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How to turn the Talent Review Meeting into a powerful instrument

19 May 2018, by Lesley Vanleke
  • #Talent management
  • #Talent Review Profiler

I bet it is crucial for your organization to be able to identify the next future star or the next top leader within your organization and identify talent risks like the risk of leaving or energy loss. But how do you accurately do that? The Talent Review Meeting can be a powerful instrument to help you identify star employees and get a grip on talent risks, provided that you nail two things:

  1. base your decisions on evidence-based insights
  2. Take the personal outlook of your employees’ careers into account

In this blog, I want to look into the office politics that negatively influence the quality of your Talent Review process and show you how evidence-based input can facilitate rewarding long-term relationships with your employees.

Office politics

The truth is that the ‘people decisions’ which are taken during the Talent Review process are often subjective and based on office politics. Additionally, the decision-makers are rarely even conscious of the influence of these factors.  Do you recognize the following dynamics?

  • In the Talent Review meeting, members rely heavily on the intuition of the managers present. Decisions taken are therefore often subjective. You can’t help but wonder how objective data on potential, for example, could influence the dialogue.
  • Managers can’t help but wonder about the personal cost of promoting a key asset in their team. The self-interest of the managers present in the Talent Review meeting should not be ignored if you want to reach the best possible decisions for the organization and for the individual.
  • The amount of information about employees discussed in the Talent Review meeting is not equal for each employee. This might result in a default choice for the more familiar candidate, rather than taking the time to get to know the other potential candidates better.
  • Biases about age and gender come into play:  “Older is better for leadership positions, younger is better when technology is an important aspect of the role for which a candidate is sought.” “Women are not good at strategy, women will focus on family and children, rather than their careers.”

In short, these dynamics lead to subjective decisions, talent hoarding, Peter Principle and favoritism

Facilitating rewarding long-term relationships with your employees

You probably have a pretty good idea about your employees’ competencies and their performance in their current role. But how well do you know your employees in terms of personal outlook on their careers, key drivers, and ambitions? Do you know how they are feeling in their current role or how well they cope with the constant change that is all around nowadays? Do you know these things about your employees when you are discussing their next steps within your organization at the Talent Review meeting? If you don’t, you risk looking at your succession exercise solely from an organizational perspective by leaving out the individual’s perspective, with unexpected outcomes as a result. Not integrating the individual’s perspective leads to:

  • Unwanted mobility
  • Refusal to comply with carefully planned and laid out succession proposals
  • Disengagement

Does this sound familiar?

  • Stephen offers his resignation. This is bad news. He’s one of the people who is considered to be a strong professional. You are worried about the fact that Stephen’s manager has not noticed what was going on with Stephen or has reacted awkwardly when Stephen brought up his career issues. In any case, you got involved too late, and now the chances of keeping Stephen on board have vanished.
  • Your organization has high expectations for the future for Mary. You have invested in her and her career to get her ready for the next step up the ladder. A few months ago she did an assessment to map her skills and potential. During a consultation with Mary, a development plan was agreed upon and it’s currently being implemented. Out of the blue, Mary announces that, notwithstanding your organization’s great offer, she would prefer to do something completely different elsewhere. The whole assessment story has set in motion an awareness process. She has consulted with a professional career coach who, together with her, has created a state of affairs from her own personal perspective resulting in her departure.

In short, people make their own career decisions, now more than ever. Lifelong employment has disappeared, which leaves people in a situation where they consciously think about their next move. Organizations have an interest in keeping their finger on the pulse when it comes to the career reflections of their employees, so they can integrate the individual’s perspective in people decisions.

What can you do about it?

Here are some tips:

  • If you are an HR professional you might consider how you can acquire data measured with scientifically validated scales, providing evidence-based insights, other than performance reviews and competency scores:
    • key motivators and personal outlook on the career
    • potential and aspiration
    • career pitfalls
    • risk of leaving
    • risk of fall out
    • risk of mismatch
  • Based on those predictors, help managers to identify crucial topics to address in career meetings with the employee.
  • During the matching process, take into consideration the predictors that can tell you in what kind of role and context an employee would flourish, and what kind of leadership the employee needs.

Good to know: all this information is accessible and can be presented in a clear report to be used as a base for the Talent Review Meetings. Contact us for more information about the Talent Review Profiler, an evidence-based TalentLogiQs tool.


Chamorro-Premusic, T. & Bhaduri, A. (2017). How Office Politics Corrupt the Search for High-Potential Employees. Harvard Business Review


About the author

Lesley Vanleke

Lesley Vanleke holds over 20 years of experience in HR. In 2014 she co-founded TalentLogiQS, where she searches to understand all different aspects of customers’ challenges and needs. She strives to be a sounding board and bring about connections that deliver added value for all parties concerned.