There are quite a few talent management interventions that we’ve started to take for granted, like talent pools, talent reviews and talent boards (Bryan, Joyce, 2007).

The questions is whether these interventions are really effective. By effective we mean: “do they really help to get talent into the key positions that require their unique skills?” One key element can be used to describe all three of the interventions that we’ve just mentioned. In each and every one of them people talk about other people or read what people have written about other people.

Is this indirect and very verbal / intellectual experience of talent effective in placing them in the right position? At ROI on Talent we’re driven by the idea that direct, first hand, hands-on, real-life experience of talent in your organisation, division, organisation, team or branch is far more effective in matching talents and challenges, rather than just talking about them.

In an earlier blog we’ve made the case for talent to do assignments beside their regular job. This infrastructure is an absolute requirement to get this kind of real-life, firsthand experience with talents in your own division, organisation, department or team. If we keep talents locked in into their regular jobs, assignments, jobs, projects and give them no opportunity for challenges on the side, we miss, we think, a huge opportunity for effective talent reviews. If this isn’t argument enough, take a moment to consider Clay Shirky’s (2010) Cognitive Surplus: we’re wasting talent by keeping people locked into full-time jobs, talents hold a huge cognitive surplus that can benefit organisations immensely.

Try to picture that for a moment: the potential that talent may hold in getting an experience of having them work for you, before you decide to promote them or hire them into your team.

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Kind regards, Evert Pruis and Wendy Twisk ROI on Talent