Sunday, May 27, 2007

Winning the War for Talent: Part Two - Grow your own!

Having explored how to make your company an effective "talent magnet" through building a talent scout mindset and leveraging your brand, we are ready to move on to part two of this series - growing your own talent.

Everything in life takes balance, and talent management is no different. There are always going to be times when you need to fill role and you recognize that the skills, knowledge and abilities required for success just don't exist in your organization - in most of these cases, you will opt to bring in fresh talent. This is particularly important when a fresh perspective is needed. This is an accepted practice, but it can be risky if you overuse it.

The "buy it" option's biggest risk is that the existing workforce will become stagnant and not see the trickle-up impact of promotions and cross-functional assignments. While many employees are not ready to take a promotional, or cross-functional assignment today, you can ensure that you have a ready pool of deployable talent by developing them today for the future. While the main benefit of the "build it" or "grow it" option is to ensure you have the next generation of leaders on deck, there is an equally important ancillary benefit - RETENTION! When your staff sees that you are serious about helping them develop themselves to make ready for new opportunities within the company, they are likely to be more engaged. In organizations where such talent assessment, development and succession planning is not evident, there is a huge competitive risk that some of the best players on your team will be willing to answer the siren call of the recruiter trying to steal them away!

While I normally try to give you simple things that you can immediately act on to better your situation, this one is a much more involved process. Developing the organizational intelligence to know when to buy vs build is not easy, and developing methods to assess your team to understand your succession picture and what's needed to develop folks to meet that mission is a major undertaking - requiring a virtually religious zealot approach. But, as a I said in my very first post, the journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step....

Start the conversation with your leadership about ways to assess your folks, plan for succession and begin developing those in-house destined to become successors, or begin building relationships with folks outside your company who you think would be great successors if no internal folks are, or can be made ready.


Wally Bock said...

Excellent post. Nice to have you back.

I reviewed the landscape on this a year or so ago. It seems to me that about 20 percent new blood coming in at various levels is about right. Enough to fill KSA gaps. Enough to rejuvenate the organization. Not so much as to make assimilation a problem.

It seems important to me to recognize that development is for everyone, not just the high potential people who aspire to the upper organizational realms. There should be an individual contributor track. There should be effective development programs for all managers.

It is vital to pay attention to selection for the bottom-most boss jobs, whether they be supervisors or managers. If you promote those who have a chance of success and who want to do management work, you've got better odds that everything else will work.

Patrick Williams said...

Thanks Wally. I agree on the need to spread the development "love" around, Especially when it comes to those coveted first line supervision opportunities - no on understands what it takes to be a successful troop better than someone who has worn those boots.