Making best use of your key talent

October 6, 2015

Multiethnic Arms Raised Holding Text TalentSometimes businesses may not recognise their key talent until it is no longer there and then they realise how difficult it is going to be to replace.  So knowing how to manage them is just as essential to the success of a business as looking after your high-fliers.

Those with ‘key talent’ will stay in a role for a while, have technical knowledge or skills specific to your business, and have individual key talent, e.g. special relationship with a client.  So how can you best manage, develop and retain them?

  • The first thing you need to do is identify who they are.  This can be done through your performance review process (appraisal), or simply by recognising who is a specialist and does a good job for you.  The fact that you value their performance needs to be communicated to them so they feel appreciated and are more motivated, if possible let other people know the contribution they are making to your business.
  • Key talent can be more difficult to develop because of their more specialised roles.  You may need to consider training/membership of professional bodies, or cross-team working where they may be able to add value to both the team and the business.
  • Rewarding key talent can often be difficult, especially in the current economic climate.  However, there may be things you can do which don’t have a monetary value, e.g. agree for them to attend/speak at exhibitions/conferences, be recognised internally, be given more responsibility, coach/mentor others, etc.
  • Although key talent is often an expert in their field it is important that they also understand and are involved in the wider objectives of the business, perhaps by involving them in cross-business projects or tasks.  It’s important that you make the best use of them by ensuring regular interaction with the rest of the business, but you also must ensure their needs are being met.
  • Key talent can often take with them when they leave skills, knowledge and experience that no-one left behind has, and that can leave a gaping hole in a business’ ability to achieve its objectives as well as previously.  So businesses need to try to mitigate this risk by encouraging networking opportunities so key talent can share their knowledge. This may have to be done by formal training, or by coaching and mentoring.
  • Senior managers need to support these processes as do ‘hipos’ (high potentials earmarked for promotion) – they all need to be educated in the value of key talent so that it is engaged and retained for the benefit of both that team member and the business as a whole.

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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