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Driving a high-performance talent culture

Preeti Chopra
14 Feb 2023

HR leadership needs to invest in building a culture of unbiased talent assessments that boost collaboration and professional development to drive collective success of the entire organization.

The word “talent” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a special often athletic, creative, or artistic ability.” In reality, however, my experience is far from this dictionary definition.

While many people live up to their potential by working on their strength areas and exploring ways to build self-actualization, there are just as many people who continue to work in accidental, forced careers that may not necessarily align with their actual talent.

Talent assessments, power, and politics

Science has long suggested that investing in the right people will maximize the return of an organizations. You only have to see how organizations leverage Pareto’s principle or power law distribution to create a highly motivated, self-driven talent pool through assessing, building, and developing individual capabilities that give people the winning edge in business.

Some organizations start this journey at the recruitment stage through aptitude tests and psychometric assessments to understand the variety of potential being added to the organization’s talent pool. While others carry out annual assessments to identify top talent and build a pool of high-potential (HIPO) employees that receive special attention.

Both of these approaches can create division among individuals that results in power games and politics within the organization. Indeed, the very culture of collaboration is broken or crushed when a performance or potential-based hierarchy is created, as such identification efforts are perceived to be loaded with cognitive biases.

Of course, bias exists in the idea of low performance, because as human beings we have an innate desire to be seen as winners or at least be associated with the winning team.

High-potential talent – ego vs. partnership

The key question to be answered in any talent assessment then becomes “assessment for what?”

Most top talent interventions focus on individual career success and paths rather than assessing or guaranteeing an individual’s contribution to the success of the organization. Nor do these interventions provide any assurance that once an individual moves into a leadership position, he or she will adopt a winning approach or “algorithm” that turns their team or the organization into high performing entity.

In fact, more often than not, HIPO employees are too focused on their own individual success to contribute as much as they should to organizational success. Such high performers either become potential targets to switch jobs or end up demotivating their peers/teams with their sense of individual success. High performers tend to become luxury commodities that might not always deliver the right economic outcomes for their organizations.

Another observation is that most top performers evaluate their own performance more critically and harshly, whereas those who perform poorly or are put on performance improvement plans think they are making a fantastic contribution. Thus, self-awareness of expectations, it seems, is a critical component of talent identification.

Building a culture of collaborative performance

To overcome these challenges, organizations need to invest in unbiased talent assessments that provide accurate information on what triggers or motivates an individual to drive success.

Foe their part, HR leaders need to build a culture of working on talent interventions that help individuals create a high-performance benchmark to drive organizational competitiveness.

A culture that heavily supports and boosts collaboration, partnership, professional development, coaching, and people empowerment for the collective good and success of the organization. A culture akin to the creation of intellectual property that increases in value and quantity each year.

Read Capgemini’s full report “The people experience advantage” to learn about 10 key actions for companies to take to improve the experience of their people.


Preeti Chopra

Chief Human Resource Officer, Capgemini’s Business Services
Preeti Chopra helps develop a talent strategy that delivers technology-driven business operations for our clients – helping our people and clients get the future they want.