November 2019
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The Talent Truth
TD Magazine

The Talent Truth

U.K. CEOs’ wishful thinking may be affecting their talent,management, and development strategies.

Leaders frequently insist that their talent and people development strategies are sound and that their organizations are good at implementing them. But that isn't always true.


McKinsey, in collaboration with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), recently conducted a survey of 500 U.K. managers that suggests that CEOs may be guilty of wishful thinking.

For example, when asked to evaluate themselves based on 21 best practices (in areas ranging from recruitment, employee engagement, and talent strategy to talent development and team efficiency), 64 percent of CEOs said their companies were high adopters (deploying 16 or more of the practices), but only 42 percent of all other survey respondents agreed. 

Among survey respondents who admitted that their companies had difficulty implementing some of the practices, they tended to identify company leaders and management as the biggest impediments. For example, one-third of non-CEOs cited "our leadership does not value this practice" as a top-three reason various talent practices hadn't been embraced (16 percent of CEOs also cited this barrier).

The talent practices where non-CEO respondents feel leaders' lack of support was most consequential were related to ways of working, talent engagement, and talent strategy.

In an effort to encourage new behavior, one U.K.-based multi-national company made 20 percent of every manager's annual bonus contingent on scores from direct reports on a variety of leadership practices. The report reveals that this practice improved leadership quality, but encouraging line employees to give upward feedback also made them more fluent in the practices and improved their leadership skills, as well.

To encourage long-term thinking, the company also adopted a rule requiring all senior leaders to spend three years in their roles before becoming eligible for promotions that would take them to another part of the business. That practice ensures that leaders are aware of and own the consequences of their decisions.

Last, the company's executive committee focuses up to six hours a quarter on the top 150 leaders' development, which built coalitions that support talent development.


Whatfix is an electronic performance support platform that can provide in-app guidance within business applications. Using this platform, talent development professionals can train and support employees at their point of need.

The tool's interactive on-the-job e-learning solution supplements training by helping employees to learn while doing within the app. On-demand employee training with Whatfix enables employees to access all the training resources in a web application. It claims to help increase employee productivity by saving their time in looking for information and by reducing errors.

Users can integrate the platform easily into an LMS to create structured in-app interactive guides and training programs. They also can create quick guides that provide concise information to employees with minimal disruption to their ongoing workflow.

A no-obligation free trial gives you the opportunity to test it out for yourself.

About the Author

Stephen Newman is a former writer/editor for ATD.

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Industry leaders like Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Capital One and hundreds of private companies excel in profitable growth and engagement by treating their employees like trusted partners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company. These Harvard Business Review and Forbes articles provide more detail: https: //
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