Secrets of a successful talent review
Posted by Justin Field on December 22, 2009
Well, folks, we’ve just been through a talent review here. You might think the process is fairly well understood and everything should just go smoothly, but of course, real life is not that smooth, and nor is a talent review.
One of the problems we faced was around the calibration of performance ratings. Specifically, employees with a performance rating of 3 don’t get on the shortlist of top talent; those with 4 or 5, have a chance, but naturally we’re looking for high potentials among that population.
In the talent review, we discovered that some groups had been very strict with their performance ratings, and that other groups had been lenient. For example, when sales quota was a key measurement of performance, some groups gave quota achievement of 100% a performance rating of 3; other groups gave quota achievement of 90% a performance rating of 4. Result: those cheap (easily won) 4′s distorted the shortlist of talent for that group; the hard won 4′s in other groups came closer to our true definition of top talent.
So what’s the secret of success? I’ve always said that effective performance management is the true foundation of effective talent management. You have to have a good grip on who the top performers are before you can start segmenting that group down to find the high potentials. And in a large organisation, you’d better be sure that the measurement of performance is the same across groups, otherwise it destroys the credibility of the talent review.
My key learning for 2010 is two-fold:
- We have to publish crystal-clear guidelines for groups regarding how to score performance based on key measurements. We need a consistent approach across all groups.
- After the majority of performance ratings are in the performance management system, we need a comprehensive calibration exercise, especially for those groups that will later do a talent review. If we don’t make some effort to calibrate, the talent review itself becomes an exercise in performance calibration, when we really want the talent review to focus on high potential top talent.
Leave a comment with your views on calibrating performance and the impact on talent review.