Development & Succession Planning: Solving Tomorrow's Talent Issues Today

Posted by David Lee on December 5, 2017

Coworkers at a table

“Our Recruiters are going to have to move faster. If they have to go over budget, that is fine. We need talent.” I have seen this scenario many times…words coming directly from the mouths of senior executives. We need talent. We have gaps. Get recruiting on it immediately. In theory, it makes sense. We need talent, so let’s ensure our talent acquisition team is on it and has the tools and spend necessary to bring talent in the door. But that’s just it…they are bringing it in the front door. As an HR Executive, I often then asked “What are we doing to make sure the back door is closed?”

It’s a simple analogy. If you work hard to attract talent to your organization, then you will need to work ten times harder to keep them there. So, close the back door. Perhaps you’ve read this previously in terms of a fishing net. Why put in a ton of time and effort in catching a fish if there is just a hole in the net anyway? So what organizations end up doing is spending lavish amounts of money on third party recruiting fees, job boards, referral fees, and extra talent acquisition staff plus overhead. We think we are burning through hard earned profits quickly in the talent management process. In actuality, we are burning through hard earned profits in the “lack of” talent management process.

What happens when good talent leaves? In addition to all of the aforementioned talent acquisition costs, money is spent on legal fees fighting non-competes or violated NDAs. Institutional knowledge is lost when a key player who is thoroughly trained on how your business and customers operate chooses to leave. The employees who stay with you are tasked with picking up the slack, causing confusion, burnout and dissatisfaction. Customers leave and follow your former employees, or simply become disgruntled for having to deal with someone new or less experienced. There goes revenue, morale and pieces of your culture. The immediate reaction is to “get recruiting on it immediately.” That is not the answer we need. 

It’s certainly easier said than done, but there are three very simple ways that your organization can shift the money it is spending on unnecessary talent acquisition to employee retention.

  1. Career paths - Creating a career path for an employee gives him/her a sense of direction. It ensures the employee knows the organization has long-term plans for him/her, and s/he is highly valued. It provides the basis for identifying skill gaps and growth objectives for an employee that clearly define a development plan for the future.
  2. Development Plans - Give an employee a chance to lead a project or initiative. Invest in learning opportunities. Have them shadow employees in other operational areas that add to their skill set. Do these things in alignment with a path you and the employee are creating together to achieve their career goals and fulfill a career path of growth.
  3. Mentoring - But mentoring done correctly. Try assigning multiple mentors for a variety of perspectives, or assigning multiple SME mentors so your employees are always dealing with an expert on each of their development needs. If you have an employee who doesn’t aspire to move up, have him/her become a mentor to others.

When you make this shift, you will substantially reduce the additional spend on those legal fees, customer churn/revenue loss, and institutional knowledge attrition. Simultaneously, you will be boosting morale of those employees who are much happier that their co-worker and friend is sticking around for years to come.

Please review future blogs in this series for detailed information on career paths, development plan build out and mentoring.

Contact us to help you build your 2018 talent strategy, and to see how Deltek Talent Management can help you with both your recruiting and your retention initiatives.