Learning goals for this aptitude

– Understand why diagnosis is important to talent optimization. – Be able to list and describe the three actions associated with the diagnose aptitude. – Use the associated maturity model to identify an organization’s level of maturity for the diagnose aptitude. Diagnose is part four of the four-part talent optimization framework. This is where you’ll measure critical people data, analyze that data in the context of your business, and prescribe remedies as needed.

Why diagnosis is important to talent optimization

Consider how a medical doctor uses reliable lab results to measure a person’s overall health, evaluates the data in the context of any problems, and acts to correct any issues. A talent optimizer employs a similar methodology. Best practice for a business is to identify potential problems proactively by diagnosing preventatively; this is what smart organizations do. But there will always be gaps between what you think will happen and what actually happens. This is why companies often diagnose in response to problems (e.g., “not meeting sales goals” or “high turnover.”)

Diagnose is a method for pinpointing the root cause of gaps—your underlying people problems—and making strategic changes or changes to day-to-day execution. The insights you uncover in diagnose typically point back to the other three aptitudes of talent optimization: design, hire, and inspire. Businesses that collect and analyze their people data and then make necessary adjustments proactively will enjoy a more productive and engaged workforce; instead of letting problems build up and fester, addressing them quickly shows employees they care.

The diagnose aptitude is composed of three activities that repeat in a loop

Diagnose in Action | FAM

A designer and manufacturer of performance apparel and accessories, FAM, LLC (“FAM”) employs 350 people at its Los Angeles headquarters and owns well-known brands such as Marika, Three Dots, Ellie, and Bally Total Fitness. 

Last year, the leadership team implemented new programming to boost employee engagement and morale. Despite implementing everything from universal performance reviews and compensation evaluations to a brand new bonus program, the leadership team realized they still had a troubling retention issue. 

To get to the root of the problem, the FAM team deployed a company-wide engagement survey to better understand what was truly at the heart of the turnover problem. Over 80% of employees took the survey and with objective people data in hand, the team was able to pinpoint engagement issues to a team that didn’t feel their manager could directly help resolve their problems. 

A candid conversation identified business processes that were handcuffing the manager’s capabilities, so the leadership team partnered with them to resolve the issue. As a result, the team:

  • Fixed broken processes and improved communication between teams
  • Implemented a one-on-one coaching program for high potential employees
  • Created a partner-level EVP role focused on engagement-related projects and held accountable for results related to strategic organizational initiatives
  • Overhauled medical, benefit, and performance review plan structures to give employees more say in how compensation and bonuses are evaluated
  • Updated company-wide data analytics and hindsight reporting to support business growth using new systems and data access tools
  • Increased employee engagement and trust