...about Talent Development: how to make that special relationship with employees?

Key takeaways from this blog: 

  • Talent development planning as a tool to support employees’ intrinsic motivators. 
  • How to make a talent development plan in a few steps. 

Let’s talk about money…not!

Aren’t we all looking into those inflation percentages these days and the talent wars happening around us? Trying to be clever on retention and attraction in circumstances of cost-cutting, only to realize that it’s not money that makes us feel special. Let’s be clear here: money = conditio sine qua non (an indispensable and essential action or condition) but that is not sufficient. 

Apart from the necessity of adequate monetary reward, which in fact we all need, we also need something called – art.  

And the art comes in the form of a question – how to make that special relationship with employees?

How to become a special employer to a large variety of individuals that were influenced by different social and cultural factors? How to have a deeper insight into all varieties of their needs, aspirations, and desires?

There is a way to find out!

What do I want to do now that I have grown up?

We are now in the period of the year when we make resolutions and plans on what we want to do, what we would like to know, or, more importantly, how we want to feel this year.

When it comes to business-related decisions, we can easily agree on the performance goals and expectations of others. But what about an individual’s expectations? Where is that tab in the software in which I would write down what I want to achieve? And do I even know what that is? 

It was early February last year and I was sitting in front of a blank paper struggling with the questions above. And I did it the wrong way. I started with what I am not doing well. That caused the avoidance of the ‘’blank paper’’ delays. I felt blunt and unmotivated. 

So, I got back to research on growth mindset, intrinsic motivation, and self-determination theories, and the “a-ha!” moment happened – instead of focusing on what I am not good at, I should focus on what I am good at, what makes me feel good, and what makes my heart beat faster. It is about what I want to do and achieve now as a person with experience.

Supporting the creation of employee development plans

At that same time, my team and I agreed on implementing this concept and providing support to everyone in developing what they want to be. To support the creation of development plans for each employee, that will match their own individual needs.  

We decided to use development plans as a tool to support intrinsic motivators. It’s up to us to revise what that means for each of us.

Dan Pink, in his book – Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, suggested it could possibly be: 

  • autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives, or work
  • mastery, the desire to continually improve at something that matters
  • purpose, the desire to do things in service of something larger than ourselves.

We suggested that anyone could think of project initiatives, involvement in other departments’ activities, technical skills they want to gain, or soft skills they want to develop. Starting with that, we came to the beginning of the journey of making robust development plans and each and every one of us faced that ‘’blank paper’’. We initiated a phase of self-reflection.

How to make our own development plan?

Step 1. Reflect on what gives you the greatest sense of satisfaction and reward. What’s your talent?

Step 2. Imagine what you want to be now when you are grown up. What are your most important values? What matters to you? Ideally, align it to what matters to the company, environment, world…

Step 3. Gain outside perspective. What words describe you when you are at your best?

Step 4. Create a plan. What do you need to do in order to achieve? What is the gap between what you do now and what success looks like? 

Step 5. Practice! …new skill, new behavior. Try out the changes you want to make.  

What else can be done?

We organized a working session on how to succeed, and how to avoid the trap of making development plans look like a wish list. We offered supporting concepts and approaches: learning, mentoring, networking… We talked a lot about practicing: how to look for new experiences, stretch everyday assignments, and apply skills to job situations.

Practice, practice, practice…

Training opportunities are all around us. It is proven that training will only give us guidance on how to practice something, but without that practice, no skills can be developed. Engaging with gained information and applying the knowledge in a practical way will expand capabilities. 

We got plenty of employees starting their long-term development journey by gaining new skills or behaviors and becoming accountable for their well-being and satisfaction. In providing support to personal development – we are still developing, still learning, and are not at the zenith of this project, but we learned a lot on various levels.

Through this exercise, we, as employees, revealed neglected nooks of our personalities. 

  • We, as managers, discovered a variety of personality shades in our team members. 
  • We, as employers, learned how to build synergy from heterogeneous aspirations. 

A lot of other people heard about our concept and recognized the company as an approved employer with counting professional development opportunities. However, the most important lesson here is that a special relationship with each employee should be important for any company just as a beat of the heart. 


Author: Gordana Kirćanski, Human Resources Lead, Ball Global Business Services EMEA

About the company:  Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care, and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services to commercial and governmental customers.

The greenfield aluminum can production facility in Belgrade operates since 2005, while the Ball Global Business Service office in Belgrade gathers professionals in various fields, including finance, IT, HR, IA, IBP, manufacturing, and commercial to provide support to businesses and stakeholders all over the world. 

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