A weak hiring process can cripple any business unit. If the chosen staff doesn’t demonstrate the skills necessary to succeed in the function and in the business, then even a manager or executive with all the qualities of an effective leader will struggle to guide the department to excellence.

Numerous organizations, large and small, have recognized this fact and implemented processes to ensure that their business is built upon a solid foundation of skilled, qualified and talented employees. Procter & Gamble, the global manufacturer of consumer goods, is among that group. With more than 138,000 employees in more than 80 countries, P&G recognizes the need to evaluate employees throughout the enterprise based on a common set of standards. The company has done extensive research to identify the “success drivers” or characteristics that typify high-performing employees, and from them has developed evaluation criteria for new and existing staff.

Jim Hutton, director of P&G’s Global Security Division, explains that the Success Drivers concept “tips its cap to the internal equities we need to be mindful of when we recruit, train, promote and develop our people.” The Success graphic shown displays the three general categories of criteria. The Power of Minds includes concepts like creativity, innovation and decision making. The Power of Agility comprises flexibility and the ability to effectively meet change. And the Power of People incorporates ideas like leadership and collaboration skills. All managers are expected to use the Success Drivers process, which adds to the criteria a scoring system that helps them quantify how well each employee has incorporated the skills into their work.

According to Hutton, focusing on the behaviors that reside within the three categories increases the chance of success for both employees and managers within the company. “These things are important to the culture,” says Hutton. “No matter what previous success someone has enjoyed in a law enforcement or security career, if you don’t do some of these things you’re not going to make it internally.”

When Hutton came to P&G through the company’s acquisition of Gillette, he immediately recognized the value of P&G’s approach to hiring, and decided to build upon it to enhance hiring decisions even further within the Global Security division.

“I wanted best-in-class in terms of competencies to look for,” says Hutton. As a member of the Security Executive Council, he became aware of a tool called the Next Generation Security Leader graphic. The graphic, available to Council members and non-members on the Security Executive Council Web site, lays out six skill sets that are crucial elements of excellence in the security field: government elements, security organization elements, IT security elements, executive leadership skills, business elements, and emerging and horizon issue awareness. It’s available at 
Hutton approached his management about using these skill sets, in addition to the company-wide P&G criteria, as evaluation criteria for employees in his division. “When I shared the Next Generation Leader document with my management, including the chief human resources officer, they loved it. The HR leaders beyond headquarters use it to help me to evaluate the global security talent that serves their regions; they can really use this to do a 360-degree evaluation of the security staff.”

Using a system like has a number of benefits. One is simply a stronger understanding, organization-wide, of what to expect of security roles, says Hutton. “This helps people better understand what the security role is – what the competencies are from an external perspective – while building on the P&G Success Drivers.”

This benefit applies to security employees as well. “People have become more thoughtful about what kind of roles they want to move into when they’re offered a change of assignment, promotion, or the option to fill a vacancy, because they understand what the requirements are.”

Take a look at your own organization’s approach to hiring. Do you have a consistent and transparent method of ensuring you bring in only the best and brightest security employees available to you? Consider sitting down with your management to pinpoint the characteristics that are important to your corporate culture, and the characteristics you want to see in your security staff. It could help you build a stronger foundation for your function and your business.