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Talent Management Framework: talent assessment

At the heart of talent management is the fair and accurate assessment of performance and potential.

Managers should look to measure the current performance of individuals against the core skills required for the role, as well as understanding the individual’s potential for future growth and development.

Identifying performance

Performance relates to an individual’s skills, aptitude, ability or knowledge to carry out their role, as well as their success in achieving objectives. Performance should be measured by a combination of what people do (the tasks and objectives they need to complete as part of their role) and how they do it (the behaviours and attitudes they display in their day-to-day interactions).

When starting to think about how to measure the performance of individuals within your team, consider the following:

  • How competent are they in the delivery of these tasks?
  • How have they delivered during more challenging circumstances?
  • The results they delivered, looking at what happened and how, and at the outcome. For example, did they achieve engagement, challenge effectively, lead effectively etc?
  • The motivation of the individual to exceed objectives

Typical sources of individual performance information that could be reviewed include:

  • one-to-one data
  • appraisals, including the extent to which performance and development objectives have been met
  • 360° feedback
  • recent work challenges
  • performance metrics
  • job description and personal specification

Identifying potential

Potential can be defined as having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future. For example, a member of staff might not currently have all the required knowledge or experience, but they demonstrate the skills and behaviours needed to operate at a senior level, or in a different role in the future.

To understand how you can think and measure potential for an individual, things to consider could include the following:

Learning agility
This is about self-awareness and a focus on personal improvement. Individuals displaying potential within this area will actively seek experiences, feedback and remain open to opportunities to learn. They will use these learning opportunities to adjust the way they behave and the actions they take.
People agility
This is about seeking other views, engendering trust and finding common ground that leads to an agreed way forward. Is the individual able to build professional relationships to enable work outcomes to be achieved and improve outcomes for patients?
Cognitive agility
This is about thinking through problems from a fresh point of view and taking a step back to consider the wider context. Do they have ideas on how to improve the service and show understanding of where it may have impact on other areas, and provide considerations of how these could be overcome?
Change agility
This is about being curious and liking to experiment with new things. Are they able to show adaptability to a changing work environment or situation when needed?
Results agility
This is about achieving results under tough conditions, demonstrating perseverance and courage of conviction, and inspiring others to do the same. Do they deliver on what they say they are going to do?

For potential, it's important to consider not only development upwards in a career, but also moves into other roles or areas which suit the individual's skills and interests more, and in which they would flourish. For example, a housekeeping assistant may have the potential to move into a supervisor role or may want to move into an healthcare assistant role and progress a different career pathway.

The talent matrix

A talent matrix is a tool designed to summarise where an individual is at in relation to their performance and potential at a given point in time. It's designed to support the individual in relation to their development and career aspirations.

Thinking about this information as a snapshot is a useful metaphor as we know that performance and potential change and evolve constantly and can be influenced by both the individual and manager, as well as by external circumstances. The talent matrix is not about putting people in a box but rather guiding you as the manager towards having a helpful conversation, and finding the right solutions and acting on them to enable an individual to develop.

The matrix has six boxes in which an individual can be plotted. The X axis relates to performance, and the Y axis relates to potential.

From the bottom upwards on the Y axis (the "potential" axis) are the following labels:

  • Room for growth
  • Reached
  • Growth
  • Leading
  • Optimum

From left to right on the X axis (the "performance" axis) are the following labels:

  • Room for growth
  • Requires improvement/developing
  • Achieving
  • Exceeding
  • Optimum

The top row shows three boxes, showing the following values, from left to right:

  • Growth employee
  • Stretch and develop
  • Star

The bottom row shows three boxes, showing the following values, from left to right:

  • Assess and support
  • Develop and support
  • High-impact contributor

The higher a value, and the further to the right it shows, the closer it gets to the "optimum" end of the range for the respective axis.

Talent matrix
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