The term talent development is becoming increasingly popular in organisations. But what is meant by talent development? What is talent? How can talent be recognised? How can talent be developed?
Talent can be viewed as what is ‘latent’ in an individual. Latent is an anagram of ‘talent’ and implies that an individual’s full potential has not yet been demonstrated or exhibited. If the potential were to be developed then the person would perform their role or a higher level role with a much higher level of skill and competency.
Talent development encompasses a variety of components such as career development, career management, organisational development, and training and development interventions.
Talent development aims firstly to identify those individuals who demonstrate an above normal level of aptitude at performing tasks or activities, appropriate to the role in a skilled manner. These persons however are considered to have a much greater potential to achieve significantly more than their current level. If the individual were to receive the right experience, learn further skills required to progress, acquire additional knowledge, understanding and abilities, then their performance and overall capability would flourish and they could achieve more of their perceived potential.
Spotting talent can be assisted with assessments such as 360 degree assessments and feedback, psychometric assessments and performance monitoring and feedback on a planned basis. The key is providing a useful level of feedback so that the individual becomes more self aware of their talents, potential and results.
Talent development implies that having spotted the latent talent, you engage the person in a longer process of learning, acquiring skills or knowledge; using different means such as training, coaching, formal and informal interventions, education or planned experience and ‘on the job’ learning. This blend of development opportunities needs to be selected for each individual, as it will be different for each person. However the objectives for the development needs to be related to the potential future roles that the individual will play, and to be aligned to the organisation’s needs and business strategy.
One of the most useful and popular methods of learning is ‘on the job training’, because it is seen to be immediately relevant. But those who manage this training whether work colleagues or managers, need to understand how to support the new learning to ensure that it is effective and inhibiting habits or practises are not carried on. In particular they need to ensure that the talent development trainees are able to practice what they have learned immediately so they don’t forget. Also, that the instruction to foster development is paced to suit the individual’s progress, to avoid information overload. Again good quality feedback must be given to encourage the trainee in their development towards achieving their planned developmental targets.
It is with this in mind, that we approach designing and implementing a Talent Development Programme for our clients. Having completed several such 12- 15 month programmes, it is gratifying to note not only the growth, development and even promotion of some of the members of the cadre, but unanticipated growth and development of team members around or reporting to them. We call this Development Alchemy!
8 September 2014