Talent Management

by Rachel Brushfield

Internal communication

Talent, depending on how your company defines it, can be a contentious subject. Nobody likes to be defined as non-talent or lesser talent, so all forms of communication around the issue need to be handled very sensitively.

  • Be familiar with your company’s definition of talent. Talent is defined very differently by different companies – it may be a technical skill that is rare and essential for business success, a specific ‘can do’ attitude and broad skills base, future leadership potential or a particular and detailed set of competencies that match your company’s culture and values.
  • Use the language for talent in communication that your company has created or seek advice on how to communicate internally. Your company will have phrases to describe the top talent, phrases that should be used by all involved in the talent management process. These phrases must not alienate or exclude people, should they hear them; for example, the word ‘non-talent’ should never be used. Everyone has talent, they just have different talents, some of which are more relevant than others, depending on the business need and market environment.
  • Be honest yet sensitive in handling the issues, especially where selective learning and development and rewards/remuneration is concerned.
  • Recognise that all your team have strengths and support them in playing to those strengths and being the best they can be.
  • Share your vision of your team or department, including key values and behaviours and their role in it.
  • Create a culture of thirst for success, excellence, honesty and support so that your whole team can be open, giving feedback and airing concerns without fear.
  • Make time to give feedback, both positive and negative all year around on a weekly basis.

    Instead of listening to what is being said to them, many managers are already listening to what they are going to say.

  • Be clear and open with talent – explain what they need to achieve and their roles in the process
  • Watch out for blocks to talent performing, including contradictions such as encouraging experimentation but punishing mistakes or promising team work while encouraging individual success and rewards
  • Make time to find out the values and motivations of talent and reward and praise them in a targeted way that links back to what is important to them