Why businesses should be nurturing talent

Thirty-six per cent of global employers are now having difficulty finding candidates with the right skills to fill open positions, according to a recent survey from ManpowerGroup. Over 50 per cent are also reporting talent shortages which affect their ability to meet client needs, with 40 per cent saying a lack of skills has reduced their competitiveness and productivity.

The global skills shortage demonstrates the importance of nurturing the talent you do have in order to get the most out of team members. Supporting development is now a key role of leaders and as employees increasingly look for more meaningful work experiences, it’s not something that can be ignored. World at Work found in ‘Beyond compensation: How employees prioritise total rewards at various life stages‘ that development is becoming increasingly important to professionals. It was observed that among younger workers, development is key. Employees under 40 who are not supervisors gave an average of 17.4 points to this compared to 15.9 points from everyone else.

The pressure is now on leaders to bring talent on board in the right way and nurture them. Indeed, at Primeast we believe that good leaders facilitate the development of others. Based around the concept of talent liberation, we offer leadership programmes to enable professionals to create the conditions in which they they can motivate talent and ensure employees reach their full potential.

Approaching talent in the right way

“Organisations reach prime performance when they recognise, value, develop and use the unique talents of all their people in the delivery of their objectives” – this is the mantra we live by at Primeast and is our philosophy of talent liberation. We believe that each person has a talent and it is the job of a leader to allow them to develop it.

When we look at this ethos, we can identify a few key terms that frame the concept of talent liberation: recognise, value, develop and use. In his upcoming book ‘Designing the Purposeful Organisation‘ Clive Wilson, speaker, writer, facilitator, coach specialising in purposeful leadership at Primeast, explains the significance of these terms.

Recognise – First, we have to recognise our natural talents, appropriate to the context being considered.

Value – Secondly, we need to do some analysis to work out how these strengths add value to our organisation.

Develop – We have a duty to ourselves and others to identify our strengths and develop them as much as we can in order to add more value.

Use – In most cases, when people have taken the time to recognise, value and develop their talents, they will naturally put them to good use. Furthermore, the better they become in their areas of strength, the more people notice and ask them to do more. It’s a virtuous cycle of continual improvement.

Barriers to talent liberation

Leaders are often failing to liberate and nurture their talent, losing out on innovation, skills and performance gains as a result. Part of the reason for this is due to the way the concept of talent is viewed. Many people think of talent as relating to only the top ten per cent of high-performing and potentially high-performing individuals: at Primeast we believe that organisations neglect the talent of the other 90 per cent at their peril. Just because a person may not initially strike you as a ‘high performer’, it doesn’t mean they don’t have unique talents that can add value to your organisation.

Another common misconception is that ‘talent’ is a threat. There is a tendency to fear for our own positions when someone comes along who could potentially be our replacement. Consequently, we invest more in our own development and fail to give others the space and support to develop their own skills.

Even when organisations have a progressive view of talent, there are still barriers on the road to talent liberation. Clive claims a lack of time often prevents talent from being properly nurtured. Yet there are ways to overcome this challenge.

“The first thing is to notice when we don’t have time to do the important things, such as playing to our strengths,” Clive wrote. “Then identify what gets in the way and do something about it.”

Act now or miss out

Thinking about talent in this way also allows organisations to consider some of the wider impacts of focusing only on certain elements of their workforces. For example, seventy-eight per cent of women are considering leaving the corporate world because they do not feel encouraged to make a difference and play to their natural style, according to a study of 1,200 professional women from Dr Sam Collins, chief executive officer and founder of women’s leadership organisation Aspire. Speaking to HR Grapevine, Dr Collins explained that “corporate culture is changing, but it’s taking too long”. “Women shouldn’t feel they need to conform to the traditional mould of a leader: instead they should drive the change themselves by being themselves and encouraging others to do the same,” the
expert said.

This is just one example of where talent isn’t being properly nurtured and harnessed by organisations and, as a result, businesses are losing out on precious skills. If leaders fail to take action quickly, they’re likely to fall behind their competitors who are approaching talent in a different way.