Checkmate! The Secret to Strategic Talent Management

November 17th, 2012 by Michael Page

Much like playing a game of chess, effective leaders need to be strategic. Now you might be asking yourself, what exactly does it take to be a strategic leader? Well, a recent article from written by Paul Schoemaker presents the Six Habits of True Strategic Thinkers. These habits include:

• Anticipate future market and industry trends
• Think critically and question everything
• Interpret and synthesize information
• Make analytical decisions
• Align and build trusting relationships with all key stakeholders
• Continually learn from feedback and evaluations

These traits also apply to strategic talent management. Talent is the heart of any organization, so you need to hire and retain the best – which isn’t as easy as it sounds. Let’s use the chess metaphor again: far too many times, an organization’s players are swept away by competitors because of a lack of strategy. But with the help of employee assessments and solutions, leaders can think strategically and outshine their competitors! Here’s how leaders can use assessments to strategically select and manage talent throughout the employee lifecycle:


Before hiring employees, you want to make sure they have the right skills, behaviors and personality traits to fit the job and company culture – that’s where assessments come in. Full-person assessments, like the ProfileXT® measure candidates’ behaviors and thinking styles. The ProfileXT® is unique because it’s customizable to match different industries, specific job positions and company values. It uses a performance model, which compares candidates to top employees and predicts their success in specified positions. This knowledge helps you select the best candidates to continue to the interview process.

Interview preparation

We all know the general interview questions managers ask during an interview such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What experience do you have?” To go beyond the common questions, use assessments first. The results can then help hiring managers better prepare for interviews and give them a snapshot of each candidate’s skills and behavioral tendencies. The ProfileXT® even provides an interview guide with helpful, in-depth questions.


Assessments don’t just stop after the selection and hiring process. The information gained from assessments help managers strategize their training methods. Through assessments, managers objectively see how individual employees behave and respond to different situations. Managers can adjust their management style to fit each employee’s needs. For example, if an employee scores lower in the areas of independence and decisiveness, the manager knows that employee needs a little more guidance and direction. When it comes to training, assessments help maximize success not only on an organizational level, but on an individual level as well.


One of the most important habits of thinking strategically is gaining feedback and evaluating what is and isn’t working. Assessments can be used here too. To assess leadership skills, there are 360-degree feedback assessments where employees evaluate their manager’s effectiveness. Managers use the results from these assessments, like the CheckPoint360™, to see how well they are interacting with their employees and how to improve. Constructive feedback is always useful for developing and maximizing the success of both employees and leaders.

The combination of assessments and Schoemakers’ six habits of strategic thinkers is the secret to having the best talent management!


Featured Product




The ProfileXT® is a multi-purpose, total person employee assessment used for selection, development, training, managing, and succession planning. This employee assessment measures how well an individual fits specific jobs in your organization, and the results can be used during the pre-employment training or succession planning stages. ProfileXT® is customizable, and peak job performance models can be developed by company, position, manager or geography.


The ProfileXT® is used as a pre-hire tool to find the best-matched candidate for a particular job. It is also used to develop job descriptions and job performance models. ProfileXT® reports help managers interview and select people who have the highest probability of being successful in a role, and provide practical recommendations for coaching them to maximum performance.


• 20 performance indicators
• Thinking and reasoning
• Behavioral traits
• Interests
• Aptitude



Featured Case Study

How Assessments Helped Regus Improve Frontline Manager Performance and Retention During a Period of Rapid Growth


Although the current financial situation makes budgeting tight for many companies, leaders at Regus feel that assessments have helped them keep hiring decisions grounded. In the past, Regus struggled with impulse-based decision-making that high pressure can sometimes foster. They decided it was time to evaluate their hiring strategies to make more informed selections when making hiring decisions.
Now, Regus bases their hiring decisions on an applicant’s compatibility with the organization’s selling style. Since implementing assessments into their hiring process, they have dramatically reduced the time spent for new team members to begin showing consistent results.

As a leading global provider of innovative workplace solutions, Regus works with companies of all sizes. They have a prominent international presence with more than 1,000 business centers throughout 450 cities in 85 countries. Their array of solutions include a network of video conference rooms, furnished staffing offices, airport business centers and virtual offices to support home-based workers.

In 1989, Regus CEO and founder Mark Dixon saw the need for makeshift work environments outside the standard office setting. Today, more than half of the Fortune 500 companies use Regus solutions to support their needs, removing the issue of cost-efficient office-management.

A large training, learning and development facility at Regus offers staff and managers training in a variety of areas ranging from sales to operations to leadership development.

Profiles International and Regus began their partnership in 2008 initially to focus on reducing turnover and pre-hire issues. However, the company’s goals evolved to more long-term strategies.

Regus used the PXT for assistance with single hiring decisions and to look at whether or not the candidate would be suitable for a position or role that may arise in the organization over time.

Managers at Regus made an informed decision to be open and honest with employees about their plan to implement assessments. They told them exactly what and how the assessments would be used, and also outlined the benefits for the individual. Employees liked that they could learn about areas they were strong in and areas that needed improvement.

Before any new employee undergoes training, managers are able to evaluate what particular areas to focus on, instead of wasting time on a skill that the employee is already proficient in.

“Key point: Leaders at Regus have found the PXT to be a great tool for helping to ensure that hiring decisions propel the organization toward its goals in a focused way.”

For other assessment providers and partners of Profiles International, Regus offers this advice:

• Expect a dynamic process – Job descriptions evolve and so must tools to identify job candidates. Be meticulous.

• No assessment tool can do it all – The tool is an asset but only a segment of what should be an overall hiring process. Ensure that you integrate assessments well with your performance management and succession planning strategy.

• Be open – Communicate with your employees. Sometimes hiring managers look for reassurance when their minds are made up about a hire. Assessments should be used alongside each step of the hiring process, not just to reassure a hiring manager that the correct decision has been made on a candidate.

Regus is a fast-growing company with big plans for the future. They want to increase the use of assessments for employee development and to create ideal descriptions for new and upcoming positions.

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