Well, we are at the mid-year already. Which means a few things from a human capital perspective. Talent review season is here along with mid-year reviews. Strike up the band, the parade of futility is about to begin!
For those of you following this blog, you know where I stand on our performance management practices. For those of you reading for the first time, let me just say that they are antiquated at best. I would estimate that 85% of companies still force them onto employees and teach their managers to be talking heads, ready to critique every move you make. All with the intended purpose of checking a box, saying a few nice things and then moving on. For most of my career in corporate America, these conversations have been a joke.
However, I do believe strongly in the talent review process. I think it should be more transparent across the board, but I think that this process must be fairly sound. The core of any successful review rests in the foundational processes used to bring leaders up to speed on what’s expected, the language that needs to be used, the definitions used for high potential, how the organization defines a person as ready now for more responsibility, and the commitment to action an organization is willing to make.
Action coming out of the review is critical. It’s great to identify and discuss who you’re top talent is in any organization. But taking action to prepare them for broader and more complex roles is where the rubber meets the road. I’ve sat in numerous discussions where talent is discussed, potential next steps are laid out, but twelve months later nothing has happened. The manager did not have a meaningful discussion with the employee about their performance. This then leaves the employee unaware of where thy fit within the succession planning efforts. Worse, the employee has not been told of the potential the organization sees in them.
All too often, I’ve seen this scathing lack of action and commitment come back to bite the organization. The star employee doesn’t know where she stands. She loves the organization, and her work … but she’s not willing to wait around to be told of her worth. And because you’re not committed to an action, she decides to jump. And she should!
What I’ve found in most organizations, is a lack of communication from the talent management leaders about how to have these essential action conversations. There’s a lack of consensus on what, when, and how to talk to your employees, so managers tend to shy away, not knowing what they can or can’t share.
It’s this lack of clarity that creates confusion and mismanagement. So work to get your process down and be sure to align on actions and next steps. Don’t let the sky go dark in your organization as your brightest stars move to another sky.