The Trouble with Talent Is…the ‘talentless’ 95%

Working out your employees’ strengths is key to unlocking the hidden talent in your midst, says Lyndsey Simpson, co-founder of the Curve Group.

So far in this series, I’ve explored the challenges associated with identifying talent, attracting talent, nurturing talent and how to engage talent. However, there’s a bigger problem out there. By its own definition, most people don’t fall into the bracket of ‘talent’. Therefore, if the search is always on for the elusive top 5% of people, what do you do with the remaining 95%?

One of the first things to remember is that talent isn’t an absolute, whereby you either have it or you don’t. In January, I looked at how you identify talent and explored the notion that the role or job someone is doing and the context of your organisation has a huge part to play. Not everyone who is now considered a top dog within their industries started out as one. It took time, investment and development in order to get them to where they are today. A perfect example came at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Lizzie Yarnold secured her skeleton gold a#er four years of heavy investment. As such, you need to tread very carefully when dealing with the majority who you don’t currently rate as talent. You may just not have discovered what they are talented at yet.

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