know of price and value changes. Today, a high price is the first hint of old technology. The ironic part is that TriMetrix HD has been in use for about ten years now. It has been approved by the Legal eagles of major multinational corporations as “meeting all criteria for use in hiring and selection”.  TriMetrix is easily cost-justified for Director and above hiring. And the same assessment can be administered to any professional exempt-level candidate. The only difference is the extensiveness of the “executive evaluation” and the use of the TriMetrix extended report for the higher executive-level hires. TriMetrix reports don’t stop there. Whether in sales, engineering, accounting and finance or IT, the TriMetrix coaching report will help the manager leverage the new hire’s talent quickly.

So, is your HR department guilty of unintentional incompetence?

Faster, Better, Cheaper Talent Management. It is what the business of HR is about.

If you haven’t slowed down lately to look at the latest and greatest in assessment technology, you might want to give us a call. We’d be glad to spend some time with you.

Carl NielsonCarl Nielson
Managing Principal, The Nielson Group
(972) 346-2892

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