Who Are (or could be) Your Most Talented People?

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Identify, develop and retain the talented people who have a positive impact on your workplace culture.

talented people

How do you define and measure excellent performance? Hitting a target is one easy measurement, but it is a superficial metric which does not take into account an individual’s wider impact and influence. For instance, it’s no good having someone who smashes their targets if they make life hellish for the rest of their team.

If you have recruited well, you should have high/potential performers at every level of your organisation. The trick is to know who they are and have in place a strategy to develop and retain them. But to start at the beginning, how do you figure out who they are?

What makes a star performer?

While a top performer might be a target-hitter, they will also have a myriad of character traits and power skills which combine to produce great results and establish strong workplace relationships.

The only way to define these traits and skills is through the robust benchmarking of your job roles. You can’t clone the people who consistently have a positive impact on your workplace culture. But, you can identify their skills and personality traits, and then look for those elements in the internal talent pool available to you. You are unlikely to find exact matches, but that’s no bad thing. Teams need diversity, not groupthink, in order to be successful.

Use objective assessments to identify potential top performers

Now you have defined how ‘success’ manifests in your top performers, you can use this benchmark to identify those with similar traits and skills. These people may not have typically looked for qualifications or past experience. They may not have had access to the opportunities of others. They may have experienced challenges which have thus far hindered their career progression. But, they do have the right traits, skills and attitude to be successful in your role, with the right training and coaching.

A forthcoming bill proposes to eliminate unnecessary requirements from job applications and prohibit discrimination against a candidate due to a lack of qualifications. Employers should be prepared to radically change their approach to how they judge ‘talent’. Benchmarking and assessment enables HR teams to robustly identify potential talent from a more diverse and inclusive background, without falling into the trap of defining people by often irrelevant exam results.

Not all talented people are leaders

Not everyone wants to be a leader or manager. It is entirely possible for a highly talented individual to be a recognised expert in their field, be respected for the work they do and remunerated appropriately. The truth is that too many people end up in leadership roles simply because that is the prescribed pathway of success. Too many of these people should never be allowed to manage others. At least not without intensive leadership development training.

So if stellar performance does not necessarily equate to leadership potential, it is also true that effective leaders need not have a glittering track record in the job. While drive and grit might fuel target driven performance, empathy and fairness will often make for a more successful line manager.

And, talent is not the preserve of the glitzy high performer. Nor should a development strategy exist only to create a lineup of potential CEOs and FDs. Talent is to be found in every corner of your organisation. From the team player who notices the tiniest details that can make all the difference to a tricky client relationship, to the shift supervisor who instinctively knows when one of the team is struggling and can step in to support them.

“Once in a role, a company’s culture and values far outrank compensation and benefits when keeping employees satisfied. Workers want to be employed somewhere that has a positive atmosphere and whose mission and values they can align with.”

Jill Cotton, career trends expert at Glassdoor.

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Talk to us about how we can help you to identify, develop and retain the talented people who make your organisation a great place to work.

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