The word “talent” derives from the common Romanic and Medieval Latin use of the word as a monetary term. Since the 15th century or so, “talent” has referred to special natural ability or gift that someone puts to good use, but it’s only since the mid-19th century that the word has been applied to persons of exceptional ability. It’s appropriate that talent has monetary associations, because managing talent well is one of the most profitable things a company can do. The talent consultant may be brought in at any stage, from recruitment to after a team is formed. His or her work is about creating the best blend of talents that work together to make a functioning, forward-moving team. Without a healthy team in place, aspects of the business will inevitably suffer. But as any talent consultant will tell you, talent management requires more than grouping people together and letting them get on with their tasks. The right blend of talent generates the right spirit of “pulling in the same direction.”
Talent is intrinsically valuable. When managed right, it’s also valuable in terms of corporate revenues.
What Talent Consultants Do
At whatever stage a talent consultant is hired, he or she begins by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the present or proposed team. Talent consultants understand different workforce segments and know how to position the talent within these segments for success. The talent consultant is also conversant in employment “branding,” helping to define a company’s image and organizational culture, differentiators, and reputation. Employment branding can improve a company’s market position and help them attract higher quality talent and retain it better. Additionally, talent consultants know how to track and use key metrics to create an environment of continuous improvement. Many are closely involved with HR redesigns of performance management, helping create feedback-centric, developmental models that help companies understand and cultivate talent better.
Why Recruitment and Talent Management Are Different
Recruiting is one aspect of talent acquisition and generally extends from sourcing, screening, and interviewing through onboarding. But when recruiting is divorced from talent management completely, it alone can’t drive the greatest business value. Companies may elect to hire a talent consultant before hiring team members, or before putting together a team from existing employees. Starting a team off right requires first-rate talent management capabilities, as well as experience and foresight. “Fixing” a team that wasn’t well thought-out, on the other hand, can be a challenge even for an extraordinary talent consultant.
It’s far easier to create an excellent team than to “fix” one that hasn’t worked well together.
How a Talent Consultant Can Benefit Your Company
One significant way a talent consultant can benefit your company is by sparing your HR team from taking on too much. The experienced talent consultant understands the concepts of talent selection, career planning, talent development, and employee retention. Through strategizing with upper management, the talent consultant is able to take a structured, methodical approach rather than the haphazard approach that often results when organizations try to tackle talent management in-house. Any talent development team constructed in-house will by definition have plenty of other tasks to do, whereas the talent consultant can focus exclusively on talent development.
What to Expect from Your Talent Consultant
Your talent consultant should develop comprehensive, methodical strategies for managing and developing your company’s talent. Expect your talent consultant to identify talent, assess current talent levels, and help you create an actionable plan to manage the talent necessary to move your company forward. He or she can also work with HR or recruiters to help your company attract, select, and retain exceptional talent. Improving communication between leadership and team members, and among team members is another task that talent managers may take on. Finally, you should expect your talent manager to help you develop the processes and policies that support a culture of high performance.
“Talent management” is far more than just a feel-good term that makes companies feel as if they’re making the most of their teams’ talents. The services of a talent consultant can make the difference between having a functional team and having a dynamic, amazing team. With over 30 years of experience in executive development, leadership, and talent development I’m ready to work with you to ensure you have the highest-functioning team composed of the right team members.