How to Identify, Recognise and Develop Talent in Business

The following system provides a framework for identifying, recognising and developing talent in business.

The first step of the process is to benchmark the job, the second step is to measure the individual competencies and the third step is to develop the skill sets to close the gaps.

How we do this is charted in broad outline below.


Step One: Define the Job

In benchmarking the job ask the question:

If the job could talk, what are the talents needed for that job?

What are the knowledge, hard skills, behaviours, rewards, culture fit and personal attributes required for successful performance of that job?

By asking job experts and top performing managers to identify key accountabilities for the job and complete a profile of the competencies required for the job it brings clarity and direction to the position. This benchmark calibrates and ranks the critical competencies which become invaluable in recruitment, induction, coaching, training and career path development.

Step Two: Measure Talent

Having benchmarked the job we then measure the competencies of the individual in line with the job requirements.

Each person brings to the workplace: personal skills, experience, knowledge, ways of valuing the world and their work, hard skills and behaviours.

Our objective is to help organisations fit round pegs into round holes by way of competency match from the individual to the job. By doing this we help tangibilise the intangible, measure the immeasurable and benchmark effectiveness and results for positions. We also provide a career path development plan for individuals for current roles and for growth and development within the company.

Step Three: Develop Skills

Develop and implement appropriate solutions to bridge the competency gaps and align human performance interventions with the strategic thinking and planning of the business. By matching individual and job competencies and by putting in place a career path development plan, research shows that staff turnover is reduced and the value to the organisation of each individual is increased. Research indicates that the source of 50% of job performance problems is that people are in the wrong job. Another 25% of on-the-job performance problems is the inability to identify the ‘gaps’ between the competencies of the person and the requirements of the job.

Building opportunities

In the past many people hired by the heart not the head. One test of the effectiveness of your recruitment exercise is: the moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone you have made a hiring mistake. The best people do not need to be managed – guided, taught, led – yes, but not tightly managed.

Many companies have thought in the past that by putting their best people in bad situations they would turn the bad situation around. While this sometimes works to everyone’s advantage, managers who do so fail to grasp the fact that managing your problems can only make you good. Building opportunities is the only way to be great. The solution then is to put your best people on your biggest opportunities not your biggest problems.


In summary, jobs have changed, old ways are not necessarily meeting current needs and superior employee performance is a must for your business to prosper. By using a competency benchmark framework you will increase the likelihood for business success, optimum results and maximising the potential of the company and individuals for the future.

The Competency Talent system offers a systems thinking/planning approach to help link people, learning and performance to better bottom line results and sustainable strategic advantage.

The challenge ‘to make a difference’ that customers really appreciate and competitors cannot easily replicate may be your ultimate advantage for future success.

Are you making the most of the hidden talent at your disopsal?

Could you do more to define the talents you need?

Leave you comment below.

Imelda Butler is a director of Century Management and an experienced management consultant in the area of competency development.

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