Transparent Talent Management

Assessment practices and review processes aren’t necessarily a piece of cake. What can make them easier is transparency. A recent article from Ron Lawrence, VP of organizational development for VF Corp. and contributing Talent writer, ponders the question of ‘to tell or not to tell’. Do you tell employees that they are top-talent or high-performers? What do employees come to expect when they are told such information? As a talent manager, it’s important for you to address these issues when creating and implementing your organization’s talent and development practices.

Retention is a big deal today. Talent has become flighty, always thinking about where to jump on-board next for a better opportunity. For your organization to keep your top-talent employees is crucial for both parties. Talented employees want to know that there is room for them to excel within the organization. They want to go up, and they want to be reinforced by management. Some say that focus on talented employees can create a strong attachment for the individual to the organization.

By informing employees they are seen as top-talent, the company is likely to create higher retention, enhanced productivity and increased commitment scores.

What about the valuable employees who aren’t informed of their importance? They may come to believe they don’t have a strong future with the company and look for opportunity elsewhere. This is where talent managers play a vital role – appropriate communication with each employee. Research shows that employees informed of their importance are more committed and engaged in their company’s success.

Transparency is also a plus when dealing with the talent pool because high-potential employees with more training and development practice use that knowledge in their management styles. Their skills are thus more highly tuned and they are more capable of finding and developing other high-potentials around them.

On the other hand, some organizations think it’s too risky to tell employees if they’re considered top-talent for two reasons: a) if they don’t know there’s a talent pool, no one knows the difference; b) this way productivity and retention won’t be affected. However, neither of these reasons are valid reasons to not tell employees their worth.

Ethically speaking, should you intentionally withhold information from an employee if you are asked directly? Always answer honestly, and having written talking points may be helpful in a difficult situation. When asked directly, here is some advice about how to manage a challenging dialogue:

This is accomplished by talking privately with these employees and clearly explaining what the performance expectations are for top performers. Then, provide opportunities for employees to improve their performance by mutually creating goals and addressing areas of deficiency. Finally, managers should provide an encouraging and motivational message during this conversation.

Another important step is defining your talent pool. What kind of individual is needed to fulfill your criteria? When you’ve specified these characteristics, you will also need to create a control process for who assesses potential talent.

There are many facets to using transparency to assess top-talent employees and potential employees. There are many ways to identify and classify top-performing individuals, and there are many steps that can be taken from the management side to be sure that these individuals are placed and appreciated correctly.

While this type of initiative means making difficult decisions about identifying, supporting and retaining high-potential employees, it is a corporate imperative.

To read more about what your organization can do to take a transparent approach to talent management, click here to read the full article.

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