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BLOG: The Concept of 4E and 4R in Talent Management

A case for the good old fashioned philosophy of honesty, transparency and objectivity.

The 4E's were a little more complex to define and develop into an objective metric. The 4E's stand for Expertise, Enterprise, Education & Experience.  At the firm, we had given certain weightages to each of the 4 areas and these could differ from time to time but would be consistent across the team.

As an example, the first quarter of a new employee will have an increased allocation towards Education (& enterprise as these are the two most obvious ones which a People leader can decipher and rate against) while Expertise (in a particular skill or technology) plus Experience (in similar situations) becomes more critical during certain SDLC phases.

We developed an excel based system with rating (a number on a 1-10 scale - 10 denotes exceptional competence and this was decided along with the employee), weightage (1-5, 5 denotes critical) for each of the 4E's - arithmetic assists us in arriving at a certain number. This number was then multiplied by a base number (we assumed US$100,000 as the base salary number) and every employee received a monthly salary of: the rating number multiplied by 100,000 divided by 12.

My friends in HR would think this is too simple and inconvenient to work with, but it is really a very elegant way of taking a significant amount of subjectivity out of the HR process and rewards system.

The proof of the pudding as they say is in the eating - we lost a grand total of six employees in a period of 30 months - in a team of over 200 FTEs. I rest my case.

So what are the key conclusions I can draw upon with this experience? More than the 4Es and the 4Rs, I think the lesson is one of transparency - the easiest way to manage talent is to be transparent, open and listen to what they have to say.  Once again good old fashioned philosophy of honesty, transparency and objectivity works! And works very well indeed!!

Raja survived getting educated in three globally recognised institutions, living/working/travelling in over 25 countries, working for financial services firms, consulting firms and with service providers. He now consults for a leading financial services institution, is working towards his PhD and on his first work of fiction. He can be reached on The views expressed are his own.


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