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When you consider that your employees are your most strategic asset and the only sustainable source of competitive differentiation, it makes sense to invest in ways to maximise employee performance and retention. There’s no better place to start than with solid talent management practices.

Here are just a few practices that can help you develop a high-performing workforce, and deliver better business results.

  • Hire the Right Employees
  • Onboard Employees for Success
  • Align Goals
  • Hire the Right Employees
  • Give Regular Feedback on Performance
  • Provide Ongoing Development
  • Reward Desired Performance
  • Support Career Progression

Hire the Right Employees

Recruiting and hiring are where it really starts. Make sure you clearly identify the competencies, skills and experience that lead to success in a role, as well as the key responsibilities for the role before you interview and hire candidates. Ideally, these should be captured in a detailed, up-to-date job description.

You should also think about your corporate culture and values, and what differentiates you from the competition.

Then look for all these qualities in the candidates you interview. Not everyone is going to be a good fit for your organisation. In some roles or areas, you can teach the skills needed – but you can’t teach the right attitudes and values. Since your employees are important conveyors of your brand, it makes sense to ensure they’re a fit for your corporate culture, values and brand, as well as the role, during the interview and hiring process.

Onboard Employees for Success

Onboarding should include more than just HR and government paperwork. Effective onboarding introduces a new employee to your organisational culture and values. It provides any training the employee needs to do their job, and ensures they have goals to work toward, right from the start. It should introduce them to corporate services, resources and processes (both formal and informal). In larger organisations, your onboarding programme should also help a new employee establish a network of contacts they need to get their work done.

But most importantly, effective onboarding should provide every new employee with frequent opportunities to meet with their manager and establish the foundation of their working relationship. One way to support this is by including a 30/60/90 day cumulative review process to ensure the employee gets the direction, feedback and development they need to become proficient in their role.

An effective and comprehensive onboarding programme gets your new employees up and running, and performing, in as short a time as possible.

Align Goals

Every employee should have goals for their job. They need to know what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured. But more importantly, they need a context for their work. Your talent management programmes should include a process for setting, aligning and managing employee goals. Ideally, each employee’s goals should be connected or linked to higher level organisational goals, so every employee understands how their work contributes to these goals. You can strengthen this alignment, by regularly communicating progress on organisational goals to all employees.

By ensuring all employees have goals that are aligned to organisational goals, you ensure they’re working on the right things and contributing to organisational success.

Give Regular Feedback on Performance

Employees at all levels of the organisation need regular feedback on their performance. What are they doing well? What should they be doing differently?

Feedback should come from their manager or supervisor in the form of an ongoing dialogue on performance that is supported by periodic performance appraisals. But it can also be helpful to gather feedback from peers or others who work closely with the employee. Feedback from sources other than the manager is typically not used to rate the employee’s performance. Rather, it’s used to give the employee and their manager a broader perspective on the employee’s performance and to better identify areas for development. 360 degree feedback is also often used for identifying leadership potential and development needs.

A strong performance appraisal process, that includes regular performance reviews, an ongoing manager-employee dialogue and 360 degree feedback, can ensure that employees get the feedback and direction they need to succeed.

Provide Ongoing Development

Ongoing development helps employees refresh, as well as expand their knowledge, skills and abilities. It helps to keep them thinking about their work and finding new ways to improve what they do and how they do it. Investing in employee development is a form of investing in continuous improvement. It’s also a critical way to address performance gaps when these are identified. By supporting ongoing development, you communicate a corporate value in high performance.

Reward Desired Performance

Your organisation invariably encourages what it rewards. If your reward and compensation programmes recognise things like seniority, qualifications or “connections”, they may not be fostering a culture of high performance. To drive employee high performance, you need a variety of programmes and ways for managers and employees to recognise and reward it. From simple, daily “thank yous”, to merit increases and bonuses, you need to tie rewards to performance in order to drive it.

Support Career Progression

Your organisation should also consider putting career progression and succession planning programmes in place. Research shows that having the opportunity to grow and develop at work is key employee engagement. And engaged employees perform better and are more loyal to their employers. Support employee career progression by encouraging a dialogue about career plans between employees and managers as part of their performance appraisal discussions. Provide or support development activities aimed a supporting career progression. And consider implementing a succession planning programme that identifies and develops high potential employees in all key areas of the organisation, not just leadership. You’ll be rewarded with more loyal, higher performing employees, who are committed to their career progression and the organisation’s future.


Effective talent management programmes that encompass, recruiting, performance management, development, succession and compensation, are designed to support and encourage employee high performance. And employee high performance drives organisational performance. Are you making the most of these valuable management tools?


Many thnaks to guest blogger Sean Conrad. He is a Certified Human Capital Strategist and Senior Product Analyst at Halogen Software, one of the leading providers of talent management software.

For more of his insights on talent management, read his posts on the Halogen blog.


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