Article: The importance of cultivating internal talent during COVID-19

Talent Management

The importance of cultivating internal talent during COVID-19

Companies need to set up strong training engines and internal team capabilities to identify potential candidates and build a robust and skilled talent pipeline.
The importance of cultivating internal talent during COVID-19

The pandemic has permanently transformed competition for talent. Upskilling and transitioning internal employees into various roles will be critical in the post pandemic era to help reduce the substantial financial impact of acquiring new resources, reducing job redundancy, and improving employee engagement, morale and productivity. Companies need to set up strong training engines and internal team capabilities to identify potential candidates and build a robust and skilled talent pipeline.

Established processes on talent identification and mapping, supported by consistent development interventions, help fuel the talent pipeline. This strategy also bolsters management and leadership confidence to explore internal candidates. In high productivity environments, internal candidates familiar with company culture and expectations are likely better positioned to sustain productivity and catalyze desired innovation. 

Niche skills or technical expertise roles requiring a higher degree of training or certification are areas worth exploring external hires to address critical needs to enhance innovation, productivity, and/or required leadership capabilities. The absence of these skills and expertise can significantly impact an organization’s market edge and share.

Typically, lack of equal opportunities, talent development processes, and inconsistent applications of both hinders internal growth and creates a culture of management resistance to internal moves. Poor resource planning can also mean last-mile hiring resulting in poor internal opportunities.

Recruitment after COVID

Against the pandemic backdrop, internal mobility assumed even more significance both for the employee and employers. Interestingly, LinkedIn's report "The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming recruiting" found a 15% increase in internal mobility in Asia-Pacific since COVID-19.

With the increasing number of roles and jobs becoming geographic agnostic and given the implementation of various remote and hybrid work models available, internal talent are no longer limited by their location to pursue their career goals.

A recent Gartner CFO survey revealed that almost three in four CFOs plan to "shift at least 5 percent of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19."

Remote working was gaining currency before 2020; however, the pandemic has accelerated telecommuting and hybrid working options for companies, and these will continue to be the norm for many organizations.

Benefits of internal hiring

Work ethic, reputation, and performance credentials are an employee's calling cards both internally and externally. When applying internally, most of these are verifiable by the hiring manager, which is not the case when exploring externally. A hiring manager has limited information access and must rely on candidate shared credentials. External hiring is predominantly done through interviews and assessment tools that don't typically provide hiring managers a view of the candidate's actual performance and behavior, making it easier to crack external interviews.

Organizations need to identify niche skills that are required for future growth areas. Talent assessment and identification of potential candidates must be undertaken in tandem to ensure a strong talent pipeline. Identified employees should be provided appropriate training in their interest areas and given real-time or simulated work environment opportunities to further these skills.  A strong mentorship program can also enhance successful engagement and outcome. In addition, making sure internal successes are recognized and celebrated further ignites latent talents to emerge. 

Internal hiring is an established and effective strategy for the engagement and retention of performers within an organization. It can be highly motivating, engaging and rewarding for employees to see new career pathways that may not have been an option in the past due to geographic considerations. With the increasing number of roles and jobs becoming geographic agnostic, and given the implementation of various remote and hybrid work models available, internal talent are no longer limited by their location to pursue their career goals.

Internal talent mobility can also result in significant savings based on reduction in recruitment costs, loss of days/productivity while the position is open, and higher compensation expectations of external candidates vs. internal employees. Internal talent already has a repository of organizational knowledge that can be leveraged to best meet the needs of clients, projects and deliverables. 

Further, by implementing programs like accelerated career plan and job rotation frameworks, organizations can achieve higher employee retention and ensure critical roles and key talent are mapped for successful outcomes. Developing and investing in internal talent mobility strengthens companies for future disruptions. 

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Topics: Talent Management, #GuestArticle, #COVID-19

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