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(Unveiling the Obscure Side of Talent Valuation)

The competition for hiring the desired talent is getting more and more intense as organizations seek to gain greater leverage from the strength of their human assets to assure the robustness of core competencies.  However, even the best of recruitment/retention initiatives carry a margin of error and the fragility of a psychological contract between the employer and the employee becomes painfully obvious once expectations wither away on both sides.  Therefore, it is prudent to know one’s ‘Organizational Worthiness’ as a career preservation imperative in case certain measures/decisions need to taken before being confronted with an unpleasant surprise from the top echelons of the management hierarchy.

This article introduces the term ‘Organizational Worthiness’ and provides an introspective talent valuation tool for timely self-assessment of the level of one’s indispensability to the organization for hedging against any simmering negative perceptions and/or devising strategies to avoid prioritization as a redundancy target.

‘Organizational Worthiness’ is the perceived qualitative value informally assigned to an employee by the key decision makers/talent professionals within an organization that has the lurking capacity to shape/reshape opinion regarding an employee’s future with the respective organization.  It can be visually appreciated through the following matrix:


The Cumbersome Deadweights
This refers to those individuals whose performance is not at the expected level, however, the organization is stuck with them due to certain unavoidable circumstances, e.g., entrenched nepotism, local labor quota laws, lack of better talent, union pressures, etc.  They are the primary instigators of disharmony within the organization, especially, if they are promoted without merit.  Their active involvement in organizational politics is also detrimental to maintaining a healthy work environment.  They are considered ‘high value targets’ for redundancy decisions once extenuating circumstances change for their continued employment with the organization and generally ‘pushed out’ with the quickest possible exit options.

The Affable Workhorses
This refers to those individuals who are loyal to the organization, follow applicable rules and regulations, appear content with their current position, perform duties according to expectations and are generally seen as enthusiastic defenders of the organizational reputation.  They have limited potential for further progression within the organization and are generally known for having long tenures in a single position without harboring any aggressive ambitions for further development and growth.  They are considered ‘most likely targets’ for redundancy decisions and are often given a ‘fond’ farewell with an attractive ‘golden handshake’ package.

The Reliable Fixers
This refers to those individuals who are adept at navigating through challenging situations and are considered to be the ‘go to’ people within the organization.  They are generally considered the ‘true assets’ and have the swagger of a ‘problem solver’ with considerable latitude given in terms of bending organizational policies and procedures.  They have a good chance of climbing the corporate ladder, although, sometimes intentionally held back to extract maximum benefits at their present positions.  They are considered ‘least likely targets’ for redundancy decisions as their exit has a serious impact on operational efficiencies and organizations generally try to retain them by finding creative work solutions for their continued employment even in precarious economic situations, e.g., cutting back non-essential work hours, reducing the benefits side of the pay package, allowing work from home, etc.

The Exuberant Trailblazers
This refers to those individuals who are considered the ‘shining stars’ within the organization due to their high-potential (HiPo) status.  However, they are also viewed as ‘risky assets’ due to their susceptibility of being courted by competitors and the prevalence of a ‘demanding nature’ for high compensation in return for their services.  Such individuals have the propensity to scale the organizational hierarchy with ease and have a legion of admirers within the organization that are prone to emulate them in the hope of achieving similar success.  They are not considered as targets for redundancy and often asked to take additional responsibilities of colleagues who have been made redundant or, in some cases, may be assigned higher positions on an interim level with a ‘nominal’ increase in the salary package for that duration and promises of steady career progression as a buffer against the inevitable risk of attrition.

The informal talent valuation with respect to the aforementioned categories can be carried out through the following corresponding tools:

The Cumbersome Deadweight Questionnaire

  1. Have you been employed under special circumstances, e.g., labor quota, union pressures, entrenched nepotism?
  2. Did you have a family member already working in your current organization at the time of your hiring?
  3. Are you given mostly routine assignments that are not substantially challenging?
  4. Do you feel resentment from peers in terms of your work habits and/or salary package?
  5. Do you think that organizational politics is necessary for career preservation?
  6. Do you feel the need to promote your accomplishments regularly?
  7. Are you generally avoided in organizational social gatherings by your peers?
  8. Are you considered a ‘person with the inside news’ within the organization?
  9. Are your professional insights generally ignored within the organization?
  10. Do you feel that your supervisor is compelled to give you a nice feedback during a performance review/appraisal?

The Affable Workhorse Questionnaire

  1. Do you feel a deep sense of loyalty to your current organization?
  2. Are you an enthusiastic participant in organizational social events?
  3. Do you have a wide network of friends within your current organization?
  4. Are you satisfied with the pace of your career growth and development within the current organization?
  5. Do you like volunteering for conducting orientation briefings for new inductees?
  6. Do you feel hard work is more important than smart work for having a successful professional career?
  7. Do you have a nagging fear of loosing your job?
  8. Are you a passionate advocate of your current organization?
  9. Do you rarely engage in argumentative discussions with your superiors?
  10. Do you believe that the rules and regulations are critical for maintaining discipline within an organization?

The Reliable Fixer Questionnaire

  1. Are you frequently admired by your superiors for getting things done according to expectations
  2. Do you feel that most of the rules and regulations of your current organization are suffocating your style of work?
  3. Are you on good terms with most of the key decision makers in your current organization?
  4. Are you given preference in terms of taking on challenging assignments?
  5. Do you feel more comfortable in the company of senior management than your peers?
  6. Are you considered an ‘internal’ expert in at least one area of primary interest for your current organization?
  7. Are you easily entrusted with confidential information by your superiors?
  8. Do you consider invigorative work to be more satisfying than a soothing home life?
  9. Are you driven to succeed by the haunting thoughts of failure?
  10. Do you see peers with comparable capability as competition?

The Exuberant Trailblazer Questionnaire

  1. Are you consistently viewed as a top talent by your superiors during performance reviews/appraisals?
  2. Do you receive a more generous salary package than your colleagues?
  3. Do you celebrate success as much as failure?
  4. Are you envied by your peers for achieving outstanding results?
  5. Do you frequently succeed in convincing your peers and superiors with your arguments in resolving challenging situations?
  6. Do you attract eager listeners in informal gatherings/organizational social events?
  7. Have you been consistently approached by recruiters/headhunters/competitors with lucrative job offers?
  8. Do you feel impervious to organizational politics?
  9. Do you instinctively feel like taking charge in a team setting?
  10. Do you view your stay at the current organization as a ‘stepping stone’ to achieving higher career goals?

The strength of correlation with a particular category can be gauged by the total number of ‘Yes’ answers given within the relevant questionnaire, i.e.:


Note: Strong/significant correlation with more than one category is indicative of ‘Organizational Worthiness’ being misconstrued by the key decision makers/talent professionals and depicts a high probability of erroneous judgments in terms of retaining the desired talent.

Lingering Thought
The benefits from the use of the aforementioned facilitative tool can be maximized by its proactive use in making informed career choices, especially, in a precarious economic situation.  It also serves as a beacon for watching out against the lure of a ‘comfort zone’ and a timely reminder to continuously increase one’s talent capital as a deterrent against involuntary separation from a preferred employer.  Here’s to you staying relevant!

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