As the role of HR professional rises in strategic importance, so does the need for a formidable talent pipeline, the pool of talent ready to fill open positions. Avoiding business disruption and shortening hiring time are two key benefits of a smoothly running talent pipeline.
Unsurprisingly, business leaders are paying more attention to the ins and outs of recruitment and retention. In the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 83% of respondents to the survey ranked “attracting skilled resources” as a top-three concern. This is great news for long-suffering human resources teams, who’ve known firsthand that a successful recruiting strategy has as much to do with company culture as a varied sourcing roster. To capitalize on this new executive mandate, companies should take four essential steps to creating and maintaining an effective talent pipeline.
- Determine Current and Future Needs: The first step toward an effective talent pipeline is a deep dive on your organization’s current and future staffing requirements. Determining which roles and skills are critical—and will be critical—allows your team to form the foundation of a talent strategy that secures growth. This initial stage is the most crucial, and it’s one that requires executive buy-in to connect all the departmental dots.
Create detailed charts of the ideal workforce, today and five years down the road, that consider all factors, from labor market trends and impending industry regulations to anticipated effects that automation and other technologies will have on the jobs themselves.
- Cross-Reference with Company Deficiencies: Once you reach a consensus on which roles are most mission critical, you can see how this aligns with your company’s “problem” positions with the most turnover. Possible pathways for future advancement will present themselves, while deep demographic analysis may reveal candidate traits that suggest longer-term employment. While anecdotal evidence may suggest your high-turnover positions are a priority, you must be data-driven in your decision-making. If you use succession planning and “what-if” scenario modeling, you’ll be able to objectively choose where to devote precious recruiting resources and budget.
- Reconfigure for True Employee Advocacy: The goal for your talent pipeline strategy should be longer, more-fruitful employee tenure. But the job market has changed significantly since the days of decades-long employment that led to a gold watch—three years is now considered a long time to work for the same company. The white whales of recruiting—skilled millennial workers—are more likely to switch companies than previous generations. The opportunity for career progression tops the list of desirable workplace qualities, cited by 52% of millennials.
If your company invests in employee development (including education, training, performance-based incentives, and wellness programs), it’s much more likely to keep workers engaged, productive, and loyal. Focus on flexibility and work-life balance, which is important for both millennials and the parents many will become. Once you’ve committed to an employee-centric talent pipeline strategy, shout it from the virtual rooftops, so all university programs, partner companies, and trade publications know. And who’s a better spokesman for this new company culture than your CEO?
- Annually Reassess Your Talent Pipeline Strategy: Globalization and new technologies will surely shift your business’s challenges and opportunities, and it’s imperative that your talent pipeline strategy adapts. Schedule yearly assessments of your recruitment and retention plan, involving all stakeholders who participated in Step 1, to ensure that your company is meeting established goals for turnover reduction, succession planning, and employee satisfaction and engagement. Ongoing executive involvement is necessary to make sure each department aligns with the goal of recruiting and preparing your company’s future leaders.
To be truly agile and future-ready in your talent pipeline, your company should wield human capital management system that possesses social, mobile, analytics, and cloud capabilities. This can be a strong backbone for a successful talent pipeline built for future growth. For more, read our Gartner newsletter, How to Develop Workforce Analytics Maturity to Increase Business Impact.