Organizational Consultation XIII: The Human Resource Bank—Source of Information and Use
The inventory can be structured in one of two ways. It can be designed for self-nomination. Each employee is given a copy of the survey and asked to identify those SKA areas in which they are particularly strong. What are the skill areas in which they are particularly proficient? In which areas are they particularly knowledgeable? Where do their talents and interests merge as an aptitude that produces highly successful performance?
This self-nomination process works very well in organizational cultures that support and promote openness regarding one’s own competencies. In many cultures, however, it is considered bad form to boast about one’s skills, knowledge or aptitudes. Many Asian cultures, for instance, find self-nomination to be offensive, as do many organizational cultures in the United States that encourage much subtler forms of self-promotion. Many American churches and universities, for instance, would never support a self-nominating process. One should be called by others rather than identifying one’s own talents.
When self-nomination is inappropriate, a second process is used: peer-nomination. Employees are asked to nominate other people whom they have observed as particularly skillful, knowledgeable or successful in one of the areas listed in the inventory. Both the self-nomination and peer-nomination processes can be used. Survey respondents are asked to place their own name in areas where they are themselves skillful, knowledgeable or successful and then to place the names of other people in areas where they have observed their colleagues’ SKAs.
Collecting Talent Information
Once the inventory is prepared, and has been pilot tested with a sample of at least 10 to 15 employees, the inventory is distributed to all members of the organization. Results are compiled and placed in the Human Resource Bank. If a peer-nomination process is used, those nominated are typically contacted to make sure they agree to have their names placed in the bank in association with this specific SKA. A verification process often accompanies the survey.
Self-nominations may be double-checked by asking those who work with the self-nominator to verify the SKA. The self-nominator may be asked to provide documentation that justifies the inclusion of her name in this SKA area of the HR Bank. While this type of quality control improves the quality of information contained in the HR Bank, it is often counterproductive, if an appreciative perspective is to be established in one’s organization. Checkup of almost any magnitude conveys an attitude of mistrust and devaluing of an employee’s self-assessment of skills, knowledge and aptitudes. Usually, the checkup is only done when the person who self-nominates is actually being assigned to a project or reviewed for a new job. There is no need to risk the creation of a culture of mistrust before the self-nomination information is actually being used.
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