The war for talent is more than just a catchy 23-year-old phrase – it is a phenomenon that characterizes the search for talented professionals across companies. There are a number of jobs available but not nearly enough people with the right skills for these roles, hence the intense competition to sign on the most talented persons.
The work, however, does not end after recruiting people, which is merely one task of global talent management teams. It is important to take stock of the skills possessed by employees and constantly work to develop these further.
A talent management professional needs to constantly work to accelerate the development of the workforce, such that its members perform well in their assigned profiles and in due course of time grow to handle bigger roles and responsibilities. The key rules facilitating such development are as below:
Identify those with the maximum potential
Development budgets are limited, and not everyone is equally capable of becoming a high-performance leader. With some people benefiting more from development activities than others, and thereby developing faster and further, identifying these people becomes critical. Performance ratings are not an accurate guide here, while just evaluating potential and giving feedback can help accelerate development. Objective and formal potential assessment followed by feedback has a demonstrated upward effect on the pace of development of individuals.
Personalize development programs
One size does not really fit all, even though it can add value. Generalized leadership development is not really the solution in these times, as learning styles and development needs differ among people. Thus, global talent management must curate a mix of development activities as per the requirements of each person is imperative, and this can be seen – for instance – in coaching and modularized development courses where focus elements can be chosen.
Stretch roles, projects, and experiences are great
A proven way to accelerate development faster than many others is getting people to work in roles, projects, and experiences that make them push their boundaries (hence, “stretch”). Studies have shown that people reaching the highest management levels over an extended time period had more job changes across departments and locations. Also, talent management professionals must ensure that the degree of challenge for new recruits pointed to the likelihood of their reaching middle management soon.
Match the stretching to the individual
Stretching must also be personalized, similar to development programs. People will develop only through the right experience, and the degree of change or challenge must be in sync with the needs of the person. What challenges one person may be easy for another, ensuring the former develops while the latter does not grow much, if at all.
Scaffolding is a must
Just as a building requires temporary supporting structures (i.e. scaffolding) for its construction, so do people to learn the maximum possible from developmental activities. Such scaffolding comprises processes, tools, and other support mechanisms often are more important than the quality and content of the development activities themselves. Among the popular scaffolding methods used by global talent management are:
• Technology solutions, such as apps collecting real-time feedback and tracking progress
• Networking opportunities with an increasing emphasis on information-rich peer networks
• Formal mentoring and professional coaching
Involve and develop managers
The most important pegs of any accelerated development efforts, managers must be involved, though well beyond just at a passive level. Talent management professionals must ensure that managers:
• Coach their team members and help them understand their challenges
• Provide guidance, advice, support and encouragement whenever needed
Studies have shown leaders know how to give feedback and identify needs, but are not so good at helping their people with the next steps to be taken. This is why businesses are investing more in training their managers better.
Make them accountable
When organizations hold individuals accountable for demonstrating their learning and development from experiences and activities, development time has been seen to reduce impressively. Likewise, development can be accelerated by recognition and rewards for those developing more. Talent management professionals could also make high-potential individuals accountable for their direct reports, to cascade development through the organization.
Training and development are a must
True accelerated development must accommodate the fact that there is no one mix that works for all. Training and development workshops are needed for sure, and their role versus that of on-the-job experience or of coaching could differ from person to person.
A great way for an aspiring talent management professional to master the skills for accelerated workforce development is to pick a talent management course and certification. A certification is a great way to demonstrate a desire to grow in a talent management career and is also a testament to possessing the latest skills and know how in the field.
Remember, then, that what works best for accelerated development is an individualized, target approach, along with a focus on the right supporting activities. This will need time, and there are no shortcuts!