Planning for Future Talent Gaps at All Levels

The authors of "Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business" suggest five ways that senior managers can contribute to their organization's talent goals.

Friday, March 2, 2007
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In their book Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business, Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer write that companies need to hold senior managers accountable for the talent partnership and measure their participation and contributions.

The authors suggest five ways that senior managers can contribute to their organization's talent goals:

Plan vigorously. Senior managers should partner with the talent leader and hiring managers in their division to create a written plan for how they will meet your current and long-term talent needs. Planning for the talent agenda should be as thorough and as vigorous as any other planning in the company (for instance, strategic, annual operating, material, and financial planning).

Be accessible. Senior managers should schedule regular meetings with their talent organization counterpart and be available and responsive when the talent leader contacts them. All senior managers should be accessible to meet prospective talent anywhere and anytime.

Sell. With a plan in place, senior managers are responsible for "selling" the plan within their division. How will the talent plan help the division succeed? How should people participate? How will they be measured and rewarded for their participation? Senior managers need to emphasize the importance of [talent] and back up their words with concrete plans and metrics. They also need to always wear their "selling shoes" when talking and meeting with prospective talent. If a hiring manager or other employee cannot sell his own company to a candidate, then leave that person off of the interview or meeting schedule.

Benchmarking. Know how effective your talent efforts are today and continue to measure these efforts using the metrics outlined next to gauge your efforts over time. Are they working? Also, continuously benchmark internal and external talent. The grass is hardly as green on the other side as you want to believe. Still, knowing who is out there, what they are doing, and how your internal talent stacks up is an essential element of strategic talent planning.

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Make movement happen. Don't let open positions stagnate while hiring managers churn through reams of resumes from unqualified candidates. ... Put the time and resources behind this framework to make it happen in your organization. And be willing to open up positions and make churn happen within the organization to accommodate new candidates and grow existing talent. Keeping the place moving will add the extra adrenaline needed for all talent to see a future in front of them in the current organization.

Source: Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business (Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2006).

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