Who is a Talent? Talent Development and Evaluation in HR Management

Talent development is a top priority for high performing organisations and businesses who desire to scale their success in the marketplace.

This is because they recognise that an organisation’s performance is directly proportional to the skills and capabilities of its workforce.

The word “Talent” is often bandied around in the business world, but who is a talent?

What defines talent?

Some organisations, HR professionals, and recruiters regard the entire workforce of an organisation as talents. To them, talent is a generic name for employees. Others prefer to limit the use of the word to refer to people who are skilled or capable of performing a certain task or function well.

Talent Managers and HR professionals must have a well thought through and strategic perspective who a talent is if they must hire the right people.

Who is a talent?

Skills, high performance, ability, capability, knowledge, high performance: these are all attributes that define a talent.

A talent is a person who has the aptitude or skill to do something well. In the business context, a talent would be an employee who possesses the potential to drive organisational growth.

An apt definition of talent emphasises its dynamic nature as the qualities that make a person suitable to perform a specific job role excellently. These qualities can be summarised in two words—ability and capability.

Talent is the ability and capability to do something well.

Ability refers to current performance while capability implies potential performance.

Both can be observed, tested and measured.

The concept of observing and measuring is essential to any discussion around talent as it is impossible to recognise what has not been observed or measured, let alone evaluate it.

Talent development

Talent should be honed and employee’s skills and competencies can and must be developed to deliver greater value to themselves and the organisation. 

For many forward-thinking firms, talent development is a key part of their strategy to retain their top talents.

The key to developing talent in employees lies in the questions used to evaluate them. As talent assessment and development experts, one of the projects we work on with our clients is designing the Employee Potential Development (EPD) framework for their top talents and high potentials.

After assessing the potential of the employees, we come up with a development plan which includes customised training and development programmes for each individual.

Talent development is crucial for succession planning and business continuity.

Organisations who intend to build to last will do well to include the management and development of employees’ talent in their HR training and development strategy.

Talent evaluation

One of the briefs HR Managers have is to ensure the professional development of employees. This, however, can hardly be achieved without talent evaluation.

Measuring and evaluating current performance (ability) is quite straightforward, and most organisations are able to do it relatively well. What is more strategic and where competitive advantage lies for savvy organisations with exceptional talent management practices is accurately evaluating potential.

Our experience over many years of working with several organisations has however revealed that they are challenged in the area of evaluating talent.

How are the best practice organisations measuring talent?

According to research conducted by RBL Institute, the following parameters can be used to assess the potential of an individual:

  • Ambition: Does this person possess the ability to grow, test themselves, and become the best they can become in whatever career path they choose to follow?
  • Ability: Do they have the basic abilities and intelligence to fulfill the highest levels of achievement in their chosen career path?
  • Agility: Do they love to learn and attack career-related data to capture new and unique ideas that can be applied to solving business problems and building their career?
  • Achievement: Have they been highly successful in their assignments and have a track record of exceptional performance in all responsibilities they have been assigned?

Organisations who are interested in rating the potential of their employees can apply the rating scale below (on a scale of 1 to 5):

  • Very little potential—1
  • Reached career potential—2
  •  Potential worthy of our investment—3
  • Huge potential—4
  • Absolute winner—5

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