Talent review best practices


It is that time of the year when annual talent reviews are being conducted. The talent review process is crucial because employees’ performance is assessed, potential identified, future position discussed and succession plans are created.  If well done, the process leads to the future success of an organisation as it helps HR managers put the right talent in the right role and at the right time. The process also results in employee career growth. But when done in a hasty and unorganised manner, it is detrimental to the organisation’s bench strength as the HR department is unable to keep up with the talent gaps and opportunities.

Gone are the days when talent review comprised of having a positive and negative checklist of employees’ performance. Gone are the days when the review used to be impersonal and margin driven. The modern workplace has revolutionized how talent reviews are done. Talent review is no longer a one meeting affair but an ongoing performance conversation based on an individual’s skills, knowledge, abilities, and mutual value to the business and employee’s future. To understand and leverage on the talent, below are some best practices guaranteed to help optimise your approach:

1. Adopt a performance management approach: Performance management is a critical part of the talent review process. It involves a set of activities designed to maximize an individual’s and organisation performance. An employee’s performance management should begin on the first day of employment happening throughout till the last day. Every HR department should have a performance management strategy outlining clear job descriptions, orientation procedures, performance standards, training particulars, and reward as it is a way to engage and develop talent.

Diversity and inclusivity should be factored in the performance management process. A lot of employee engagement is involved and HR individuals carrying on the exercise should be equipped to handle multiple levels of diversity to mark a positive impact on the organization.

2. Evaluating Talent through performance appraisal: Most employees do not look forward to performance appraisals. The narrative around the process is mostly negative. Employees look at it as a time to weed out bad’’ employees and a time for intense judgment. The process has in the past been characterised by fear and anxiety. Ideally, appraisals should be sessions of professional growth analysis. Some tips  for an effective performance appraisal:

  •  Make it an ongoing process as opposed to an annual or bi-annual one.
  • Communicate expectations as early as the orientation period so that during the appraisal period employees know what is expected in terms of performance, attitude, growth, etc.
  • Appraisal data should be collected from self-review as well as a 360-degree review that is a review by your supervisor, manager, team, and co-workers. Hard data such as sales performance and soft data such as the relation with others should be collected in a bid to improve performance and build on positive workplace culture.
  • Thorough preparation should be done beforehand. A lot is pegged on appraisals such as promotions and salary increments. The process, therefore, calls for details preparation in terms of documentation, data, time, and questions among others.
  • Communication should be 2 way. The reviewer and employee should be given a chance to be heard and the conversation should be balanced in a way the positives and negatives are well laid out

3. Embracing teamwork: Most talent review processes tend to focus on individual assessment. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, entities that offer the best solution to problems will ultimately emerge top. Diverse teams are better placed to develop these solutions. Teamwork encourages innovation and creativity due to the exchange of ideas, opinions, and points of view. Some of the ways to encourage teamwork in an increasingly lonesome culture is building a workplace culture that encourages objectivity, a culture that values honest and unbiased feedback, a culture that embraces individuals’ strengths, weaknesses, personalities and incorporates them in a team setting. A culture free of egos and vested interest but instead collaborate for the greater good of achieving set objectives.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

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4. Emphasize on Learning and development: One major reason for conducting talent reviews is to assess the strength of your talent. Employees’ strength lies in their skills and capabilities. In an ever-changing environment, learning is a sure way to fine-tune and develop new skills needed to achieve performance goals and help companies achieve set goals. The future of the modern workplace is adopting a learning culture. Classroom learning is fast becoming obsolete as it is not applicable to emerging issues. With this reality, a learning culture is vital and being embedded in day to day deliverables. Employees are having to balance being productive and learning. The beauty of this is it is an investment to both the company and the individual.

5. Employee Retention: Retaining top talents indicates the success of the good talent management process. The financial cost of refining top talents is high hence losing one comes with some undesired implication. HR personnel who double up as talent managers should strive to keep top talents from leaving the organisation. Getting the culture right is one way. Have a workplace culture that employees love to be in. A culture that is in line with employees’ values and culture that helps employee fulfill their purpose.

Compensation also helps in retaining talent. Fair compensation and one that is in line with the industry or competitor rate keep your talent satisfied as they are where the best is being offered. Workplace flexibility can also help with talent retention. Flexibility in terms of schedule, working remotely and benefits are always attractive to employees.

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