Two Talent Metrics Matter Most | The Talent Strategy Group

Talent Management

This article by Marc Effron discusses two crucial questions for evaluating an organization’s ability to create value through talent: 1) Is your organization able to sustain individual high performance? 2) Do you have appropriate talent depth in your most important roles? Regarding the first question, Marc highlights three scientifically validated enablers of performance: 1) effective goal setting involving clear cascades, concise objectives, and ambitious goals; 2) transparent coaching; and 3) establishing accountability for performance-driving behaviors. Concerning talent depth— having “ready within 6 months” leaders for vital roles—strategies include identifying pivotal roles with significant strategic impact and accurately assessing individual potential based on cognitive abilities, personality traits, and motivation—criteria backed by research. Drawing on my role as an internal HR practitioner, a recurring challenge in identifying critical roles is when assessors attempt to evaluate roles using less valid criteria, such as 1) job level (e.g., executive); role criticality is agnostic of level. 2) how difficult a role is to recruit for (a role can be challenging to fill but may not be critical); 3) the incumbent rather than the role’s impact on organizational value. Also, assessors need to be reminded that a role deemed critical may not maintain its criticality, as criticality can shift with evolving business strategies. As Marc states, “You can use the critical role definition that works best for your organization, but it should cover any role where an unplanned departure would cause meaningful financial, operational, or reputational challenges.”