Over the years, I’ve noticed that the end of the year tends to bring a renewed interest among Operations executives on talent management strategies. It makes sense—along with technology and infrastructure, people are one of the biggest cost drivers for Operations. As executives evaluate their costs and budget items for the coming year, making sure they start the year with the right people and skills on board is key.

It’s around this time of year that the research team tends to have the most frequent conversations with our members about our Talent Diagnostic tool. The purpose of the tool is simple: get a snapshot of the strengths and weaknesses among your Operations talent, and identify opportunities for talent management priorities in the coming year.

The tool is oriented around a set of thirty Operations-specific competencies that we found can have a significant impact on employee performance when developed effectively. An online survey administered to Operations employees across levels provides answers to some of the following questions:

How well are employees aligned with their managers and with senior leaders regarding the competencies they must develop to succeed in their roles?

How effective are coaching and training programs at developing critical competencies?

Are performance evaluations and career plans emphasizing the development of the right competencies?

Are employees being engaged in the aspects of their job that are most closely tied to their intent to stay with the organization?

The diagnostic is a great way to capture the true voice of the employee, and to focus talent management strategies that will make a real different to employee performance.