It matters. Some go to war for it. Sports teams allocate players for it. Actors audition to show they have it. Others try to manage it. Some are endowed with it while others strive to earn it. All try to grow it. CEOs declare it as their top priority.
It is evolving into a science and a passion for leaders and managers. A multitude of programmes and investments have been made to attract, retain and upgrade talent. Yet it is easy for leaders to lose sight of the basics. There is a deceptively simple formula for talent that can help turn talent aspirations into actions: Talent = competence, commitment and contribution.
Competence means individuals have the knowledge, skills and values required for jobs. One company clarified competence as right skills, right place, right job, right time. To ensure competence, positions need to be matched to employees.
Position assessment means identifying key requirements of a position based on future customer, investor and strategic demands. These include technical, social and personal skills. Individual skills can be determined and matched against key positions to ensure people are in jobs where they can perform and grow.
Competence matters, but without commitment, it is discounted. Competent employees who are not committed are smart, but don’t work hard. Committed employees put in their time and do what they are asked.
Employee commitment is linked to delivering strategic goals and to customer commitment. In many companies, staff feel undervalued and uncommitted to do their best. The next generation of employees may be competent (able) and committed (willing), but unless they are making a real contribution through the work, their interest diminishes and their talent wanes. Contribution occurs when employees feel their personal needs are being met through their participation in their organization.
Organizations are the universal setting where individuals find abundance in their lives through their work and they want this investment of their time to be meaningful.
Contribution comes when employees move from behavioural commitment to emotional connection because they find a sense of meaning at work. For next-generation employees, contribution becomes important, especially when talented staff have choice over where they spend their professional time.
Competence deals with the head (being able), commitment with the hands and feet (being there) and contribution with the heart (simply being). The three terms are multiplicative, not additive. If any one is missing, the other two will not replace it. A low score in competence will not ensure talent even when the employee is engaged and contributing. Talented employees must have skills, wills and purposes; they must be capable, committed and contributing. A high scoren on the talent formula will engender sustained employee productivity that helps a firm deliver on strategic promises, serve customers and delight investors.
General managers are the owners of their organization’s talent. They are ultimately responsive for having the investment in employees’ competencies, delivering an employee value proposition and becoming meaning-makers.
Talented employees must have skills, wills and purposes…