Should you tell them?
Posted by Meg Bear on April 28, 2008
Over the weekend while attending a Cabernet tasting event*, I was talking with a friend and somehow (yes I know — this suggests I have no life OR maybe I’m just really excited about Talent Management) the topic of “top talent transparency” came up. Of course we didn’t use those words, but it was the topic nonetheless.
When we talk about “top talent” we tend to agonize along the following lines
- If I tell someone that they are on “the list” will their ego make me regret it?
- What about those who are not on “the list” will they be negatively impacted?
I’m going to risk it all with an opinion here, feel free to disagree (in comments or otherwise). I believe you should be willing to disclose this information to individuals. Why? Well, because they are going to find out anyway, so pretending to hide it will not solve your problems. By sharing this information you can have a better chance of actually getting what you want from those individuals who you consider your top talent. In otherwords, by letting them know you consider them top talent you have a better opportunity to help them understand why, and as a result they can focus on the behaviors that make them critical to your organization.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother in the second grade, after I was tested for the MGM program. The conversation went something like this:
Meg: How did I do?
Mom: I can’t tell you
Meg: Why? I had to take a test today instead of getting to watch a film in the library with the rest of my class, what do you mean you wont tell me how I did?
Mom: I’m told not to tell you because they are worried that by knowing the results it might cause you to act differently.
Yes, there are risks with transparency but at least those you can actively manage.