How to Value Your Talent
Here’s a recent interview with Jill Maidment of Natural Talent ahead of being asked to be a keynote speaker on ‘Valuing Talent’:
Q: For many businesses people will be your most expensive asset. So how do managers, business leaders and decision makers value the talent within their organizations and get the best from their people? How does valuing talent in the workplace really impact on the success of a business?
A: As you are aware, there is a new war for talent, as well as an overall skills shortage across many functions and industry sectors. Sourcing, developing, and retaining top talent has become even more important to business success and ever more challenging in Brexit-obsessed Britain.
Companies with the right hires and talent pool tend to have stronger brands, lower employee turnover, and customer satisfaction levels that are much higher than average. When talent is recognized and developed, employee engagement and motivation levels increase, which impact positively on productivity and profit. A working environment where talent is valued provides a positive culture and the brand is recognized as being a great place to work so will encourage future talent to join.
However, when talent isn’t developed and promoted, high performers and aspirational team members will move on, which negatively impacts the business, with the added expense of recruitment, difficulties in hiring, time and cost of onboarding and training. These negatively impact customer service, productivity and profit.
Q: In your experience, what are the main reasons so many managers struggle to identify, develop and retain their talent pool?
A: Very few organizations have strong Talent Management Programmes with robust Talent Measurement and Assessment Solutions for Leadership Succession Planning and the means to identify and develop the talent pool and high Potentials. Organizations need to invest more in Talent Assessment Tools, such as Personality Profiles and 360 Feedback Reviews, which can provide an accurate overview of working style, behaviours, and key strengths and areas of development, as well as future potential of individual team members and managers. Spotting natural talent and leadership potential isn’t easy, but assessment tools are highly beneficial in the selection process and companies who invest in them tend to have stronger brands, lower employee turnover and higher customer satisfaction levels.
If line managers are holding regular 1:1s and having frequent career conversations, they should be able to identify internal candidates who could step up with Training and Coaching support. Retention also becomes easier if every employee receives regular and timely feedback, is empowered to define their own objectives, and has a regularly updated PDP. Obviously creative and attractive Comp and Bens packages help, but the Millennials in particular are looking for ongoing personal development and ethical work practices.
Companies who don’t invest in training and development see a negative impact on employee engagement and morale, as well as a lack of development; this impacts on the quality of managers and people coming through at selection stage. Training and Coaching are sometimes perceived as expensive, but interventions can assist greatly in retention and create high ROI. The old adage that workers leave their managers, not their jobs or employers, still holds true for between 50% - 75% of employees today.
Poor managers and leaders can contribute to driving away quality talent, as well as causing disengagement and damaging the brand and customer perception. So, in order to retain talent, managers need to ensure work is challenging enough for their team members and use a Coaching style of management to empower and develop team members to keep them engaged. They also need to deal with poor performance swiftly, make quick decisions and stand by them, and manage their teams workloads and stress levels.
Q: What are the main benefits to those businesses that do this really well?
A: Few organizations recognize the inextricable link between Talent Management and the company’s methods for selection, their investment in Management and Leadership Development, and the levels of employee engagement, and retention. With the right recruitment, assessment solutions and development in place, organizations are more likely to be able to recruit the right people in to the right jobs at the right time, and succeed in advancing and retaining them to create business success.
However, some global companies do have excellent Talent Management processes including regular 360 Feedback on their middle and senior managers to encourage a more open and trusting culture, Executive Coaching Programmes, Mentoring, and funding of further qualifications. These organizations also take in to account business results and customer feedback, as well as feedback from 1:1s, appraisals and Development Centres and Leadership Talent Reviews. Succession Planning then becomes a natural process as opposed to a knee jerk reactionary one.
Managing Talent is not just a question of identifying high potential and the next CEO, it is also about creating and maintaining overall employee engagement levels. Top talent is likely to join a company for its dynamic, innovative and caring culture, where employees feel valued, poor performance is dealt with quickly, and where there are opportunities for challenging work, progression, open, honest and lively debate. Organizations who identify and develop their talent have strong reputations both with their customers and with prospective employees; in particular the Millennials are choosy about the brands they work for. With top talent on board, companies can better innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
Q: As a business professional, if I feel I’m not attracting the best people into my company, or losing the ones I’ve got, what are 3 actions I can take that would help me change this?
A: Firstly, successful companies align a clear and well-communicated vision, strategy and values with associated competencies, skills and behaviours as a solid base for recruitment, learning and development and performance management. Also ensure your company culture rewards discretionary effort.
Secondly, re-visit your recruitment and selection strategy: Examine your job descriptions, salary, structure and interviewing process. Invest in professional assessment methods and Assessment Centres, which can create ROI of up to five fold.
Thirdly, offer regular ongoing Learning and Development: According to Gallup, only 1 in 10 managers has the natural talent to be a great manager so ensure you offer regular Management and Leadership Development, and Coaching and Mentoring.
There is little doubt, human capital is fundamental to any business strategy. Valuing your talent will help you get the best return from any form of investment in your people.
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