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Created on 22.07.2019

Gold nuggets – how to identify talent and potential amongst your employees

Experience and skills are what make a good employee. But what makes a talented employee with potential stand out from the rest? What do you need to bear in mind with talent management? This article provides information on how to identify and support talent and how to go about talent management properly so that your company can progress in the long run. Why is talent management so important, and how do you find these “gold nuggets” in your company? In this article we are going to give you some tips that will help you become a bona fide networker.

In many cases, you will find more talent and potential in your company than you might expect. Instead of looking for new talent, it is a good idea to assess your in-house situation, improve your talent management process and review your current evaluation methods. After all, having the wrong people costs money, and unmotivated employees are bad for the working atmosphere.

The following points will help you identify and promote talent early, and they will also help you allocate roles and positions in the company properly and sensibly.

Potential over performance

Of course, employee performance is important, and it should (and indeed must) be assessed as a skill. What really matters, however, when it comes to finding new talent is the mindset of your employees, how they identify with the organization’s values, their growth aspirations and their ability to manage people and come up with ideas independently. Be sure to carefully consider all these points as this is where you will find your future managers.


Observe the commitment of your employees in your company. Do employees solely do what they are asked to do, or do they go above and beyond? Good talent management provides a holistic picture of talent in the company. This picture combines potential and performance. Using this overall picture, the management can take action, for instance specific training programmes, giving a person more responsibilities and tasks in their current role, or giving them a brand new, more demanding role.

Catalysts or bystanders?

Do employees simply watch as events unfold, or do they make things happen? Are they actively involved and do they make proactive suggestions, for instance on how to tweak processes or on how to push ahead with really important things? These are all good indications when it comes to talent management of who have the makings of being a manager.

Assuming responsibility

Do employees take on responsibility, or do they shy away from it? A talented employee with potential accepts their mistakes and assumes responsibility.

The deep end is where you learn to swim

A little test for your employees could be to simply throw them in at the deep end, so to speak, to see how they cope. If they are overwhelmed, they probably need a little more time to develop, or they aren’t suited to taking on more responsibility. If they pass with flying colours, this can be viewed as a major skill.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

In addition to conventional intelligence, there is also emotional intelligence and empathy, which may shed light on the character traits of your employees. Are your employees team players or lone wolves? Are they helpful, and do they have time for their colleagues? Or do they not have any time for social interaction outside their work?

Now you know how to spot talent, what comes next?

Once you have identified the talent in the company, this is when talent management actually starts:

  • Performance review/employee meetings: these are about assessing your employees properly. A good strategy, as mentioned above, is to separate work performance from potential. Give honest, constructive feedback, and show your employees where they’re at using clear criteria and KPIs (key performance indicators).
  • Career planning: development prospects, job proficiency and of course training are all important factors in the healthy development of your employees.
  • Employee goals v company goals: are employee goals and company goals the same or clearly at odds with each other? If your employees and your organization are pursuing common goals, you will have a successful company where everyone is on the same page.
  • Be open to dialogue: successful talent management requires plenty of discussion and continued interaction between employees, management and HR.

If you have identified employees with a great deal of potential, you should support them. Otherwise, they will soon look for a job elsewhere. When all is said and done, these are the employees that will assure the continued success of your company in the long run. Good talent management can boost motivation and commitment, whilst also cutting recruitment costs. Talent management is integral to a good business culture.

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