Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
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Talent Management

The Trust is committed to discovering and developing talent from ‘Ward to Board’. Talent Management is essential as it enables the Trust to be sustainable for the future and increases staff morale and commitment.

In order to be sustainable for the future the Trust needs to ensure that there are staff aspiring to develop at all levels who are not only technically skilled and competent, but are truly aligned to and leading services based on the Trust’s values and behaviours framework. This will allow the Trust to be ‘spoilt for choice’ from an internal pool of talent when vacancies arise.

To look at the development opportunities within the Trust, use the Development Opportunities Notice Board! (Please note that this is only open to PHT Staff).

Who is responsible?

Identifying talent and potential is the responsibility of every leader and manager. Conversations to support talent development need to feature (but not exclusively) in all performance review and appraisal conversations.

Online Talent Conversation Guide
The NHS Leadership Academy has produced an online Talent Conversation Guide which you can download and print.

‘Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.’

Bill Bradley

10 Top Tips on identifying Talent

  1. Talent is often emergent and is not initially easily identifiable; it takes time to become obvious to the talent holder and observers. Someone might need to be placed in a stretching situation which stimulates them to exercise a talent.
  1. Perception of talent is prone to bias,such as:
  1. Gender bias – Perceptions of leadership competences are often based upon what are deemed as ‘male behaviours’, therefore often fail to value the differences that female behaviours can bring to an organisation. Conversely “women on their way up the corporate ladder get caught in two traps: the assumption that women and men have the same leadership qualities and the belief that they must imitate male leadership behaviour in order to succeed” (Vanderbroeck 2010).
  2. Success bias – People who have made mistakes and learned from them ought, in principle, to be valued for their insights. However human instinct tends to make us shy away from failure, so we assign more credibility to someone who has never failed.
  3. Flattery bias – When leaders override objective evidence to ensure the progress of favourites.
  4. Leadership qualities bias – Ignoring people because they don’t meet un-evidenced assumptions about what an individual for a particular role should be like (i.e. a perceived lack of ambition – this ignores the fact that exceptional leaders can be modest and display little ambition, even though on the inside they are fiercely competitive.)
  1. Give staff opportunities to develop or demonstrate their talent/leadership potential.
  1. Leadership isn’t just up front directing, it can be leading in a specialist/technical role.
  1. There is a difference between High Performing staff and those with High Potential.

Those with High Potential can be missed because:

  • High performance is easy to identify and can drown out the less obvious attributes and behaviours that characterize employees with high potential, such as change management skills or learning capabilities.
  • Managers don’t know what to look for i.e. the attributes and competencies of an ideal, talented employee, so they focus solely on performance.
To ensure staff and managers are clear what attributes Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is looking for in its employee’s, a Values and Behaviours framework for staff and senior managers has been created:

The Leadership Qualities and Behavioural Framework:

Personal Credibility - Visibility, approachable, back bone, courage, resilience, confidence, role model, challenge bad behaviour, manage poor performance, honesty and integrity
  • Articulates a compelling vision of how things could be and might be
  • Consistently delivers on promises
  • Consistently acts in accordance with, and champions PHTs values
  • Displays sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others
  • Has a zero tolerance to, and challenges bad behaviour
  • Actively manages poor performance
Strategic Approach - Clarity on objectives, clear on expectation
  • Plans and takes initiative in the best interest of the patient/customer
  • Makes decisions based on organisation strategic direction
  • Makes success criteria clear to others and focuses them on what matters most
  • Avoids major problems through anticipation and contingency planning
Relationship building - Communicate effectively, be open and willing to help, courtesy, nurtures partnerships
  • Consistently seeks to understand and meet the needs and interests of patients/customers
  • Asks open questions and listens to other ideas to develop joint solutions
  • Involves key stakeholder and staff in planning organisational change
Performance Through Teams - Champion positive change, develop staff, create a culture without fear of retribution, actively listen and value contribution, feedback and empower staff, respect diversity
  • Takes proactive steps to develop team members using a variety of approaches
  • Involves team members in planning and delivering change
  • Stimulates and communicates cross disciplinary communication
  • Recognises and rewards effort, not just achievement
  • Matches the needs of activity to available resources
  • Seeks out and listens to team members and stakeholders, welcoming warnings or problems
Passion to Succeed - Patient centred, positive attitude, take action, take pride, take responsibility, aspire for excellence
  • Motivates others through infectious enthusiasm and ‘can do’ attitude
  • Maintains optimism and professionalism in stressful situations
  • Emphasises the positive side of difficulties, portraying them as opportunities
  • Finds ways around seemingly insurmountable obstacles, not easily defeated
  • Infuse pride and joy in work
  • Lead by example by taking responsibility, being compassionate and aspiring for excellence


Trust Values – applicable to all staff

Respect and Dignity – how people feel, think and behave in relation to the worth or value of themselves and others.
  • Value each patient and work with colleagues
  • Show courtesy and good manners and challenge those who do not
  • Listen and speak up for myself and for my customer
  • Always demonstrate professionalism
  • Show compassion
Quality of Care - effectiveness of clinical care, work and effectiveness of inter-personal care towards patients and colleagues. Look to always reflect and improve in every scenario at work.
  • Put the patient/customer at the centre of all I do
  • Have pride in my job
  • Endeavour to get it right the first time, learn from my mistakes
  • Show empathy
  • Pursue excellence, be open to improve everything I do, be accountable
Working Together – include and respect others, avoids behaving in a hierarchical manner, my team is PHT not just my immediate work colleagues.
  • Work with partners to get the best deal for customers/patients
  • Display mutual respect and cooperation, involve all, irrespective of grade
  • Value other people’s contribution
  • Look at how we do things and change practice if it isn’t working
  • Share ideas
Efficiency – work efficiently, professionally, using resources wisely, with patient care at the forefront.
  • Complete every task undertaken in a timely manner
  • Keep it simple
  • Spend and use NHS resources wisely
  • Actively look for opportunities to eliminate waste
  • Work efficiently


  1. High Performers. High performers may not be right for development or may not always want to develop. Nevertheless there are effective ways to develop high performers, such as:
    • Need constant encouragement
    • Challenging assignments
    • Recognition
    • Autonomy and independence that allows them to thrive
    • Engaged with projects that they can take full ownership of.
  1. Pair High Potential staff with established High Performers who can serve as mentors.

Staff with high potential need to know that while they have high potential they need ‘seasoning’ – on the job training is a great way to achieve this. Other suggestions are - new projects to manage, looking after/training new staff, cross training opportunities, secondments, internal promotion.

  1. Employees should be involved in their own talent development. Let them determine what training requirements they need to undertake that would benefit the organisation and what results they feel they should be held accountable for.
  1. What can stop a leader/manager developing talent?
  • Time - Leaders/managers who are not disciplined in their priorities will be subject to daily crisis that interferes with activities that are about developing staff and long term investment in their staff.
  • Focus on visible skills – building talent may not be as noticeable or prominent as strategic thinking, business acumen etc. but is just as important.
  • Lack of a development culture in your team – make talent development a priority.
  1. Suggestions for senior leaders who want to create a culture of talent development:
  • Act as a role model – be transparent about your own need to learn and develop.
  • Reinforce the value of learning – go beyond just asking about goals, what does your employee want to accomplish and ask where they think their gaps are.
  • Celebrate not just positive outcomes, but learning as well.
  • Develop ‘career tracks’ that give employees a clear sense of where they are going.
  • Reinforce shared values – employees should be able to link their everyday tasks and responsibilities to the values in the organisation (see section 5).
  • Problems should be seen as opportunities for learning and development. Some failures are acceptable as long as learning is achieved.



‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’

George Elliot


Case Study – Finding Talent

In June 2005 Asafa Powell, at 22 years old, came out of nowhere to take the 100m world record. 3 years earlier in Jamaica he hadn’t been able to find a trainer and was rejected by almost all of the colleges.

How did he develop in a few years from being a mediocre sprinter to being the fastest man on the planet?

There are many examples of people whose talent has been initially missed. Michael Jordan – dropped from his college basketball team at 16, Richard Branson – dyslexic and classed as a low performer at school, Paul McCartney – went through his whole education without his musical talent being noticed.

How was these peoples talent missed?

To avoid missing talent – it is vital to separate Performance from Potential.

For some people it is obvious they are talented – these people ‘Shout Talent’, they are instant, high performers.

But for many, as in the cases above, talent is initially under the surface – these people ‘Whisper Talent’. How do we, as an organisation, get those ‘Whispering Talent’ to be high performing superstars?

Based on lessons taken from the examples above and worldwide research, these 3 principles have been identified:

1) Great talent is not necessarily the right talent

• Be clear, what are the critical competences required to be successful in a given job?

2) What you see is not necessarily what you get

• Don’t judge success by numbers alone – look below the surface, how were the numbers achieved? What stood in the way of the achievement happening – what obstacles did the individual have to overcome?

• Someone who looks ordinary on the surface might be your next world class superstar.

3) Never overate certificates and never underestimate character

• Why are you here?

• Are you driven by feeling good or getting better?

• How much do you really care?

• The most important thing that someone has to tell you is often what they are not telling you.



What steps should leaders and managers take to identify and develop talent within their teams?

  1. Establish what critical competences are required for your team members to be successful in a given role.
  2. Evaluate individual team members against these competencies and the values and behaviours framework to establish who has ‘potential’.
  3. Meet with your team members through, but not exclusively, 1-1 and performance review/appraisal meetings and discuss:
    1. Their aspirations
    2. Their strengths
    3. Their weaknesses
    4. Determine what training requirements they need to undertake, that would benefit the organisation
    5. What results do they feel they should be held accountable for?
  4. Develop a personal development plan that gives each ‘high potential’ employee a clear sense of where they are going.
  5. Be creative in developing your ‘high potential’ talented employees. Consider:
    1. On the job training.
    2. The Trusts Management and Leadership Development programme.
    3. External training courses
    4. Give them new projects to manage
    5. Allow then to look after/train new staff
    6. Provide cross training opportunities
    7. Secondment opportunities
    8. Encourage and support internal promotion

‘I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent’

Michael Jordan


For more information contact the Organisational Development Team via the Group Mailbox

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