This is an interesting topic and the concept is pretty new to me. When I first heard about it, it really took me by surprise that I hadn’t actually thought about it like that before.
The question was posed to me. If you could remove all of your current staff and could choose again who to employ, who would you actually reemploy? It then became clear to me that the question was perfect to enable me to actually see that there is an enormous difference between talent and staff when you can see it in that context.
As leaders, business owners and managers, we have the enormous responsibility of bringing new people into our organisation and do we really take the time to be clear about what talent actually looks like? I know I could have done things much better in retrospect but by pure good fortune, I have mostly made good decisions. If I could turn back the clock though, I can clearly see some errors of judgment along the way.
I think that errors are based on a multitude of things; experience without qualification, qualification without experience, qualified people that say all the right things but don’t walk their talk, prior relationships with the person or someone you know, time pressures (so we grab the first person that seems suitable), a perceived lack of people in the market for the position, not following our gut feeling, not checking references and poor cultural fit with the organisation just to name a few.
So what’s the difference between the 2 groups? This is just a few ideas. You could add lots more I’m sure!
Staff turn up for work right on time (or just a bit late), they are packed up and ready to go early so they can walk out the door either on the dot (or just before), they always take every second of their allocated breaks right on time, (and frequently a bit longer), they rarely offer assistance to others who need help but expect others to drop everything to support them, they use all their allocated sick leave every year, they don’t turn up for staff events or social get togethers and they rarely go the extra mile. Basically they do their job but nothing more. They are there to be paid their wage and have no real passion for what they do at work. They can be good employees, have good skills and knowledge but there is just something missing. They do what they have to do and get going…..
Talent on the other hand have real passion for the work they do. Not everyone wants to own a business but if you can surround yourself with people who have similar passion and drive for the job you’re doing and what you want to achieve the positive outcomes are enormous. Talent have; passion, commitment, can see the purpose and want to be part of something they see value in, provide support to each other when needed, want to learn new things, go the extra mile when needed, they are open and transparent, humble and authentic. They are proactive and solution driven and want to make a difference and their enthusiasm brightly shines.
I know which employee I prefer!
So, how do we ensure that the people we employ are talent? As leaders we need to be sure that people we bring into our organisations are a good cultural fit. Yes we need certain skills and knowledge but surrounding yourself with talent creates better customer service and makes your job easier.
Picking talent from people that have applied for a position can be difficult. Some people are great at interviews but later you find the reality of their work performance doesn’t meet what you expected.
So here is a list of the type of questions you could ask to get you closer to choosing talent rather than staff.
- Do you have any idea what your personal purpose is?
- What would you do with your time if money was no object?
- Tell me what you would if………………………………………….
- What do you know about this organisation?
- How did you research us?
- What interests you about working at……………………………..
- What fears or concerns do you have around this job?
- Give me some examples of things that annoy you at work.
- What would you do if your felt that the culture in the workplace was being compromised by another team member?
- What have your previous bosses been like?
- How do respond to tight deadlines?
- What personal attributes will you bring to our organisation?
- Tell me about a time where you made a mistake at work.
- Tell me about a time when you made someone’s day.
If this blog helps you in some small way to find talented team members instead of staff, that’s awesome and I‘ve achieved my aim.