Top 5 Talent Management Myths to Avoid

Talent Management Myths Drawing of a growing bush in a pot with the words "Cultivate Your Talent"

Smart Leaders Know the Talent Management Myths to Avoid
While most leaders appreciate the value of talent management, too many fall prey to talent management myths and too few are set up to cultivate their top talent in a way that makes the best sense for their organization.

The Top 5 Talent Management Myths to Avoid
We have spent over twenty five years working with executives to build talent management strategies to support future business and people growth. Here are five of the most common talent management myths to avoid if you want to attract, develop, engage and retain top talent to move your strategy forward.:

TALENT MANAGEMENT MYTH #1
If we develop high potential employees, they are more likely to leave for another company.
Here’s the deal. If you don’t offer your top workers good opportunities to grow and advance, they will most likely leave anyway. There is some risk your best employees will jump ship if offered a wonderful opportunity, but the alternative is to settle for workers who are stagnant in their careers. Doesn’t that pose a greater long-term risk for the organization?

Just like top sports teams allow their best assistant coaches to interview for head coaching jobs, the best leaders encourage growth and put their employee’s best interests first.

TALENT MANAGEMENT MYTH #2
If people know our list of high potentials, we risk a loss of morale among those not selected.
We have found that the opposite is true. When leaders open up the process and are transparent about their talent strategy and criteria for selection, all employees are more likely to trust the integrity and validity of the high potential strategy.

Assuming that the process is fair, accurate, timely, consistent, and inclusive, exposing what it takes to be a high potential raises the performance bar and creates positive performance pressure.

TALENT MANAGEMENT MYTH #3
If we are a relatively small organization, there is no need for a talent management strategy.

On the contrary, we believe that small companies are even more vulnerable than large companies when they lose key employees. With fewer employees, each person is critical and their role unique. The focus should be on identifying key positions and cross-training employees to do more than one job so there is a viable succession plan for unexpected changes or vacancies.

TALENT MANAGEMENT MYTH #4
If high potentials have excelled in their specific field of expertise, it makes sense to keep them in that role.
We suggest a different perspective. Shouldn’t you be looking to develop a breadth of skills in your top performers and a willingness to take on the challenge and the risk of learning new skills? These would be attributes of true leaders.

Yes, promote high performers in their own arena but also look for those high performers who are dedicated to growing their knowledge outside of their comfort zone.

TALENT MANAGEMENT MYTH #5
If budgets are tight, it is far too costly to invest in high potentials.
While not all training and development investments make sense, there are many ways to provide career development opportunities within an organization that does not require a huge investment. You can give your top performers:

  • Stretch goals or assignments
  • A chance to lead a critical project
  • An executive mentor who can help them see the bigger picture of business planning
  • A place in a job rotation program

How much would you invest in your top performers if you knew it would keep them from leaving or disengaging?

The Bottom Line
Smart talent leaders do not fall prey to these talent management myths.  They look down the road to see what key positions need to be filled two to five years from now and do what it takes to engage and retain their top talent. It is a long-term people strategy, and it is never too late to start.

To learn more about how to overcome talent management myths, download Why Talent is Surprisingly Only 1/3rd of the Talent Management Recipe for Success

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