Most organizations have some form of Talent Review. That is not surprising as qualitative people decisions, preparing the future leadership body, managing people-risks, and developing for performance have a major impact on the business.
However, in practice, the talent review process does not always have the impact you might have hoped for. Here are some possible reasons:
- a lack of an overall vision on ‘talent’ in general
- insufficient integration or alignment with the overall review process
- too much bias, such as a lack of evidence-based data on potential
- too little focus on the employee’s perspective on the career
In this blog, I will focus on how evidence-based HR analytics benefit the the talent review process by improving the quality of talent decisions.
Talent Review is a strategic process
A way of understanding what happens in the Talent Review Process is to break down the process into a chain of competences. Indeed, we could say that the process consists of making qualitative people decisions (D) about development actions then planning and organizing them (P&O) in order to secure the continuity of the organization. Solid decisions require sound analysis (A) and good judgement (J):
A+ → J+ → D+ → P&O+
If A is A- or J is J-, the rest of the chain will be negatively affected:
A- → J- → D- → P&O-
A+ → J- → D- → P&O-
Needless to say that for a good decision, sound analysis and good judgement are, albeit they necessary conditions, not sufficient on their own. Sound A and J can still lead to bad D if, for instance, the person who makes the decision lacks courage or ethics:
A+ → J+ → D- → P&O-
Analytics in the Talent Review
I think it is important to start by saying that introducing evidence-based analytics in the Talent Review is not so much a case of automating the Talent Review process, but rather one of augmentation, the collaboration between people and machines. Decisions about people should be taken by people, not by machines. Machines do not take ethics or situational aspects into account. Therefore, the benefits of analytics will be maximized when analytics are combined with human capacities.
Where does this lead us in Talent Review? Where evidence-based analytics are based on decades of research, they can provide an evidence-based approach and strong algorithms that can support your organization in A and J.
I have listed the questions that have to be answered in a Talent Review Process according to the competency chain and have also mentioned where analytics can be of help:
These questions cannot be answered by a tool. It’s your talent philosophy that must provide the answers:
- What do we consider talent within our organization?
- What’s the purpose of this particular Talent Review exercise? Eg. Is this about retaining our best sales people? About identifying the next generation leaders?
- What are key functions/roles/competences in our organization?
- How do we visualize our talent pipeline? Do we use a 9-box?
These questions can be answered by an evidence-based tool:
- How do we define and measure potential?
- How do we define and measure aspirations?
- How do we define and measure risk of leaving, fall out, or disengagement?
- How do we define and measure individual performance and team performance?
- How do we measure the motivators and energy levels of our talents?
Analytics can help with questions like:
- How do we score person A on potential, aspiration, risks, etc.?
- What is important for person A to stay motivated and engaged?
- Does person A have the potential to take on a more complex role?
- Where do we place person A in the 9-box?
Humans need to deal with:
- Do we have to take situational elements into account for person A?
The decisions revolve around:
- Do we promote person A?
- Do we transfer person A?
- Do we steer person A towards exit?
- Do we keep person A in the current role?
- Must we take a corrective measure?
- Do we enroll person A for a leadership course, sales training, etc. ?
Analitycs can provide suggestions, but as stated earlier, decisions should be taken by humans.
Planning & Organizing
This phase concerns:
- Having a career dialogue with person A
- Preparing a development plan in collaboration with that person
- Following up on the development plan
Analytics benefit the Talent Review
Augmentation in the Talent Review process makes it possible to :
- Stop wasting time on discussions on who should fit where in the nine box
- Make talents visible and get rid of talent hoarding
- Not let judgement be clouded by bias about things like age, gender, race and so on
- Stop building on assumptions about your talents concerning aspirations, motivators, engagement, etc.
- No longer be surprised by unwanted turnover, disengagement, and fall out
- No longer be disappointed by low quality career dialogues between talent and managers
Instead, you’re able to
- Free up time in the process so managers can do what they should be doing: making qualitative people decisions and following up with the individual talents
- Be pro-active on issues like engagement en well-being
- Improve the quality of career conversations by supplying evidence-based information to managers and talents
- Build development plans with impact
Talent Review is a people process in which people make decisions about people. Analytics benefit the talent review by introducing evidence-based approaches and taking the individual’s perspective on the career into consideration for more qualitative people decisions.