Challenges Of Finding Talent


Part II of TPO’s IV Part series on Succession Planning! Introduction When an employer is caught with a vacant management position, there is often a knee-jerk reaction to fill that position with a warm body that resembles what the organization feels management should look like. However, as outlined in Part I of our series on Succession Planning, identification of critical positions and future vacancies as well as individuals who might potentially fit into these vacancies will give the organization a larger and more qualified pool from which to draw. Parallel to identification of key positions in the organization is the determination of future critical success factors for the position. What are the skills and competencies needed in the future for critical positions? How will you determine a potential candidate has demonstrated the skills and competencies for success? It is also important to identify why key talent is leaving the organization and make a conscious choice that culturally ingrains “passing the torch.” It can be challenging to recruit for a key management position based on “future” needs and goals. However with an eye to future customer needs, future market conditions, and what it will require to be competitive, organizations can outline a management profile for the future. Once identified, it becomes easier to target those skills and experiences in current and potential employees. Strategic and Future Focus Key management talent is crucial in the hyper-competitive global economy. Organizational talent becomes a competitive advantage and is just as important to organizational growth as adequate capital and a sound business model. Organizations today need executive and staff talent who have the vision to take the organization to the next level, as well as manage up, down, and laterally. Developing talent takes time and often becomes a “nice to do” item on organizational check lists. Many organizations are engaged in finding warm and safe places to avoid pain and find it difficult to focus on the very things that could help them rise above that stage. Organizations tend to focus on in-the-moment issues — putting out fires, such as cash flow, increased production, increased costs, and filling the ever revolving door of vacancies with qualified and talented people. Goal of Recruitment It becomes more important in current market conditions to be very clear about the specifics of the open position as well as how the organization will “sell” itself to prospective candidates. While perks, bonuses and traditional rewards are not at the level we saw in the technology boom of the mid to late 1990’s, companies are aware that by strategically reviewing the Total Remuneration issues such as health benefits, compensation, child care, relocation costs, etc., they can provide an attractive “package” for potential candidates – especially if those candidates are already employed by competitors. Key factors to identify in the recruitment of qualified employees are: • Critical cultural success factors • Recruitment policies and systems that must change to reflect current practices as well as future goals • Non-viable job descriptions that must be rewritten in order to have a clear understating of the tasks and responsibilities • Personality traits of a high performing employee (with regard to a specific position as well as organizationally) • Competitors and potential candidates to cast a broad net for potential new leaders • Recruitment processes that must be systematized to ensure consistency of screening techniques, predictive assessment, reference checking, orientation and training. Talent Identification – It is easy to identify a handful of people whose departure would be devastating to the organization. It is somewhat harder to identify current employees who are already thinking beyond their job, thinking bigger, and have the potential to make a bigger impact on the organization. The task is simpler in small organizations, but becomes a serious search in larger organizations. Once identified, current employees are prime for development to move up into the management positions. Advantages of developing current employees are retaining of institutional knowledge that often leaves with departing executives; current employees have first hand knowledge of the organization and industry, and it provides a way to retain good talent. Our next installment in this series will focus on the development of internal talent. Targeting and Recruiting Talent – When looking outside the company for talent whether executive or otherwise, most skilled recruiters will target the company’s competition – individuals who are already engaged in areas that the organization has identified as a potential gap in knowledge/skills or expertise. Passive candidates are typically the best qualified for positions you need to fill and also may be less susceptible to multiple offers. The recruitment process starts with clearly outlined objectives, skills, experience and knowledge needed to perform the position successfully – the nuts and bolts of this starts with an up-to-date job description. Additionally, defining what specific expertise will be needed now and in the future will help to identify individuals with a broad knowledge base. Expertise in only one area can be a handicap in today’s global market. Critical Success Factors – in addition to key position specific job skills critical success factors for key talent are: • Knowledge of the industry or industries • Vision to take the organization to the next level – often overlooked and under valued in looking at current employees. • Broad understanding of business and it’s global operations • Flexibility – the right approach at the right time • Reasoning and problem solving skills • Strategic skills required to control costs, increase revenue and be competitive However, not all organizations are created equal. The strategic skills required to grow an organization are not always transferable to another. To conclude, when employers recognize the inherent benefits of developing an integrated recruitment plan to their succession planning system they have recognized one of the greatest costs in their business environment – the total cost of turnover as well as the potential loss of top talent. The next part in our series will focus on training and development processes that help ensure growth and development of key talent, but will also become a competitive advantage in the recruitment process. If you are ready to put a proactive recruitment process into your organization, contact TPO to facilitate development one that fits your business needs. TPO can also provide that extra help you need in your next recruitment.


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