Knowing that employees are performing their job well isn't enough to drive the business forward. Talent reviews are a tool that organizations can use to understand their workforce beyond standard performance review criteria.

After weeks of preparation and countless manager interviews, an inch-thick binder full of workforce data patiently awaits executive review. This binder is labeled Talent Reviews. It contains charts, graphs, trend analysis, and action plans compiled by the HR team, but it’s much more than just data.This binder gives insight into corporate culture, strengths, weaknesses and overall identity. It gives executives a snapshot of their undiscovered high potential employees and background on why their low performers aren’t meeting expectations. This knowledge is more important than any quarterly financial report full of revenue projections, backlog reports, or budget forecasts.It is proof that it is the people, not the dollar signs or decimal points, that make customers happy, and drive organizational success and innovation. The challenge with talent reviews is that the process can be swallowed up by the performance review process, or not taken seriously because of the qualitative nature of data collected. With the right criteria, action plans, and mind set, organizations can uncover hidden corporate strengths through talent reviews.Talent Review Blog Image

Talent Reviews are Not Performance Reviews

Talent Reviews are a detailed analysis of each employee’s ability and desire to perform, adapt, align, and develop themselves which ultimately leads the organization to success. The reviews are typically conducted by Human Resources and consist of detailed interviews of each employee and manager in the organization, starting with the most entry-level employees all the way to the executive team. While talent reviews often include discussion of an employee’s performance, performance reviews tend to be a more formal evaluation. The talent review process is conversational and allows for more robust discovery than just performance in a specific job or role. In addition to performance, the talent review process focuses on the following areas:

  • Workforce Demographics
  • Skills Alignment
  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Talent Pool Identification
  • Turnover & Retention
  • Workplace Culture

By examining these focus areas, organizations can determine if the right talent is in place for existing roles and future needs. It expands the view from whether an employee fits in a specific job today, to how they could be leveraged in other areas of the organization or developed to fit within the organization going forward. This type of talent knowledge prepares an organization to shape strategy, execute delivery, and adapt to constant economic, political, geographical, and technological change in the market.

Moving from Analysis to Action

The talent review process produces raw data and narratives which then must be analyzed and organized into charts, graphs, and action plans. The data collected is only as valuable as the focus and commitment dedicated to using it from an organization’s leadership. To ensure that the talent review process doesn’t turn into another dusty binder on the shelf, it needs to be understood and presented as actionable information.

One way to ensure the data is not left to collect dust is to set up debrief sessions with each leader at every level of the organization to provide a complete view of the workforce. These sessions provide the knowledge base for leadership teams to talk openly and honestly about the strengths and limitations in the company talent pool, as well as the steps that should be taken and measured to contribute to the organization’s strategic goals and vision.

When implemented properly, talent reviews provide invaluable benefits to an organization including:

  • Cultivate Growth (Employee or Organizational) Opportunities
  • Build Bench Strength
  • Reduce Turnover & Retain Talent
  • Identify Future Leaders & Innovators
  • Demonstrate Talent Agility
  • Adapt to Changing Markets

Perhaps the most important outcome of a successfully executed talent review process is the collective adoption of a talent focused mindset. When managers and leaders start thinking of their employees as talent and not individuals filling specific roles, then true organizational change and growth can occur.

To learn more about conducting detailed talent reviews for your organization, check out RG’s Guide to Conducting Effective Performance Reviews.

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