Talent Management: Tips to Ensure you Have the Right Talent and Use it Well

Jonathan Potter

by Jonathan Potter

Former Executive Director of People In Aid.

That manager sitting in the corner of your office: is he any good? New research from Gallup says there is, frighteningly, only a 10% chance of that (though slightly higher if the manager is female). And this is because employers select managers with the right talent in just 18% of their appointments. Gallup’s key word in this worrying failure is talent: you need to appoint a manager based on their talent as a manager, not because of past successes, their technical excellence or as a reward for long service.

That manager sitting in the corner of your office: is he any good? New research from Gallup says there is, frighteningly, only a 10% chance of that (though slightly higher if the manager is female). And this is because employers select managers with the right talent in just 18% of their appointments. Gallup’s key word in this worrying failure is talent: you need to appoint a manager based on their talent as a manager, not because of past successes, their technical excellence or as a reward for long service.

What are the talents of ideal managers according to Gallup? They are assertive and focused on their accountability, they are motivators and relationship-builders, unbiased in their decision-making and bold in managing performance.

For appointments, the recommendations from Gallup are to use a talent-based strategy, to provide adequate learning opportunities, even to good managers, and to grow rather than promote. Making existing managers into better ones comes from connecting them well to the organisation so they are aware of and feel part of the purpose and mission, prioritising learning and development, and emphasising their strengths even if it means changing their responsibilities and job description to use them better.

When they are in post talented managers are more engaged than others, are better ambassadors for their organisation and their work leads to large increases in, for a company, profitability and productivity. Since 70% of an employee’s level of engagement with their organisation is down to their manager, its important for staff that these appointments are the right ones.

This engagement and its impact on teams can be measured by a staff survey. As part of our support for members the CHS Alliance will soon be issuing a staff engagement survey that builds on the popular People In Aid resource and adapts it for the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS). This will not only give you indications of how engaged your staff are, and how well supported they feel, but also provide some baseline data for managers to study and work on with their teams.