Today, many successful organizations are taking a closer look at how to identify, measure and develop their key employees as part of talent management.
While your startup’s “A” players or “top talent” are typically those with the best performance ratings, defining top talent should go beyond this single measure. Focusing only on job performance does not allow you to effectively target employee development for key projects and achieve business goals in the longer term.
Your “A” players will have characteristics or behaviours that make them a top performer. These will vary by organization or department. In some parts of the organization, being able to deliver results may be the driving factor, while in others, the ability to innovate might rank first.
To identify your startup’s top talent, pinpoint the characteristics that are vital to your success. Find ways to cultivate these traits in all of your employees. Your “A” players are those who demonstrate these key characteristics most consistently and who deliver superior results.
When reflecting on what characteristics and behaviour may help you identify top talent, the following examples may help. Consider whether your employee demonstrates the attributes you need. Some common examples include:
Once you have identified the key characteristics or behaviours are that will drive your startup’s business goals now and in the future, measure employees against these expectations.
Attracting and retaining your best and brightest means you need to actively identify and develop talent among employees. This will require a commitment from your executive team—it is therefore critical that the definition of these characteristics and behaviours begin with them.
No talent management process is likely to succeed unless the organization recognizes the value of talent identification and development, and makes it a part of every manager’s job. This ensures that the program is widely understood and aligned with the business at all levels of decision-making processes.
To create an aligned talent management process, review your startup’s human-resources strategy. The following will help you ensure that talent management is prioritized:
Competencies are the integrated knowledge, skills, characteristics and behaviours that employees need to perform a job effectively. To help identify talent, competency programs need careful definition with a focus on the future.
Although this talent management process can be regarded as cumbersome to administer and support, identifying employee competencies while your startup is still small can be fairly simple. The process will prove valuable as your startup grows.
The selection of the right people is a vital step in maintaining a high-quality talent pool. The starting point is to have a good understanding of any gaps in strategic skills.
As part of the performance management process, using feedback that draws from multiple sources (i.e., 360° feedback) can yield useful information to establish a benchmark in terms of behaviours and skills.
Development programs can be more carefully targeted and tracked to ensure alignment between your “A” players and your startup’s goals. Talent development is especially important for “A” players, as strong performers expect to be given new opportunities to learn. If they don’t receive this kind of support, they may look for an employer who offers it.