Filling the gaps: Mapping your talent for maximum success

Nov 28, 2018 | Align, Leadership Lounge

When people dream about leading a company, they tend to think big. And that’s because big ideas, big opportunities, and big goals propel companies to greater heights.

But success is nothing if not the sum of its parts. You have to set the stage, which means you need a talent plan. Regardless of company size, a strategic talent plan can help you shape your workforce for maximum efficiency and employee engagement for the long run. That starts with using the right human capital to build a team-centric business model. And taking a vested interest in helping your employees grow creates greater engagement and productivity because employees are excited to be there and make an impact.

Knowing your talent means knowing your talent gaps

Two sides of this equation: What do you have and what do you need? An important part of your strategic plan should be your workforce plan – a map of current talent matched with future needs. Is who in place now in the right role? Where do you have talent gaps? What plans are in place to ensure the right people are in the right roles on an ongoing basis? Answers to these questions are all part of how a talent map is built.

Here is the reality that stresses out many leaders: According to the 2018 Talent Shortage Survey by ManpowerGroup, 46% of US employers report difficulty in recruiting, and that number only continues to rise, year after year. Setting up your talent strategy will make your company smarter about going after talent, and make your organization more appealing to your current team and future recruits.

What do you have?

With your strategic plan in place, now is the time to look at the current talent you have on your team. Define who is ready for the next step. Assess who might need more training and development. Evaluate people that might not be the right fit for where you’re heading in the long-term. Determine what each person wants and needs for their own development path.

Growing your team

Once you’ve identified who on your current team will play a specific role, find ways to keep that talent engaged. Here are some suggestions for growing and managing your people the right way:

  • Training and development: Ask your employees about areas they’d like to improve, and determine what you can do to make that a reality. Make it a priority.
  • Don’t take succession planning for granted. It’s simply a matter of professional life that employees will retire, relocate, or simply move on. Have a plan in place so you know which talent competencies will need to be replaced. Have you identified an internal successor already or will you need to find/onboard a new employee? Succession planning helps employees acquire the skills and competencies needed to compete for open positions when they become available. Consider the “Two Up/Two Down” military approach, where you’re always developing two levels up and down for readiness to be promoted. Not only understanding their role and responsibilities, but understanding their boss’s mission and their boss’s boss’s mission ensures cohesion in delivering against company goals.

Current talent vs. talent needs

Once you know your business goals and objectives, conducting a Talent Gap Analysis allows you to look at your current talent versus your talent needs.

Based on your plan, identify where you have talent gaps – areas where you don’t have the right talent to achieve the outcomes needed. Those talent gaps should warrant immediate action and strategy. Simply put: determine what talent competencies will get the needed outcomes, define the expertise this person should bring to the table, and establish a search strategy.

Be on offense, not defense

In the talent world, finding talent seems to be a reactionary behavior as opposed to a proactive one. In the whirlwind of business, it is the one thing you know you should do, but don’t because of all of the other demands of being a company leader. But it will pay off if you put a plan in place. Organizations that plan for future needs in talent, and actively recruit on an ongoing basis, are the ones that typically win. Hands down. They are the ones who get the talent fast because they created a bench for every critical role in the organization. And what positions aren’t critical?

For further reading, we suggest:

4 Steps To Strategic Human Resources Planning

10 Principles For Building An Effective Human Capital Plan



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