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Harnessing the Power of Talent Pools

I am fortunate enough to get to speak with a lot of customers about their strategic talent management practices. And one of the trends I've seen is a shift in the way companies are thinking about their succession management process. Don't get me wrong. Traditional succession planning is alive and well. However, I'm finding that the practice is not ?one size fits all? and many organizations are leveraging the power of talent pools and placing them at the center of this strategic process.

Talent pools consist of employees that are grouped together for a common purpose. The pool might be focused on identifying and developing the future leaders of a division. Or the pool might consist of all of the new college recruits for a particular year. Really, talent pools are for whatever talent grouping the organization finds valuable for the purpose of developing and connecting employees for the future benefit of the organization.

But it's what comes after the initial grouping that is the most valuable in my opinion. One area of focus is to ensure the employees are provided thoughtful development opportunities based on the goal of the talent pool. For example, if the purpose of the talent pool is to groom the future leaders for a division, everyone in the pool would benefit from receiving interaction with and mentoring from current organization leaders. While some of the opportunities may be appropriate for everyone in the pool, others may need to be specific and tailored to the needs of each individual depending on their starting point. One member may require international experience, while another may need to receive extra development in a particular functional discipline.

Another area of focus for the talent pool can be to provide a community for its members. Let's provide the talent pool members with tools to become a collaborative community. Let's provide them networking opportunities, social collaboration spaces, and the ability to develop their community so that not only are they learning from the training, experiences and mentoring they are receiving, they are also learning from each other and supporting each others' growth. These relationships they form as members of the talent pool can really help them become more successful down the road as their talent pool peers get placed into new roles throughout the organization. The relationships formed early on can have significant impact later on in one's career.

One more area of focus for managing talent pools is to actively review and manage the path an employee takes from talent pool membership to development and engagement to being placed into a new role because they are the right talent and most prepared employee for the opportunity.

Today's succession management can consist of both traditional succession planning and some of the newer more collaborative practices which include harnessing the power of talent pools.

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