Talent Obsessed – How Good are You, Really?

Beth Miller |

I have written about the “talent obsessed organization” in the past. The article generated a number of questions about how a company can really measure their “obsession” around talent within their organization.

The best way is to get a third party assessment. Organizations who assess themselves run the risk of being too lenient on themselves and often miss situational nuances because they are just too close to the situation. This is especially true at the top of the organization. 

I have actually seen this play out on a recent engagement with a small healthcare organization.  The leaders had finished an assessment of their organization and it’s talent management. Yet when they did the analysis, they never asked questions from an organizational wide perspective first.  They instead chose to look at talent management as a tactic and assessed components of talent management such as performance management, training, and rewards and recognition

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However, if your culture is one of “we can do it all” and you historically haven’t used outside advisors then the next best thing is too preform a deep dive assessment.

A comprehensive assessment requires input from employees at all levels and a huge commitment from the executive team. If executives don’t have talent management as a priority, then the assessment will merely be an exercise that produces no sustainable improvements.

So when the executive team is fully committed and comes together, the critical areas to assess are:

  1. The outcomes and processes that company leaders own that strengthen talent management.
  2. The methods used and actions demonstrated by leaders and the company that prove employees are their number one asset.
  3. The mission and values of the company and how they support a talent driven culture
  4. The talent strategy and how it supports your overall business strategy

Once the executive team assesses the first three areas, employees should then provide their feedback through a method that is confidential. Information gathered about the first two areas will highlight what managers are doing that supports talent in the workforce. It should also identify gaps where managers can be coached or trained to improve the perception employees have of the company and their managers. The third area may cause company leaders to step back and really analyze both their mission (their why) and their values. It may be that adjustments need to be made if they can’t clearly align talent obsession with their mission and values.

The final area, talent strategy, is one that many companies don’t practice. This is often because they don’t have the knowledge to develop one and it takes a strategic thinking HR leader to help drive the process. For many companies, a talent strategy may be overkill.  But for those who are dealing with rapid changes in their industry and a shortage of talent, a talent strategy becomes a competitive advantage. 

So if you are leading a team or organization that relies on knowledge workers such as software developers, engineers, healthcare professionals, and accountants to name a few, a talent strategy can define the 3W’s: “What talent will you need in the future?” “Where will you be able to find it?” And “Why will they join and stay with your company?” 

For additional help in assessing your organization in talent management, take our Talent Obsessed Quiz.

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Beth Miller

Beth Miller

Beth Armknecht Miller’s passion for learning, and dedication to helping others, are strands woven throughout her distinguished career, which continue to guide her work with Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. As a trusted executive consultant, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer, Beth holds herself to a rigorous standard of excellence, and she encourages her clients to do the same when pursuing their goals.

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