I had a conversation recently with a researcher who is investigating game-changing talent management approaches. She told me that she hasn’t found any yet! For all the books that are written and conferences that are run on the subject, it’s one of the most confusing and difficult issues that businesses encounter. And she says that she has spoken to lots of organisations and all are struggling in one way or another.

Let’s assume that the purpose of a talent management strategy is to ensure that an organisation has the right people in the right jobs to enable it to thrive now and in the future. That means you have to have a good grip on where you want your business to go and the context in which you are operating. And it means staying tuned into that. So, if, for example, consumer behaviour starts to change, you are aware of it and can adapt accordingly.

That’s the first challenge.

The second challenge is knowing which people will be able to help you deliver your strategy. What are they like, what are they really good at and where can you find them?

Few organisations find it easy to answer these questions.

This is where the secret ingredient comes in.

If you know who your great performers are and know why they are so great, you can find more of them and you know how to motivate them. If you are not really clear, then you will always be taking pot luck, to some degree, when you make appointment decisions.

Figuring out what makes great performers great is crucial. Knowing what the great ones have in common allows you to identify others like them. What are their innate strengths, what do they love doing and what energises them? What are their values and what motivates them? Once you have that profile you have the foundation stone of an effective strengths-based talent management strategy.

If I were to give one piece of advice to talent managers it would be to invest in acquiring this insight.

Sally Bibb’s book Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results (the first on the subject) is published by Kogan Page.

SBRD Sally Bibb book
Sally BibbDirector, Engaging Minds
Sally Bibb is the author of Strengths-based Recruitment and Development: A Practical Guide to Transforming Talent Management Strategy for Business Results and The Strengths Book: Discover How to Be Fulfilled in Your Work and in Life, and is a leading strengths expert.