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Who is your talent, really?

31st August 2017

Where else would we invest £100,000’s even £1m’s each year, and never be completely sure of what interest rate we are getting?  I don’t expect I would ever see a business owner go into a bank with a £1m, hand it over, and not even ask about the rate of return.

We spend too much money on our talent, the people who work for us, not to manage our investment well. So who really is your talent?

Talent, it is a small word with a big meaning.  Having asked business owners and senior managers over many years ‘who is your talent?’ I get similar responses.  It is people who work hard, are loyal, who don’t cause issues, will go the extra mile, get on with others and those who enjoy being at work.  And yes, these things are important, they all make a ‘good’ employee and one you may value.  However, it doesn’t necessarily make them the ‘right’ one.

The ‘right’ employee and what that looks like will depend on your current business plan – where you are going and what you need to achieve your vision, goals and objectives.  And this will change – when your business changes then so will your talent requirements.  The knowledge, skills, experiences, future potential and behaviours of the people you need in your business needs to considered and planned. Then you can build your talent pool to support that.

The danger here though, and something I see so much, is that we so commonly refer to talent in business as our ‘high flyers’, graduates and typically the employees that are ambitious and striving for senior positions.  And yes, they may well be the talent you need in your business, but then equally they may not be.

So what is talent? It is simply the people you have identified in your business as having the right type and level of performance and potential to match your business plan for the next couple of years (or beyond).   Figure out what ‘right’ talent is, define it, then review who is geared up for it. If you have some gaps then you will need to fill them – but now at least you have a clear idea of the specific requirements of the people you recruit in.

And you need to get the right mix of talent too.  The employee who performs in the areas you need but doesn’t want to progress could be ‘better talent’ than those who are on a career plan. Who knows?

But you need to know.

We spend a lot of time, effort and money trying to recruit well, to engage people and retain them – are you really sure you are bringing in the ‘right’ talent based on your business needs? Are you rewarding the ones you should be, and holding on to only those you really need?  This is essential to ensure you are fully equipped to achieve the results you are after.


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