3 Ways Assessments Can Help You Define and Prioritize Talent Development Needs in Your Organization

Talent assessments provide detailed insight into your workforce that can help you identify where to make the most impactful investments and where you can save on training and development efforts.

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Your talent not only represents the single largest line item in your operating budget, it’s also the single largest factor that will determine your business’s growth potential. And yet, how much do you really know about your existing talent and what learning opportunities they need to meet the increasing demands on your organization? What you don’t know about your talent today ultimately will hurt you in the future. 

While assessments often are associated with the recruitment process, forward-thinking organizations use them to create insights throughout the employment lifecycle. Talent assessment results provide invaluable input into defining, planning, and prioritizing activities around training, development, and hiring that can ultimately help align your talent and business strategies. 

Here are three ways assessments can help you define and prioritize talent development needs in your organization.

1. Reveal strengths and development opportunities in existing talent
If your current method for analyzing development needs is to rely on the opinions of managers and leaders, then it's time to shift your approach. While this input can be helpful, it also tends to be reactive, biased, and not future-focused. Systematic use of talent assessment yields an objective picture of your workforce that allows you to determine how well aligned it is with the current and future needs of your business. With these insights in hand, you can get the most from each person’s day-to-day performance, prioritize talent development efforts in areas where it is truly needed and avoid spending time and money in areas where you already have substantial strength.

2. Fill key talent gaps
Effectively anticipating and satisfying the demand for new and different skills required to meet business needs is already a mission-critical priority for HR leaders. Talent assessment helps you address this challenge by:

  • Identifying future skill gaps within the workforce

  • Determining whether the organization has enough existing talent to meet future needs

  • Highlighting the extent to which external hiring will be required to fill critical gaps

If your organization lacks sufficient staff to develop, or if the skills your organization needs do not lend themselves to development efforts, you may be best served to hire from outside the organization. Taking such an approach to quantifying talent through assessment allows you to create long-term strategies to ensure you always know how to find and deploy the right talent, whether it is sourced internally or externally.

3. Identify high-potentials and future-ready leaders
How often have you seen investments in high-potential and leadership programs wasted—or worse—the people you just invested in walk out the door? To get the most out of talent development investments, you must identify the right talent to drive your organization in meeting its near- and long-term business goals. 

Ensuring you identify and develop the right future leaders to drive your business ahead requires understanding the difference between high-performers and high-potentials. High performers are vital to the organization and drive results within their current roles. High potentials, on the other hand, have specific attributes that allow them to advance to more senior leadership roles. Assessments can help identify both high performers and high potentials. More importantly, it will tell you how to make best use of them going forward into the future. 

Whether you are feeling uncertain about your talent development plan for next year or just unsure what skills your people have and need, talent assessment will enable you to make confident, evidence-based decisions. Adding assessments to the mix can reveal new ways to refine and prioritize needs within your talent development plan and maximize your ability to help drive your organization’s growth and on-going success.

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