A View from the Trenches: Common Talent Management Traps (and How to Avoid Them)!

Tania Richman

In last week’s blog we took a look at the Performance Value Circle model as presented by Dr. Vijay Jog, Founder and President of Corporate Renaissance Group (CRG) in a recent HR.com webinar.

This week I’d like to talk about the content presented by John Smith, Director of Enterprise Business Solutions at CRG. In his presentation, Mr. Smith brings to the table his own observations as an expert in the field, and sheds light on some widespread talent management traps and common pitfalls that HR professionals should be aware of and make a conscious effort to avoid when implementing a talent management solution.

Let’s take a closer look.

Trap #1: Purchasing a software tool to get rid of “paper headaches.”

A software tool does not always ensure easy adoption and use. HR should first develop and solidify a process that encourages employees and managers to get involved. If you train your employees on how to use the tool, and communicate to them their role in the talent management process (i.e. why they are involved and why they are important), the more likely they are to participate.

Remember: When shopping for software, try to avoid too many bells and whistles as they tend to make things complicated. If you’re looking for a tool to eliminate the headache of using a paper process make sure it’s simple and easy to use, and most importantly, that you know how to use it!

 

Trap #2: The assumption that all managers are good evaluators and understand their role in the process.

 

Again, this is not always the case. Much of the value in talent management is determined by the manager’s involvement in the process. And more often than not managers participate only because it’s expected of them, not because they want to.

Remember: The key to a smooth and simple process that managers (and in turn, employees) will enjoy participating in is training. Preparing managers and giving them the tools and means to be successful will help make their jobs easier and the overall process more effective!

 

Trap #3: The belief that a good software tool can replace a face-to-face meeting.

Wrong! The goal of any solid performance management platform should be to encourage face-to-face communication. In fact, this just might be the most crucial part of the entire process. The bottom line? Get people involved and make your process as interactive as possible from start to finish.

Remember: Face-to-face interaction between managers and employees should be built into the beginning, middle and end of any process. At the beginning of each cycle, a manager should sit down with their employee to document goals and objectives, and then follow-up with quarterly check-ins. At the end of the year, employees should be given a chance to self-assess, as well as an opportunity for one final meeting.

Trap #4: Content that focuses too much on descriptive narrative and quantity.

 

When it comes to content (i.e. the forms you use), more attention should be placed on how it relates to acquired behaviour. In other words, it’s essential to have more of a “behavioural” focus.

Remember: People should understand the content and be able to relate to it, especially managers, so that they can evaluate it effectively!

 

Trap# 5: Missing the mark when it comes down to competencies.

You shouldn’t have to rely on a vendor for an out-of-the-box competency library, or hire a pricey consultant to develop them for you. What you should do is place the content in the hands of HR. Spend some time developing competencies that relate to business drivers, and don’t over do it! Four to six competencies per employee is plenty to get shining results.

Remember: Think in terms of “Observable Behaviours.” Competencies are more than just statements; they are descriptions of behaviours!

 

Trap #6: Poor use of goals and objectives and no follow-through.

There are a few common mistakes when it comes to establishing goals. 1) Goals are created with no reference to business drivers, 2) Employees and managers set them and “forget them,” and 3) Managers rely solely on their employees to write their own goals. In reality, employee goals should always align with those of the organization. In addition, goal-setting should always be a collaborative process between manager and employee, and should give employees a good understanding of what is expected of them moving forward.

Remember: Refer back to trap #2! A commitment to quarterly “check-ins” will help ensure that both managers and employees are staying on top of set goals and objectives.