Talent Review

Talent Review

Having established the departmental context of needed roles and skills, management teams can then proceed with a facilitated review of “talent” in the organization.  Talent management discussions can be structured in a variety of ways depending on department need.

Examples include:

  • Talent Inventory focuses on current performance and future potential of a selected employee group. The goal is to get a collective perspective of strengths, needs, and development opportunities for specific employees, and to identify the department’s “talent pool.” Readiness for key assignments or future jobs is considered.

Following group input about employees, the planning process continues with an inventory of possible development actions, including feedback, stretch assignments, and training. Managers are encouraged to follow up with development discussions, and then reconvene to refine development strategies. Some groups use a “9-Box Grid” (PDF) as a planning tool.

  • Succession Planning focuses on possible succession for key job roles in conjunction with a general talent inventory. Management teams can also select specific, critical job roles to assess current and future bench strength. Discussion focuses on readiness to assume key roles, - “ready now,” “ready in 18 months,” etc.

    This approach often highlights strengths and gaps relatively quickly. It provides leaders and managers with a context for discussing possible development assignments for high-potential employees to increase their readiness. A succession planning approach focuses on building the pipeline of internal talent. In this approach, a “Readiness Grid” (PDF) is used as a planning tool.

  • Capability Analysis concentrates on the capability and availability of staff to provide continuity and back-up for key tasks and services. As an alternative to identifying individuals as potential successors for specific job roles, the manager or management team can apply a similar process at the department level by reviewing key tasks, responsibilities, and competencies that need to be maintained or developed in the group. Looking at readiness to perform specific functions can also highlight opportunities for cross-training and informal mentoring.

    In this approach the focus is on departmental tasks and functions rather than specific job roles. A “Capability Grid” (PDF) can be used as a planning tool.

  • Knowledge Transfer focuses on strengthening, developing, or transferring skills and knowledge in an organization through peer learning. It begins with an inventory of expertise in the department, and continues with a discussion about how to enable learning among co-workers.

    Knowledge transfer initiatives enable managers to identify internal “teachers” who can develop skills and knowledge of other team members. These departmental experts can be paired with other staff through informal mentoring or peer coaching relationships.

Talent Review discussions surface the development needs of the department. This information provides the context for follow-up development discussions. In addition, talent review sessions help managers identify on-the-job assignments and training that help prepare employees for future responsibilities.

For help in facilitating a talent review, contact oed-request@mit.edu.