Talent Review Mondays

Would you like to get inspired on how to use analytics during the Talent Review Process? Register for the Talent Review Mondays, organized by HR Wheelworks, in collaboration with TalentLogiQs.

After these four sessions, you will be inspired to: 

  • increase the objectivity and transparency of the talent review outcome
  • improve the quality of Talent Review decisions 
  • simplify the career dialogue between the manager and employee 
  • address the very specific needs of each employee involved in this process 

We will guide you with scientific literature that will further deepen your views on talent management and talent review.

The 4 sessions will take place each Monday morning from 8:30 to 10:00.

Participation fee: 160 euros for the 4 sessions.

These 4 sessions are structured in such a way that you can extract maximum information for your organization. That’s why we ask that you prepare before each session. This may involve completing a short survey, reading an article or watching a recording. Given that the sessions build on each other in terms of content and you get the opportunity to build a network around this theme, we strongly recommend that you participate in all 4 sessions. After all, it is about shaping a joint learning trajectory in which input and exchange are important. An option may be to alternate with a colleague and inform each other

Who are the participants?

HR directors, Talent Managers and HR business partners, in any organisation

  • launching the Talent Review and willing to broaden their knowledge
  • already familiar with the Talent Review process and looking for ways to increase transparency & objectivity 


Ingrid De Backer, Talent Management Consultant, owner HR Wheelworks

Lesley Vanleke, co-founder TalentLogiQs

Dr. Wouter Van Bockhaven, co-founder TalentLogiQs.

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4 Steps To Formulate Your Development Goal And Actions

As a manager you will provide each employee with constructive feedback and together you will focus on specific development actions to work on.
Many organizations offer a wide variety of development actions through training, workshops, coaching and more. 

Organizations do not struggle with creating development actions. The real challenge is to help employees choose the right action from a vast list of Learning & Development offers.

Employees often believe that a specific workshop such as improving one’s presentation skills will effectively increase their ability to give ‘better’ presentations.
However, this type of workshop may not be a guarantee to success. It may even lead to disappointment when the outcome is not in line with your objectives.

What if, for example, you attended a training to gain more self-confidence in presenting to a more mature audience, only to realize that it focuses on designing stunning slide-decks for an impactful presentation?

Implementing development actions without having a clear view of your goals is comparable to taking driving lessons without the intention of driving a car.

Having facilitated numerous workshops on ‘development conversations with talents’, I would like to share my expertise and propose a 4-step approach to support employees in choosing the right development actions. As Simon Sinek once said: ‘Start with WHY’. What is your intention? Do you intend to climb the leadership ladder, or would you like to gain more expertise in your field? Your intention might be to become a more involved team member or delegate some of your work…. Be clear on what your intention is before putting into place the development process. Once you have identified your ‘why’, you can follow these 4 steps:

Step 1 – Collect feedback from as many sources as possible
Take note of the feedback you recently received. Ask for feedback if you did not receive any.
Read the report from your development center or 360°feedback and note the strengths and development opportunities mentioned.
How do you evaluate yourself on each of the requirements on your function description? What tasks or roles energize you?

Step 2 – Define your development goal
Based on all the information you collected in step 1, what do you want to improve to have the most positive impact on your intention? What strengths would you like to bring to the next level?
What result would you like to see when realizing this goal?

What will be the impact on your job if you reach this development goal?

Step 3 – List all possible actions you could take to reach your goal.
Start with listing all on-the-job actions you could take. Ask your manager, colleagues, mentor for some input on effective action(s) you can take to reach your development goal.
Look out for someone who is a role model in terms of your development goal. Learn from this person.
Which trainings, e-learnings, could complement your on-the-job actions?

Step 4 – Formulate your development goal and actions in 1 sentence
Sharing your development goal and actions with your network is an effective way to get tips on development actions and further feedback on your development goal.

Are you eager to use this 4-step approach in your organization?

Get in touch. We will take the time to look through a visual that guides the employee through the 4 steps. It will not only help them to pinpoint their prior development goal, but also offer a story to share with their network. This sharing will result in even more ideas on development actions, supportive to reach the development goal.

Looking forward to your ideas on building an effective development plan.


People decisions … support your brain by data analytics

Our brain is lazy by nature …


95% of the time, we are using System 1 of our brain. Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, states that System 1 is unconscious, instinctive, and generates fast reactions. Thought of as a reflex, System 1 triggers an automated thinking process. Since it is considered nearly an instant decision, System 1 can have systematic errors for everyday decisions. There is little to no attention required for System 1, thus, making it possible to quickly decide the multiple decisions necessary to get through the day (Kahneman, 2011). 

Unlike System 1, System 2 is  the slower, more rational, and deliberative notion of attention. System 2 requires our focus because it is a part of how we consciously do work, build relationships, and develop ideas. The self-aware process is critical and logical by constructing thoughts in a series of steps (Kahneman, 2011). Let’s say that all people’s decisions should be part of System 2 thinking. 

People’s decisions always have essential consequences – for the people themselves, their environment & the organization. 
Some examples of people decisions we take in our organizations: select a candidate for a vacancy, choose participants to the leadership program, decide on a promotion or dismissal, give feedback, whom to engage in a strategic project, …, …
Because System 2 demands more energy and focus, there is a high risk we rely on System 1 for these complex people decisions …

Using System 1 thinking for people decisions

  • leads to yes/no discussions, like yes he/she is a successor for position x or no he/she lacks potential for a leadership role, …
  • increases the cost for the organization, because for instance, recruiting the ‘wrong’ profile for the job will lead to low performance and, in the long term, will need a remplacement.
  • can have a negative impact on a whole team; for instance, admitting someone to a leadership development program, who in the eyes of the team is not fitted for a leadership position, will affect the credibility of not only the development program itself but also the leadership’s policy  in the organization.

Are you convinced to use System 2 when it comes to people’s decisions? 

My 2 tips for Talent Management decisions.

1. Use System 2 to clarify the consequence of each decision
Instead of a Y/N reasoning – Is Marc a high potential or not? -, we should reflect on … IF Marc shows the willingness and has the potential to move to more complex roles, what feedback will we give Marc on competency X and leadership skill Y? How can Marc better prepare for his next move and decide together on what actions to take?

2. Use System 2 to analyze all available information
Combine input coming from different sources to take your decision:  a career conversation with the employee, a feedback session with some clients, an evaluation form by the manager and data analytics. One way to gather data on an evidence-based way, is by using a tool like the Talent Review Profiler. Based on a completed questionnaire by the employee and several persons who collaborate with this employee, you get insight into the potential, risk of leaving, group affect, group impact, performance, …
All excellent starting point to reflect and stimulate System 2 thinking in putting forward actions to mitigate the risks & opportunities, linked to this employee. 


4 Books To Strengthen Your Skills On The Talent Review

I like to read.
I like the smell of a brand-new book, the silence when reading. 
The saying goes … Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. Well, I must admit that I prefer the first. 😊

Clients regularly ask my advice on what they should read to learn more on Talent Review & Succession Management. There are a lot of interesting books out there and it all depends on what information you are looking for. I selected 4 must reads, for you to invest in a Talent Review that is more structured, more strategic, and less biased.


The most famous book Daniel Kahneman wrote – “Thinking Fast and Slow” – is a must read for anyone interested in biases and their impact on our daily decisions.
And oh no… after reading this book, I thought I’d better change job, because our brain is not fit for taking though, complex decisions, purely based on input of other humans. And this is what happens in most Talent Review Meetings. Being aware of those potential biases is a good start.

A second tip goes to 2 very pragmatic books by Doris Sims Spies. A first one should be read by each facilitator of a Talent Review Meeting: ‘The Talent Review Meeting Facilitator’s Guide’. It explains in detail what actions to take to prepare, facilitate and follow-up on the Talent Review. The second one is most clarifying for leaders involved in the Talent Review & Succession process: ‘The 30-minute Guide to Talent and Succession Management’. Starting from the idea that busy managers can learn about the topic in about 30 minutes by reading this book.

‘Talent Wins’ is another must read, this time by each CEO who is convinced that talent drives strategy (and not the other way around). What I particularly like are suggestions like:
“the story is not about stars, but about building a robust talent pipeline”;

“hierarchy can isolate and bury talent”;

“calibrate top talent by using data analytics”;

Enjoy the reading and let’s discuss our insights.


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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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.


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?


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.