Talent Reviews: What They Are and Why You Should Care
Q: Let’s bring it back to the basics. What are Talent Reviews?
MK: We do a comprehensive scrub of the entire organization; do we have the right people in the right places to execute our overall strategy and are we creating opportunities for our talent to learn and grow? We look heavily at succession planning, emerging talent and newer faces, performance and next steps to continue one’s personal and professional growth. It’s not looked at like a performance review, it’s about whether we have the right alignment of people.
LC: Our President & CEO Lisa Atherton and the Textron Systems Executive Leadership Team (ELT) presented our Strategic Business Review (SBR) to Scott Donnelly and the Textron ELT back in June. This presentation outlined our five-year business strategy: protect the foundation, grow the base, and disrupt with future capabilities. Talent Reviews allow senior leadership to ensure we have the people needed to execute this business strategy.
Q: How often are they completed?
LC: Each of the functional councils conducts a formal Talent Review annually, but they also discuss talent throughout the year at their council meetings. At Textron Systems, we have several Talent Reviews within each business area leading up to our Talent Review with Lisa and the ELT. In September, we then present our Talent Review to Scott and the Textron ELT.
MK: In a formal sense, we do them mostly in the third and fourth quarters of the year. Internally, however, they happen all the time. A good manager is spending time with their employees, making sure their Career Files become working resumés, and trying to understand their accomplishments and aspirations. I also assess the manager to see if they’re paying attention to their people and filling out the manager sections of the Career File mindfully and in depth.
Q: Which group completes the Talent Reviews?
MK: Lisa and the ELT recently had two days of meetings, going through the entire organization, where we all talked about strategy and examined gaps.
LC: Talent Reviews are a team sport; everyone’s involved in some way. Business leaders prepare information on their employees for Talent Reviews, along with their HR Business Partners. They rely heavily on employees’ Career Files to understand employees’ potential, career aspirations, mobility and more. This allows leadership to dive deep into discussions regarding next steps for those employees, where there may be skills gaps, and what is needed to develop those skills to ensure the company is able to achieve its business objectives.
Q: What is the importance of the Talent Review process, both to the business and the employee?
MK: From a business perspective, we need to ensure the alignment of our resources to the execution of our strategy. This can open opportunities for individuals to receive new assignments.
From an employee perspective, it’s a time that you can showcase what you bring to the table. Make sure that leadership understands your aspirations by using the Career File and filling it out in depth.
LC: Talent Reviews help us manage risk by ensuring our leadership and key roles are future-proof; that we have the skills to execute on our strategic business priorities and we have successors in place to manage business continuity.
On the employee side, we work on engagement initiatives and address talent gaps. Part of the discussion is around how long people have been in a role and what their career aspirations are. Retention is all about engagement. What are we going to do to help them get to where they want to be?
Q: How can employees prepare their Career Files for a Talent Review?
MK: When I look at an employee’s Career File, I look at their career aspirations, strengths, development needs and manager comments. I also check to see if comments are current and being maintained by both the employee and supervisor. I think of it as a “resumé.” You should focus on your accomplishments, especially in the career highlight section. Employees should take advantage of the opportunity to share their “wins” with leadership. If I know someone who has applied for a job, I’ll go look at their Career File before their resumé because I can see first-hand what their supervisor recommends.
LC: All Textron leaders look at Career Files, so employees should make sure to have them filled out in depth. This way the leaders can position talent where needed and make sure employees are set up to succeed in their future aspirations.
Q: What can a manager do to best set their employees up for success?
MK: The best thing managers can do for their employees is making sure they have an opportunity to be successful in their role. When employees have the tools they need to succeed, managers will see continued growth in their team’s talent development and skillset. A manager’s personal investment in their team is important. I recommend that managers spend at least half their time on their people.
LC: The best way for leaders to set their employees up for success is to put their employees’ needs first and help them to develop, grow, and perform as highly as possible. Then, not only will the employee succeed, but the organization as a whole will prosper from having a more engaged and high-performing workforce.
Q: What can employees do to best prepare themselves for not only Talent Reviews, but for success year-round?
MK: Learn as much as you can; having the foundational knowledge about how the business works is beneficial, no matter the role. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re constrained to your current job function. Just because you got hired in one department doesn’t mean you can’t go learn how to be successful in another. Be curious and learn another part of the business or functional area. At the end of the day, an employee’s career is in their own hands. I want employees to take ownership of their careers and to never shy away from new challenges and assignments.
LC: The best advice I can give employees is to keep working hard, doing your best and showing what you’re capable of. Your colleagues and leadership will notice your dedication to the business and professional development.