smart talk
Back |  Print  |  Bookmark

    Talent Management

      You cannot afford to ignore talent management in your organization today, if you wish to stay in business tomorrow.



Procedural guide

The old cliché - no resource is more important than your people - still holds true today…well, that and cash flow!. You cannot afford to ignore talent management in your organization today, if you wish to stay in business tomorrow. 


Determine the key leverage skill sets required by the organization in order to move into the future. The organization’s strategic plan should give an indication of these, as well as what constitutes the core competence that will ensure a future for the organization. This will all, in turn, direct you to what talent you should be sourcing.

  Source the required people from the appropriate avenues. 
  Be sure to have very detailed job descriptions that include specific competencies required. 
  Apply behavior-based interviewing to select the best candidates. 
  The ability to retain talent starts from the quality of the first point of contact. 
  Carefully consider how you orientate a new employee into the culture of the organization, the work area, and the specific job. 
  Assist a new employee to transition into the organization and to be able to produce a quality deliverable within the first three months of tenure. This will go a long way to ensuring that the placement will be successful. 


Retaining your talent will not solely depend on what you pay them. We have found from exit interviews that many high performing individuals will leave an organization for the same or, in some cases, even less remuneration if other needs of theirs are not being met.

  The culture, the way things are done around here, plays a huge role in creating a work environment that will draw individuals in or repel them. The culture is created through the systems, processes, technology, structure, leadership, and behaviors of people and teams in the organization. 
  Congruity in values between the organization and the employee will also exert influence on an individual’s decision to commit to an organization. 
  The most important relationship for any individual in an organization is the relationship with one’s immediate manager. Ensure that your managers have the skills to constructively lead their direct reports and their teams. 
  Involve individuals in decision-making in their areas of responsibility. Involve high performers in cross-functional projects. Allow people to feel that they are making a difference. 
  Make sure that each new employee is the right fit for the organization’s culture, and then ensure fit with the work area, and then the actual job. Revisit this person-environment fit, as people and circumstances change and some adjusting or repositioning may be required for best results. 


Development is about growing people to meet both their own and the organization’s needs. Development plays a large part in talent management. No organization can afford to promise a person a particular job through development. At best, you can offer the promise of making a person more eligible to be part of a pool of talent who would be looked at when positions open up, and then only if the existing skills match the position requirements.


Competencies need to be broken down into their four components:

  Knowledge  (what you know) 
  Skills  (what you know how to do) 
  Behaviour  (what you do) 
  Attitude  (what you are willing to do) 
  Assess every employee’s competency profile. This would include establishing if there are any competency deficiencies that are responsible for the gaps that exist between the actual and desired current performance, as well as gaps between current competencies and possible future performance needs. 
  Avoid getting trapped into only developing weaknesses; focus on keeping strengths at the cutting edge. 
  Create opportunities for development through different methods; such as, training, job shadowing, job rotation, involvement in projects, cross-functional exposure, and teamwork. 
  Make sure that the training provided is linked to the strategic needs of the organization. 
  Mentoring can play an important role in developing others, as well as strengthening relationships. This goes a long way to influencing feelings of belonging to an organization. 
  Build in stretch deliverables for high potential individuals to produce, as being challenged by what they do often meets individual’s personal needs. 
Link talent development into the performance management system. 


Identifying potential is one component of talent management, but actual performance reflects on usable talent. Sound performance management practices are crucial.

  Clarify roles throughout the organization, ensuring alignment with the strategy, as well as across functions.
  Involve individuals in setting their own performance agreements. These agreements need to be firm on objectives to be met, deliverables to be produced and at what quality standards, actions to be taken, and the deadlines. 
  People need to be held accountable for what they deliver, but against performance agreements that function as working documents so that adjustments are made to them as circumstances dictate. 
  Feedback is essential - ongoing, objective and constructive. 
  Positive reinforcement, when done with genuineness, goes a long way to making people feel recognized. 
  Tap into what would make talented individuals within your organization feel rewarded; it is not necessarily always about money or upward mobility. 

Identify high performance individuals who display characteristics favored by the organization. Use this pool of talent to help transition new employees into the organization. This will speed up acculturization, and ensure the entrenching of desired ways of operating. It has also been found that the better the first experiences of a new employee, the more likely the individual is to be retained by the organization and the quicker performance results can be achieved.

Talented individuals can also serve as mentors throughout the organization and it can be seen as recognition or as a reward to do so. Innovations by talented individuals can be introduced into systems, processes, and approaches in the organization in the pursuit of continuous improvement. They should also be recognized for this.

Ultimately, talent management that is based on respect and transparency will go a long way to ensure that you access, select, empower, and retain top talent for your organization.


Back to Top