5 ways to isolate talent in your organisation

Recent research suggests that the number one human capital challenge facing Australian business leaders is increasing workforce performance and productivity. It’s no wonder given they are under the constant threat of restructures, operate in a highly competitive landscape and are pressured to do more with less. This reality has triggered many organisations to critically evaluate the talent they currently possess and the talent they must strategically develop in order to thrive and survive.

For business strategists, the $75K question has become “where is my talent”? Like a good surveyor, the astute HR professional must map the lay of the land and determine which stars are shining bright and which remain hidden within their organisations. The resulting effect is a powerhouse — one where the talent is more easily accessible, and the organisation can deliver on its strategic objectives whilst allowing every individual to maximise their potential.

However, according recent Randstad research, just over half of Australian employers actually have a talent management program in place. So how can you ensure you are finding the talent that is already in your business and maximising the potential they can offer? Following are five key ways to identify your talent — naturally; savvy leaders will have these strategies down pat:

1. Decipher the meaning of “talent”: Many corporates spend thousands on talent management initiatives such as developing their Hi-Po’s or emerging leaders, without giving adequate consideration to what talent truly means in the context of their organisation. Because of this, it tends to remains an elusive concept that lacks the specificity it deserves. “Talent” often refers to that pool of people believed to have the best chance of rapidly growing their capabilities and fulfilling the requirements of an advanced strategic role in the future. Put simply, talented employees significantly outperform their average counterparts.

It is not uncommon for organisations to use individual success profiles in isolation of other important variables such as available career opportunities, as the basis for their talent models. The reality is that success is much more complex than this. A more robust way to ascertain what your talent model should look like is this — examine your current and emerging leadership pipelines, gather opinions from multiple stakeholders, examine engagement data and ultimately, ensure the model ties in with the organisational values. Bear in mind that all employees should be part of the talent pool, not exclusively the leadership team.

2. Examine the culture, not the rhetoric: When examining the talent in any organisation, it is important to take a long hard look at the culture, not the rhetoric — look at the results, not only the assumptions about potential. For instance, it is necessary to conduct a broad pulse check across the organisation in order to identify what success or high performance looks like and what attributes are uniquely inherent about the culture that allows it to thrive. This will involve examining what the organisation does well and perhaps, not so well.

3. Put the horse before the cart: Poorly defined talent pools are often the result of strategic HR decisions being made in the wrong order. Alas, the common tendency for organisations to kick start a talent process with a generic framework, prior to accurately and scientifically diagnosing what the framework itself should measure. Talent models, in some shape or form, need to be bespoke to be effective. Therefore, drawing from a “global framework” without having rigorously mapped it to your own organisational standards could do your talent management processes more harm than good. Make sure the model you choose truly speaks to what talent means for your organisation, not someone else’s. Next time you consider the sequence of events, do ask yourself, what has been prioritised, the diagnosis or the model, the horse or the cart?

4. Practice makes perfect: Everyone agrees in theory but the practice of talent identification can at times be an afterthought. As with most things in the corporate world, there is too much process built upon theory and not nearly enough practice built on experience. Include measurement in the planning phase as your organisation’s reality will be anchored in that measurement. How will you measure the overall success of the identification project? Understanding the metrics behind talent is just as critical as identifying those who meet your criteria.

5. Guarantee a cascade effect: An effective talent identification process should not only be shared around the executive table but should also cascade to the rest of the organisation and involve employees at all levels. In an ideal corporate world, the executive team should endorse the talent model and espouse the philosophy and values that underpin it. Line managers should be responsible for managing talent, with human resources providing support. 


Adrianna Loveday, Randstad HR Consulting - a team dedicated to providing quality HR services including talent management, psychometric assessment, outplacement, career coaching and leadership development. To find out more, visit
www.randstad.com.au/hrconsulting or phone 1800 500 849. 

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