A Manager’s Guide to Identifying Talent in the Workplace

identify talent

As rewarding as recruitment can be, it can take a lot to find that perfect candidate. You can go through tens, if not hundreds, of candidates and still have no guarantee that you’ll find the right person. Add the fact that the whole process costs HR departments a lot of resources and makes it harder to drive productivity within the company, and you’ve got a pretty daunting set up.

Or, rather, you would have a pretty daunting setup if it wasn’t for the fact that the solution could be right under your nose… or just a few desks away.

We understand that recruitment is always going to be a need for businesses looking to grow, but when you’ve already got a talented pool of successful people that you’ve spent time recruiting and training up, why not use that investment? 

Today, we’re going to go through how you as a manager can recognise and nurture the talent that’s already in your workplace, rather than spending all of your time and money looking for new hires. 

Suggested reading: Want to learn more about award winning employee development resources? Check out our eBook – Connectors of People: The Future of Management in the Workplace

Prioritise talent mapping

A big part of identifying talent is understanding what you need, so you know exactly what you’re looking for.

You might encounter desirable skills as a fluke. Choosing to support their development and find a place for them within your team can be a really useful thing. However, if you want to support stable growth for all your employees and teams, you need to continually seek out the skills you really need. Working out what you need gives you a framework for identifying and developing the talent that already exists in your company.

Talent mapping is the process of proactively identifying the gaps your team will have down the line, and ensuring you place top talent in the right roles so they’re in the best position to counteract these gaps when the time comes. By planning for the future, you can identify the skills that your current senior management team have that you’d like to propagate, and the skills gaps that exist that you need to fill with the saplings of fresh new leaders.

This ensures that by the time your potential candidates fill the role, they’re equipped to manage a team in a systematic and efficient way that boosts productivity. They have the right personality traits and effective talent — after a bit of talent development and management, because let’s face it, no one’s perfect — to not only join seamlessly into your leadership team, but to help drive them to higher levels of employee performance.

Doing this can also improve employee satisfaction as they’re getting the chance to improve their skill set as well as build towards an eventual promotion. This further helps to boost employee retention: people are more likely to remain loyal if they feel valued, and a good way to show someone they’re valued is to invest in their development.

Have open conversations with your team

In order to identify talent and foster it, you have to have open conversations with your team to understand them better and learn what their goals are.

You might have someone in your marketing team who’s a really good designer, but there were no openings for that role when they initially applied. Now, you need a designer, and that’s a skill they’d like to develop and dedicate more time to.

But how do you know that? Does your overall employee development program promote you having these kinds of open conversations – or is it really all about ticking off performance management boxes?

This means more than just a passive ‘open door’ policy, slapped on top of a performance management procedure. An active leader is someone who creates opportunities for their team to speak about the directions they want to go in.

In order to grow those skill sets, and ultimately develop and retain the people you loved at first hire, you need to offer training that they want to do, and that they can do in their own time.

Finding a solution that empowers both your employees’ talents and your ability to develop said talent can be tricky. But video training can bring you the best of both worlds.

Video content has been proven to be more effective and engaging than traditional learning methods: presentations that include visuals and video are 9% easier to remember compared to those that just use text. When you have training material that’s guaranteed to actively help your learners grow, you can spend more of your valuable time identifying areas of growth and improvement across your workforce — as well as actually use that content yourself to grow as a manager.

Plus, with the right provider, you can have the option to tailor your training content to you and your employees’ specific needs and skill sets through bespoke offers. This is a worthwhile investment for any business, as you’re creating a more productive team at an affordable price point, offering massive ROI.

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Leave the door open 

Workplace training is often only offered once talent has been identified. There’s actually great benefit in doing the opposite: offering training to the wider workforce (while still focusing attention on those you’ve already identified talent in) and leaving the door open for people to engage and take up said offer. 

For example, you might offer a leadership training course to an entire team. Some people might find it tricky or not helpful to them, and will tell you they have little intention of going for a leadership role down the line. At the same time, some people might find it really engaging, and will tell you they’d like to do further training to learn leadership and management skills in a particular area.

This helps you identify leadership talent, and isn’t wasted on the people who don’t put their hands up at the end of the session — as you can use the conversations you have around training to work out that their true passion lies in another field you can help with, such as back-end administration.

The point is to take that first step and let your employees know that they always have the opportunity to expand and develop their talents with your support. Otherwise, it can be all too easy for them to get caught up in the day-to-day of their roles and forget about the bigger picture: which is where you come in.

High potential, or high performance?

This is a tricky question for many managers to answer. Your gut response is always to identify the highest-performing candidates as leadership material, because they show the best results in their work on a daily basis. However, high performance isn’t the same as high leadership potential.

High-performance employees are great to keep an eye on for hard skill development, such as that secret designer we met earlier. But, for leadership development, you need to dedicate more time and attention to high-potential employees:

  • These are the people who are always helping their colleagues out, good at explaining complex subject matter, conscientious, and curious.
  • They can be cultivated into well-rounded leaders through upskilling and reskilling, rather than expecting them to be perfectly qualified from the outset.

Acknowledging this difference is key to identifying talent and ensuring that you’re encouraging growth towards the right roles for the right people. This then ensures you’re making conscious investments in your learning and development strategy, giving the right people the training they need to do the best possible job.

Video Arts can help you drive your talent management

Beyond helping your HR teams save on time and money, finding and supporting talent within your office helps improve employee morale and satisfaction in the long run. But that kind of development requires valuable training content that you can trust will engage your learners and can be customised to your specific talent management strategies. That’s where we come in.

Video Arts’ workplace training is a versatile, comfortable, and accessible way to upskill and cross-skill employees. Once you identify talent, you can nurture it and grow a skilled, diverse workforce. Our wide range of video-led collections can be accessed by employees across all stages of learning and development, so that they can train as and when they need to.

Book a trial today to get a taste of our award-winning content.


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