circumstances, prioritizing training and development needs can be
daunting for any HR professional. Undertaking that task amid seismic
market disruptions can be nothing short of overwhelming.
The talent development decisions you make now are critical. The
current, dynamic business environment is creating an enormous demand
for new skills and capabilities. At the same time, organizations are
struggling to source and cultivate talent internally. To effectively
manage these challenges, HR leaders need data and insights to make
smart, informed investments that align with internal strategic
objectives and external macro-economic forces.
Investing in the development of your talent is essential. And yet,
how much do you know about it?
Your talent not only represents the single largest line item in your
operating budget, it’s also the single largest factor that will
determine your business’s growth potential. And yet, how much do you
really know about your existing talent and what learning
opportunities they need to meet the increasing demands on your
organization? What you don’t know about your talent today ultimately
will hurt you in the future.
Strategic talent assessment creates objective, actionable insights
that help inform targeted investments throughout the talent
lifecycle, taking the guessing out of talent and development
Assessment use is not limited to the recruitment and hiring process
While assessments often are associated with the recruitment process,
forward-thinking organizations use them to create insights throughout
the employment lifecycle. Talent assessment results provide
invaluable input into defining, planning, and prioritizing activities
around training, development, and hiring that can ultimately help
align your talent and business strategies.
Here are three ways assessments can help you define and prioritize
talent development needs in your organization.
1. Reveal strengths and development opportunities in existing talent.
If your current method for analyzing development needs is to
rely on the opinions of managers and leaders, then it's time to shift
your approach. While this input can be helpful, it also tends to be
reactive, biased, and not future-focused. Simply put, it is
inappropriate to rely on the gut feeling of managers for informed
decisions about broader development needs within your organization.
Systematic use of talent assessment yields an objective picture of
your workforce that allows you to determine how well aligned it is
with the current and future needs of your business. With these
insights in hand, you can get the most from each person’s day-to-day
performance, prioritize talent development efforts in areas where it
is truly needed and avoid spending time and money in areas where you
already have substantial strength.
2. Fill key talent gaps. Effectively anticipating and satisfying the
demand for new and different skills required to meet business needs
is already a mission-critical priority for HR leaders. Talent
assessment helps you address this challenge by:
• Identifying future skill gaps within the workforce;
• Determining whether the organization has enough existing talent to
meet future needs, and;
• Highlighting the extent to which external hiring will be required
to fill critical gaps.
If your organization lacks sufficient staff to develop, or if the
skills your organization needs do not lend themselves to development
efforts, you may be best served to hire from outside the
organization. Taking such an approach to quantifying talent through assessment
allows you to create long-term strategies to ensure you always know
how to find and deploy the right talent, whether it is sourced
internally or externally.
3. Identify high-potentials and future-ready leaders. How often have
you seen investments in high-potential and leadership programs
wasted—or worse—the people you just invested in walk out the door? To
get the most out of talent development investments, you must identify
the right talent to drive your organization in meeting its near- and
long-term business goals.
Ensuring you identify and develop the right future leaders to drive
your business ahead requires understanding the difference between
high-performers and high-potentials. High performers are vital to the
organization and drive results within their current roles. High
potentials, on the other hand, have specific attributes that allow
them to advance to more senior leadership roles. Assessments can help
identify both high performers and high potentials. More importantly,
it will tell you how to make best use of them going forward into the
For example, assessment data allows you to thoughtfully plan how to
best leverage your high potentials’ existing critical capabilities
and expertise, while identifying development paths for those who may
require further training to meet future strategic needs.
Whether you are feeling uncertain about your talent development plan
for next year or just unsure what skills your people have and need,
talent assessment will enable you to make confident, evidence-based
Talent assessment produces objective evidence about where to make the
most impactful talent development investments, where you can save on
those efforts, and also, how to quickly find talent who will drive
your organization’s success.
Even if you have started your 2021 talent development plan, adding
assessments to the mix can reveal new ways to refine and prioritize
needs within that plan and maximize your ability to help drive your
organization’s growth and on-going success.