Talent Review

Talent Review

Having set the organizational context, management teams can proceed wtih a review of "talent" in the organization.

The type and emphasis of a talent review can vary depending on the department's need.

Talent review examples include:

  • Talent Inventory focuses on the 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 organization'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. Sample questions include:

What are the strengths and potential of our staff?
What are possible development activities?

  • Succession Planning identifies potential successors for key roles.

In conjunction with a general talent inventory management teams can also zero in on 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.

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.

What are some key roles for which we need to plan ahead?
What staff are candidates to fulfill these roles?
How ready are they to assume the role?

  • Capability Planning focuses on the capability and availability of staff to provide key services.

As an alternative to evaluating potential successors for specific job roles, the leadership team can apply a similar proces to review key tasks, responsibilities, or competencies that need to be maintained or developed in the organization. Looking at readiness to perform specific functions can also highlight opportunities for development, cross-training, or informal mentoring. The focus is on job tasks and functions rather than whole jobs, and a "Capability Grid" (PDF) can be used as a planning tool.

What are the core skills and activities that we need to maintain in our department?
Who is able to do these tasks?
Do we have enough depth? Back up?
How can we increase department capacity?

  • Knowledge Transfer focuses on the strengthening, developing, or transfering of skills and knowledge in the organization.

Knowledge transfer begins with an inventory of expertise in the department, and continues wtih a discussion about how to enable learning amoung co-workers. Knowledge transfer intiatives enable managers to identify internal "teachers" who can develop skills and knowledge of other team members through informal mentoring or peer coaching relationships.

What skills and knowledge do we need to maintain in the organization?
Who are the "experts" who can help others gain skills and knowledge?

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