A Definitive Guide to Implementing a Talent Review Process

Supriya Saxena

Supriya Saxena

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 23, 2021

It’s easy to find which employees are performing their job well and which ones aren’t. Unfortunately, these standard performance criteria aren’t enough to drive your organization forward. In fact, only 5% of HR leaders are satisfied with performance reviews. 

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It’s essential to delve deeper into your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and how they can be a potential asset to your organization. Let’s discuss how you can conduct a successful talent review process and identify high potential employees. 

What Is a Talent Review?

A talent review is an in-person or virtual meeting in which business leaders assess employees across the organization on their performance, future potential, and scope for improvement. 

The purpose of a talent management review is to help companies discover talent gaps, identify talented employees, devise talent management strategies, and make informed decisions. Here are some reasons why every company should prioritize talent reviews. 

  • Boost bench strength
  • Demonstrate talent agility
  • Retain talent and reduce turnover
  • Cultivate growth opportunities
  • Identify and nurture future innovators and leaders
  • Adapt to changes and new mindsets

As an organization grows, maintaining focus towards a unified objective can be difficult. Talent review enables you and your team to adopt a talent-focused mindset. It encourages leaders to see employees as “talent” and not individuals filling roles. This approach paves the way for organizational growth. 

At the end of a talent review, you rate your employees on one of the following scales:

  • Below Expectations: Employees that rank at the bottom 25% of the organization fall on this scale. They should either be put on a performance improvement plan (PIP) or terminated. 
  • Meets Expectations: These employees fall in the 25-50% percentile of employees. While they’re not performing below expectations, they have a lot of scope for improvement. 
  • Exceeds Expectations: These employees fall in the 50-75% percentile employees. They are performing great and need consistent nurturing. 
  • Far Exceeds Expectations: These are the top 25% of your employees in terms of performance. They have had an outsized impact on your organization. 
  • Elite Performance: The top 5% of your employees will fall in this category. They are your best performers and should be considered for future roles. 

Who Should Perform the Talent Review Process?

Ideally, senior executives and business leaders should perform the talent review process. However, the size and members of the review team will depend on the size and type of your organization. Let’s say you’re a small organization with 10-12 employees. In such a setting, you don’t need any senior executives or leaders. You can conduct the process yourself. 

As the organization’s size increases and new departments form, getting visibility into each employee’s performance isn’t possible. Here’s when you can appoint department heads and senior managers. As your organization grows further, you might need to appoint junior managers and team leaders. 

All business leaders, senior executives, and managers who have visibility into employees’ performance should be a part of the talent review process

How Do You Establish Criteria for Your Talent Review?

Look at talent review examples, and you’ll find one thing in common. They all have a set of recruitment metrics. No two companies are the same. All of them have unique objectives and challenges, and hence, the criteria for talent review will be different for each company. 

However, there are some talent management review criteria that are common for all businesses. These include:

1. Ability to Handle Pressure

Pressure brings the best out of some employees and breaks down the others. Identify employees that flourish under pressure. 

2. Problem Solving

Find employees that are always looking for ways to solve problems instead of bringing every small matter to their seniors. 

3. Decision Making

Has the employee shown that he or she can make crucial decisions? Find employees with amazing analytical skills. 

4. Proven Leadership

Identify employees with proven leadership skills. Can they inspire others and be the leader of the pack?

5. Outsized Impact

Employees often focus on getting the job done and leaving. But there are always some employees who go beyond their role to add value to the organization. Find them. 

6. Get-It-Done Attitude

Having a positive attitude is critical. Identify employees that are always willing to take up the challenge and get things done. 

7. Adaptability

Adapting to new changes is essential in an organization. Look for employees that have shown their ability to adapt to new environments. 

8. Cooperation and Collaboration

Employees who have reached across the company and connected to other people and teams are likely to become better leaders. Look for such employees. 

10. Ethics

Is the employee honest, loyal, and trustworthy? Do they have strong ethics and moral values? 

11. Productivity and Efficiency

Lastly, find employees that know how to make the best of the time and resources they have. Productivity and efficiency are critical. 

It’s also essential to identify which employees to rate and which ones to skip. Ideally, you should include employees that you work closely with and have meaningful interactions in recent times. Skip employees with whom you haven’t interacted closely or have no idea what their job is. 

Talent Review Best Practices

Conducting a talent review is an important part of setting the stage for what’s ahead for your organization. The decisions you make in the talent review will impact your organization’s leadership, mindset, and objectives. And with 90% of performance reviews being ineffective, following the right process is crucial. 

Here are some talent review best practices that will ensure that your talent review process is a success. 

1. Make Sure Your Talent Review Process Is Agile

Having an agile talent review process is crucial. Companies need to have the best HR software in place that allows them to track and manage employee performance. Measuring an employee’s performance goes beyond the revenue they bring to the organization. It’s about the value they add to improve the overall culture and make things easier for their coworkers. 

Moreover, objectives, needs, and challenges change throughout the year. If you have an annual talent review, the chances are that you’ll focus on the performances of the recent months. 51% of employees believe that yearly reviews are inaccurate. Hence, you may risk losing valuable employees. 

It’s essential to conduct the review process more frequently and consider the performance throughout the year instead of focusing on the recent months. 

2. Evaluate Talent at All Levels of the Organization

It’s a common practice to conduct reviews only at the managerial level and above. That’s not the right approach, as employees on the junior levels play a major role in a business’ success. And if you look well, you’ll find a lot of bright employees who have the potential to lead and take the company forward. 

Let’s say you’re an agency business that provides product development services. You might have a newly joined developer on board who has the right skills and temperament to be a product manager or a future leader. Identifying such employees early on is crucial. 

Therefore, don’t limit your reviews to the managerial level and above. Analyze employees at all levels and find and empower potential talent. 

3. Encourage Collaboration and Calibration

Gone are the days when organizations used to be strictly hierarchical, and employees couldn’t communicate freely with senior-level managers and other departments. Collaboration is essential in today’s landscape, and your talent review process should focus on encouraging it. 

Ensure that an employee’s rating isn’t based solely on the team leader or manager’s input. Involve other leaders to contribute to the process to enhance collaboration. This way, you can get an unbiased opinion and eliminate corporate politics disrupting crucial decisions. 

4. Root Talent Decisions in Better Data

Making the right talent decisions is essential for the future growth of an organization. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that the data you use to root your talent decisions is high-quality and accurate. Using tools like recruiting software, performance management systems, etc., can go a long way in collecting helpful data around talent decision factors. 

Some factors around which you should collect data are employee performance, unique skills and traits, goal progress and accomplishment, employee retention, and career development conversations. 

It’s important for managers to keep employees’ needs and behaviors in mind before making decisions about their talent and potential. 

5. Rely on Technology to Help Carry the Load

Deploying manual techniques can make the talent review process time-consuming and inaccurate. While a significant share of the process will need human involvement, try automating some tasks. For example, you can place a software solution in place that allows you to collect, organize, and analyze data and send it to reviewers in a comprehensive and actionable manner. 

As discussed, you can implement the best HR solutions to get insights into employee performance. With automated solutions in place, you can capture talent data all year long, get real-time data of all your employees, and learn the best talent management practices. 

Wrapping Up

Companies need to understand that talent management review goes beyond determining the performance of their employees. It’s a collective approach that helps you understand and unleash the true potential of your employees. Therefore, it’s critical to implement the right data collection and talent review best practices.

Supriya Saxena
A logophile by heart, Supriya loves to research and write about the latest technology and trends. She believes that writing is the best medium to influence people in a positive way and has 3+ years of writing experience.

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