OK, I admit it, my wife and I are suckers for a good reality TV talent show…In particular, there was something really compelling about the recent edition of NBC’s “The Voice”. Maybe it is the “against all odds” vibe that gets me. Or it could be the fact there are these “hidden gems” out there who are finally getting their chance to be discovered. Or, truth be told, maybe it was just a great reason to try and get the kids to bed early so we could relax with a glass of wine…
In any event, it got me thinking about the parallels between “The Voice” and how we manage talent in the workplace. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems we are often playing out our own version of “Blind Auditions” as we search for the best candidates for promotions, succession plans, fast-track programs, etc..
How many Jermaine’s are out there currently filling secondary roles in our workforces when they could be put in more prominent positions?
How many Juliet’s could be mentored into becoming great candidates for internal promotional opportunities?
How many Ceelo’s, Blake’s and Christina’s are there in our organizations who could be great coaches and mentors if we just had better visibility into who they were?
How many dynamite teams could we assemble if only we had a better way to find the unique skills and expertise needed from the 1000’s of people in our organization?
Traditional employee management practices relied heavily on formal hierarchical structures and job posting procedures to hopefully identify and promote the best and brightest candidates. However, this was often a hit-and-miss premise. It typically was as good as the employee’s manager was at identifying and developing talent. If that manager happened to be a “blocker” a candidate may never get the chance to rise through the ranks. The formal job posting process wasn’t necessarily much better. It relied heavily on the best candidates happening to see a particular posting. How many times are external candidates brought in because we didn’t know about a high-potential internal candidate?
New technologies and approaches hold the promise to significantly enhance internal talent management.
Explore Your Talent.
Unlike “The Voice”, we don’t have the luxury of doing cross-country calls for auditions every time we are trying to find candidates for different projects, vacancies or expansion plans. However, new approaches are now making it possible to better understand the unique characteristics of your workforce. Powerful talent mining tools allow you to instantly analyze a wide variety of information to create comprehensive views of your workforce. Based on your specific search criteria, you can find potential matches by automatically mining information entered in personal profiles, online work communities, social networks and peer endorsements. Combine this information with more traditional data from skills inventories, certifications, performance ratings, merit increases, 9-Box assessments and LMS courses. Using this very targeted approach, you now have a better chance of finding those hidden gems who are uniquely qualified for a particular project team, geographic expansion or new product launch.
Reach out and virtually “tap your employee on the shoulder” for the new opportunity. What better way to be proactive in finding, engaging and retaining your high potential talent?
Visualize Your Talent.
In addition to powerful talent mining tools, visualization solutions are also changing the game. Org. charts are giving way to Dynamic Talent Charts, an intuitive way for HR and managers to visualize their workforce at a glance – from top to bottom. Apply various “lenses” to your Talent Charts to assess your talent in real-time.
Generate an employee Talent Card to get a snapshot view of key metrics such as: performance, succession, 9-box, compensation and social contributions. OK, maybe HR isn’t ready for internal talent “Battle Rounds” like “The Voice”. However, visualization tools like Talent Charts and Talent Cards can definitely play a role in those boardroom discussions where you and your colleagues are deciding on succession plans and 9-Box placements.
Manage Your Talent.
Now that you have found your top-fliers and uniquely qualified employees, utilize socially-infused talent management technologies to better support your managers. Create your own internal Team Adam or Team Blake by leveraging technology to create personal networks, mentors, development and succession plans. Augment “in real life” conversations with chat and buzz a colleague technology to stay connected.
As with other aspects of HR technology, your adoption of these next generation talent management technologies needs to fit with your corporate culture and business objectives. They may not get you nation-wide notoriety like “The Voice” by they sure can serve as a powerful tool aiding in your pursuit of finding the best internal talent.
Now if I would have only stuck with those ukulele lessons years ago maybe I could be trying out for the blind auditions next season…
Cary Schuler, CEO, cfactor Works Inc. @CarySchuler