Caitlin MacGregor, CEO of Plum, has always been passionate about identifying people’s potential. That’s why, after building two businesses for other people, she founded Plum. Plum quantifies human potential through the power of industrial/organizational psychology and AI, creating agile enterprises and successful employees by matching people to jobs where they thrive. Caitlin MacGregor is particularly passionate about supporting women to reach their full potential; she’s a regular speaker at women entrepreneur events and a champion of #movethedial, an initiative dedicated to increasing the leadership of women in tech. She was also selected by Springboard Enterprises NYC as one of the top 10 businesses led by women. In this interview, she talks about what her company has to offer and what’s next for Plum.
E-3 Magazine: Why did you start Plum?
Caitlin MacGregor: I’ve always been passionate about identifying people’s potential; I’m intrigued by what makes each of us thrive. I founded Plum to take that passion a step further and help organizations quantify their people’s potential at scale. I wanted to help business leaders create agile enterprises full of successful employees by matching people to jobs where they naturally excel. The way I saw it, nobody wants to go to work and do the things that drain them all day. Why not help individuals understand what drives them and help organizations use that information to strategically place them in roles and on teams where they will naturally thrive?
What is Plum?
MacGregor: Plum is a talent management platform that combines psychometrics and technology. We integrate with SAP SuccessFactors and can be found on the SAP App Center. Using one engaging assessment, Plum accurately quantifies human potential at scale, and then maps people to opportunities where they’ll thrive. For decades, organizations have limited the expertise and insights offered by I/O psychology to the top or bottom 20 percent of the enterprise. That’s left a huge blind spot in the way leaders make talent decisions for the other 80 percent of their workforce. We designed Plum to fix that blind spot by making it easy to quantify the innate talent and potential of every person in the organization.
You recently launched the Plum Talent Resilience Platform, powered by quantified human potential. What is talent resilience?
MacGregor: We did and it’s been exciting! Talent resilience is an unbiased, data-driven approach that simultaneously accounts for the dynamic nature of both critical jobs and human potential. If 2020 has reinforced any lessons, it’s that every business needs to stay resilient in the face of change. Plum empowers purpose-driven leaders to do just that by helping them know their people, predict their next best move, and align the talents and potential of their workforce with business strategy at speed and at scale.
Why is quantified human potential an important metric for talent professionals?
MacGregor: For too long, HR professionals have relied on talent data collected in the ‘rear-view mirror’; think resumes, intern opportunities, and even education – all of which are full of systemic bias. Not only is that not equitable or inclusive, but logic tells us that looking backwards never helps when you need to run forward. Quantified human potential is an unbiased, universal talent metric, rooted in I/O psychology that measures ‘soft skills’ or talents, as we call them, which are four times more accurate at predicting how successful someone will be in a role than hard skills and knowledge alone. What’s more, it’s a single metric that can be used across multiple talent decisions, including talent acquisition, workforce planning and re-orgs, succession planning, emerging leader programs and team building. In a nutshell, it makes HR’s decision criteria simultaneously simpler, faster and more accurate.
How does Plum work for enterprise organizations?
MacGregor: Plum works in three simple steps, all of which can be executed remotely – something that remains particularly important for organizations these days. First, employees create their Plum profile by completing a single assessment that measures personality, social intelligence, and problem-solving ability. Once they complete the assessment, they receive their personalized Plum profile that reveals their top talents. The beauty here is that one core assessment powers every talent decision. Second, talent leaders and individuals with job expertise collaborate on prioritizing and assigning weight to the talents that are most critical to specific job success – we call this match criteria. Match criteria can be spun up quickly using a catalogue of competencies. And lastly, Plum empowers leaders to map individuals to opportunities by aligning their Plum profile talent scores with match criteria. This is where the power to scale comes in. Leaders can instantly see which employees will thrive in what jobs, and deploy them accordingly.
How could Plum potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?
MacGregor: This is a great question – and one we’re getting alot right now. I’ll answer it in two parts. The first way is about keeping the business resilient at speed and at scale. As we move through unprecedented times, organizations are rehiring in large volumes, re-organizing business units, extending and improving remote team arrangements, and re-thinking how to upskill employees, while building future leaders. Focusing decisions around a single metric (quantified human potential) and a universal language (Plum talents) can feed and speed all of those decisions. The second, perhaps more subtle, but equally crucial way that Plum helps is by moving diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives from conversations into tangible actions. Plum allows leaders to evaluate talent side-by-side quickly using unbiased metrics, instead of other more traditionally used and highly biased sources of information, like resumes or performance review data. Focusing on talents also sends a strong message to employees that they are valued for their unique skills and potential, and that they belong.
Thank you for the interview.
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