Expert Advice for Medium and Midsize Businesses

How to Build a Winning Talent Pipeline for Your High-Growth Business

Guest Author

Today, increasingly small-to-medium business (SMB) leaders are turning to their human resource teams for ongoing strategic support. Growing companies are focusing on developing one critical area through human capital management (HCM) strategies: their talent pipelines. A talent pipeline is the pool of talent that's ready to fill open positions at your firm. Cultivating a talent pipeline can help you avoid business disruption and shorten your hiring time for key positions.

Unsurprisingly, SMB leaders are paying more attention to both 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. When your small-to-medium business (SMB) makes building the talent pipeline a priority, you're able to deliver an agile response to market challenges and opportunities.

Growing companies that are ready to invest in their talent pipeline can take four key steps:

  1. Determine Current and Future Needs: The first step toward an effective talent pipeline is a deep dive on your growing company'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 into a cohesive human capital management (HCM) strategy.

    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.
  1. 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 growing company's "problem" positions, the ones 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 to best support your small-to-medium business's objectives and priorities.
  1. 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 business. 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, say 52% of millennials.

    If your SMB 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?
  1. Annually Reassess Your Talent Pipeline Strategy: Globalization and new technologies will surely shift your growing company's challenges and opportunities, and it's imperative that your talent pipeline strategy adapts. Schedule yearly assessments of your recruitment and retention plan as part of your human capital management (HCM) strategy. Involve 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 leadership involvement is necessary to make sure each department aligns with the goal of recruiting and preparing your company's future leaders.

Developing your talent pipeline is a critical component of a well-rounded human capital management (HCM) strategy. For a growing small-to-medium business, having the right candidates in place will help you develop an agile and future-ready approach to staffing. Build a strong backbone for your efforts by investing in the right technology, including a human capital management system that helps you harness social, mobile, cloud, and analytical capabilities.

Become an HR trailblazer at Oracle Modern Business Experience, the evolution of Oracle HCM World, March 19-21 in Las Vegas.

By David Sason, Director of Content & Digital Marketing, Oracle

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