Developing Your Talent

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Talent Pipeline vs. Just-in-Time Talent

By Kristen Leverone on October 31, 2013

To ensure readiness for the challenges of a changing business environment, successful organizations are recognizing the need for an agile organization, one that can quickly shift talent across an organization’s projects, roles, teams, departments, and locations. 

In response to these demands, some companies are moving away from full-time employees to a contingent workforce of contract and/or temporary workers who can step in and fill a need very quickly.  According to a recent survey, 20% of small businesses owners prefer contingent staff over full-time employees.  And in a Deloitte report on the contingent workforce, some large companies are devoting as much as 30 percent of their procurement spend on contingent workers.

But are contingent workers the right model for everyone?  It’s a question every organization must consider.   The Deloitte study found that “the expanding use of contingent workers can expose companies to competitive risk from the loss of trade secrets, intellectual property and organizational knowledge.” 

In response, many organizations continue to invest in their workforce and build  strong talent pipelines.  They are implementing innovative and collaborative development programs to build bench strength and increase competencies that align with current and anticipated business needs.  Here are three tactics to consider:

  1. Job rotation – In order to expose employees to different roles and functions, many organizations have implemented job rotation programs where individuals move from one position to another within the same department or across the organization.  Job rotation is especially attractive to employees who thrive on change and seek opportunities to enhance their skills and competencies. 
  2. Cross-functional teams –A cross-skilled workforce can also be achieved through collaborative cross-functional teams.  Cross training facilitates the redeployment of talent, increases engagement, develops front-line managers, and opens up career paths for top performers.
  3. Stretch assignments – Stretch assignments expand competencies and skills by allowing employees to move beyond their comfort zones, without making the commitment of moving into a different position.  Stretching talent is fundamental to career development and advances succession-planning efforts by identifying potential leaders.  

As discussed in LHH’s new study on talent mobility, talent mobilizers are organizations that anticipate change and prepare employees for increased lateral and vertical movement.  Are your employees ready to mobilize into new roles as business needs change?  Take our Talent Mobility Diagnostic to learn how your organization is performing as a talent mobilizer. After completing the diagnostic, you’ll receive results immediately via email, along with access to our new research report, “Set Talent in Motion.” Your personalized report and our study will be invaluable tools for benchmarking and planning your talent strategy.

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