New Take on Developing Employees and Managing Performance

Demystifying Talent Management

Why is it that lack of direction, lack of development, lack of good coaching and feedback, and poor work environments appear as major areas of concern on survey after survey completed by employees? Author Kimberly Janson, in her new book, Demystifying Talent Management, offers the answers, and they often come down to lack of skill and lack of will.

“Lack of will is the easiest to deal with,” says Janson. “If a manager, HR person, or senior leader doesn’t desire to do everything in their power to help employees reach their potential, they need to get out of their job immediately.” For those with the will but not the skill, the solution is also straightforward, says Janson. “Managing employees and developing them is a science. Unfortunately, most managers haven’t been afforded the opportunity to develop this skill set to the level needed to be successful. Good talent management isn’t hard, but takes commitment.” Janson notes that whether you work for a large or small business, there are many myths, gaps in knowledge or skills, and roadblocks that stand in the way of helping employees be the best they can be. This book shows leaders and managers how to deal with those challenges.

Long-term business success only happens when companies truly get the people piece right. Janson argues that managers need to have five big conversations with their employees throughout the year, and she notes that it’s shocking how often these conversations aren’t done well or aren’t done at all. The five conversations are:

  • The “What You Need to Do” Conversation – Work with employees to set clear performance expectations and goals. They need to know what success looks like.
  • The “How You Are Doing” Conversation – Assess how employees are doing regarding their commitments and what needs adjusting. Provide feedback and coaching where needed.
  • The “How You Did” Conversation – Address whether employees delivered on their commitments. Did they do more? Less?
  • The “Money” Conversation – Use incentives to motivate employees and reward them appropriately.
  • The “How You Need to Grow” Conversation – Work on developing employees and help them build plans for their growth.

Getting talent management right is not a “nice-to-do” set of activities but a strategic business imperative. Janson says that talent management activities need to be viewed from all perspectives – employees, managers, HR, CEOs, senior leaders – to get superior results. “It’s no longer acceptable to torture employees and managers with ‘death by 1,000 HR cuts,’ where people experience a long line of unrelated HR-type activities that hold little long-term value. By taking a 360-degree point of view, you’ll understand how other stakeholders view talent management elements, what they need from each element, and what confusion and conflicts arise among the stakeholders, limiting people’s potential. This integrated approach results in superior results and well-developed employees.”

Kim Janson is the CEO of Janson Associates, a firm dedicated to unleashing people’s potential. She has 20+ years experience working in over 40 countries in senior roles such as the Chief Talent Management Officer at the H.J. Heinz Company, Senior VP Leadership Development at Bank of America, and a senior leader at Hasbro, BancBoston Mortgage, and Bank of Boston. Kim also currently coaches for the Harvard Business School.

Demystifying Talent Management is available from most online and storefront bookstores.

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