Verax International Ltd



Talent Development - Aligned to the Business Strategy


Talent development is the phrase on everyone’s lips – just look at the HR exhibitions, forums, webinars etc.


Recruiting and developing staff to deliver sustainable results for the organisation is key to its own survival. At the end of the day, it will be people that ensure whether the organisation delivers results or not.


Products and services are of course part of the equation, as is all the organisational infrastructure (systems and processes, structures etc). But it is the people who work on and with these to deliver business results.


Development for its own sake makes little sense. Development in line with corporate objectives does.


Current Approaches


How do organisations typically approach talent development now?


Based on various surveys, it appears that the annual staff appraisal is the main source of information. This is supposed to indicate individual development needs.


It seems that many managers feel duty bound to recommend some sort of development at appraisal time – this is almost like doing it for the sake of it – but it ticks the box!


Many organisations invite managers to nominate staff for development. While laudable, one has to question the quality of this methodology. We hear stories of this being done on a “face-fitting” basis.


Programmes leading to some kind of academic qualification e.g. NVQs, are largely for the benefit of the individual with the hope that the organisation may benefit as a result. In reality the financial ROI to organisations from these kinds of interventions is extremely low (negative in many cases).


Where coaching is used as the vehicle for development, the coaching contract and topic for development, is mostly left to the coachee. This again means that the individual’s agenda is met, maybe at the expense of the organisation. Unless the coachee’s needs are aligned with the organisation, who knows? The other issue with coaching is that organisations receive little feedback about progress achieved because of the “confidential” nature of the coaching contract.


We have seen organisations spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on development programmes because a senior executive likes the programme – not because it met real business needs.


So when HR are challenged to demonstrate that what they do makes any difference to organisational performance and when finance tell L&D that they need to cut their budget, HR has no proof, evidence or argument to show that what they do makes a difference to organisational performance.


What the Future Could Look Like


We live in a cause-effect world. Everything that someone does has consequences – but are they the right ones?


Organisations, especially in the public sector create conditions whereby staff can spend 60%+ of their time working on non-value added work. So it is difficult, in these conditions, for staff to contribute or make a better or bigger contribution as a result of development.


However, as a result of the research into the real drivers of business performance and the behaviour of individuals to support those it is now possible to do something revolutionary.


If organisations can articulate what they want to achieve we can calculate how things need to be done in the organisation and what leaders, managers and staff need to do, if the organisation is to achieve its strategic objectives.


Given that, we can measure what people currently do, analyse the gap with what is needed and then base development on that gap. This ensures that the development of talent is directly in line with what the organisation needs. This is a win-win; a win for the organisation and a win for the individual.

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