Yarmouth Clam Festival Bike Race by Robert H. Goun on Flickr Creative Commons

In preparing for a recent talk to financial executives on Talent Management, I came up with several key points on what to look for when making investments in that area. Here is part one…

It is OK to expect Investment in Results

It is reasonable to expect the opportunity to invest in results over deliverables.  The management consultant Alan Weiss does a great job making this distinction and it is an important one for those tasked with investment in talent.

Deliverables are a description of what you will get.  Results are what you want.

Always ask why a certain talent investment is structured the way it is.  I call this the formative question.

What is the formative question that guided the investment and what data was behind it?  Knowing that data shows low engagement with new management hires and then structuring a solution is more powerful than starting with the endpoint (i.e let’s have a 1.5 day off-site team building…).  The formative question here might be “What can be done to improve engagement with new managers? And by the way we have 40k max to spend.”

If you are sourcing outside consultants and making the request in terms of a solution (i.e. we need to improve engagement with new managers), the more likely you will get ideas that add value versus just checking the boxes.

This is a perfect lead in to the next point…use of data.

Use DATA to help guide your gut decisions

These days with all the technology and tools available to us there are no good excuses for making talent management decisions based on gut feelings alone.  Data is especially helpful in the realm of hiring.

For hiring, the best place to start is with job studies that look at the traits of your best performers.  Do you know what characterizes a top performer?  For example, a global sales person might show performance through volume sold, speed of purchase, profitability per unit and high customer satisfaction.  Once you know who your top performers are then one can look for common characteristics of these top performers.

That data can be used for lots of purposes like screening of candidates and development of other people in those roles.

[Note: Make sure any assessments you use capture your data and that the data is in a database (yours or the vendors) that is available to you over time.]