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Rate your talent pool

 31 January 2017     Donald Cooper 

The real battle for most businesses today is the one to attract, engage, develop and retain world-class talent. You can’t build an extraordinary business by hiring ordinary people. So, do your employment experiences (that is, your culture) and career opportunities make you a talent magnet – or do you drive good people away?

How deep is your talent pool? To use a sports term, what’s your ‘bench strength’? Most jobs are changing and will continue to do so. Do you have people in every part of your business with the ability, attitude, desire and adaptability to do their job as it will likely be done in two to five years? And how capable are they of helping you get the business to where you need or want it to be in three to five years? We’ll call this their ‘sustainability score’. While you’re at it, put the letter ‘T’ beside anyone on the chart that is ‘toxic’ for whatever reason. For those with ability and potential, what are you doing to prepare and encourage them? And for those who are marginal performers and are not likely to improve, how will you deal quickly and fairly with non-performance?

Do you have people who are capable, ready and excited to take on new, different and greater responsibilities? We’ll call this their ‘promote-ability score’. Will you promote people who are great ‘doers of things’ into being effective ‘managers of people’? ‘Doing’ is fundamentally different from ‘managing’ so, don’t promote great ‘doers’ without giving them a lot of real training and ongoing coaching on how to be effective managers. This is one of the most common and disastrous mistakes made by many business owners and senior managers.

How deep is your talent pool? Do you have people in every part of your business with the ability, attitude and desire to be promoted in the foreseeable future? What are you doing to prepare them? Will they perform best as managers of things, managers of people or managers of money? Those are three different skill sets and very few people have all three of them.

Below is a simple process to help the business owner look at his team’s individual ‘sustainability’ and ‘promote-ability’ scores – it provides a measure of the business’s ‘bench strength’.  Simply create an organisational chart of your business – or a division within it – and, using green ink give each person on your team a ‘sustainability score’ on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 signalling he or she has the ability, attitude and adaptability to do the job as it will likely need to be done two to five years from now).

Then, using red ink, give each person on your team a ‘promote-ability score’ – also using a scale of one to 10 (with 10 meaning he or she has the ability, attitude and interest to be promoted in the foreseeable future).

For those with high ‘promote-ability’ scores, sit down with them and determine their interests, career thoughts and life dreams, and share your confidence in them. Determine what their next responsibility will most likely be and start the process of training, developing and encouraging them.

As the business owner or manager, don’t forget to rate yourself on ‘sustainability’ (ability, attitude, desire and adaptability) and ‘promote-ability’ (ability, attitude and desire). You can’t grow the business or your part of it without growing your people – or without growing yourself. This part of the exercise will require a high degree of self-awareness and personal integrity. If in doubt about how to rate yourself; ask your team members to help – anonymously or otherwise – or use Biz Tool #A-9 as found on my web site (the link can be found below).

For the business owner, creating a strong talent pool is also a key part of ‘having a life’ outside of the business and developing an effective succession plan and exit strategy. One of the things a buyer of your business will pay big money for some day is a strong, sustainable, promotable and loyal ‘talent pool’.

Example: Evaluate your talent pipeline
Using your organisation chart (sample below) and on a scale of one to 10 (with 10 being ‘excellent’), create a ‘sustainability score’ and a ‘promote-ability score’ for each person on the chart. It will look something like this, but with job titles and names in the boxes. You’ll be amazed what you discover about the sustainability and promote-ability of your team.

So, how deep is your talent pool? What functions in your business need strengthening, who needs training, coaching and encouragement and who needs to improve or move on? As a business owner, leader or manager, one of your most important jobs is to be an effective ‘talent manager’. Finally, look at how you can improve your business culture keep the best talent and how must you grow as a leader to grow your team and your bottom line?

For help with this, use my Biz Tools B-18, B-19, B21 and B22. Each can be found on my web site.

Stearns & Foster
Ashley Furniture
This HGO article was written by:
Donald Cooper
Donald Cooper

Donald Cooper has been both a world-class manufacturer and an award-winning retailer. Now, as a business speaker and coach he helps business owners and managers throughout the world to rethink, refocus and re-energize their business to create compelling customer value, clarity of purpose and long-term profitability.

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