Questions to Ask While Strategizing Talent Development

Learn about key questions to ask while strategizing talent development to find the right candidates while developing culture.

Published on 7 April, 2017 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
Ask These Questions When Strategizing Talent Development 1

Many believe that talent is what we are born with. But if organizations must strive to develop it in their teams as a strategy for success, how do they start from scratch? Are there certain talent development steps you can take to achieve your goals as a company?

Yes, but developing talent is much more than just training people to do their jobs better. It is identifying the right people who can do those jobs better now and in the future. It is understanding what the “talent” you have on hand is capable of and coaching them to that level of success.

Questions to Ask

When you are able to identify those people, you have achieved the first step. But in a sea of capable human beings, how do you sort the best? One simple way is by asking or presenting questions to your management and HR teams. These teams can then make clearer assessments based on the following questions:

  • Who is actually doing X at the moment?
  • Who is best suited to do X?
  • Who best understands the skills needed for X?
  • Whose capability matches this role?

Asking these questions will give you a clearer understanding of what people are capable of. You will know if they are meeting previous compliance requirements. If you find, at this stage, that you don’t have the right talent in place to do the job, your HR team must do some resource planning. You may even consider outsourcing or contracting others to fill particular roles if necessary.

Then, when recruiting, hiring managers should ensure that the candidates selected are those whom they feel can do more tomorrow than they are expected to do today. Those individuals who aren’t “suited” to a job, but committed to achieving the highest form of excellence necessary to execute it.

What Defines a Game-Changing Talent Strategy?

This is a complex question. For you to succeed as an enterprise, you must be able to do a number of things within your talent pool and adapt both locally and globally. Cultivate a collective and inclusive talent development culture in the workplace. This culture should still enable individuals to thrive.  

Ensure that your original goals and policies remain unchanged and enduring, while at the same time be open to constructive change – even on a global scale. This culture is something you may want to define in your organization’s employee value proposition. The certainty of a strong talent development strategy will attract the right candidates.

Remembering That People Matter

It’s common to see leaders getting so busy with their executive and administration roles. They may also have the tendency to feel that, as superior directors, their time is more sacred than others’.

But here’s the simple truth:  at the heart of your talent development strategy must be a firm conviction on the part of all senior executives and team members that people matter.

You can invest all your money’s worth into expensive training programs, buy new apps, and use technology to sync everyone. But, the purest of intentions can result in big failures if this issue remains overlooked.

Talent Development Should Be Part of Your Organizational Culture

Business leaders must be constantly seeking to develop their employee’s capabilities. This means (just as a sports coach would) overseeing careers, intentionally investing in individuals’ performances, and acknowledging their importance. This is the difference between just training and really developing talent. A simple training course gets you from stage A to stage B. Talent development strategies don’t stop at one level. Rather, developing talent continuously pursues and nurtures the highest scale possible.

One example of this is how a number of enterprises, including PDI Ninth House, measured their senior-level leaders’ ability to train and fully develop their employees. They found that when individuals moved up the success ladder as leaders, they gradually stopped coaching and developing the others. Perhaps they felt that expectations of their role changed. However, in reality, they were failing at what leaders should excel at: developing others.

Engaging Your Current Employees

Wasp’s small business report found that over half of businesses in the United States plan on hiring in the next 12 months. Additionally, only 82 percent were planning on investing in employee development.

A big challenge is keeping talent engaged to the point that they won’t consider building their potential with other companies further down the line. Leaders often find themselves reluctant to invest in current talent for fear of them eventually moving on. Especially, after the time spent in on-boarding and training.

But if you can build trust with your employees and engage them in a way that shows you have their best interests in mind. Chances are they’ll want to keep learning and growing with you.

How Can This Support a Culture of Equality?

Investing in talent and defining a clear career path is essential in rewarding professionals that meet and exceed expectations within their organizations. Despite this, some job functions are behind the curve on gender inequality. Only 19% of sales management, for example, is comprised of women, a number that hasn’t changed in nearly a decade.

Implementing sponsorship within departments can better ensure that top talent reaches the top. Sponsorship, including shadowing and other initiatives, provide senior management with an opportunity to accelerate the promotion process, better developing talent based on skill and performance levels.

What Other Types of Strategies Can Leaders Employ to Train Other Talent Better?

  1. Think of talent training as a long-term investment in your best resources:  your people.
  2. Instead of trying to do the type of job that will put the spotlight on yourself, do what will have a better payoff. Call attention to other’s abilities and successes.
  3. One-on-one coaching to develop your most talented folk.

Brian Kibby, President of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, is known to schedule 15-minute blocks of time just to have real conversations one-on-one with his people. Even if you, as an executive, can’t afford to spend this kind of time every day, make an effort to do so as often as possible.

Executives and managers must be role models. Give your people as many learning opportunities as you can. Develop them for long-term success, and your enterprise will be a continually developing, growing and thriving one.

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