360 informs talent management far beyond development

Posted on July 28, 2014 at 16:54 PM

If you're using 360 to inform development plans, that's great - but you may be missing out on the value it can bring to other aspects of your talent management strategy.

A key strategic need in organisations is to have the right people in the right place at the right time. Whether you call this talent management or succession planning, the point is that you must understand what skills your organisation needs to succeed and what constitutes ‘potential’.

Creating and managing talent pools is actually quite a straightforward process. It’s not practical to line up successors for every role, so the first step is to determine which positions in your organisation are ‘critical’. Then, analyse the requisite knowledge, skills, behaviours, experience and competencies that are necessary for success in these roles; that's talent management.

The next, more difficult, step is to determine the early ‘indicators’ of potential for success in these roles and this is a key part of talent management. What could individuals reasonably demonstrate at an early stage in their career that would indicate their potential for the target position? If you can identify this, you then simply need to find a way of assessing who is currently demonstrating this ‘potential’ behaviour - and our talent management software can help do exactly that.

Then, having identified those with potential, you can then assign them to specific talent pools and allocate development resource accordingly.

This part of talent management sounds easy. But there are two challenges.

  1. The first is identifying who has the potential. To do this, you clearly need to know exactly what you’re looking for. Few organisations have a consistent understanding of what potential is, across the different business areas, functions and specialities.
  2. The second challenge is to find a way of assessing people effectively. To start with, you’ll need to bring the ‘indicators’ to life by translating them into behaviours that can be measured. Can you describe exactly what someone might do, say, think or demonstrate if they possessed each indicator? Once you know what you’re looking for, the next step is to use the right assessment process to measure it - and, of course, we can help with that.

Typically, performance management, assessment centres and 360-degree feedback are the most commonly used methods for identifying those with potential. The problem though is that, in most organisations, these processes are focused on performance against deliverables in the individual’s current role. In other words, they look backwards at past performance, not forwards at future potential.

With careful management, positioning and communication,360 can be used effectively in higher-stakes applications, such as talent management and succession planning. It has benefits over and above assessment centres and performance management as it provides an holistic view of an individual, from a range of different sources (unlike traditional performance management which only considers feedback from a line manager).

The upshot is that 360 degree feedback has a much broader role to play than simply supporting development. Yes, it can assess employees in terms of their key strengths and their development needs but it can also assess their degree of readiness for promotion and as such can be an important part of your talent management.

Read the full article and then, when you're ready to talk about how you could make use of 360 beyond development, do get in touch.

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