process improvement friends like to say, “Improving the work is the work.” There is some truth to that in HR as
well. But, I think that it is also fair
to say that “Keeping the talent pipeline full is the work.” I’ll admit that it’s less catchy.
planning is a topic as old as business, so I will cut to the chase: This may be an area where companies are
getting better. The data is
interesting as well in that it shows (at least in this sample) that public
companies are better at it than private ones.
I would be curious as to whether there is an additional split between
family owned and other types of ownership among the private companies.
that transparency (welcomed or not) has a lot to do with boards (and,
hopefully, HR) being more concerned about high level succession planning. Part of what big investors are buying is the
leadership team and the more focus there is on CEOs and their impact, the more
concern investors will have in the less-than-famous leaders.
succession planning does not stop at the C-Suite. It should be considered part of talent
development for every position in the company.
Whether it is at the entry (where are we going to find new employees?)
or management (how can we identify leadership potential?) levels, the work is
ensuring that there is a strategy for identifying talent.
process involves both valid assessment (who is interested and capable of doing
what we need?) and development (what are the experiences that a person needs to
be prepared for the next move?). Keeping
the pipeline full means focusing on both so that when a position comes open the
question, “Who’s next?” can be answered quickly and reliably.
want to believe that we are looking to recruit, select, and develop top
talent. We spend lots of time reading
and writing articles on the topic. But,
what if hiring managers are not interested?
article throws a bit of cold water on the topic. It documents a study where hiring managers were
shown to doubt the organizational commitment of those deemed the most
capable. It was almost as if they were
saying, “Why would someone really good want to work for us?”
are several issues at work here. But,
what they boil down to is a bias among hiring mangers that negatively affects
their selection processes. Sure, I can
imagine anecdotal evidence (“Yeah, we hired that one really bright person, but
she jumped ship as soon as she got a better offer.”), but I don’t think that
this is a data driven decision.
this also underlines is the importance of developing a culture that encourages
top talent to stay. There’s no question
that selecting the right people will drive business performance. And having a culture that acknowledges and rewards
high performance will do so as well.
When hiring managers feel that top talent will not stay, it is really an
indictment of the culture rather than an accurate prediction of management’s view. How can you fight this?
- If managers do not think top talent would be committed to your organization, they should NOT be involved in hiring.
- Those who are doing the hiring should be able to provide a realistic preview of the organization, but should also be able to succinctly describe why people stay. And I’m not just talking about a good cafeteria. They should be able to provide examples of people who have found challenging work over time in the organization.
- If you are speaking with hiring managers who show an anti-talent bias, ask them what needs to be changed so they would believe that top talent would want to stay.
- The best way to fight bias is with data. You should be able to study turnover rates by talent bands (contact me for tips on this). This way you can either show people that top talent does not leave any faster than other employee groups or demonstrate to executives that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Organizations should strive for selection processes that identify top talent and cultures that nurture them. Do not let bias against hiring top talent work against these two initiatives.