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Why does your organization need a talent development plan?

par  juin 2, 2022 | 4 minutes de lecture

Your organization needs a talent development plan for three simple reasons (all of which and more were recently discussed by legendary talent expert Steve Cadigan at X4U 2021):

1. As good as your team is now, it won’t be around forever.

Even if your organization has all of its talent and skills needs met (and according to recent research, the vast majority don’t), this won’t always be the case in the future.

The talent you need to meet your goals is becoming more and more scarce – and the subject of intense competition. If you’re not thinking about the roles you’ll need to fill in 1, 2, 5, and 10 years’ time – whether to account for regular attrition, career development, or retirement – you’ll quickly find yourselves falling behind.

2. Skills don’t grow on trees.

Most organizations anticipate that they will encounter a skills shortage within the next few years. With new skillsets emerging and older ones becoming obsolete all the time as technology advances and the ways we work change, you should assume that your teams will constantly need to review and update their capabilities.

3. Leadership teams are better when they aren’t accidental.

One of the most reliable ways to bring great talent to your company at all levels is to develop it in house. Nowhere is this truer than at the top. But great leaders take time to develop, and without a diligent approach to managing the talent pipeline, it’s all too common to find that you have no choice but to look further afield when members of your leadership team move on.

Addressing these three concerns requires talent development. Human Resources as a function is key in setting the parameters for a talent development program within your organization in conjunction with other strategic leaders – providing vital knowledge of the market, the evolution of the skills landscape, and keeping internal and external talent engaged in the development process.

In this post, we’ll explore talent pipeline strategy and how you can go about building a successful development plan of your own.

What is a talent pipeline?

Your talent pipeline (or pipelines in larger organizations) is the system which provides you with consistent access to qualified streams of candidates for whatever positions you need to fill.

But much more than simply being a bucket in which to collect candidates, a talent pipeline needs to be part of a strategic program in which your organization knows why it’s collecting candidates, what its goals are (both for its people and more broadly), and how it engages with candidates – internal and external – to move them into the roles where they can be of greatest benefit and benefit most themselves.

How to build a talent pipeline

Building your pipeline consists of a six-step process:

  1. Identifying your company’s long-term needs and goals.
  2. Creating a candidate sourcing strategy.
  3. Contacting candidates.
  4. Assessing the options available to you.
  5. Nurturing candidates through the pipeline.
  6. Choosing which individuals to prioritize for further training or development.

At each stage, you’ll need to make clear choices about who you’re going to pursue, and how and where you plan to do it. Whether you plan to source candidates from open application streams, specific institutional relationships, the open market, or your extended network of existing employees, alumni, and affiliated organizations is just as important to the process as your selection criteria.

Once you’ve picked the right people, how you talk to them is equally important. Establishing a relationship prior to the formal process of promotion or recruitment is vital – you should treat your relationship with talent the same way you treat relationship with your customers, clients, or service users. Keep in touch with them and be sure what you’re saying to them is in line with their needs, expectations, and interests.

Talent development strategy – example approach

Once you’ve established your pipeline and identified the right candidates to fill strategic roles, your job is only halfway done. A full talent development plan will be different for each individual – a bespoke approach that takes into account the team they’ll be working with, any specific mentors and coaches, the employee themselves, their managers, and the HR department depending on the individual needs of your organization and the talent in question.

Examples of talent development strategy for specific roles are therefore difficult to come by – as those companies that have invested in the process understand their importance and are reluctant to share them with too wide an audience.

With that in mind, at the highest level, the roles of each of these functions can be thought of in the following terms:

Leadership teams: although leadership teams often take a back seat in talent development, they have a vital role to play in everything from expectation setting to creating an environment among their direct reports which enables development activities and mentoring individuals.

Mentors and coaches: play the important role of helping talent at all levels define and articulate their goals and development plans, remove barriers to growth and development, create and maintain relationships, and match individual employees to the training they need in particular skills and competencies. You can read more about this in our coaching cheat sheet article.

The employee themselves: You should expect your people to take a proactive role in their own development – which means they’ll also have a role to play in creating their own development plan, identifying their own skill gaps, and identifying the training they need to perform at the next level.

Managers: direct managers shouldn’t be expected to lead the process of talent development, as they rarely have the bandwidth required to do this alongside their existing duties – to say nothing of the specific skills. They do, however, have a role to play in helping to support employees psychologically, encourage them in the development process, and supporting development plans by accommodating development activities in their peoples’ schedules.

The HR team: HR will always be a key player in development programs and will often be the make-or-break component in their success. Their exact role depends on the nature of your talent pipeline and specific development programs and may incorporate or complement any of the roles described above. Beyond this, they’ll also be the main “voice” of the program to the organization – reporting on its progress and achievements to the leadership team and ensuring that external and internal talent is appropriately identified and made available for the right roles.

How Unit4 can help you

Unit4 creates HCM technology specifically designed for the unique needs of people-centric organizations. Helping you to manage and develop your people, attract world-class talent, and ensure and proactively encourage engagement, learning, and development. Together with our next-generation ERP and FP&A tools, our software can do everything from suggest avenues for development to proactively identify flight risks, allowing you to help your employee get the most out of what you can offer them so they can in turn contribute effectively to your organization’s goals.

To discover more, you can check out our dedicated HCM product pages here. Or click here to book a demo and see what our solution can do for your organization yourself.

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