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The Importance of Maximizing Your Talent

If you’ve been feeling rising pressure from an increasingly uncertain work environment over the past year, you’re not alone. The past 12 months have been tough in many ways and have really shown the difference between the prepared and the initiated, largely through the effectiveness of resource allocation, and, more importantly, of maximizing talent.

A recent survey of business professionals conducted in North America revealed 57% of respondents did not feel their level of stress was manageable while 48% of respondents said they don’t have enough staff to address the necessary changes. And, to make things even more challenging, 1 in 3 stated their companiesplan to also halt new hires or to impose a hiring freeze – further limiting their resources.

When resources are stretched thin, every competitive edge you can get with talent will help make or break your business. Creating value is more vital than ever. The ability to discover talent (internally and externally), unlocks human potential, and findingboth the best employee for each role and also the best role for each employee, areall key to a high performing team.

When uncertainty is high and employee utilization is low, organizations need to further focus their efforts on the strategies that move the needle the most.While there is no magic solution to always identifying the perfect talent, we have found,through our analysis, how to identify and match critical competencies between employees and the roles within an organization.


1. Have a plan (beyond just the immediate)

When interviewed, prospective employees are often asked what their five year career aspirations are, yet few managers pay any attention to those aspirations once the individual becomes an employee. While most leaders know what kind of talent they strive to find within a new hire, far fewer think ahead to align the new hire’s potential to the business’ mission and/or long-term strategy. It is much easier to focus your efforts on hiring someone with the right skills, abilities, and expertise you need to move forward, once you know exactly where it is you want to go.

On the flip side of this, of course you can not assume everyone you have today will stay. With so many moving pieces within a business, keeping tabs on our ability to conduct succession planning, skills inventory management, or even individual goals of the employees is no small task. As such, employee profiles that give us a snapshot of our deployable resources can make a huge difference, especially in the long run. After all, the best way to predict the future is to create it.


2. Be data driven.

So, you have a plan but how do you know who is the right fit for it?

Some managers will be able to recognize many of their team members’ talents that are hidden – beyond a first glance. While that is definitely a great skill to have, it’s a pretty tough thing to achieve in a consistent manner across the organization.  The key is to make a science of having great talentvs just leaning on the special skills of a few key managers.  By leveraging the right data, we are able to not only achieve consistent results in our evaluations of our employees, but we are also able to hedge against the biases that all managers can have. Talent identification has traditionally been an ongoing process of trial and error, and the information we arm ourselves with has a direct correlation in the success rate of our predictions being correct. Even if the employee proves you wrong, you have quantifiable metrics to ensure your evaluation processes are fair and sensible. When we align high performance individuals with clear performance goals, we simplify the process of understanding what drives success and enables the creation of superstar employees.


3.Support internal growth to achieve your plan

You have the right long-term plan and you’re using data to focus on the right people – does that mean you’re all set?  Not exactly.  Now you have to set those people up to succeed.

No matter how skilled your employees may be, their effectiveness will always be limited by the tools they have.  Without the proper tools, it’s hard to accurately assess the learning curve required for each individual to reach their highest potential.

In addition to traditional skills and experience, employee soft skills, such as leadership, problem solving and the ability to influence others, are foundational traits that are far more important for success. Thus, allocating resources to develop internal talent is often cheaper, and also ensures that the organization’s culture and ‘know how’ are both supported and enhanced with far greater likelihood than when compared to an external hire.

An investment in the right predictive system for talent is an investment in delivering on your goals now and in the future.A predictive system can identify people who will be successful now as well as in the future and will also highlight the areas that need to be developed in order to help that employee reach the next level.

Organizations that have a plan, use data and make investments in their employees tend to see higher engagement, lower turnover and better performance.  If those aren’t good reasons to follow these steps, what is?