Within the online data collection industry the constant drumbeat is around automation and do it yourself technologies, and rightly so, as the execution of market research undergoes radical change. In the era of the smartphone, surveys will get shorter and behavioral data will fill the gap. There is no question that technology will play an ever larger role in market research data collection.
But what about talent management in our industry? Everyone talks about it, everyone knows it’s important, but few make it a priority or do it right.
The evolving landscape of the market research industry does not lessen the importance of an engaged, high performing workforce. In fact, as automation exponentially expands the number and types of data products available to clients, our people become even more important. As the application of technology increases, so does the demand from our clients for highly consultative staff who are research and technical experts. A great example of this is the development of Lightspeed GMI’s proprietary suite of Best in Class survey programming tools built on the Decipher platform. Our clients love the more engaging questionnaires that can be delivered to respondents; however, they receive the most benefit when our staff assists them in choosing the right question type and format for the job. As a result, we are investing in the hiring and training of people who can consult on questionnaire design and have a degree of technical expertise in our best in class tools --a challenging combination.
Primary Principles for Lightspeed GMI Talent Management
- Within the Lightspeed family of companies, we focus on talent acquisition. As is often the case in professional services, a vacancy means increased workload on existing staff, and the easy way out is to hire the first reasonably acceptable candidate to fill the gap. We resist that urge and interview as many candidates as necessary, for as long as necessary, until we find the right hire. As everyone knows the cost of a bad hire is enormous.
- A second area of focus is promoting and training first time managers Lightspeed thoroughly evaluates our high potential employees, give them stretch opportunities to manage one or two staff, and provide mentoring and training. The results have been staggering and are evident in our employee engagement scores, our client satisfaction, and our financials.
While talent management functions, such as talent acquisition, performance management, compensation and benefits, succession planning, and learning and development, are important to an organization’s success there is more to it than that. An overarching talent strategy, integrated into the organization’s strategic plan, is by far the most critical aspect of talent management as it guides each of the above functions. As our industry experiences rapid change, we must shape our workforce to succeed in the face of increasing business complexity.