Do the 'star performers' in your organisation really stack up?

In any organisation, one of the many key areas of focus for the HR and recruitment team is to attract, develop and retain its top talent. This becomes infinitely more important in a talent short market similar to the one we are currently experiencing within many sectors across Sydney and Melbourne. But how does an organisation best determine the talent needed in the business today, and what will be needed by the business in future?

‘But how does an organisation best determine the talent needed in the business… in future?’

Most organisations will review their people each year going through a process of ‘calibration’ or ‘bench-marking’ of talent internally. The more effective will revisit the process regularly, taking a continuous improvement approach to managing and developing their talent and talent pipeline, and arguably, see greater levels of success in their talent strategies as a result.

Although bench-marking is the subject of much debate among HR and line professionals, the process of bench-marking remains the dominant way organisations identify the breadth of talent and any gaps in their business. The process will highlight some employees as being high performers or exceptional, and by definition are the ‘exceptions’; some at the other end of the spectrum that will be considered low performers; and then there is a majority in the middle who will vary in competence and potential, but are on the whole good.

It is not until an organisation benchmarks the talent within their business, with available talent …that they start to build a comprehensive view of performance.

The challenge with bench-marking using the bell curve approach is that there will always be higher performers, average performers and lower performers.  It is not until an organisation benchmarks the talent within their business, with available talent on the market, that they start to build a comprehensive view of performance.

Organisations that are more successful at not only attracting, but developing and retaining exceptional talent for example, will see a similar talent curve when bench-marking talent, but in comparison to other organisations, overall calibre of talent will be higher. In fact, one organisation’s ‘low performers’ may be more effective than another’s ‘high performers’.

‘…one organisation’s low performers may be more effective than another’s high performers.‘

But without looking at talent through both an internal and an external lens, you would never actually know where you stand from a talent perspective. This ‘need to know’ is what is driving organisations to take a hybrid approach to reviewing and managing their talent – first bench-marking talent internally; then partnering with external resources to review talent in the context of the broader talent market.

Taking a hybrid approach to talent not only reduces risks in the talent identification and acquisition process, it enables organisations to make more informed decisions about talent needs moving forward.

With a clear picture of the entire talent landscape, internally and externally, locally and internationally, HR recruitment teams are better able to focus on developing the real talent, as well as talent pipe-lining for the future.

‘A hybrid approach enables organisations that ‘hire for the next level’’

In particular, it enables organisations that ‘hire for the next level’ to see much improved longer-term attrition rates than those accustomed to hiring for the ‘here and now’. Having a clear picture enables a skilled hiring manager to visualise a candidate’s future potential, rather than the role they have applied for.

This level of talent visibility and talent alignment to business objectives also opens the eyes of organisations to considering talent that ‘challenges the status quo’; actively seeking talent from beyond their sector and outside of the industry altogether to build the right mix of talent to support a growth mindset.

So whether you are a team of 10 or a team of 1,000, it is worth considering what taking a hybrid approach to bench-marking talent could do for your business.

How do you determine the talent your business needs today and what will be needed in future?

Richard Wynn is Managing Partner at FutureYou Executive Recruitment and can be contacted at or 0448 416 172.

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