[Ask HR] How Do You Identify Key Talent in the Workplace?

Ask HR is a series of online articles consisting of answers to most commonly asked questions by Business Owners, Executives, Internal HR Teams, Managers, Job Seekers and HR Students.  For more information on the format, Ask HR Series and how to submit your questions, please follow this link: Ask HR

One of the most common questions Managers and Business Owners ask:

How Do You Identify Key Talent in the Workplace?

It is important to define talent within an organization as it will be different for different organizations:

Key talent just doesn’t mean the managers and supervisors…it can be the maintenance mechanic for example, who has the ability/vision to diagnose a mechanical problem and develop a plan to correct the problem and also have the hands on ability to carry through with the fix.  I think that it is unlikely that a maintenance mechanic wants to become an executive.

No company can operate with just managers and supervisors and executives….there have to be key talented people within the ranks of employees.

The point I’m making is that there are key players at ALL levels in an organization not just at the managerial level….the tendency is to focus on management but we need to broaden our focus to all levels.

Brian Moore, HR Director

Performance issues in my experience is 90% attitude; with the right attitude, skill gaps are more easily closed (because the person wants to improve and has ambition).  With the right work ethic and attitude, you’ll often find a superstar.  Key skills – humility, informal leadership (who cares about titles), hunger for success (ambition).

Michelle Ventrella, HR Director

Self awareness:  I believe if someone exhibits this trait they are likely be open to constructive feedback, other people’s point of view and can self reflect on areas where they could improve for future.  The ability to understand other view points is critical if the role requires influential skills (ie management/leadership).

Time management and priority setting:  There is always too much to get done.  So what I look for is someone who can identify priorities and focus on actions that provide value.  Perhaps even the ability to eliminate non-essential tasks and make efficiency gains in the workplace.

Conversation skills:  This is a lost art.

Sarah Chapman, HR Director

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