The Intelligent Fleet Scowl

Often the immediate supervisor assesses the quality of employees by determining, on the one hand, the performance in the recent past (performance) and, on the other hand, the expected potential contribution in the near future (potential) on a scale and thus identifies the top talents. But when do you speak of moderate, sufficient or excellent potential? The intelligent fleet review offers a solution!


What is a fleet scow?

The word fleet review dates back to the days when the Netherlands was still a seafaring nation, when admirals inspected the strength and potential of their navy. The same is now used by HR: those who want to know which part of their payroll they will win the next sea battle with, map the competencies as well as the potential of their current workforce.

The HR fleet review is part of Talent Management and is used both in strategic personnel planning (SPP) and succession planning. However, there is a difference.

Strategic Workforce Planning

  • Vision: Talent is an attribute. People have a talent, that is, being able to do something well that has value in the job market. Organization invest in employees' talents so that they contribute to achieving the organization's mission and goals. Investment in people does need to yield a return. To know and measure the return on investment in people, the perspective of employees must be clear.
  • Purpose fleet review: finding out whether the critical competencies required to achieve the organization's goals are sufficiently present in employees or can be developed in the future. For example, competencies that fit the chosen strategic direction, such as customer orientation, technical or digital skills, entrepreneurship and so on.
  • Result: employees who do not possess the needed competencies but also do not have the potential to develop them, reduce the actual expected number of available employees and thus increase the possible gap between expected number and needed/wanted number. This can lead to recruiting employees who do have the right competencies and making employees redundant who cannot develop them.

Succession Planning

  • Vision: A talent is an excellent employee or someone with potential. People who perform and function better than other employees or who are seen as promising employees for whom a future as a leader or brilliant techie lies ahead. Top talents with extraordinarily high potential are especially valuable to the organization. After all, they are the organization's intended next generation of leaders or will hold other key positions.
  • Purpose fleet review: identify so-called high potentials (HiPos). Many organizations do not have the budget to give every employee the right guidance. Then choices have to be made, for example: invest in the middle or high potentials? A small part of the organization usually achieves most of the results, so the choice is quickly made: identify top talents.
  • Result: a list of employees to be included in the talent management program. Such a program aims to support top talents as much as possible in their development; to invest in their training and personal growth. In addition, the goal of the program is to bind and build talents and thus retain them for the organization.

Fleet scowl methods

To get a picture of the top talents present, organizations often use the HR fleet review. The best-known methods for this are the 9-grid model and the HR3P method. With these, the quality of employees is determined by determining on the one hand the performance in the recent past (performance) and on the other hand the expected potential contribution in the near future (potential).

Measuring both aspects on a three- or four-point scale creates the 9-box Grid and the HR3P matrix, respectively. Often the immediate supervisor assesses the employee on both aspects and thus identifies the top talents. But when do you speak of moderate, sufficient or excellent potential? How high does each supervisor set the bar? To maximize the quality of this subjective data, it is important to pre-validate (everyone the same definition) and calibrate (everyone the same limits).

Smarter method for identifying top talent

A better method than direct assessment of performance and potential is to conduct this assessment through the so-called intelligent fleet review. Managers then do not classify employees directly, but answer various questions about employee behavior. These include questions such as, "To what extent does the employee seek out new, challenging assignments?" and "How tenacious is the employee?

Each question has its own answers, such as the question, "If you wanted advice from an employee, when would you approach this employee? With answers:

  • Only when other team members are not available.
  • Only for issues the collaborator specializes in.
  • He/she is one of the first I approach for various issues.
  • For almost all the advice needed, I approach this employee first.

An algorithm then calculates the place in the matrix. An additional advantage is that it is easier for the manager to start a conversation with his or her employee about the behavior shown than about a classification as high potential versus one of the others. You can also relatively easily add the option of a 360-degree assessment. This involves asking colleagues and the employee themselves to also answer the relevant questions. This way you get an even more measured and substantiated assessment.


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