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Talent management done differently


Differential management is the key for talent development within an organization. The concept and direction of differential management has recently penetrated the workplace environment. This approach represents quite the opposite from what companies used, or even still use, in practice when it comes to managing high performing employees.

Traditionally, organizations focus on the low performers, as it is considered they are the ones slowing the company in its steps to achieving strategic goals. Once the low performers are specifically identified, organizations allocate and invest resources into increasing their results and transforming them into better performers. In numerous such cases, the low performance is related to employee motivation, engagement and potential or even to their willingness to become better performers. For all the aforementioned possibilities, there is a diminished probability for a company to reach its goals by relying on a relevant increase in the low performers’ parameters. In order to upturn these outputs, which further become outcomes for the organization, the key solution for reaching company’s goals is focusing on the company’s talents.

Differential management means that talents and employees with potential are being identified as soon as possible, preferably since they have joined the company. Once the talents are being spotted and recognized, it is further relevant to invest and allocate resources for them and their development. Such an approach enhances talent, enabling the use of the employees’ full potential in order to perform within the company, while they will also feel recognized and motivated. This final aspect determines their engagement and, implicitly, their retention in the long run.

Doing differential employee management effectively implies, first of all, an accurate evaluating system which continuously monitors their performance and captures relevant, updated data. This system should also monitor competencies and behaviors levels, which should be taken into consideration when deciding to acknowledge, praise and recognize an employee as being a talent. Further steps imply defining career paths and opportunities based on which an individual career plan is developed. Career plans have to be customized and adapted to each talent, in accordance to his or her long term objectives and motivational factors. Simultaneously, employee career plans have to be aligned with the company’s goals, in order to reach alignment between talent efforts, actions and the organizational strategy.

Once a career plan is defined and agreed upon between the organizational development responsible or the talent development responsible and the talented employee concerned, the organization has to make sure that it allocates all the resources the employee needs in order to follow the established path. In this context, the concept of resources made available for the talented employees includes all types of investments made from the company’s side towards its employees’ development. These investments, besides being made, also have to be done at a much more accelerated rhythm, as compared to the pace with which a company invests in average performers. This occurs given the fact that talents are fast learners, which means they are able to assimilate and apply tools, techniques and strategies in the most efficient manner.

Resources invested for successful talent development and management include leaders and managers attention, time and interest in order to ensure exposure to diversity and challenges. At the same time,  handling issues in such a manner ensures an objective overview upon talents evolution. Beside these basic, but necessary and efficient investments from thevmanagement’s side, talents need to be provided with opportunities of knowledge, competencies and behaviors development. This need is covered through courses, training and, eventually, coaching and mentoring. As talents have strong knowledge in their field and a high level of needed competencies, it is relevant to have high quality systems and programs for coaching and mentoring. In order to maximize the effects of such programs and to transform them into a great experience, it is highly recommended that the mentoring is realized by and with internal mentors. Mentors are represented by those who have a different experience, or activate within a different area, in order to avoid contradicting perspectives on the same topic and to ensure diversity within the shared know-how.

Nevertheless, talents are to be treated in accordance with their performance, from the benefits and compensation, rewards and recognition perspectives. It is recommended for the recognition to consist in new roles, aside from public nomination and praise, which implies challenging projects and higher responsibilities.

Therefore, instead of neglecting talents because they can take care of their responsibilities and, in extreme cases, others’ responsibilities in a successful manner, companies should pay maximum attention to them, in order to make sure they use their maximum potential, while also remaining motivated and serving as an example for low and average performers.


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