Could Your Talent Assessment Practices Use a Spring Cleaning?

I started my spring cleaning last weekend by packing away my wool sweaters (wishful thinking living in the Midwest!) I think a similar exercise applied to talent management practices is a good idea for organizations as well.  Talent practices that have served you well in the past may need to be shelved.  Talent models could use some polishing to meet the demands of 2013 and beyond.  And, like furnace filters, other tools may need replacing if your talent strategies have changed significantly. 


Now is a good time to think about whether your talent management practices are current and aligned with your business needs.  Do you have programs or tools that have been in place for a decade?  Longer?  Do you continue to deploy tools whose “use by” date has long expired in terms of their effectiveness?  


I recommend three areas for spring cleaning your talent practices:



Refresh your competencies 


The best competency models have periodic reviews built in to ensure the competencies still work and appropriately drive the business strategy.  In recent research conducted by Right Management, innovation is emerging as a key competency across industries, countries, and levels of leadership.  Does your competency modeling incorporate innovation?  Have you defined what innovative behavior looks like from a first-line supervisor and from a senior leader?  When working with organizations to align their talent strategies and business imperatives, I always recommend that each talent strategy include the 1-2 competencies that will truly define success relative to that strategy.  You must be willing to prioritize your competencies and maybe even replace them if the business demands.  It was hard to retire my favorite leather briefcase in favor of a lightweight roller bag, but the long treks between concourses are much easier now.


Review and evaluate your assessment methods and tools


Talent assessments should be a starting point, not a solution.  The insights they deliver can help you guide hiring decisions, leadership development efforts, and   team alignment.  Take this opportunity to look at your assessment methods.  Do you know what they measure and how outcomes map to your competencies?  Can you pinpoint how effective the tools are for their stated purposes?  If you have to help the workforce become more innovative, do you know which tools will be most useful?  Governance around assessment is important so make sure you know the validity of your tools as well.  There are a number of good quality skills assessment tools on the market so if you’ve had some in place for years with no clear return, now is the time to ask some questions.  Just like those old boots, there may be some assessment tools that need to be placed in the recycle bin.      


Integrate technology


Consider how technology can enhance your talent efforts.  Talent assessment technologies have become much more affordable, flexible, and easy to use. Just like a new driver or putter may enhance your golf game, technology can take your talent practice to a new level.  For example, technology solutions can help you deliver feedback more quickly and allow your leaders to “try out” competencies in a safe yet realistic environment.  Below is an example of an in-box exercise that we have integrated into several different assessment and development programs.



These platforms allow you to emphasize particular tasks that align with critical competencies needed for the future.  You can easily add in other tasks as well such as telephone role plays, video chats and other exercises to enhance the overall assessment and development experience.


Could your talent management practice benefit from some spring cleaning?  Or do you already refresh your methodologies periodically? Let me hear from you.



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