Relying on talent is of strategic importance for companies nowadays. Its human capital constitutes a company’s main competitive advantage, which is why managing high potential is a priority. Naturally it’s counted as one of the top five factors of companies’ success.
Even though the definition of talent varies from one organisation to another, it is generally defined as what an individual does better than others: a personal attribute or a particular aptitude. It can be innate or acquired. Talent can’t do without skills, which enable it to excel in a particular area. It does, however, have to be recognised in order to be put into action.
Identifying high potiental in a company
Unlike performance, which can be measured in figures, potential is more difficult to identify. It’s not linked to current results, but to a person’s ability to acquire certain skills and to excel in a particular area in the future.Talent is identified individually, using methods like the assessment center (individual assessment to predict the potential of an employee or candidate, essential for decision-making). Once this potential has been identified, it needs to be nurtured and developed.
The purpose of this process is to implement succession planning and/or internal promotions in order to retain and capitalise on internal talent. The challenge facing the company is still the same: to have people with the right profiles in the right place at the right time. To achieve this, the company must use its ability to align its own needs with the needs of the individual.
How do you identify talent?
What counts when it comes to high potential is the subtle balance of acquired skills and detected potential, which ensures the employee’s performance can be developed further. The ideal is to prepare in advance a list of skills and qualities being sought in an individual.
Everyone should be familiar with this list and its practical manifestations. In order words, the professional qualities are transposed into observable behaviours, giving managers and human resources a common reference framework.
Mapping talent in a company
Once employees’ potential and skills have been assessed, the mapping of this talent means that it can be monitored and action can be taken to develop it. The well-known ‘nine-box matrix’ is usually used for this. It has two axes: Performance and Potential, which are used to produce nine employee profiles. McKinsey developed the concept in the 1970s to help General Electric with a problem prioritising investments in its 150 subsidiaries.
Who does talent management concern?
Executives and senior management have to be aware of talent management and to work closely with HR so that they can align the company’s strategy with the individual needs of its employees. To begin with, HR has to design and deploy a high potential management policy that includes detection as well as follow-up.
If post-detection follow-up is neglected, the mapping doesn’t provide any real added value. Finally, it should be remembered that managers play a role in talent detection, even though it’s not their core business, and they can be trained to identify and nurture talent within their teams.
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