Have you ever heard of any fairly esoteric measuring system for how good a company is at managing talent? No, wait! Don’t follow that link! It will take you about six years just to understand any of that stuff. So I’ve come up with my own, highly irresponsible, highly sloppy test to rate the quality of Talent Management within a company. The great part is that it only takes about 3 minutes to complete. With all the time you save, you could even go to medical school.
*This website has been inspired by The Joel Test. Any resemblance to it is just a sincere tribute 😛
The David Test
- If the professional activity allows it, is there work schedule flexibility to be able to reconcile a healthy work-life balance?
- If the professional activity allows it, do the processes and tools enable remote work?
- Are the company's vision, mission, short- and long-term goals and the degree to which they are being completed shared with transparency?
- Is there a Career Plan in place that defines how each person can grow their professional career?
- Is each and every different professional role within the company well defined with their own clear objectives, resources and responsibilities?
- Is the current salary policy relevant?
- Are there mechanisms in place (such as bonuses or stock options) to share with employees part of the value they generate?
- Is there an allocated training budget and training policies?
- Are there safe spaces to provide constructive feedback?
- Are there onboarding and offboarding processes in place?
- Are there policies in place to promote diversity and inclusion within the company?
- Do all employees - and their dependents - have public and/or private healthcare coverage?
As in Joel Spolsky's original test, it is easy to answer "yes" or "no" to each question. You won't have to spend a lot of time on it. Give your company one point for each "yes" answer. You probably don't actually need The David Test to know if your current work environment needs some attention sooner rather than later, but it can hopefully help you improve it.
A score of 12 is perfect. 10-11 is tolerable but a score of 9 or less should worry you. The reality is that most organizations have a score below 6 and should do something about it, because their competitors for the best talent do reach 12.
Obviously, as with everything in life, there are exceptions. Your company may be small and going like a rocket without meeting test requirements. However, you will understand that it is not usual. In any case, the practices that this test measures are not unattainable, regardless of your company.
These are not the only factors that will determine success or failure when managing talent. If your organization's mission and vision are completely misaligned with its values, people will most likely leave. But, if you comply with these 12 points, you will have the foundations on which any successful company is based: a cohesive and motivated team.
1. If the professional activity allows it, is there work schedule flexibility to be able to reconcile a healthy work-life balance?
A team is a group of people who coordinate and collaborate to achieve common goals, but the contribution of each member should not be conditioned by the availability of the rest, which should allow a certain flexibility of work schedules.
This schedule flexibility is not only useful at the operational level, but also an excellent strategy to retain talent, since allowing them to reconcile their professional and personal life is by far the corporate benefit employees most appreciated.
2. If the professional activity allows it, do the processes and tools enable remote work?
Remote work allows us to work with whoever we want, not just with whoever lives near our office. In a world where the talent market is increasingly global and professionals with the professional experience and skills needed to perform certain intellectual tasks are becoming scarce, on-site work means paying a much higher salary to make a position attractive to those professionals, which the vast majority of companies will not be able to afford.
Remote work does not mean that a company does not have an office or that we cannot go to it, but that doing so will never be mandatory to be able to do our work and —if we do— we cannot take for granted which colleagues we will find there.
3. Are the company's vision, mission, short- and long-term goals and the degree to which they are being completed shared with transparency?
It is a pretty clumsy strategy to treat employees as mere automatons who must perform tasks without complaint. We must ensure that our people not only know what they have to do, but also know WHY they have to do it.
Human beings are capable of achieving the impossible when they feel motivated to achieve a common goal they believe in and are given the tools and autonomy to do so.
4. Is there a Career Plan in place that defines how each person can grow their professional career?
No matter the sector, the professional activity or the position, there is no employee who does not want to be a little better than the previous year and accept being little worse than the upcoming year. In other words: To evolve.
Therefore, it is essential that a company establishes a plan that allows the evolution of its workforce and that all people know, with it, what steps they must take to grow professionally, as well as check if their objectives are aligned with those of the company.
5. Is each and every different professional role within the company well defined with their own clear objectives, resources and responsibilities?
The responsibilities and objectives of any employee should be explicit, never implicit.
In a company, everyone should know who is responsible for each activity and who manages each resource. Doubts about who does what only generate misunderstandings and internal issues.
6. Is the current salary policy relevant?
Salary ranges should be based on a known and public logic - which can of course evolve and be revised over time - to manage expectations and avoid comparative grievances.
7. Are there mechanisms in place (such as bonuses or stock options) to share with employees part of the value they generate?
If the only compensation your employees receive is their salary, what they will give you in return is their time, not their involvement. There's a big difference in that.
If we want someone to go beyond mere professionalism and become involved in helping us achieve our common goals, we have to make them part of the growth.
8. Is there an allocated training budget and training policies?
There is no more profitable investment for a company in the long term than the training of its employees... If it manages to keep them motivated and part of the team long-term, of course.
Gergely Orosz points out that at least two of the three following conditions must be met: funding for the purchase of books and/or training, public recognition of learning time as a good use of work time, and mentoring programs within the company itself.
9. Are there safe spaces to provide constructive feedback?
One of the most effective means to improve and evolve professionally is for an employee to receive constructive feedback from colleagues, clients and managers with whom they interact.
Feedback should not be seen as a judgment on the work in itself, but as an opportunity to help them find the best version of themselves within the workplace. And that goes both for giving feedback and also receiving it. Quality constructive feedback must be:
- Specific. It should narrow down and specify the idea that is being discussed.
- Objective. Based on data or facts, not opinions or comments.
- Timely. Delivered at the right time.
- Constructive. It should be useful to the person receiving it and incorporate suggestions for areas of improvement.
- Private. Transmitted exclusively between the person giving it and the person receiving it.
10. Are there onboarding and offboarding processes in place?
A good company takes care of its employees. A great company takes care of them before and after they have worked for the company.
A well-designed onboarding process can avoid misunderstandings and conflicts, get an employee productive much sooner and help build employee loyalty. However, just as important as onboarding a new employee is managing the employee's disengagement. Good offboarding can make the difference between being able to win back a teammate in the future or creating a detractor forever.
11. Are there policies in place to promote diversity and inclusion within the company?
A diverse company is one whose workforce reflects the composition of the society in which it exists. A diverse company is able to better understand the needs of the entire spectrum of customers for whom it works and, therefore, be more effective.
And to achieve this diversity, it is not enough just to want it. Minimum mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that there are no biases and behaviors that discriminate against the hiring and/or promotion of minority employees.
12. Do all employees - and their dependents - have public and/or private healthcare coverage?
Maslow's Pyramid and common sense says it all: you can never get the best version of someone who lives in fear that their own well-being or that of their loved ones' depends on a simple stroke of bad luck.
In some countries, there is no free and universal healthcare system. In such cases, companies should ensure that their employees can benefit from basic medical coverage.