Talent Management

Organisations recognise that to increase and maintain competitive advantage they need to attract, develop, motivate and retain those who can deliver the best performance and become the future leaders.

This has always been the case, but the business need for this has never been clearer; there are now more applicants with seemingly good qualifications, a more demanding work environment with greater need for workforce flexibility and agility across the organisation, strong national and global competition for the best and a more particular and demanding work force, e.g. generation Y expecting to be engaged and given early challenge and reward.

The global coronavirus outbreak - COVID-19 - has led to many organisations changing the way they operate.  This could be the way in which teams are motivated and supported or in the nature of the offer to the customer.  For many organisations, this has been a wake-up call and demonstrated the need to recruit flexible, innovative and adaptable people who have the potential to provide persuasive and powerful leadership.

Talent management is a key priority for employers

  • At Doherty Stobbs we have considerable experience in identifying talent, whether assessing graduates for fast-track management programmes or candidates for CEO level appointments.  We can offer confidential and impartial input to your executive level recruitment decisions and development that dovetails into your existing systems.  We are able to  design and run talent assessments in a way that is COVID-19 compliant, for example, with all assessors and candidates working from home.

Typical 'talent' challenges facing employers today

  • Future proofing selection decisions; selecting people who are not only right for the job as it is now, but for how it will likely change in the future
  • Avoiding group think and recruiting people in our own image; ensuring that all recruitment decisions are fair, justifiable, robust and from a sufficiently broad candidate pool
  • Identifying individuals with enough resilience and sensitivity to navigate the challenges inherent in the job role
  • Developing an innovative assessment approach that reflects the organisational culture and focus
  • Reducing the risk of recruiting ‘bad apples’; avoiding selection of people who will do the organisation harm by engaging in counter-productive, unethical or destructive work behaviours
  • Designing the job role so that it can be opened up to a more diverse candidate pool, for example, disabled people or those working part-time 
  • Retaining ‘excellent’ performers and keeping them engaged without upsetting the ‘good’  performers
  • Building emotional intelligence in key staff; developing the skills and self-awareness of key people so they understand their impact on others as well as their own personal drivers
  • How to on-board and engage new staff during the time of COVID-19
  • Helping more junior managers motivate their teams to achieve key performance indicators, while not neglecting wellbeing and support
  • How to develop practical policies that embed diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation, rather than just paying lip-service to it

Some key questions

  • How do you identify those with the intellectual ability, people skills, drive and aspiration to reach the most senior positions, and how do you spot long-term potential?  An added challenge is how you achieve this given the COVID-19 pandemic means many people are working from home.
  • What does top talent mean for your organisation? What would a talent programme look like and what would it achieve?  What are the downsides of having a talent programme and how can they be avoided?
  • To what extent have you identified the talented individuals in your organisation and how do you determine who should be in your talent pipeline?  Do the demographics of your ‘talent pool’ and pipeline reflect the demographic make-up of your organisation or wider society, for example, by gender and ethnicity; and if not, what can you do to correct this?  Are your goals on increasing the diversity of your top team challenging enough?
  • How do you make your succession planning open and transparent in order to ensure fairness and diversity?  Is your pipeline sufficiently diverse?  If not, why not, and how can it be improved?
  • How do you avoid making costly mistakes in selection by avoiding recruiting people who are likely to engage in counter-productive work behaviours?  Do you carry out a psychological risk assessment when making important recruitment decisions?
  • How do you avoid bringing in good people but putting them in the wrong job or without adequate support so they become less engaged or end up failing?
  • Are you using objective and fair recruitment processes, such as psychometrics and assessment centres, as part of your recruitment process?  The risks involved in appointing the wrong person for a job have never been greater. Psychometric or psychological testing is a vital tool in the task of minimising risk on all sides in recruitment. Bespoke assessment centre exercises can provide you with a way of utilising role-appropriate assessment.

The benefits of business psychology services to organisations are pretty well known, and include:

  • Selecting accurately and fairly the best people for the job
  • Spotting longer term potential in those who have not yet had much opportunity to develop
  • Supporting and coaching individuals, including those from under-represented groups, to become tomorrow’s future leaders
  • Aligning your people policies, not only to your business strategy,  but also to your organisational culture and values
  • Retaining your talented people and keeping them focused and energized
  • Coaching to maximize the performance of your teams
  • Making sure that negative stress does not become a problem within your organisation and that your people have the resilience necessary to navigate through, and bounce back from, setbacks

Smaller organisations need not be left out
How can the application of business psychology improve your business? Well, business psychology is not just for the larger organisation or big business. Have you ever employed somebody and realised you had made a mistake and they weren't living up to expectations? Somebody who wasn't motivated and didn't reach performance standards? Perhaps the introduction of a new member of staff brought about a personality clash? If you've had this sort of problem, you are not alone.
Problems like these are bad enough in a large organisation, but in a smaller business they can become quickly catastrophic. A company with only a few important clients is vulnerable to poor performance from even a relatively junior member of staff.  Often, an assessment  and discussion with the individual will help identify what the issue is and we can advise on what would help address that issue, sometimes with training or individual coaching.

We have experience and understanding of smaller business, where individuals need to multi-task and be prepared to be flexible, almost from day one; and where the maintenance of good personal relationships is vital. Business psychology can contribute to better staff performance, and also avoid mistaken appointments. Our service is effective and professional, but also practical, fast and with fee levels that are aligned with value-for-money to you.


Our input has been in helping organisations to identify those talented individuals who have long-term potential to make a real difference to the organisation's performance. We also help organisations to avoid recruiting people who are likely to do the organisation harm through poor integrity, low resilience or egocentric values.
We have designed and developed processes for some of the most respected talent management programmes in the UK. Our recent talent management projects have included:

  • Predicting from a large graduate pool who has the potential to reach demanding middle management positions within a 3 to 5-year period
  • Identifying those raw graduates without IT degrees who have the potential to manage large scale IT projects within 4 to 5 years
  • Distinguishing junior support admin / clerical staff who have the potential for further promotion to junior management roles
  • Identifying middle managers with the potential to reach senior leadership positions and director level appointments. Developing a programme of training and coaching to enable those individuals to progress in a way that is relevant for the strategy of the organisation
  • We have good insight into the needs of the Third Sector and offer services that are relevant, sensitive and effective, including particular expertise in senior level selection and performance management.  Christine Stobbs was one of the first cohort of ACEVO members to study for the Institute of Directors' Diploma in Company Direction.
  • CEO-level appointments to run some of the largest organisations in the UK