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Five trends in Talent Review & Succession Management

Beginning of May, I had the honor to share my thoughts on the Talent Review Trends with the Top Employers Community in Belgium.
I thought the insights could be useful for all of you who are eager to learn on Talent Review & Succession Management.

It is you, as a client or partner or colleague, who inspired me to make this shortlist. These 5 trends, however, are not easy-to-implement quick wins. All of them require a well-thought approach.

 

 

 

 I see the following shifts happening:

  1. From 1 source of input, the line-manager, on the employee’s potential, aspirations, leadership skills etc, towards gathering the input of various sources. As a consequence, you significantly reduce bias in your Talent Review discussions. Examples of potential sources: the employee, a client, a mentor, …

  2. From Talent Review meetings spending most of the time determining the potential, risk of leaving, readiness for a next step, … for each employee in scope to Talent Review meetings spending the majority of their time reflecting on development or career actions. The use of data analytics and evidence-based questionnaires, offers us the correct data straight away at the beginning of the Talent Review Meeting, which allows you to shift the discussion towards what matters the most: what actions do we need to discuss with this employee? Eager to learn more? Register today for the Talent Review Mondays, starting in September 2021. (in Dutch)

  3. From exclusive focus on top management positions to a broader focus on talent target groups or talent pools. As a strategic business process, we should discuss those roles and employees at that moment in time of strategic importance for the organization. Suppose the organization would like to increase customer satisfaction of VIP clients. In that case we should focus the Talent Review discussion on those employees and managers who work with these VIP clients.

  4. From ‘black box’ to transparency on the outcome of Talent Review discussions. As we expect people to steer their career and development, we should explain how the Talent Review discussions could support their career evolution. If you want to learn on this topic, I recommend reading the research by Prof. Nicky Dries on ‘Transparency in Talent Management’.

  5. From Talent Review owned by HR to a business strategic process, owned by the business leaders. Only if the ‘why of the Talent & Organizational Review’ is clearly communicated by the executive committee, leaders will be more motivated to see the WIIFM.

I challenge you to evaluate your organization. If you were to give a score on a 10-point scale to each of these trends, what would be the final result? I was hoping you could send me your scores, and would be very grateful to further discuss.

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Talent Review Mondays

HR Wheelworks zal haar expertise delen via 4 inspirerende sessies over de Talent Review, georganiseerd door TalentLogiQs.

Dankzij de Talent Review Mondays zal je met andere HR-professionals kunnen uitwisselen over de toegevoegde waarde van HR analytics, specifiek voor het Talent Review proces.

Na de 4 sessies zal je inspiratie hebben om binnen jouw organisatie:

  • de objectiviteit en transparantie van de talent review te vergroten
  • de kwaliteit van de talent beslissingen te verbeteren
  • de loopbaandialoog tussen leidinggevende en medewerker te vereenvoudigen
  • in te spelen op de specifieke noden en verwachtingen van de medewerker

We zullen je begeleiden met wetenschappelijke literatuur die je visie op talentmanagement en talent review verder verdiept. 

De 4 sessies gaan telkens door op maandagochtend van 8u30 tot 10u00. Deelname: 120 euro voor de 4 sessies.

Deze 4 sessie zijn zo opgebouwd dat jij er maximaal informatie kan uithalen voor het concrete vraagstuk van jouw organisatie.

Daarom vragen we dat je je voor elke sessie voorbereidt. Dit kan gaan om het invullen van een korte survey, het lezen van een artikel of het bekijken van een opname. Je gaat aan de slag met vragen en oefeningen die de vertaling maken naar jouw organisatie.
Gezien de sessies inhoudelijk op elkaar verder bouwen én je de kans krijgt een netwerk rond dit thema op te bouwen, raden we ten sterkste aan om aan alle 4 de sessies deel te nemen. Een optie kan wel zijn om af te wisselen met een collega en elkaar te informeren.

Voor wie?

HR directeurs, Talent Managers en HR business partners, in een organisatie die

  • start met Talent Review of Succession Management en hun kennis willen verruimen
  • reeds het Talent Review proces kennen en op zoek zijn naar hoe dit meer objectief en/of transparant te maken

Facilitatoren

Ingrid De Backer, Talent Management Consultant, zaakvoerder HR Wheelworks

Lesley Vanleke, co-founder TalentLogiQs

Dr. Wouter Van Bockhaven, co-founder TalentLogiQs.

Webinars with Doris Sims Spies-11

Tips and Techniques on Talent Review Meeting with Doris Sims Spies

Doris Sims Spies and I will be hosting 3 webinars on challenges regarding the Talent Review Meeting. Grab this opportunity to virtually meet Doris, the Talent Benchstrength expert who inspired me to start my own business focused on Talent Review & Succession Management.

Register for the following 3 webinars and learn together with fellow HR colleagues:

March 4: How to organize successful virtual Talent Review Meetings?

  • Participate in a live facilitation of a virtual Talent Review Meeting by Doris Sims Spies
  • Tips and techniques for the effective facilitation of the Talent Review Meeting.

March 10: How to reduce the impact of unconscious bias during Talent Review Meetings?

  • What is ‘unconscious bias’ and how does it affect Talent Review Meetings?
  • Tips and techniques to limit the impact of each of these biases.

March 18: How to increase the follow-through of development actions?

  • What is the expected outcome of the Talent Review Meeting?
  • Share tips on how to increase the accountability and follow-through on Talent Review actions.
1 webinar 120 euros (excl. BTW)
2 webinars 200 euros (instead of 240 euros) (excl. BTW)
3 webinars 250 euros (instead of 360 euros) (excl. BTW)

The hidden WHY of Talent Review Meetings

Simon Sinek states that people don’t buy what you sell, but why you sell it. That made me reflect, 4 years ago, on the why I started HR Wheelworks.

During the talent review meeting, leaders discuss the organizational challenges, their impact on the talents of their teams and they come up with development actions to discuss with each talent in scope of the Talent Review. 

And what do we observe? This Talent Review Meeting also

  • reveals the prevailing talent culture of the organization AND
  • can serve as a mirror for each participating leader, because talking about talents gives probably more information on the leader, than on the talent itself

This is why I am a believer of the vital value of Talent Review meetings. Their impact goes way beyond the expected outcome, like the identification of development actions for each talent in scope, a clear view on the leadership pipeline or lacking competencies, … 

Still … a lot of organizations perceive Talent Review meetings as too time consuming or ‘a nice to have’ or lacking the employee perspective or too exclusively focused on a particular group of employees.

Knowing that all of these organizations preach that people are the most important assets of the company, I find it hard to understand why they choose NOT to invest in Talent Review meetings.

This means they do not share the knowledge on available talents in the organization, they don’t share the dreams and strengths of these talents, they lack visibility on future talent needs and fail to take proactive measures to mitigate talent risks.

AND the advantage that they really miss out is to offer leaders a mirror on how they look at talent, to align their views according to a desired talent culture and to prepare these leaders for more qualitative career and development conversations with each employee.

I invite you to take another perspective …
and to turn things upside down by looking at Talent Review meetings as unique opportunities to strengthen the leadership skills of each of the participants to this meeting.

On top of all expected outcomes, a well-guided Talent Review meeting brings you,    

  •  insights in the different opinions on culture topics and the possibility to clarify these differences, building a shared understanding of the talent culture
  • a view on how leaders talk about talents in their team, what behavior they value, what they expect, what feedback and how they share this feedback with the employee, etc … an opportunity to strengthen leadership skills of the participants.

Recently I had the pleasure to experience these ‘on-top-off’ advantages during the facilitation of a virtual Talent Review Meeting with the Executive Committee of a Belgian Technology Consultancy firm.

The discussion was about what to expect from employees in terms of their availability outside of working hours. The executive committee members had very different opinions, leading to varying expectations towards employees.

Depending on the team you were working in, this ‘24/7 availability’ had yes or no impact on your performance evaluation.


To open this discussion and align on one desired culture regarding ‘work/life balance’, the Talent Review meeting was the ideal trigger
.

Are you willing to give it a try?
Invite an external facilitator to your Talent Review meeting and uncover the hidden impact of the talent culture and leadership ‘habits’ on the talent decisions. 

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Seven Talent Management questions to reflect upon in Covid Times

It took a pandemic to truly transform the daily work balance and to dramatically change how we approach jobs and careers.
Also in terms of our Talent Management practices, an accelerated shift is needed. This shift will impact all leaders of the organization.

The following 7 questions help you to start the ‘must have’ discussions and reflections on Talent Management in Covid times.

  1. Do we need to rethink our build-buy-borrow talent strategy, considering this situation continues? Maybe from now, we will look at our global talent pool to fill vacancies, because working from any place is widely accepted.
  2. Are we going to adjust our definition on ‘talent’ and use additional or other criteria to assess talent and potential (i.e.excellent leadership’) in our organizations?
  3. Will we reassess the (future) critical skills, needed to realize the strategic goals and to excel in the roll-out of (new) critical processes? As a consequence, will we focus on the development of these critical skills rather than preparing employees for critical roles?
  4. If we see an augmented turnover, do we identify people who are a top retention priority for the organization? Have we spoken with them?
  5. Based on what we could observe during this crisis, who kept on investing in his/her personal development?  Who showed the required resilience, creativity, curiosity, team connectedness, …to cope with uncertainty?
  6. Is there a need to make our talent processes more transparent? In current times, we should have more regularly a dialogue with each employee on his/her aspirations and development. Keep close contact with your talents to support them in their development and career initiatives?
  7. Did we continue our Talent Review discussions online? This is crucial to take aligned talent decisions and requires a different preparation from all stakeholders. Do people have remote access to feedback, development plans, goals to realize, … are we digitally focused?

I guess you probably have some more Talent Management questions coming forward in these exceptional times. Let’s share them to support each other in looking for answers.
Keep in mind, the sole reason to invest in talent are the customers.

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Do you trust leaders to identify ‘high potentials’?

Recently I was inspired by a webinar with Wouter Van Bockhaven, Professor at Antwerp Mgt School and founder of TalentLogiQs. He explained in a very clear way what science already knows about “potential” … how we could measure or predict the future success of an employee evolving to more complex roles in the organization.

During Talent Review discussions, we base our talent decisions amongst others on the interpretation by our leaders of ‘potential’. Subsequently we invest time and money in the talents, identified by the leaders

Most organizations fail about half the time in their designation of a high potential because they do not use any scientific measure to confirm this ‘potential’ or to proactively identify the employees with the most potential. Of course, we need the support of the leader to create a development context for each of these talents, so his/her opinion should be part of the discussion … nevertheless

We lose a lot of time and effort in aligning on the identification of the ‘right’ high potentials. While we should focus our discussion on the actions we would like to propose to our talents, so they are able to evolve, develop, take up challenging assignments, …

What Wouter clearly put forward, was that potential is only partially explained if just one measure or perspective is used. It’s by combining validated scales from different perspectives that an adequate prediction of potential is attained.

Which factors are involved? Traditionally, science has focused on the below three:

  1. IQ or general intelligence is still the number 1 predictor of potential
  2. Conscientiousness or get things done in a result-oriented way, as 1 of the big 5 personality traits is a second vital ingredient
  3. EQ or showing social abilities, being empathic, based on good self-knowledge, is a third part to explain ‘potential’

However, this has only led to a predictive value of about 49%. As such, based on newer work and their own analyses, Wouter and his team have found valuable additions in newer, validated concepts:

  1. Newer multidimensional constructs regarding EQ and adaptive habits under the umbrella of learning agility.
  2. Career- or metaskills
    like adaptability, self-knowledge and self-directed learning that indicate successful identity- and learning-related tendencies

Do you want your Talent Review discussion to be focused on what really matters, being (career) development initiatives and NOT on the eternal discussion if someone is yes or no a (high) potential?

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Especially NOW is the time to have your Talent Review discussions.

The speed of change is record-breaking.

Also in Talent Management. As a consequence of Covid-19, many organizations decided to adjust their recruitment practices, to launch a COVID well-being program, to train their leaders on how to guide people from a distance, etcetera.

All of these initiatives are focused on keeping the business going. Giving support to people to maintain productivity and performance at acceptable levels.

 

What about Talent Management priorities, preparing for the future?

Are we focusing with the same attention, on the follow-up of the development of future leaders?

Are we aware of the retention risk of high performers or the vacancy-risk of critical roles?

In other words, what about the impact on Talent Review & Succession Management initiatives?

 

Now is the perfect moment

  1. to observe what leaders do when they don’t know what to do or when they are confronted with a major change.
  2. to identify which roles really are critical to the business. Which of these roles do add value or bring revenue?
  3. to get confirmation or not on the potential of a talent. Was he/she the one who came with refreshing ideas, moving the team forward as a natural leader, keeping spirits high, sharing his/her curiosity and eager to discover a new way of collaboration
  4. to involve high potentials or future leaders in the strategic Covid-taskforce as a learning assignment.

Now is the time to put Talent Review on the business agenda.

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Why should every business address their talent risks ?

  • More than 50% of business expense is people
  • Talent risk affects the big three business drivers every day: money, time, quality
  • It’s about gathering different data to make better talent decisions
Source: Jay Jamrog, co-founder of the Institute for Corporate Productivity.
Do business leaders put talent risks on the agenda?
Or is this still seen as the ownership of HR to manage talents?Globally we can speak of 5 talent risks to manage (Brandon Hall Group):

1. Capability Risk
Risks associated with building the skills an organization needs
to compete now and in the future. These risks include the breadth and depth of skills and capabilities present within a workforce, and how well-aligned these are to an organization’s needs.

2. Capacity Risk
Risks around the succession into critical roles and retention of
critical people and teams. In other words, will an organization be able to maintain the size and shape of workforce needed to deliver its business plan?

3.Cost Risks
What is the risk of a workforce becoming unaffordable?
What will it cost an organization to recruit and retain the people it needs?
Will it be able to afford the overall cost of its workforce?

4.Connection Risks
These risks consider factors such as engagement and performance.
What is the risk of an organization’s top talent becoming disengaged?
Will an organization’s talent-related processes remain sufficiently joined-up?

5.Compliance Risks
Risks relating to employee behavior, regulations and laws. This category covers both the need to ensure that talent processes comply with local laws/regulations and whether talent management is seen as a business-critical process or an administrative process.

The Board needs to identify, based on organizational data, which of these talent risks they need to prioritize.
They should find a structured and pro-active way to handle talent risks in the same way that they handle financial risks.
To find answers to these talent risks as HR professional, we invite you to participate to the training ‘Business impact with the Talent Review’.
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Is every employee a ‘talent’?

“Every employee has talents, but not every employee is a talent.”
Sandra Hoeylaerts, Talent Director at Huntsman

This statement rises the question on how we define ‘talent’.
Yes, everyone HAS talents, let’s call them ‘strengths’.
No, not everyone IS a talent, being someone who shows the will & skills to grow vertically to more complex positions in the organization.
We also call these employees ‘high potentials’ or ‘future leaders’. While they represent only 5 to 7% of the employee population, they do have a significant impact on the output.
We are convinced that these future leaders or high potentials need a development approach customized to their specific needs.

We recommend you to read the inspiring article: “Delusions of employee development”, written by Marc Effron on 6 changes that are needed for realistic employee development:

1. Radically reduce expectations: Set one development goal
2. Differentiate your investment: Develop a talent philosophy and communicate it broadly
3. Let managers set development goals for their direct reports
4. Double-down on experiences:  create experience maps
5. Create development plans in talent reviews
6. Make managers accountable for development
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How to mitigate age and gender bias in the Talent Review?

Why are most high potentials males younger than 40?

Recent research demonstrates the risks of age and gender bias in Talent Management practices.

How to mitigate these biases in the Talent Review?

A recent study at the University of Leuven* shows that appraisals of potential are more likely to be age or gender biased than appraisals of performance.
This can be explained by the fact that ‘potential’ is a future oriented prediction of behavior while performance refers to the evaluation of behavior in the past. Predicting the future is always a more abstract exercise than evaluating the past, disposing of factual data and observations to base your evaluation on.
The results of the study show that
“appraisals of potential seem inherently biased against older employees and to a lesser extent women”
The observation that employees older than 40 to 45 years, are less identified as high potential, can have an important effect on their career. More specifically, this can impact in a rather negative way their
  • pay raise
  • promotion opportunities
  • access to development possibilities
  • visibility in the organization
And for the organization this means a risk of less diversity in age and gender of the talent pool. This talent pool being the source for future leaders.
BUT the good news is, that there are ways to lower the risk of age and gender bias.
Some suggestions:
1. Define ‘potential’ as tangible as possible by using observable behaviors – and ask leaders to give examples of these behavior the high potential already has demonstrated;
2. Ask employees input on their potential – offer them the possibility of a self-assessment, based on the behavioral definition of potential;
3. Use evidence-based questionnaires, completed by the employee on the one hand and the manager on the other hand, as input for the Talent Review discussions;

4. Present evaluators with descriptions of real challenges that people face in the role for which potential is appraised and ask them to imagine how the employee would behave in this situation.

* De Boeck G., Brosi P., Dries N.   Are Appraisals of Potential, Due to Their Prospective Nature, More Prone to Bias than Appraisals of Performance?, June 2019