Friday, 17 August 2012


It is no longer news that the greatest assets an organization can ever have are the right mix of people, what is news now, is the ability to harness and effectively utilize these talents. It is one thing to have a pool of talent, and another to bring out the best out of the pool for the common good of the organization and its stakeholders.
Talent management in both small and medium organization is source of concern as either the boss becomes a mini dictator or doesn’t understand the concept at all. The 21st century entrepreneurs that must be successful should posses or imbibe a skill for finding the right people, then motivating and managing them to achieve greater significant results. The best way to achieve this is to come up with a simple but effective system.
A business or organization needs a Talent System that is based on the key principle that there are three elements to the expectations from staff. These elements are:
Attitude is far more important than anything else. It has to do with honesty, enthusiasm, friendliness, desire to learn and a host of others.
Skills are what the people need to know, what they need to be good at, in order to do their job effectively and efficiently. Examples of skills may include: communication skills, networking, writing letters, programming computers, data analyses, operating machines, driving a vehicle and a host of others.
Responsibilities are our expectations from them at different times and levels. For instance it is the responsibility of a marketer to meet his/her marketing target every month. This responsibility can only be carried out effectively amidst the right attitude and with the right skills.
Talent management all starts with attitude. If employees are recruited based on their attitudes, then trained with the necessary skills to take on responsibilities as there come, it will be a lot better and easier than having employees with the right skills then trying to ensure they have the right attitude afterwards. It can be frustrating. Imagine having a staff with the right skills but very dishonest and fraudulent? It is better to have one without the skills but honest, dedicated, and upright. He can learn the skills on the job. Employees with the right attitude will pick the required skills at a fast pace because the attitude usually determines the altitude.  But it will be pretty difficult if not impossible to change one with terrible attitude. As entrepreneurs, one of the most important signposts to watch out for in all dealings is the attitude.
Your team and the future
Most start-ups hardly imagine that there would be anyone other than them handling the business, as such fail to do a holistic plan for the future. It is honestly very easy to fall prey of never designing what the company will look like in future. Some people just add one person here, one person there, without recourse to planning. It would help most businesses if at the early stage, the owners can develop the structure of the kind of company they are building then work back from there to how it should be now. Ie, designing your business in reverse – see the end from the beginning.
You could start by itemizing the responsibilities that will need to be taken care of when the company eventually blossoms. The responsibility list for the big picture might be:
·          Manage existing customer accounts
·          Identify and research new customers
·          Approach new customers
·          Win business from new customers
·          Communicate with local press
·          Communicate with shareholders
·          Do newsletters
·          Update the website
·          Manage external supplies
·          Recruit new talent
·          Train talent
·          Effective and efficient administration
·          Invoicing
·          Debt recovery
·          Pay suppliers
·          Plan finances
·          Manage finances
·          Prepare monthly management accounts
·          Test products for quality
·          Provide certain services
·          The list is endless
It is certainly not the case that each responsibility represents a person’s job; it is just that it needs doing by somebody. Each employee will of course be saddled with many responsibilities. It is then important to allot these responsibilities according to groups as represented in the company e.g marketing, production, finance, sales, administration, support services etc. At least you have a rough organi9zational chart for the future with all the tasks broken down to the various groups. Copy onto a sheet of paper to keep and make reference to.

The present team
The next step in this system is to repeat the exercise above only this time to fit the current organizational circumstances.
Go through the list allotted each department, unit or group and begin to remove the tasks that are not currently needed in the business. Once that is done, you would be left with responsibilities that need to be fulfilled now.
The Talent cake
As a result of the way some start-ups commence their business, they usual do not see the need to put in place a formal system to define jobs and assess the performance of employees. Honestly it is not everybody that can handle freedom as such people need to be guided and controlled. The only way to do this effectively in a company is by setting up a simple system to outline expectations and requirements. To get a good system, you have to look out for one that will strike the balance between simplicity and effectiveness, and avoid creating boring, complicated paperwork.  Let’s consider the talent cake system.

Picture the Talent Cake
The talent cake is three layers stacked one above the other, getting smaller as they go up. Usually drawn on one side of the paper, it is everything need to define the employee’s job and make your assessments. Each cake is divided into slices, with each slice representing one part of the layer.

As stated earlier, the expectations from your employees re based on these three factors:
Attitude, is the bottom cake, the base on which everything is built. If their attitude is poor, then their output will be dissatisfying. Likely attitudes for team work include:
Keenness to learn etc
Divide the layer of attitude into slices of qualities you expect from your team. The quality of attitude should be such that fit into your company attitude generally.
With skills, you identify the range of abilities you expect the team to display during the course of duties. Skills can be learned, so the team members can grow their skills as they are in the organization. The range of expectations could include: Proficiency in the use of MS-Word, Corel draw, power point presentations, data base management, concept development, etc.
Responsibilities are on top of the cake, which rests upon Attitude and Skills, because being able to meet their responsibilities depends entirely on the other two. Responsibilities are particular tasks and assignments or expectations of work. This layer might include: meet monthly marketing target of N2, 000,000.00, produce xyz quantity of goods every two weeks, increase profit by 20% every quarter, etc.