Monday, 11 January 2010

Identifying Talent in your Organisation

At Developing People Ltd, we help organisations to identify and assess their talented people. We believe that talent is a complex combination of an employee’s skills, knowledge, experience, behavior as well as other characteristics such as their personal preferences, values, and motivations. It is important to recognise that each organisation needs their own definition of what constitutes talent.

One way of thinking about talent is to consider it in terms of an individual’s potential. People with potential have by definition not reached their full potential. They have an ability to take on more complex, broader or senior roles to the one they are currently in. However, it is important to recognise that just because someone is currently a high performer they may or may not have potential. A high performer may consistently deliver results over time in relatively similar situations, but may struggle to deliver high performance under first-time, different, or non repeat situations. Such a person is clearly capable of fulfilling their current role effectively, but it is unlikely that they have the potential to fulfil a more complex or demanding role.

It is therefore important to clearly define the characteristics of someone with high potential. For example they may:
  • Demonstrate superior leadership traits beyond their current work role.
  • Learn very quickly and have the ability to change/modify their behaviour.
  • Manage ambiguous circumstances extremely effectively.
  • Have significant impact and influence outside of own work area.
  • Think strategically across the whole of the business/organisation and not just about their own function
  • Deliver superior performance under first-time, different, or not repeat situations with limited guidance.

We have worked with Agusta Westland, (part of the Finmechanica Group), to help them define what constitutes talent as well as independently assessing over 100 of their managers to identify and validate their potential, motivations, strengths as well as development needs.

We provided the business with a summary report detailing the outcomes from the process identifying the high potentials and key development needs across the group. We also provided a detailed report for each participant detailing an assessment of their competencies against the job profile requirements, likely potential, key development needs and their performance benchmarked against managers from other organisations.

Our work helped the organisation to minimise the risk to its long term business by ensuring that there is a pipeline of people with the right skills, experience and behaviours to fulfil key positions in the future.