Developing top talent: Success lies in your stars – suggest Personio’s Talent Enablement Lead, Maria Wurzer

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Nurturing talent and placing people in the right places, at the right time are critical moves these days. As employees are continuing to leave organisations, companies have to find strategies to develop their own stars.

As companies move out of the great resignation towards the great escape, talent has become critical more than ever. Companies require game-changers who can make a difference in organisations through their ideas, innovation, energy and productivity. On the market, data is indicating that 63% of employers are failing to recruit the skilled talent that they need. 90% of businesses are currently suffering from skills shortages, retention or hiring issues. 46% of employees are planning to look for new jobs. Given this scenario, Maria Wurzer (From Personio– A leading HR technology firm) believes that the way to success is to develop talent from within who will help businesses to navigate through the great escape. 

On 7 April 2022, the global HR community met to get insights from Dave Forman who is the author of Fearless HR and Fearless talent choices, Lisbeth Claus (Professor Emerita Willamette University, Visiting Professor at Pforzheim University), Maria Wurzer (Lead Talent Enablement & Operations From Personio– A leading HR technology firm) and Mihaly Nagy ( Partner, Head of Content at The HR Congress). The webinar was titled, “Talent @ Work: Reimagining Talent Management in the new, Hybrid World of Work.”  1

This write up draws up lessons and inspiration from Maria Wurzer’s insightful presentation. 

Maria Wurzer, Lead Talent Enablement & Operations, Personio

Why developing your talent matters

Managing talent attrition caused by the great resignation 

The great resignation is a prediction that was made by Professor Antony Klotz that employees would leave their jobs in the aftermath of the pandemic as life returned to normalcy. 2 Research by McKinsey and Company are large because they are upset with their current employers that there are better opportunities in the market and that they are exhausted. 3

About 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. 4More and more talent want to leave their jobs in search of greener pastures and taking career breaks. Research by Personio indicates that about 46% of employees are currently planning to look for new jobs. This leaves a huge gap for employers to fill. Yet the labour market does not have the right skills which businesses require. Given such a scenario, the answer is to develop top stars internally. 

Talent has become highly nomadic 

Talent has become highly nomadic. People are leaving jobs for better conditions which offer better salaries and greater flexibility.5 More and more talent is going independent where they have control of how they work and where they work. 6

Building loyal employees

Developing talent from within helps to build more loyalty and commitment within the business. As indicated by the research by McKinsey and Company, employees are leaving the world of work because they are upset of uncaring employers. Employees are more likely to stay provided that the employer provides learning opportunities for them. The psychological contract has changed and employees now expect more from their employers. They expect an employer who is caring and concerned about their personal development. 3

Stars make the difference 

Individual brilliance helps businesses to solve complex problems. Individual stars can help companies to win and push through difficult situations. Whilst not everyone can be a star, a company cannot survive without stars. Stars should be in positions that are critical and flexible for them to innovate and generate value. A company still needs to decide the ratio between the stars and the right talent. Having too many stars can create an unproductive scenario where stars compete for recognition and attention. More so stars know that they are stars and they are in great demand. Therefore they are unlikely to stay forever in your company provided they find the environment no longer conducive for them to grow and thrive. A ratio of 30% stars and 70% stars is advisable but companies can select what works best for them. 1

Internally developed talent understand the company’s philosophy and culture

Internally developed stars are likely to be more loyal to the brand than those who were developed elsewhere. They understand the company deeply and are more committed to the organisation. They understand the company’s philosophy and culture more than externally developed stars. This is because they were natured and developed to suit what the organisation that developed them wants. 

The book, The Barcelona way takes us back to the year 2008 when Barcelona Football club was failing to win any major trophies despite having an expensive squad made of stars. The solution they came up was to appoint a Barcelona Football legend, Pep Guardiola who was coaching Barcelona’s lower division B team. Guardiola believed in the La masia project which was made up of internally developed talent who started in the Barcelona’s system from as young as and nine years latter Barcelona established a formidable team in world football. They won seven league titles, three European cups and three world championships within those nine years. During Guardiola’s reigns, Barcelona won 14 out of a possible 19 titles. 7 The Barcelona success under Pep Guardiola and the La Masia project has been used as a blue print on talent development in sports and business. It shows how internal talent development strategies can yield a positive return on investment and alignment with the company’s philosophy and culture. 

Developing your talent 

  1. Develop your Employer Value Proposition

In order to enable companies to develop its own stars, it needs a compelling reason to bring on board High-Potentials into the companies. In order to attain this companies should have a good Employer Value Proposition (EVP) to be able to showcase the value that they offer to employees. When developing an EVP, there is need to be authentic and realistic. Employers should deliver what they promise.1 

  1. Talent pools can become  game-changer

Talent pools offer a great source of developing top talent and a game-changer in your struggles with talent pipelines.  A talent pool is a database of candidates that may help an organisation to achieve its long-term objectives. These talent pools are usually stored in an electronic format for easy access. They form ‘talent reservoir of internal and external talent’ where an organisation can always refer to each time they want to fill a position. More so they allow an organisation to be able to track the development of such talent by having them in their database. 8

When working on talent pools, Talent leaders should define what talent pools are based on their hiring needs. This is critical as it guides the path to follow as a business. They should also understand the demand and supply of skills on the market. Which skills and talent is in high supply versus those that in short supply? Which talent is in high demand? Generally talent that is in high demand and short supply should be developed internally. Companies can thus develop their talent through talent pools and create a strong talent bench for the organisation. 

  1. Lead through data

Data should guide decisions that are made relating the development of talent from identifying to talent development. Various sources of data can help talent leaders to make solid decisions. For example employee performance data can help to identify top stars within a business. Psychometric test data can help a company to spot top talent. There are various digital tools that can help talent leaders to store and analyse such data. 

  1. Retain your stars

You should not always be a training ground for competition. It takes a huge investment in time, effort and financial resources to develop talent. It is critical for a company to be able to retain its stars and talent.  High performing companies rely heavily on retaining talent in order to maintain high performance. In this new era of BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear and Incomprehensible), to retain talent and top stars, companies need to focus on creating a flexible work environment, work to life balance, career flexibility and personalised experiences.  The COVID 19 pandemic and recent world developments have taught us the power of human-centred leadership. To retain top talent and stars, companies need to have a human-centred approach because employees remember the way employers treat them in good and bad times. 9

  1. Set goals and be able to monitor them 

When developing talent, be able to create a talent development plan and set goals. After setting goals and go ahead to achieve them. Goals give a sense of direction and a sense of measurement. These goals can be both qualitative and quantitative in nature. It is always important to have a direction of what you want to be and how you are going to be what you want to be.1

Your goals should be focused on addressing a problem that will be existing within your business. For example, your business would have identified that that there is a skills shortage of competent software engineers with Java script skills. How do you close that gap? Your goal will be to close that gap. Analysing your internal set up, you may have ten software engineers. Of those ten software engineers, only four of them might be having java script skills. You also realise that the business is fast developing new products and will be introducing new at least five new products every year. All these new products and services require new software to support it. 

The current Software engineering team is overwhelmed with projects.  What sort of objectives that are Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timeous (SMART) will you create? What sort of programs will you create? What will be the objectives of the programs that you would have created?   

In conclusion, as we move out of the great resignation towards the great escape, talent has become critical for every business organisation. Employees are continuing to leave organisations. Companies have to find strategies to attract the right skills and develop the right talent. In this scenario, developing your own stars is one best ways to navigate the Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear and Incomprehensible (BANI) world that we find ourselves in right now.10

1Talent@Work – Reimagining Talent Management, by HR Congress

2What is ‘The Great Resignation’? An expert explains, by Abhinav Chugh, World Economic Forum

3 Gone for now, or gone for good? How to play the new talent game and win back workers, by  Aaron De Smet, Bonnie Dowling, Marino Mugavar-Baldocchi and Bill Schaninger, McKinsey and Company

4Job openings and labor turnover summary, by US Bureau of labour statistics, US Government

5From VUCA to BANI: Five key HR issues to deal with for HR teams today

6Gig economy, by Ben Lutkevich and Alexander S. Gillis, What IS

7The Barcelona Way: Unlocking the DNA of a Winning Culture, by Damian Hughes, Macmillian 

8How Do You Build Talent Pools for Your Organisation?, by Personio, Personio

9Employee Retention: Strategies to Help Employees Stick Around, by Personio, Personio

10 Facing the Age of Chaos, by Jamais Cascio, Medium

Written by: Mihaly Nagy

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