How to build a talent pool - Business Works
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How to build a talent pool

by Kevin Young, GM, Skillsoft EMEA With today’s economic climate creating more compact workforces, organisations have had to accelerate development of new hires and cross-train experienced workers to cover more needs. The job market has remained tight for critical skills such as IT and sourcing talent abroad has also become increasingly competitive. As a result, it is not surprising that many companies have continued or even accelerated their pursuit of talent management strategies.

In order to continue to grow, businesses need a strong and capable workforce behind them. Therefore, every organisation should make sure that they are taking care of their talent pipeline. Not only will this help businesses to cultivate and foster a positive environment, but employees will feel valued and want to be a part of the company's success. Businesses will benefit from a happy and motivated workforce and any employees that do decide to leave will be able to be replaced with minimum disturbance.

So how can organisations develop a pool of talent?

In order to develop a pool of talent, businesses need to ensure they put in place a strong talent management strategy that focuses on attracting, developing and retaining top talent. A robust talent strategy should cover the lifecycle of an employee, but what many companies quickly come to realise is just how important learning is to virtually every phase of the talent management cycle - acquisition, engagement, development, leadership and retention, all of which have strong links into the learning function. Therefore organisations need to ensure that any talent management strategy is aligned with a learning and development plan each step of the way.

First of all, you must work to entice your market’s top talent. If you hope to be the employer of choice in your particular sector then you must be serious about wanting to make talent a key influencer in your company. It pays to create a great induction programme that turns interest in the organisation into deep respect and profound admiration. The aim is to develop a constantly reinforced belief in the new recruit that they have made the right choice in coming on board and that all the talk and promises made at interviews are followed through and delivered.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that everyone has potential, so you should work to create an ethos where every employee is acknowledged as having potential. This means creating a broad talent philosophy that makes sure everyone is challenged and given the chance to work for promotions. This can be encouraged by an in-house learning and development programme that is solely targeted at the individual employee’s career progression. By demonstrating to employees that they are valued for their future contributions as well as their current roles, businesses will fare better in competitive talent markets and reduce the likelihood of valuable employees moving on.

There are plenty of other things you should do in order to spread an unmistakable message that staff are valued, respected and have a future in your organisation. For example, create personal development plans and build them in to appraisal systems; solicit regular performance feedback and offer staff regular secondments to other parts of the business. Also provide staff with opportunities to take time out of their regular day-to-day chores to work on more strategic projects. These all have their place, and will certainly go a long way in helping to create a 'learning organisation'.

a fantastic talent manager

The final piece of the puzzle is a fantastic talent manager. The majority of the tips mentioned above are entirely dependent on strong managers who understand that people play a big part in their own success. It takes an intuitive manager to value the talent; talk with other managers to know where opportunities lie and share those skills around the organisation. And it is the talent manager that needs to work with HR to drive the development of a learning organisation. Without them, employees are faced with little direction and a lack of inspiration, so having the right manager in place will go a long way in helping to support business prosperity.

Never before have businesses faced so many challenges. However, by introducing these simple tips, organisations of all sectors and markets can realise the benefits of having a highly talented, loyal and productive workforce. This, no doubt, will go a long way in helping your business to stay on top, overtake the competition and overcome the daily hurdles presented by today’s ever changing world.

Companies that can provide a wealth of learning opportunities, to employees at all levels will experience the greatest uplift to their talent strategies. By investing in learning and development, this will in turn foster an environment of continuous learning and maintain a consistent pipeline of talent. Not only will this enable any role to be replaced with minimum disturbance, but it will ensure that businesses have the right talent in place when and where they need it.

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