Blog post

"Give employees control of their own development"

tristan lavender
Tristan Lavender 09 January 2015

The Raet HR Benchmark 2014-2015 reveals that organizations lack sufficient understanding of their available talent pool. According to Henk Jan van Commenee, talent management specialist at Raet, organizations still tend to think too much from the point of view of their existing position frameworks. “The added value of employees is actually in their individual talents. A good understanding of these talents allows employees to be deployed in a more versatile and sustainable way. You should enable employees to profile themselves and give them control of their own development.”

Responsibility with the employees

Van Commenee believes in a bottom-up approach to talent management. He believes that you should make employees responsible for recording information about their skills and the training courses and education that they have undertaken. Of course, such information should be validated by HR and by the line management, but the employees should be responsible. “In this way, employees will actively improve the way in which they can be found inside the organization. If certain talents are needed for a project or a vacancy, suitable employees will come to the fore a lot faster.”

Ask for development needs

Van Commenee's plea matches employees' needs and wishes: 78% of them would like to be in control of their personal development. What is remarkable is that only 17% have the feeling that HR helps them develop. Van Commenee: “HR might talk to employees more. Find out what their development needs are and show that you are taking action by using their input, for example in the training options offered.”

Prevent confusion

Van Commenee also thinks that it would be a good idea for HR to more proactively engage in talks with line management. “These managers face the challenge of matching the development of talent to the organization's strategy. Make sure you have a clear view of the needs of the business and don't lose sight of this. I sometimes see all kinds of talent management tools and processes being introduced now without a clear goal. It’s important to ask the right questions when talking to the line management and drill down so that you will understand what their objectives are and what talents they need in order to achieve these objectives.”

Van Commenee’s final recommendation is that all sides must know exactly what is meant by ‘talent’. “There are often some misconceptions inside organizations. And also between board members and HR. When talking about ‘talent’, do you mean professional, subject-matter related skills, specific certificates or ‘soft skills’? You should first decide together what information really matters and then make sure that the information is recorded.”

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Tristan Lavender

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