Talent Programs targeting Sales and Marketing staff are hard to build, expensive and time consuming. The hopes of attracting A Players, shortened ramp times to success, fast sales results, employee retention and engagement are riding on the backs of HR leaders. Measuring execution is the difference maker in proving ROI and drawing a straight line to sales results.

HR leaders work for months creating Talent Programs that target sales and marketing employees.  There is substantial pressure on making sure that the spend is worth the efforts.  The programs have been meticulously created, the work has been done and now the difference lies in execution and measurement.


Talent Programs are a huge undertaking using the resources of HR and the broader organization.  The heavy lift of internal collaboration and program creation can take months and it is not unusual for this to take a year.  Without question, every HR leader knows that the moment they press “go” the clock starts to tick and the pressure mounts to show ROI through sales results and shortened ramps to effectiveness.


Talent Programs have many eyeballs on them because they almost all are built to address the following:


  1. Retain top talent and keep employees engaged/productive
  2. Attract and hire/develop top talent quickly
  3. Ensure performance standards are fair and achieved
  4. Directly link the L & D spend to growth


Is ROI the only pressure on Talent Programs?  No, it is not. There is a reality that we often see within companies when it comes to the execution of Talent Programs.  HR needs to be better aligned with Sales and other functional areas to get results.  HR is often disappointed with levels of adoption and kept on the outer circle.  If Talent Programs are seen as over-engineered execution will be less than desirable.


What Are the Best Ways for HR Leaders to Hit the Mark With Talent Programs?


  • HR is constantly collaborating with sales leaders, marketing and even sales reps during the build of Talent Programs (don’t build in a vacuum)
  • HR listens closely to the field sales team and understands the customer interaction and required skills for success (modern and current design based on market demands)
  • HR uses a scorecard to regularly assess execution excellence of tools created for Talent Programs (measure, assess, adjust)


Download the Talent Program Scorecard to keep track of all of the tools you may have put in-play, assess the data you have to measure execution, identify gaps and determine who owns driving an improved ROI.  The key is to uncover success that is repeatable and constantly collaborate on how to un-earth the data that shines a giant light on progress.


Clarity, as an HR lead, comes from these best practices being applied to measure execution and ensure visibility to ROI.


  1. Develop a Full Inventory of What Talent Program Tools You Have Created (Examples: Competency Assessments, Performance Scorecards, Development Plans)


    It is critical to identify what deliverables are fully “in-play” specific to Talent Programs.  This sounds too simple but rest assured there will be some deliverables that were completed that were never put in-play.  Critical knowledge pieces are when something was deployed and who is involved.


  1. Assess What Data Is Available to Measure Execution


    This is hard if you don’t have the right construct in place but really easy if you do.  Use the Talent Program Scorecard/Metrics Tools & Definitions to think through what evidence will be needed to validate execution and highlight ROI.  You will find this easy if you already have scorecards for roles, competencies and accountabilities completed.


  1. Use an Agile Process to Close Gaps, Gather Input and Adjust Quickly


    There will be some things that are hard to measure but never ever give up seeking data.  Your process must include listening to the field, frontline leaders and even customers if needed.  Talent Programs can’t just stay the course.  If they are not working in some ways they must be changed and you have to remember the pressure that HR is under to prove ROI and execution excellence.


In Q1 many organizations are getting out of the gates with Talent Programs that could have been months in the making.  It is exciting for everyone engaged and everyone on the fringe who knows what was spent is waiting to see if the tree produces fruit.  Don’t leave this to chance.  No amount of qualitative measures will make up for real data that validates real progress.  Executives love to shoot holes through “squishy” feedback that allows them to cut budgets.


In Summary


Get in front of the discussion of value and download the Talent Program Scorecard immediately so you can quickly measure the right things and get full credit for the relentless efforts that Talent Programs demand.  Gaining funding for the future rests on measuring the value of the present efforts.



Additional Resources


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