Talent development: the secret lies in prospects

Perspective connects talented people and designs pathways in which they can explore their potential, to be translated into performance and results in organizations.

On Feb. 16, we met with the talents of the Bologna Business School for a networking aperitif organized by the Gruppo Giovani Emilia Romagna of AIDP -Italian Association for Personnel Management .

Aiming to engage those who want to learn more about the present and future of the HR function, we brought with us our experiences and perspectives: as individuals investing talents in consulting and training work, as a team combining individual skills, and as a company enhancing them in the marketplace.

Our looks at the HR world:

-Francesca Saracino: Managing Director of Perspective. Leadership and strategy perspective on the evolution of talent development

-Margherita Galletti: Sales Specialist. Talent perspective on business relationships with HR customers.

-Giovanni Spada: Trainer & Consultant. Talent perspective on consulting and training services.

What did we compare ourselves with the talents of AIDP and BBS on?

1. What was, what is and what will be talent

An aperitif cannot be a lecture, nor a seminar: without comparing structured models but crossing different perspectives, three successive approaches to talent development in enterprises have emerged. Three visions that still coexist, sometimes even within the same organization.

- Ideal approach: the talented person stands out among the rest, within his or her team and across business functions, in performance and commitment. "Better than the rest," the individual appears naturally inclined to embody the representation of success in that specific organization. Often he or she is so close to the corporate values that he or she is unaware of them: for example, he or she traces certain characteristics and/or behaviors of the founder of the company or a leader who wrote its history. In the language of that organization, the person does not possess the talent-as a variable attribute-but "is" a talent at all, to be managed with special policies compared to the general population.


- Transactional approach: the talented person has a kind of "portfolio" of skills (basic or already evolved) identified, researched and selected during sourcing and recruitment. The investment in the search (in-house or in the market) for these capabilities is often large and structured; therefore, the company's expectation about the actual practical application of these capabilities, about the learning abilities of the chosen person, and about the management skills of the direct boss who is entrusted with a valuable but still unfamiliar resource is also high. High expectations create pressure that often interferes with the full development of potential. This is no longer a sharp distinction between talents and non-talents, but it is still a model in which the company buys something raw and sets out to shape it-through appropriate training and development-according to its needs, in order to obtain a more valuable "portfolio" at the end of the process.


- Transformational approach: the digital revolutions, which have been occurring for a number of years and will continue for the foreseeable future, require organizations to search, within and especially outside their structures, for talented people who can bring

       o know-how that can already be used with respect to new market demands(digital skills but also innovation and internationalization skills)

       or creative abilities to transform the organization in ways and forms not yet known to management.

Talent is still a currency in people's portfolios (after all, maintaining its ancient etymology) and from which positive returns are expected, even in the short term. But it is a currency that has value relative to volatile markets and based on the value that global professional communities place on it. More Bitcoin than dollar, still not more gold. Above all, "printing" the "talent currency" is no longer individual organizations, but global technological and economic trends.

2. What organizations do to develop talent

First, organizations change their view of talent.

Which of the three approaches described does my organization recognize itself in? In many cases it is difficult to answer, even for an experienced HR manager, but from reflection and discussion on the topic comes guided change, even in complex and turbulent contexts.

More concretely, there are 4 elements at the core of HR functions' action for talent management:

(a) The focus is more on talent attraction and retention than on a concept of "development" that is entirely internal to the organization, even in the face of the increasing permeability of its boundaries.

(b)Engagement, understood as a growth pact between the individual and the organization, mediated by the direct manager, becomes a fundamental condition for gaining access to the talent-coins held by key resources  

(c) Recognition-not only in its tangible reward components-is an integral and central part of the relationship with talent, especially those belonging to generations raised in continuous and "nurturing" family feedback systems, even if sometimes unbalanced and unrealistic

(d) Fun is perhaps the last of the corporate taboos that has fallen under the push of Generation Z, even to the benefit of previous and subsequent generations: collaborating, learning, competing and winning can be fun. Indeed, for new talent it must be.



3. What new talent demands and offers from organizations


Talents, who are now entering the job market, are perhaps overcoming the very representation of work as a market. Of course, the economic aspects are important from a growth perspective, but the metaphor is more that of the journey, of the transformation that takes place in people who are exposed to the new to actively build it.

Either way, the talents of 2023 offer the greatest commitment and their great transformative potential in the contexts in which they

- Authentic values are expressed with consistent and concrete actions

- Experiential learning opportunities are present

- They find a space for experimentation, take risks

- Receive feedback on the impact of individuals' actions on team outcomes

- They meet unique growth paths together with talented people.


The fundamental question seems to be:

"How can we make our way together?"

With an original addition:

"What's fun for me about traveling?"

In summary, the talents we met challenged us to grow with them!

"Grow with them and talents will grow with you."

As for Perspective, challenge accepted!