I know a Talent when I see One

Tobi and Ayo are candidates vying for a Sales Position in your organisation. Tobi has excellent academic qualifications, a relevant certification and some years of experience in this field. However, Tobi has poor presentation skills, is heavily accented with strong mother tongue interference, lacks confidence and is totally unable to make eye contact. Ayo on the other hand, equally has excellent academic records, no certifications and has little or no experience in the field. Ayo is confident and enthusiastic, an agile learner, projects a healthy sense of self-esteem and possesses excellent people relational skills.

Which of these candidates would you hire? Do you really know a talent when you see one?

Talent Managers, Talent Scouts, Coaches and Human Resources Professionals often make this claim, as though it were an intuitive skill. However, when asked specifically, who is a Talent, don’t be surprised when you get dodgy and cliché responses like “it depends”. For you to retain your credibility as a Talent Management/HR professional, you must have a strategic framework for identifying talents and a well thought through answer to this important question.

Who indeed is a Talent?

Very aptly put, Talent is the ability and the capability to do something well. A Talent “possesses a specific combination of anatomical-physical characteristics, abilities, and other personality traits” cutting across all professions. This presupposes that Talent has two key components: ability (current performance) and capability (potential performance). Ability is about the now; capability is about the future.

Let’s take football for instance, where the word Talent is commonly used. For most talent scouts, early indicators of talent may be used to provide a basis for predicting those individuals, who are more or less likely to succeed at some later stage. For them, the talent concept is often used because of the need to validate the identification of players ahead of others and often at an early age.  This indicates the intention to separate the performers on the basis of “talent” and abilities, and to a lesser extent on the development of skills/ capabilities.

Both Ability and Capability can be observed, tested and measured. Observability and measurability are essential to any objective discussion of Talent because if you can’t see something and you can’t measure it, then how can you be expected to recognise it, let alone evaluate it?

Talent Evaluation

The concept of Talent Evaluation is very important but extremely controversial. Again in Seather’s research, it was identified that in Football, the subjective assessment of Talent is carried out under the following criteria TABS (Technique, Attitude, Balance, Speed), SUPS (Speed, Understanding, Personality, Skill) and TIPS (Talent, Intelligence, Personality, Speed).

However, what is truly strategic and where competitive advantage lies for savvy Talent Managers is in the area of Evaluating/Assessing for Potential. Many football coaches and talent managers do not seem to have a clear definition of what potential talent is and how it can be identified. Based on our experience with several organisations, we have discovered that this is also a problem.

How Do Best Practice Organisations Measure Potential?

The following parameters can be used to assess the potential of an individual:

Ambition – Does this person have the ambition to grow, test themselves, and become the best they can become in whatever career path they choose to follow?

Ability – Does this person have the basic abilities and intelligence to fulfill the highest levels of achievement in their chosen career path?

Agility – Does this person 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 – Has this person been highly successful in their assignments and have a track record of exceptional success in all responsibilities they have been assigned?

Employee potential can and must be developed. The key to developing employee potential lies in the questions used to assess potential. Organisations need well designed Employee Potential Development (EPD) Frameworks for their Top Talents and High Potentials. After assessing the potentials of the employees, Individual Development Plans should also be created, customised for each individual on what to do to develop their potentials.

Employee potential is crucial for succession planning and business continuity. Organisations that want to build to last will do well by assessing the potential of their employees on a regular basis.

Looking at evaluating the talent and employee potential in your organization? Look no further…  over the years we have demonstrated a high level of competency in designing custom Employee Potential Development (EPD) Frameworks for various organizations based on the nature of their business/industry.

Please request for a custom framework for your organization via mail at selection@workforcegroup.com