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While budget cuts and a broadening skills gap are making performance management a little more challenging, it’s not all bad news. Here are three opportunities you can take advantage of, to improve talent management and development in your organization.


We know there are hurdles that get in the way of talent development in your HR department – the lack of budget, the hesitation of execs to buy into new processes, managers who don’t understand how to have development conversations… But alongside those, there are also often-overlooked opportunities. Make sure you’re taking advantage of these three trends that can improve performance management and development.

There is a Pool Full of Young Talent, Eager to Be Developed

Imagine how difficult performance management and development would be if you were trying to manage and develop a team of people who had no desire to grow, learn or lead? Luckily, this is not an issue HR is facing today. In general, the workforce is packed full of young employees who want to be developed. According to the Harvard Business Review, over 50% of millennials sited ‘Opportunity to learn and grow’ as ‘extremely important’ when considering taking on a role. This tops the list of deciding factors – over compensation and informal work environments.

And, while we know that the more conversations managers have with their employees, the more engaged their employees become, research by Gallup found that only 21% of millennials and 18% of non-millennials meet with their manager on a weekly basis. The pool is there and wants to learn – now you just have to encourage teams to jump in.

Take advantage:

  • Help your organisation focus on giving employees better-quality development conversations by providing managers with practical, easy-to-use development technology to guide that conversation. For example; a step-by-step guide on how to have the conversation; a language with which to have the conversation; and access to expert advice to keep the conversation flowing if needed. Your employees don’t need to be an expert in everything, if access to expert advice is on demand.
  • Market these HR solutions to potential employees like you are marketing a product to your customers. Employees are customers who have choices too, and if your organization doesn’t meet their needs, someone else will…

There is a Range of Technology That Empowers HR Analysis

A few years ago, HR departments had to rely on a lot of manual monitoring and reporting, which often resulted in messy, disorganized HR systems that contained a mixture of manual and automated process – and the only person who knew how to manage it all was the one HR team member who put it together. Then she left, and it all fell apart. Today, HR technology and systems exist to make HR jobs, including development, a whole lot easier – for the department and employees. For one, the learning curve has significantly diminished; so instead sending employees on a training course to understand a system, well-designed technology requires no training. Plus, BYOD policies and low data costs have removed the barrier of access to these systems.

Take advantage:

  • Make use of HR systems, provided they are user-centric, and work for the employee or manager who will use it. Remember, people today are well aware of what good and bad user experience is. Be inspired by consumer-driven applications such as Facebook, and design or select technology that is easy to use and truly provides value to the person using it. Make sure it’s also agile and can quickly be reconfigured to meet different needs.
  • Make sure users know the technology exists and give people the opportunity to access the information they need at any time, in any place on any device. They shouldn’t have to log into the LAN at the office between 9 and 5 to do something.

Big Data Exists to Make a Difference in HR

80% of HR professionals believe that data analytics skills are becoming more important. Today, we understand that data can help us support better, more predictive hiring; identify the hidden talent within a company; connect team members to the right training tools; improve employee engagement; and reduce turnover by as much as 50%. Don’t be afraid to incorporate data into HR, just as much as it’s being used in other areas of a business.

Take advantage:

  • Implement processes that make talent management analytics a priority; and ensure you make monitoring, analyzing, reporting on and adjusting part of your reviews. You will need to be prepared to run tests and experiments to find the right way forward. Continuously get feedback from employees on your processes, procedures and technologies and listen to the feedback critically.