Developing an ‘A’ player profile is a direct result of aligning your talent strategy with your corporate, product, marketing, and sales strategies. Simply put, you cannot construct an ‘A’ player profile without strategic alignment. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year. 


Building an ‘A’ player profile is the foundation to how you assess, source, hire, onboard, develop and create a succession plan for the organization. Essentially, it’s the foundation of your talent strategy. And without it, all will collapse.


Developing an ‘A’ Player Profile

The problem many organizations face is lack of agreement on the definition of an ‘A’ player. This causes HR to try to satisfy each open position with the unique needs of the hiring manager. The process is not sustainable or scalable, and leads to large variations in performance.


First, you must clearly define what an ‘A’ player profiles is. It is:


  • The job description (what the job is).
  • The competencies of the role (what you need to be successful in the job).
  • Levels of accountability in the role (how you will be measured in the role).


Begin developing your ‘A’ player profile by answering these 7 questions.


#1 – Who is responsible for defining the company’s hiring profiles?


This is a critical question for organizations. Traditionally this is the responsibility of HR. But is this the right approach? In order to properly develop the profile, each function should provide input. Without this functional feedback, the profile will be created in a silo and be incomplete or inaccurate.


#2 – What competencies go into the hiring profile?


A competency is the ability to do something efficiently. Developing competencies means gathering a collection of traits and characteristics that individuals must have in order to perform the role effectively. Download the “A” Player Trait Scorecard to help you get started.


Choosing the correct competencies is challenging, but critical none the less. You must match the competencies to the corporate strategy, which then trickles down through the different functions.This alignment is key to selecting your role competencies.


#3 – What level of accountability should be in the hiring profile?


The areas of accountability are both quantitative and qualitative. The must tie into the corporate and functional strategies. For a sales person, things like quota attainment is a standard measurement of accountability. But again, it must be tied back to the corporate strategy. Does this measurement match up with the corporate objectives? By ensuring alignment, you will more easily be able to hire the right candidates.


#4 – What compensation are you are willing to pay for this hiring profile? 


The old adage plays true when it comes to hiring: you get what you pay for. First, benchmark the compensation to the role in your industry. Knowing what the top pay is allows you to construct a pay plan that attracts ‘A’ players to your company.


#5 – How do you make your profile something candidates and existing employees can be scored against?


This is all about the development of a scorecards. It should mirror the hiring profiles. Assessments should be conducted twice a year, and areas of accountability are measured every month with a quarterly scorecard completion.


#6 – How many unique profiles can you sustain across the organization?


Too many unique profiles leads to little consistency and no tie into the corporate and functional strategies. Too little and you are trying to fit a certain role into another.  This will lead to role corruption and a misalignment of the corporate and functional strategies.


Instead, listen to the market. Keep your strategies front and center in your organizational development when determining the number of profiles you need.


#7 – How will you market your hiring profiles to the outside world ?

This requires understanding the market and the competition for the ‘A’ player candidate. By positioning the profile properly, can create value for the job. It’s about marketing the profiles. Conduct research with your current people and industry peers. Learn what attracts the best candidates and bake that into your sourcing and marketing of opportunities.


Ultimately your talent strategy needs to be in strategic alignment with the corporate and other functional strategies. Answer these 7 questions to ensure you are developing the right profile in order to successfully execute your strategies.


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  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


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