Mixing talent with business
In scattered HR departments across the country, professionals are hoping some daunting numbers will spur executives to embrace a bold approach to integrated talent management. Although we’ve seen it coming for years, companies have been forced to appreciate the magnitude – and feel the acute impact – of baby boomer retirements. America’s 80 million boomers are expected to retire at a rate of about 10,000 people per day over the next 19 years, undoubtedly leaving talent gaps in many organizations.
That trend will require companies to embrace bolder talent strategies. “In the past, companies have created business forecasts, then developed talent strategies to support those,” said Mindy Mazer, Corporate Director of Talent Acquisition at AMETEK, Inc. and a former talent executive with several, large Philadelphia companies. “With the changing demographics and the talent pool becoming much more competitive, companies are going to have to do a different kind of planning.”
But how can you integrate your talent strategy with your business strategy and avoid talent shortfalls?
Mine the data
Analyze your existing talent pool and long-term talent needs. This analysis should include demographics of current staff in all segments of your business, turnover rates and costs, existing skills, scarce skills, existing or looming management gaps, and the adequacy of the talent queued up to assume greater roles inside the organization. Also assess the attributes that will be needed to thrive in a rapidly changing economy.
Such data can highlight emerging talent gaps and provide the foundation for strategies to acquire the right talent to meet business goals.
Invest in potential
Armed with that forecast of your talent needs, refine your recruiting, retention, training, succession planning, employee benefits and other talent programs to target emerging talent gaps and workforce realities. This, Mazer warns, is a daunting job and can require fundamental changes to established business practices.
The anticipated shortage of experienced employees and senior-level managers, for example, is prompting some companies to shift their recruiting programs to focus primarily on fresh college graduates and “young potentials.” In conjunction, firms are creating extensive development programs to help those junior employees gain subject-matter, project-management and leadership skills.
“This approach requires companies to think differently. It requires funding and it’s more proactive than many companies tend to be,” Mazer said. The payoff, however, could be the creation of a “bench of talent” tailored to advance your company’s strategic goals.