Five key insights for talent management

Marlies Pellikaan

What can you do to attract, inspire, retain and help to grow talent? And how do you create a high-performance culture?

Five key insights for talent management

To find out, we asked Wendy van Ierschot to share valuable insights from her experiences building high-performance cultures in fast-growing organizations.

Wendy van Ierschot is a HR strategist, CEO of VIE People, an investor in HR technology and a scale-up coach for fast-growing companies. She hosted an Effectory webinar where she shared five key insights that will help you to better understand talent management.

1. Show that you have talent inspirers in your hierarchy

Talent wants to be inspired; preferably by other talent in the organization. Unfortunately for talent management, many organizations do not focus enough on true inspiration. We don’t focus on leaders with hard skills and soft skills.

And more often than not, it’s soft skills that truly inspire. For example, an inspiring leader is upfront but also empathic and expresses affection and appreciation. A true inspirer believes in collective power and creates a safe, yet challenging environment. In short: An inspiring leader knows the correct balance between hard and soft skills. This is also something that HR maestro Dave Ulrich discussed in his World-class Workplace keynote.

2. Have a talent management system based on connection

Talent wants to be connected with the best people in an organization. This helps people learn, grow and move up organizational structures. That is why you need to build networks inside and outside the organization: so that your talent can learn from different people and different perspectives and develop themselves and their careers. This will improve retention. Involve experts, role models, managers from the higher levels of your organization and connect them with young talent.  

3. Provide talent with “care” and “flexibility”

Talent needs to be trained in both hard skills and soft skills. This talent management training should focus on developing hard skills such as becoming the best in the field of work, setting goals and skills training. But it should also develop soft skills such as perseverance, awareness, a growth mindset and empathy. Every single one of these skills can be improved with attention and training.

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4. Throw talent in at the deep end

Let young talent struggle and make mistakes. Force your talent to be creative and inspire your talent to find solutions that they thought were beyond their reach. Don’t be too afraid — if people are truly talented, they will make it through. But be careful — keep an eye on them. Throw talent in at the deep end, but don’t let them drown, there should always be the support and teamwork there to ensure that people succeed.

5. Create a high-performance culture

Finally, create a high-performance culture where you can attract, retain, inspire and help to grow talent. How can you do that? Pisano described how to do this in his article The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures. In this articles, he describes six pillars necessary for a high-performance culture. VIE People has reinforced these pillars with additional text and explanations:

  • The “Willingness to Experiment” pillar cannot be achieved without rigorous discipline, which you achieve with a strong organizational model.
  • The “Tolerance for Failure” pillar cannot be achieved without intolerance for incompetence, which you achieve with a systematic approach.
  • The “Psychologically Safe” pillar cannot be achieved without honesty and sincerity, which you achieve with a feedback culture.
  • The “Collaboration” pillar cannot be achieved without individual accountability, which you achieve via stimulating processes.
  • The “Flat Organizational Structure” pillar cannot be achieved without strong leadership, which you achieve with clarity of vision, purpose, core values and ownership.
  • The “Successful Entrepreneur” pillar cannot be achieved without dedication to learning, which you achieve by developing both hard and soft skills.

In conclusion: Five extra tips for great talent management!

  1. Be strict about non-performance: Set clear goals, be clear about performance standards and take action to achieve them.
  2. Don’t accept sloppiness: Without intervention non-performance will never disappear.
  3. Feedback is key: Create a culture where (peer-to-peer) feedback is normal and accepted.
  4. Build your culture: Focus on building a strong organizational culture and core values.
  5. Work on yourself and your business in five different areas: organization, processes and systems (HR tools), individuals, networks and culture.

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