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Talent Management

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Tips for Acquiring, Developing and Maintaining Talent.

The Basics of Talent Management

As a leader, managing the talent within your team is a very important job. Getting the most out of your resources, i.e. your people is a skill that will ensure your continued success. For this reason, how you recruit talent, identify high performers within your team and retain them is likely to have great consequences for the success of your team. Essentially, skilled people create value and an organisation that creates value will be successful. Therefore, the potential you have in your team will have a direct effect on your team’s performance. Below, we will investigate how best to ensure you acquire, develop and retain talent, the use of the GROW coaching model and finally the importance of the nine-box grid for talent management.

Tips for Acquiring, Developing and Retaining Talent

1. Don’t underestimate the talent you have

  • The cheapest, easiest and most efficient way to attain skilled individuals is to develop them internally. 
  • Often the potential already exists within a company, and yet they still pursue long and expensive recruitment strategies. Give your current employees the opportunities to develop in a wide variety of fields to ensure potential capabilities are not lost. 

2. Utilise performance management tools

  • Performance management tools can be used to identify areas where your employees are strong and where they may need more development. This will reveal where individual strengths can be built on, but also areas where individuals are not being used effectively. 

3. Challenge your team members

  • Setting your team tasks that push them out of their comfort zone can act as a motivation tool as well as an opportunity to develop new skills. It is very easy for employees to become comfortable performing the same tasks, but if you want to develop their aptitudes it is important to keep pushing their horizons.

4. Reward good performance

  • If you want your team members to work hard, try new things and develop new skills it is important to reward their good performance. Without a reward and recognition system team members will lose motivation and are more likely to become comfortable performing the same tasks. 

5. Don’t be scared to make difficult decisions

  • Unfortunately, discarding ineffective resources is just as important as unearthing new talent. When it comes to employees this can lead to tough decisions being made. 
  • To ensure others have a chance to thrive and training isn’t being wasted, consistent poor performance should result in termination of employment. 

6. Make use of the HR department 

  • Despite talent management within your team being your responsibility, it is also important to utilise the resources available in the HR department. Most HR departments will have existing systems and strategies in place to help you develop individuals with potential or find talent to fill existing gaps.

7. Training and Development

  • While you can mentor and coach your team members on certain things, formal training and development programmes are also essential to their progression. 
  • If your organisation doesn’t currently offer these programmes, it may be worth suggesting it to senior management, as you cannot be expected to solely develop your team members. 

8. Identify talent gaps

  • Although we have stressed the importance of developing talent internally, it is unlikely your team will have a complete skill-set. For this reason, it is important to identify areas where new recruits could add to the team’s performance. 

9. Talent-minded recruitment

  • It is important to remember when you are recruiting that you generally want the individual to work for your organisation for a number of years. For this reason, you should take into account their likely progression, not just their current skill-set. 
  • For example, an individual with a large amount of potential to acquire talent may be a better long-term acquisition for the company than someone who has a better skill-set, but less potential. 

The GROW Coaching Model

The GROW Framework is a useful tool for coaching that can be developed to support the talent management process. 

G - explore people’s Goals

R – assess the current Reality

O – explore the Options for developing people’s capability 

W - assess and confirm people's motivation (Will) to develop

The Nine-Box Grid for Talent Management

This diagram is a useful tool for assessing the current performance of your team members and areas for improvement. Score individuals first by their current level of performance and then by their potential places them in one of the nine boxes. You can then use this position to plan their development.

9 box grid

For example, high performers should be given a great deal of responsibility, as well as projects that push them to their limits. Alternatively, it is important to get to the bottom of why those not performing are experiencing issues and how you can help them. The point of the grid is not to categorize team members into where they sit amongst the team, but instead to create a dialogue and plan of action about how they can improve. 

One reason this tool has been so popular is that ‘talent’ is subjective and very hard to measure. It is not as simple as comparing individuals’ test marks, as different individuals have been exposed to different situations and training. This means one very ‘talented’ individual may not perform well simply because of their experience and this can hide potential stars. It is also important to always use the same benchmarks for all individuals, to ensure the scoring is fair.

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