by Vanessa Mackay on 30/01/12 at 10:38 am
With economic hard times, businesses large and small have had to re-invent business procedures down to the most basic levels, looking for savings and leaner operations. Those that have been able to contract and retrench their functions have survived and outlasted their competition through what has been a dry season since 2008.
Even though companies have to restrict their hiring, just like any other activity to watch precious dollars closer, they can’t blindly ignore opportunities to pick up valuable talent. Further, retaining existing talent requires added effort to keep folks in-house as well.
A significant gap of experience now exists as the baby boomer generation leaves the work force. While younger generations are quite adept, they simply don’t match the numbers the baby boomers represented, creating a mathematical deficit of institutional knowledge.
This is not to say there isn’t a number of people who would be willing to work. Any HR office can vouch for the wave of applications received daily whenever an open position is advertised. However, a company has to find the right people for the job to be successful.
The alternative solution, instead of waiting for a savior, is to develop talent in-house. This involves training existing people up who show promise and have been noticed as rising stars. It also establishes a good reserve of talent over time from which to draw promotions as upper level vacancies occur. It’s in this respect that technology tools can lend assistance, enhancing talent development and tracking.
Does company management know at the tip of its fingers what talent resources it has? Probably not. Performance reviews don’t normally get seen unless someone opens a personnel file when preparing a discipline action. Most management bodies rely on existing managers to put forward particular candidates, vouching for their performance. However, hardly any businesses make it a point to actually keep records on measurable talent and skill metrics of employees to draw reports on potential candidates. Instead, positions get posted officially to possibly capture any “outsiders” for review not already recommended by an inner circle manager.
However, much of the information already exists in HR files and training records. Compiled the right way in basic personnel databases, companies can leverage their existing personnel files to track the progress of employees. This allows easy identification of talent resources, and where they are in development. By integrating record-keeping across units a business leadership can quickly identify where its strongest potential candidates are for promotion. Of course, this method dilutes the personnel recommendation method a bit, but if a company is willing to try an alternative to traditional promotion, the benefits can be significant in terms of personnel data mining.
Most businesses, regardless of size, have taken advantage of websites and email communications. When a candidate it promoted, it’s a great opportunity to use the person’s story to show other employees that internal people rise and see better success within the business. This instills commitment and incentivizes remaining employees to perform if they want to advance their careers.
The communication tools already exist. Internal marketing blurbs about a new candidate’s success can be distributed by news blasts, newsletters, and even profiles on the company webpage. As long as the program covers every successful candidate and does not have the appearance of favoritism, it can be a quick, easy boost to employee morale via an example.
Managing the Tidal Wave of Applications
Hard times can put a lot of talented folks out of work or force them to look for better opportunities. While businesses have to contract as well to create savings, they should still keep an eye open for prospective hires with great talents and skill. However, this can be a huge workload with the number of applications a personnel office can get flooded with.
The trick to managing so much information is to use a good filtering system. In this respect, scanning technology can process hundreds of applications and pull out the relevant few candidates that really match what a company is looking for. Such filtering programs are available off-the-shelf for low cost and provide powerful results very quickly.
Enhanced and Coordinated Training
Employees who are treated with enhanced training feel valued and learn new skills that can be applied quickly in the office. However, too often companies take a lackluster approach to training and sprinkle across the business without a coordinated effort. This creates about as much benefit in the long-run as sprinkling pixie dust down the cubicle hallways.
A proper training program has a progression track for every element, showing how a candidate will start and end the program and with what desired results. Ideally, employees should be on a training track from the day they start the job. Technology training software can easily control all of a business’ training needs, keeping tabs on each employee’s progress and which course is needed next. This gives a business far more control over skill development and where it can best be applied, especially in lean times.
Even the most basic technology tools in the office can be used effectively if part of a coordinated talent management plan. Leadership is good a strategy and talent management can be planned out very easily with inexpensive approaches when given a bit of thought.
About The Author: Vanessa Mackay is an expert writer on the topic of Performance Reviews and how organizations can leverage automation to improve their talent management.