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Balanced Scorecard

“Balanced scorecard” is a process for establishing a “strategy-focused organization,” which sets measurable targets for each operational process and support unit. It breaks business strategy into four levels of goalsfinancial, customer, process, and people. The Bersin Talent Management Framework fits into this process. 

(For more information on balanced scorecard, consult
Behavioral Anchor
“Behavioral anchor” (or “defined behavior”) is a specific example of a competency level used to help managers and employees to understand how to use a competency model. For example, if you want to define a high level of proficiency (say level 5) in “customer service” (a competency), the behavioral anchor may be “calls customers back within 1 hour, engages customers in open dialogue, resolves customer problems before hanging up, etc.” The behavioral anchors are specific, easy-to-apply examples of behaviors that demonstrate the competency and proficiency level.
A "behavior" is the way in which someone expresses general character, state of mind, or a response to a situation or other people. In other words, a behavior is an observable representation of competencies or capabilities that demonstrate what it looks like to perform the competency or capability. Typically, a number of behaviors comprise a single competency or capability.
The term “bench” (also known as the "pipeline") refers to an organization’s ongoing need to have a pool of talent that is readily available to fill positions at all levels of management (as well as other key positions) as the company grows. At each level, different competencies, knowledge, and experiences are required; to keep the bench filled, the organization must have programs that are designed to develop appropriate skills sets.
Bench Strength

“Bench strength” refers to the capabilities and readiness of potential successors to move into key professional and leadership positions. The term comes from baseball, for which it refers to a team's lineup of highly skilled players who can step in when a player is hurt or replaced.

In business, bench strength is critically important because organizations continuously go through turnover, restructuring, and changes in business strategy. Whenever a critical person leaves (whether in leadership, management, or line operations), the organization should have a "ready successor" or plan for replacement in order to avoid business interruption.
"Benchmarking" is the practice of establishing one or more metrics as a common point of reference, then using it to compare with organizations that are in the same industry or region, are similar in size, and / or are alike in some other key way. Benchmarking offers a way for organizations to assess whether they are keeping up with, falling short of, or surpassing norms.
Bench-Strength Assessment
A "bench-strength assessment" is a form of an aggregate skills-gap analysis in which the organization assesses internal talent readiness as measured by collective competence in a given skills set, and / or the number of individuals judged ready (or soon-to-be ready) to replace a specific role, or to meet the talent requirements for a future business initiative.
Benefits and Wellness Services

"Benefits and wellness services" manage company-provided extras, other than financial elements, for employees. These services focus particularly on employee health insurance, disability, and leave.


Bias is an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective, and a refusal to consider the possible merits of alternative points of view. Biases can range from unconscious bias (biases that are hardwired in our brains and of which we are unaware) to conscious biases (those which we may know exist or even actively encourage).


Relevant biases for the talent management discussion are the four outlined below, which we are introducing at the beginning of this section as they impact, among others, candidate selection, performance management, career management, and succession management. They are often manifested and can be mitigated as follows.


  • Similarity Bias—There are numerous types of rater biases but, from the standpoint of diversity and inclusion, the most relevant rater bias is similarity bias. This is the tendency to more favorably judge those people perceived as similar to the person doing the judging. This bias is often unconscious in nature and, as such, can be especially difficult to address. Some organizations attempt to address this bias by providing training or job-aids that help employees to identify common biases before they make important decisions on talent (i.e., performance ratings, or promotion or succession management decisions). In addition, some organizations will also seek multiple sources of information on a given employee, so as to reduce the likelihood that one person’s potential biases will unduly influence critical decisions about another person.
  • Self-Rater Bias—This is when an individual’s self-evaluation is not objectively based on accomplishments. Self-ratings are based on a combination of each individual’s personality, culture, gender norms, etc.—and can lead to over- or underrating. Those who are reviewing the self-rating may want to reflect on the rating they would give that person, given the knowledge they have at that point, before looking at the person’s self-evaluation. A 360-degree feedback assessment can also help to combat self-rater bias.
  • Structural Bias—These biases are found in and reinforced by organizational structure or processes, and can be detrimental to the strength of a diverse talent pipeline. For example, the composition of the selection committee for new hires may influence the types of individuals chosen. This was the case at BAE, the U.S. arm of BAE Systems when the company implemented a change in 2011 whereby a “woman or a person of color now participates in interview panels for potential middle managers and executives.” After this change was implemented, the number of women and people of color in senior management rose nearly 10 percent. This is just one example of the many ways in which structural bias may exist in an organization.
  • Calibration Bias—When conducting performance or talent reviews, a calibration process may be put in place to create a curve in which a limited number of people can be at the top. The comparative nature of calibration, and the group decision process that accompanies it, can introduce bias into the process. For example, a specific leader with certain biases might impose her view on the group. Alternatively, the raters might judge the dominant group as being superior due to having a common set of values. Establish a clearly defined process for identifying and discussing bias throughout the calibration process to yield a more objective comparison between people. Create clear norms for discussion and decision-making to mitigate power dynamics that could interfere with a fair decision process. 
Big Data

The term "Big Data" refers to the use of advanced analytics tools and programs to look at vast amounts of employee, customer, and transaction data. 


In the case of HR or L&D, organizations have huge amounts of people-related data (e.g., skills, performance ratings, age, tenure, safety record, sales performance, educational background, manager, prior roles, etc.), which can be used to better understand the organization's current composition, performance, and risk. In the case of IT, the term refers to the analysis of databases so large that they do not fit into traditional database technologies.

There are hundreds of new tools, consultants, and techniques for analyzing Big Data. Our research shows that organizations go through four stages of evolution as they build Big Data in HR strategies: 


  1. Reactive
  2. Proactive
  3. Strategic
  4. Predictive


This four-stage maturity model explains how organizations evolve from highly scalable reporting systems to advanced analytics, risk mitigation, and models.  


BigData in HR Maturity Model

Our research shows that every company has the opportunity to use Big Data in their people strategies. For example, a financial services organization analyzed high performers in its sales organization and then used those factors (called "dimensions") to screen candidates, raising first-year sales performance by more than 20 percent.

By using analytics tools and techniques, organizations can now start to develop a "people model" for their teams, as well as understand precisely how these people-related factors relate to business results. They can also use this data to assess organizational risk, leadership pipeline, engagement factors, and impending workforce gaps in the future.


For more information on this topic, please see these reports: