To assemble a world-class team, you must start by attracting the best talent. Technology company Apple says its latest move to offer genetic testing services as part of its employee health benefits package is designed to do just that. It’s a bold decision that some employers would never attempt for fear of privacy concerns. However, Apple’s new employee benefit has all the hallmarks of great Talent Optimization.
Talent Optimization is a talent management strategy that uses data to improve your talent pool, understand how employees work together, and align them with your business objectives. One element of that is making sure that behaviors, values and benefits all align with your overall business strategy. When this happens, you create an environment in which the culture directly supports strategic goals.
Aligning benefits with business strategy
Apple’s new genetic testing benefit is well-aligned with their business strategy. The company already offers dedicated health clinics to their employees through a partner company called AC Wellness. Now, employees of Apple can go to a dedicated health clinic close to company headquarters and ask a doctor to perform genetic testing that will help identify certain health risks.
The goal, Apple says, is to be proactive with employee health rather than reactive. Instead of treating a disease, Apple would like to prevent their employees from getting sick at all. The company has carefully designed this benefit to support employee health without threatening their privacy. Clinicians and health coaches are not employed by Apple, and the employer has no direct access to patient data.
The new offering falls into Apple’s wider strategic goal to make an impact on health. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook told CNBC, “I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ it will be about health.”
The alignment between an offered benefit and the overarching business strategy is an indicator of good talent optimization. When benefits reinforce cultural values, they change organizational culture for the better, which in turn enables progress toward strategic goals.
Many businesses think they check for cultural fit, but in reality, they rely on the gut reactions of hiring managers to decide if a candidate aligns with the culture. This subjective method is unreliable at best. To build a strong culture, follow talent optimization principles.While benefits like this can help Apple attract job candidates, they’re only a tiny piece of the Talent Optimization puzzle. Next comes the real work of deciding whether these candidates fit the culture and team.
Candidates and cultural fit
Apple’s genetic testing benefit will likely attract employees who care about their health, a factor that aligns with Apple’s strategic goals. However, once candidates have applied, Apple has more work to do. They’ll need to determine each candidate’s cultural fit.
Start by documenting your culture. Write down the values, principles, and behaviors you want to encourage. Each of these should support your overall business strategy. Make sure your existing leadership team is in agreement on each one and understands how they all fit together.
Next, create an evaluation rubric to use in interviews. Ask specific questions to determine how well candidates fit the culture. Consider these scores as part of the overall interview scoring for that candidate.
Finally, during the interview, communicate your cultural expectations to the candidate. Just as you are evaluating the potential employee, they are also evaluating your organization and culture. Set an expectation that your company culture isn’t just words on a page. It is how you do business.
Keep the goal in sight
Flashy new benefits, like Apple’s genetic testing offering, shouldn’t obscure the ultimate purpose of creating a culture that supports strategic business goals. By considering talent optimization at every stage, from benefits creation through job interviews, businesses can attract and hire the right talent.