Talent Strategy starts with Questions

Talent Strategy starts with Questions 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Creating a strategy for your organization around talent starts with defining the what and how of talent for your organization.  Talent can be leveraged and managed very differently from one organization to the next.  So, one of the keys to doing effective work in managing talent is getting clear on exactly what talent means to your business.

To get this clarity is about discovering the answers to some key questions.  Here are some examples of important questions to answer.

  • Do we hire for current competence (knowledge, skills and ability) or future potential (or some specific combination)?
  • What role does behavioral style play in success here?
  • How does behavioral style affect our hiring decisions?
  • Is our default position to promote form within, hire externally, or to hire best available, internal or external?
  • When promoting from within, how much of a gap are we willing to accept if the internal talent isn’t fully ready for the next role?
  • What is our commitment (in time and investment) to developing talent?
    • How does that commitment impact the type of talent we need to hire (ready now versus potential)?
  • Are we committed to hiring top tier talent (regardless of availability or cost) or best available talent?
  • How does our compensation philosophy align to support our desired talent philosophy?
    • If our goal is to hire best in market talent, do we provide best in market compensation?
      • If not, what is going to give (level of talent or compensation)?
  • What role does organizational and cultural fit play in talent decisions?
    • How do we measure for fit?
    • How important is fit relative to competence?
  • What role will science versus personal judgment play in our talent decisions?

These are just a few of the questions that a well-defined talent strategy would answer readily.  If you do your research, you can find evidence within your organization that points towards the current status quo on these questions.  Then, you can evaluate with your leadership if where you are today is where you intend to be and if it’s the right place to be to achieve your business goals.

The implied questions underneath all of these questions are “How do we ensure that we have the talent to execute on our business strategy?” and “How will we measure success?”  That is where it starts.  The questions above shape how your organization will approach making it happen.

Talent management work can get really complicated and diluted without a framework and definition to focus efforts and measure impact.

    • Jason

      Bob- Great observation. These questions are probably more aimed at how to improve a current talent management approach assuming a fixed system. Whether your think that the system is responsible for 95% or 50% of the overall outcome doesn’t necessarily change these questions, it just changes the potential impact you are making. In the bigger picture, I think that the 95% view brings into focus that most of our current work processes and systems form a ceiling or limitation on how far you impact performance through developing the talent. I have been advocating more and more lately that talent work isn’t about management instead its about cultivation–designing environments and processes that free talent to manifest and develop in the context of growing the business.

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