Behind Closed Doors – The Talent Review Meeting
Posted by Amy Wilson on August 26, 2008
There are a lot of things that sound good about talent management that most companies aren’t doing yet. Fully integrated talent management, for instance. Job-specific competencies, for another. Even succession planning.
However, I am betting that there is one thing your company is already doing and is focused on doing well. Most refer to it as a “talent review,” but it may be referred to as a calibration or roundtable. The idea is the same: a management team comes together to review a particular population of talent to identify high potentials, successors, and development pools and connect this to their long-term business needs. It is a conversation (and often an argument) amongst business people about the future.
It is the ultimate intersection between business operations and people – at the highest, most strategic level – leading and sustaining the business. It is also, therefore, HR’s chance to shine.
HR goes to great lengths to gather and present the data of the executives-on-the-rise population. “The Talent Profile” is often printed in a glossy book and distributed to each executive in the room. The stats – including demographics, qualifications, and future considerations – are painstakingly collected, vetted, and summarized. As Dan McCarthy suggests, if you’ve been asked for this information, get it to the requester quick! And, I would argue, if you’re an executive and you haven’t been asked, you might want to start asking some questions yourself.
While HR or talent organizations can spend the time to collect and present this data on a small subset of an organization, it isn’t exactly scalable. That’s why you see lower levels of the organization putting together makeshift, inconsistent, and ultimately, less effective, talent reviews. However, the demand is there. The leadership pipeline requires lower and lower levels of focus. Without the manpower of the Beijing Olympics, it’s best to start thinking about how systems can help.
I would argue that it is this process – Talent Reviews, starting at the executive level and catching on at lower levels – that will be the driver for building up talent profiles, integrating the talent processes, and insisting that the “hard stuff” get done. It’s not going to happen the other way around.