Talent 2

Identify Talent Already Within the Organisation

Looking closely at the talent pool already at your disposal is the next important step. You can monitor it by examining:

* Performance. How a person performs is a key indicator of the current talent levels of any business. Performance indicators enable you to understand whether or not people are thriving in their jobs. If they’re not, they could be bored, in the wrong job altogether, or not have access to the support, resources, or skills they need to tackle the tasks they’ve been given.

* Stretch projects. Assigning new responsibilities—or an entirely new project—to an employee is a good way of assessing talent and pushing competence boundaries into new areas. This will often help to demonstrate hidden talent and an individual’s capacity to shoulder new levels of responsibility.

* Evaluation and Development. Using expertise from within the organisation or from external consultants, it is valuable to formally evaluate employees’ capability levels and their potential to grow. These types of assessments put individuals through a range of tasks, both independently and as part of a team. In the process, they demonstrate a range of behaviours and skills that allow managers to determine their potential for advancement within the context of the organisation’s goals. After assessment comes development. In this phase, it is important to establish a context for people to explore and understand their own behaviours, and to recognise how management views those behaviors. The outcome of this process might include a plan that helps individuals manage and develop their careers; such an effort will also help the organisation understand what resources will be needed to support each individual. Line management’s involvement is critical to the success of any development plan.

Spread Your Net Wide

Experts recommend that a company employ a variety of “talent-spotting” techniques rather than relying on one particular approach.

No matter what method it selects, an organisation should always keep in mind its long-term business strategy and remember that high levels of employee talent lead to high levels of organisational flexibility, productivity, and profit. Having a variety of diverse talents is important, so be open to talent that comes from unexpected sources and find a methodology objective enough to screen for it. The “high-fliers” often are identified subjectively because they reflect traits or backgrounds that their managers see in themselves, but it may not be the best way for a company to identify its future leaders.

Help Your Top Prospects to Develop and Grow

Once you have identified your talented employees, you need to establish an effective method of developing and promoting them. Managing these people requires focus, resources, and commitment. Many organisations group their talent in this way:

* Senior Executives: potential future company officers and board members;

* Junior Executives: management team members, and departmental managers;

* “High Fliers”: those likely to move into senior executive roles within 5–10 years;

* Professional-level New Entrants: college graduates and specialists and top performers in specific areas such as sales or business development who are given additional development training for future roles.

For each talent group and its individuals to develop, make sure your organization has in place:

* senior executive mentors who will monitor your prospects’ needs and provide resources and support to help them develop;

* a management team responsible for reviewing the program itself;

* clear communication channels to encourage feedback and consultation;

* development programs for individuals to participate in over a period of time, such as mentoring, coaching, job sharing or shadowing, or taking part in community programs;

* detailed development plans with clear objectives and milestones that are examined and adjusted (if necessary) on a regular basis by mentors and supervisors.

Assess Your Development Program’s Progress

Regular reviews of your management development program will make sure it is delivering the results you want. Use the information you collect during the reviews to revise the program if you need to. Once your business has been able to tap into the talent of its workforce, the combined effect of motivation and learning can lead to quantum changes in performance.

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