Section 2

Promoting Talent Management

Mapping your talent evolution

To promote talent management effectively, we want to help you map your organisation’s talent maturity using our Talent Evolution Grid.

This simple but effective tool (which you can find at the bottom of this page) will help you to consider the stage your organisations is at in its talent journey and offer suggestions to help your talent system evolve.

In order to promote talent management in your organisation you need to be clear on two things- first the benefits that come with doing TM in a systemic way and second the roles and responsibilities of all the people involved in it. 

The benefits of talent management

There are three clear benefits from undertaking talent management in the NHSThese relate to delivery, risk and value for money, all of which are frequently on the agenda of your executive and senior management teams. 

1) Delivering against organisational priorities

"better quality service and care" 

It goes without saying that nothing gets delivered without people and that having good people as employees means better quality service and care is delivered to the patient. However, sometimes, the problem is less about the absolute calibre of the employee and more about the organisation not being aware of their calibre or working aspiration, or them being placed in the wrong role or them being unconscious of what is expected of them in terms of how they should behave or them being demotivated because they do not believe we are taking an interest in them. Talent management can help with all these cases and in so doing, help us to deliver on our organisational priorities.

2) Reducing operational risk

"Key people doing critical work"

Executive teams are required to identify and monitor levels of risk to the business on a daily basis. What is interesting is how infrequently such activity extends to the potential risks inherent in employing key people doing critical work. Many organisations are taken aback when a senior person leaves and no-one can see who might take over the role immediately or at some point in the future with a specified level of development. Key senior posts then remain vacant, inevitably slowing down the implementation of important organisational initiatives and placing peers and teams under increased strain. Succession planning, a key component of talent management, can address these issues and help put executive teams on the front foot.

3) Increasing value for money

"provide better targeting"

Improved appraisal processes, particularly where the quality of 1:1 conversations is improved and expectations are clearer can go a long way to promoting a high performance culture within the organisation.  Aligning personal development plans with assessments of performance and potential can provide better targeting for the learning & development investment.

Who needs to be involved in talent management? 

As with most management activity, talent management practices work better when we have clear roles and responsibilities. The following groups are key to enabling your organisation to embed a systemic approach to talent management. 

The Board and Executive Team
Experience has shown that good talent management cannot flourish on a sustainable basis without the wholehearted support and sponsorship of the independent Board of Directors and the top Executive Team. 

In the usual way, the Board retains a governance responsibility for ensuring the organisation has a talent management strategy and holds its Executive Team to account for its successful implementation. In addition, The Board usually takes a keen interest in the Succession Planning process, needing to be assured that key posts are potentially covered and especially talented people are retained within the organisation where it makes mutual sense to do so. The Talent Status Report provides an excellent opportunity to engage with the Board at a strategic level.

The Executive Team can discharge its responsibility through significant and highly visible actions, for example: demonstrating personal commitment to the cause by being prepared to spend time and money on it and engaging with others in tangible actions; being prepared to role model their own personal behaviour in line with what they are expecting their direct reports to do, for example, conducting good 1:1 conversations and driving the Succession Planning process; allocating specific agenda time at regular meetings to discuss the strategy and implementation of talent management related topics; supporting their managers who report to them, coaching them through the process or backing their difficult decisions; and being seen to be promoting good talent management practices both within the organisation, contributing to newsletters, for example and externally, on national or regional forums for example.

Line Managers
The direct reports to the Executive Team and their own management teams are the true owners of talent management practices. Without their willing and active participation, it is impossible to put in place the solid foundations needed to turn one off compliance led exercises into the natural way of doing things.  Good talent managers tend to be talked about by their staff for many years after their tenure is over and encouraging stories often best sum up their legacy in the eyes of the people they have led.

They can do this in a number of ways, the most important being the actions their staff can see them take, for example: taking responsibility for helping people to assess their strengths and plan their development to make the most of their innate potential; investing personal time in coaching individuals to understand what is expected of them and then helping them to meet their objectives and targets; showing their staff that the organisation’s values mean something and that they are themselves are credible advocates of them through their management style and everyday behaviour.

HR/OD Professionals
Good talent management practices take time to embed and most executives and line managers need some support at some stage. For most professionals carrying out Human Resources and Organisation Development roles, such support is core business and immensely rewarding. It is also an excellent way of demonstrating the credentials needed to be regarded as a trusted adviser.      

This support can come in many guises and can appear very informal at times but it is usually based on a small number of important responsibilities, for example:  coaching executives and managers through the talent management processes and tools on offer and being available to discuss specific individual cases or interventions, including recruitment, learning & development, retention and redeployment; taking personal ownership on behalf of the organisation for maintaining the confidentiality of the underpinning management information generated from the processes and ensuring it is put to good effect rather than being sought for its own sake; and networking with peers from other organisations and with the regional team to keep abreast of latest thinking and help spread good practices.

NHS Kent, Surrey & Sussex Leadership Collaborative 
The NHS KSS Leadership Collaborative has been established to provide support to the NHS organisations across the region in its capacity as a Local Delivery Partner for the National Leadership Academy. Encouraging and supporting good talent management practices are part of that remit. 

HR/OD Professionals can access support from the regional team in a number of ways, for example: providing subject matter expertise, either directly or via third parties; hosting network events and small groups to promote collaborative working across the region & learning from leading practices; representing the region through its support to the NHS Leadership Academy and their roll out of new initiatives. 


Promoting Talent Management Presentation

This is a presentation template that can be used at meetings or with your board and management teams to promote talent management and get their agreement that they are signed up the process. It talks through an overview of the benefits of talent management, what tools are available and how you can report on talent. This presentation can be branded and modified to your own organisation.

The NHS Talent Management Engagement Scale is a tool to support organisations to identify how engaged their organisation is in talent management, what activity they already have ongoing and what further initiatives need to be undertaken to ensure the organisation has talent management fully integrates in day to day business. 

KSS Talent Evolution Grid