Talent development and diversity as crucial factors for being successful in an agile environment


Within organizations, the responsibility for talent development is increasingly shifting from the HR department to managers. To date, the HR department had an important task in the field of talent development. She focused on the recruitment and development of talented people. These were often promising highly educated young people. Due to shrinking HR departments, managers are increasingly responsible for talent development. They are expected to take care of the talent development of their employees themselves. The expectation is that they not only focus on the high potentials, but that they also focus on developing the talents of all their employees.


Recently, I conducted a workshop on talent and diversity for a big enginering company, on how talent and diversity can be promoted and further developed in multi-displinary teams in an agile working environment. During the workshop each participant defined their talents and also received feedback, where colleagues observed hidden talents. Finally talents were linked with job functions and on how conditions can be created to further strengthen and develop these talents of each individual, so that it finally will benefit the department and the organisation.


What is a talent?
A natural ability to excel at a duty or action
Knowledge and skills can be learned, but talent is enduring
Watch the movie;  What is talent?   

According to the ’Loopbaanregisseur’, there are 4 types of people, having particular kind of talents

The Efficient.  Talents: steering, result-oriented, sometimes somewhat dominant, broad lines, overview.  Suitable jobs: manager, project manager, director, own entrepreneur.
The Cordial. Talents: people human, warm, humorous, helpful, curious. Suitable jobs: service, consultant, teacher.
The Feeler. Talents: feeling different people, creative, polite in dealing. Suitable jobs: jobs in care and in care, creative jobs, artist.
The Thinker. Talents: analyzing, questioning, objective research, science. Suitable jobs: financial jobs, policy officer, scientist, pharmaceutical jobs.


Talent and diversity are very much linked to each other. Diversity means, that you have to see and appreciate each person's background and talent. It means that you have to invest time to understand the background and motivation of this person. There is a very interesting TedTalk from Regina Hartley, why the best hire, might not have the best resume. Hardships, overcoming difficulties, etc.... The most worse circumstances can create the biggest growth.  



What is diversity? 
Overarching understanding of all possible differences that may exist between people, for example in terms of sex, philosophy of life, morality, ethnicity, age, education, orientation, mental and physical abilities. Diversity can only work when the working environment in inclusive. 
What is inclusion? 
Inclusion means the inclusion of disadvantaged groups on the basis of equal rights and obligations. The working environment in inclusive, when everybody feels welcome and safe to operate.


Why focus on talent and diversity in an agile environment?
In today’s world organisations have to be flexible and adapt to fast changing demands in the market. Therefore,  a group of talented people from multi-disciplinary backgrounds are needed to respond to fast changing needs. According to the report of Mac Kinsey ‘Diversity Matters’ is has been shown by research that companies who invest in talent and diversity are average better performing, then organisations who do not invest on these domains.
Therefore,  talent and diversity should be considered as strength and opportunity, not as a problem and threat. To implement a strategy that highlights talent and diversity it, requires;
  • commitment from the top
  • bold and open leadership
  • intercultural competences of management and executive staff
  • creating awareness and work on behavior change, test assumptions about diversity and overcome prejudices
  • zero tolerance for discrimination and bullying behavior
  • attention to power relations in the organization
  • organizing resilience and empowerment, individually and collectively
  • promotion of role models
  • the use of confidential advisors and mentorship
  • monitoring and maintaining claims

Interest in a workshop talent development or diversity?
If you have more questions about a workshop on talent development or initiating a strategy of diversity and inclusion in your organisation, you can contact  Simon Koolwijk, e-mail.  faccom@xs4all.nl  

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