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How do you identify talent?

Here we look at the importance of identifying a talent pipeline that can be used flexibly - especially in a post-pandemic era where there is a growing realisation that long term success largely relies on the capacity of organisations to adapt and change agilely.

Talent Management defined: “The process by which an organisation identifies, manages, develops and rewards its people now and for the future” (CIPD)

At Opes our consultants encounter the same questions from clients on a daily basis:

· What is Talent Management/ Succession Planning?

· Why should we mange talent?

· What’s the best way to manage talent?

· How do we optimise talent in our organisation?

· What is a succession plan? Which roles are important?

There are no simple answers to these questions, but we try and highlight best practice to equip our clients with increased understanding to help their organisation grow and flourish.

Talent and the Gig Economy

With a future where employees will choose to work for many different employers in many different roles, in jobs that might not even exist yet, it is widely acknowledged that Talent will be the big differentiator between companies who succeed and those who don’t. Trends towards AI/automation and the increase of the “freelancer” as part of a gig economy promote a much more contingent workforce which is harder to retain long term.

Becoming a Talent Master

In “Talent Masters” by Bill Conaty and Ram Charan they acknowledge that successful organisations who are building for the long term, have embedded in their culture the habits of observing talent, making judgements about it and working hard to unleash it. Executives in these organisations make developing, deploying and refreshing leadership talent an everyday part of their jobs and they are held accountable for doing it well. They are committed to creating a culture for talent development and get involved personally in executing it, in fact they spend at least a quarter of their time spotting and developing other leaders.

These organisations are rigorous in their assessment of talent, they have the same focus and results orientation in their people processes as they do with financial and business systems. They set explicit people development goals and discuss why and how these goals will be achieved. They review people as thoroughly and regularly as they review operations, business performance, strategy and budgets. They integrate the people reviews with other business critical processes, gathering and updating the information as the person progresses.

Growth Engine for Talent

In recognition of this, Opes have developed the “Growth Engine for Talent” which encompasses systematic and integrated initiatives to help close the talent gap:

Selection to ensure a sufficient supply of talent at all levels;

Development to build individuals’ readiness to achieve organisational, role and personal objectives in line with their potential;

Performance management to create the alignment and focus needed for strategy execution;

• And succession management to develop and elevate talent over time.

Putting Knowledge into Practice

We worked with a leading Executive team in Irish Rail, supporting the implementation of their succession planning and high potential review process. Focussing initially on the Chief Executive role, we engaged with the board in the development of a forward looking skills and experience profile for the CE, identifying the competencies and experiences required for the next leader. Using the 9 box grid each member of the Executive team went through the review process assessing their potential and experience to identify suitable candidates for the future. The succession management system is supported by a leadership development programme which then helps managers develop the skills required for future leadership roles.

Opes provides a blend of assessment, coaching and powerful organisational change programmes throughout the UK and Ireland. Get in touch today for a confidential consultation


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