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. 


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.


Inclusief & exclusief Talent Management – de Yin en Yang van elke organisatie

De discussie over een keuze voor inclusief dan welk exclusief Talent Management dient niet langer gevoerd te worden. Bekijk ze als de Yin en Yang van je organisatie, met elkaar verbonden en elkaar beïnvloedend. Ervaar vooral de meerwaarde van hun complementariteit.

Is het niet voor de hand liggend dat iedereen in de organisatie zich dient te ontwikkelen? Het is namelijk evident dat elke job inhoudelijk evolueert. Eénieder van ons dient zich qua kennis en vaardigheden voortdurend bij te schaven om actueel te blijven, om goede prestaties te kunnen blijven leveren. Dit geldt zowel voor mijn broer als tuinaanlegger, als voor mijn vriendin als logopediste of een andere als verantwoordelijke voor de rapportering bij een bank, als voor mezelf als Talent Review consultant.

Vandaar ook is dit een pleidooi om in te zetten op een inclusief Talent Management. Zorg ervoor dat medewerkers hun weg vinden in hoe zij hun kennis en vaardigheden kunnen versterken. Dit zie ik als de Yin van de organisatie:het aandacht geven aan alle medewerkers, het omarmen van ieders ontwikkeling.

Daarnaast is er nood aan oog voor de Yang-zijde, zijnde specifieke doelgroepen die op dat moment een unieke bijdrage leveren aan specifieke strategische doelstellingen van de organisatie. Elke strategische doelstelling roept op het vlak van Talent Management niet enkel de vraag op bij de leden van het directiecomité over …

  • ‘met wie zullen we deze doelstellingen realiseren?’, maar ook
  • ‘welke impact heeft elk van deze doelstellingen op de kennis en vaardigheden van specifieke groepen van medewerkers en hoe kunnen we de betrokkenen hier proactief op voorbereiden?’

Hier start de gerichte aandacht voor een groep medewerkers die een specifieke impact zal ervaren van de strategische keuzes. Laat ons dit als exclusief Talent Management benoemen.

Nu bestaat er weliswaar een aanpak om tot een mix van inclusief en exclusief TM te komen voor jouw organisatie. Dit beproefd concept is nu al door een aantal organisaties succesvol toegepast en omvat 4 stappen:

  1. Vertaal de strategische keuzes van de organisatie naar de impact op de medewerkers

Een strategische keuze bij heel wat organisaties is om in te zetten op een hogere klantentevredenheid. Stel dat we een hogere klantentevredenheid nastreven, welke medewerkers zijn hier dan prioritair bij betrokken omdat zij voor een hefboom effect zouden kunnen zorgen bij het bereiken van deze doelstelling? Wat is het gewenste profiel van deze medewerkers? Is er impact op hun rol, de vereiste kennis of vaardigheden specifiek omwille van deze prioritaire focus op het verhogen van de klantentevredenheid? Hoe kunnen we proactief inzetten op hun ontwikkeling om dit strategisch doel te realiseren?


2.Definieer de gewenste talent cultuur

Hoe kijken we vandaag naar talent binnen onze organisatie? Wat is onze huidige en gewenste balans tussen een inclusieve, dan wel een exclusieve benadering? Welke keuzes maken we vandaag bij de invulling van een vacature en welke overtuigingen gaan hierachter schuil? Geloven we dat talent aangeboren is, waardoor we extern dienen op zoek te gaan naar mensen met een ‘aangeboren klantgerichtheid’ of leeft de overtuiging dat éénieder deze vaardigheid kan ontwikkelen of versterken?

Vanuit een inzicht in de huidige talent cultuur, kan besproken worden hoe de gewenste cultuur eruit dient te zien.


3. Identificeer naar wie actie dient genomen te worden

De strategische doelstelling bepaalt naar wie we ons dienen te richten voor de realisatie ervan.  Op welke groepen van medewerkers willen we prioritair inzetten, gezien zij de grootste impact hebben op bv. de klantentevredenheid?

  • Contact center medewerkers?
  • Sales medewerkers?
  • Marketeers?
  • Medewerkers binnen kwaliteit?
  • Andere ?


4. Bepaal welke acties dienen genomen te worden naar elk van deze doelgroepen

De gewenste talent cultuur zal mee bepalen welke acties je zal ondernemen naar de geselecteerde doelgroep(en). Om op ons voorbeeld verder te bouwen, stel dat de overtuiging leeft dat talent schaars is en je al een zekere klanten’feeling’ dient te hebben om de vereiste vaardigheden te versterken, dan zullen we mogelijks afscheid dienen te nemen van een aantal sales medewerkers die de vereiste evolutie niet kunnen realiseren én een aantal externe krachten dienen aan te werven. Dit is een ander verhaal wanneer de overtuiging is dat elke medewerker in staat is om zich te ontwikkelen in lijn met de nieuwe vereisten en doelstellingen en we dus volop inzetten op opleiding, ervaringsgericht leren, feedback, …. De gekozen talent cultuur bepaalt dus welke acties we al dan niet zullen opstarten.

Zoals elke strategische oefening, gaat het ook bij deze oefening over keuzes maken. Maar dan niet de keuze tussen of inclusief Talent Management of exclusief Talent Management. Wel over de balans tussen beide en hoe deze balans naar de praktijk te vertalen.


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. Investering: 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


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. 

Untitled design-3

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 in Talent Management were focused on keeping the business going, keep productivity and performance at acceptable levels, and giving support to people.

What about the other priorities in Talent Management?

What about the follow-up of the development of future leaders, the retention risk of high performers or the vacancy-risk of critical roles?

In other words, what about the Talent Review & Succession process.

The WEF stipulates clearly that in the fourth industrial Revolution – reskilling and upskilling are a must for each employee. If we don’t start by proactively identifying the talent and at the same time start the
reskilling, your business will lose.

What can your organization learn from Covid-19 on leadership & talent?

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 assignement

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.