Personal View: 5 questions for successful talent management

Contributed by Christine Ament

Talent management sounds like a fancy department or function that many companies assume they cannot afford, but it is something that every leader should be proficient at and think about daily.

The No. 1 thing for successful talent management is listening. As a leader, you have to understand the purpose of the position(s) that you manage, the direction of the department they work within, and the goals of the company. When you combine this knowledge with the questions below, you have the ability to continually manage needs and expectations.

Here are five questions to revisit, on a regular basis, with or about the person you are responsible for managing:

1. Do you have what you need to do your job successfully?

This question ensures that you know the person has the right tools or resources for the job. You may learn that they need additional training or equipment to work better, or that something about the position isn’t right or needs to change. Using this question gives you the data to adapt and update positions so they are better equipped to do their job.

2. What about your current job do you think can be automated, eliminated or handled differently?

Oftentimes people may keep doing what they were originally instructed to do. Over time, though, the needs and purpose of the position may change while the way of doing things may not, which can lead to unnecessary effort. Habitually reviewing a position’s mode of operation can ensure that its efforts are always pointed in the right direction.

3. What is a stretch goal or assignment you’d like to work on?

This question can help you guide ambitious persons looking to take on more responsibility in your organization. Those that have ideas in this area are spending a lot of time thinking about doing other things. Often, we learn this too late, for example, in an exit interview where the manager or human resources officer realizes that this person’s goals are something that could have been accomplished within the organization the person is departing from.

4. How would you like your job to be different in six, 12, 18 and 36 months?

When someone responds honestly to this question, you have a sense of what their upcoming expectations are. Are they looking for a promotion? A pay raise? Maybe something is coming up in their life that will require a change in schedule or time off. If the answer to this question looks nothing like their job now, this can help you place the person into a position that better fits what they are looking for.

5. Do I see longer-term potential for this person?

This question is most helpful for business owners or leaders with a wide scope of responsibility. For example, a business owner who wants to pursue a particular goal, develop a certain strategic initiative, or plan for succession will have an easier time doing so if they already have in mind those high-potential people who may fit the job that’s needed. Trying to identify candidates for your organization’s interests after a plan has already been developed is often too late, so being proactive about reviewing your organization’s people will help facilitate those initiatives.

Learning to ask or think about these five questions can help you manage your talent more effectively, and they are applicable at any level and organization. Every answer can help successfully manage a career, reduce turnover, or plan for succession.

Christine Ament is the HR director consultant for Cleveland-headquartered ConnectedHR, which also has an office in Austin, Texas.

You can read the original article on Crain’s Cleveland Business.

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