Before you can deploy effective talent programs, processes, and practices there must be a common understanding of the definition of talent. Talent can mean different things to different leaders within your organization. Recently, I was engaged with an expert team discussing a client’s desire to use talent as a source of competitive advantage. The executive – at a large financial services organization — described his approach as identifying the top 10% of talent within his organization and building that talent through a series of experiences. On the surface, that approach seems to be a simple one, but was it?
Did he mean top performing executives and leaders? Did he mean early career high potentials? Did he mean the top 10% performers within his entire workforce?
In reality, answering that question requires thoughtful discussion on the meaning of talent within your organization, the needs of those talent groups and how those groups align to your business strategy.
Companies these days are taking innovative approaches to defining talent and differentiating talent segments within their organization. Market segmentation, pivotal-role segmentation, high potential segmentation, succession planning segmentation are a few of the approaches companies use. 3M recently used market segmentation techniques to understand the aspirations and needs of different employee cohort groups. Starbuck’s also recently studied its workforce to better understand the needs of the store employees. Why is this important? The importance of understanding the different groups of talent in your organization will allow you to better understand the needs of your employees and in turn create an environment for developing leaders and growing talent. It will also direct investment in talent that is aligned with business strategy to drive major jumps in business performance.