A few years back, I made one of these out of the box hires. I brought on an internal talent who came from a technical background and had no prior experience in HR. I took a chance because I knew her passion was with HR, not with technology, and after a few conversations I could tell this area was better suited to her talent and potential.
As you can imagine, my team was skeptical. How could someone with no HR experience fill this critical role?
But over time, they understood my thinking. Not only did she exceed our expectations, but she added tremendous value to the team. Today, she is one of the most respected HR professionals on our team.
This got me thinking: How can we unlock this untapped talent and potential in everyone? How can we make sure we leverage our existing talent and that we have people in the “right place” for them?
As the war for talent continues today, we cannot afford to not embrace our internal talent. With today’s environment of instant gratification and the propensity for organizations to focus only on the short term, the result is a “drive for execution and delivery” approach today and not “planning for what is needed” approach for tomorrow.
This lack of planning and vision for the future has serious implications on our talent pipeline. By not taking the time to identify and nurture the talent that you have today, you run the risk of not sustaining the talent you need for the future. Whether your talent leaves to achieve their aspirations elsewhere or your talent stays but with unlocked potential, the result is lower levels of productivity, engagement, and lack of talent readiness for the future.
So how do you ensure that you get the most out of your talent?
- INVEST - Invest in a talent management process that examines all employees’ “potential”. Whether it is growth in their current role, expanded growth in a function or line of business, or fast track growth of your organization’s superstars by answering this first important question, you will be better able to maximize the potential and contribution of all of your talent, have an understanding of your overall talent landscape and, as importantly, where you have gaps.
- UNDERSTAND - Understanding what your talent has potential for is also critical. I can’t tell you how many individuals I know today who have no idea what their manager believes they have potential to do in the future and the individuals themselves have not spent the time to think about their future. If we cannot clearly identify what we believe an individual has the potential for, we are unable to focus their development which slows down their readiness for the next contribution.
- GUIDE - Take the time to help your employees understand their talent. This includes examining their passions and values, understanding their strengths and opportunities, and then aligning these two aspects with an organizational need. The intersection of passion, strengths/talents and organizational need, in my opinion, is the career sweet spot. It is here you will see the highest level of engagement and discretionary effort from your talent, when they are able to contribute to the organization doing something that aligns with their passions and leverages their strengths.
- DEVELOP - Develop talent with focus. Research today suggests that managers spend less than 20 % of their time focusing on the development of their employees. Prioritize this time and work with your talent to develop customized development plans for them that builds on their specific strengths and addresses areas for development. An individual who understands what the organization believes they have potential for, has a good understanding of their talents and what they need to develop will be more motivated to develop themselves, and ultimately will deliver more in the future.
- IMPROVE - Identify where you have gaps. Given the rapidly changing global business environment, it is inevitable that you will not have every skill set, experience or talent that you require today. By taking the time to understand the talent you have across your entire current internal landscape, you will be better positioned to focus on internal development and determine where you may have to look externally to address your talent needs in the future.
So take some time and think about your current talent pool. Are there people who can make a greater impact in other areas of the organization? Make a bold hire – not only can it pay off for the individual and the team, it demonstrates your commitment to the right people in the right roles to make the biggest impact.
Follow me on Twitter: @Tracey_Arnish
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