Earlier this year we posted a blog on the workplace epidemic of knowledge hoarders, or people who “gather information for personal preservation and future use.” Although knowledge hoarding is an ongoing problem, there seems to be second epidemic running rampant in the workplace. An epidemic of not just hoarding information, but hoarding talent.
You might be thinking, what’s the problem? After all, why would your managers want to give up their best employees to other departments or positions? The issue appears when we look at the depth of the metaphorical “bench” in the organization and find it lacking. Only 18% of organizations said they have a strong bench of frontline leaders who would be ready to take on senior leadership roles and 62% of organizations are concerned about the scarcity of talent available in the marketplace.
In essence, talent hoarding leads to a lack of “talent mobility.” Bersin by Deloitte defines talent mobility as a “dynamic internal process for moving talent from role to role at the leadership, professional and operation levels.” At its core, an effective talent mobility strategy takes into account the skills and competencies of the people already in place and how those skills can be balanced with the long-term business goals of the organization, as well as the long-term career goals of the individual.
It’s obvious that a culture of talent hoarding can be detrimental to the long-term success of an organization, so the question becomes, “how do we stop the epidemic?”.
- Incentives for management – Talent hoarding often occurs because managers that have taken the time and effort to develop their people don’t want to lose them to other departments. Although outstanding leaders are willing to develop their people, even if it means one day losing them to another team, this is easier said than done. Offering incentives to managers who promote from within, and measuring them on their ability to do so, can help to ensure that they are stewards of a talent-sharing culture.
- Training, training, training – Why three times the training? Because it is the most important element of a good talent mobility strategy. Opportunities for employees to learn should go beyond basic on-boarding and compliance training. The tools to close skills-gaps and build a strong bench of talent could already be at your fingertips. Use your learning management system (LMS) to ensure that access to continued education is easy and encouraged within your corporate culture.
- A recruiting strategy that favors internal sourcing – Although there may not be an internal employee that is the perfect fit for all open requisitions, in many cases organizations miss easy opportunities to hire from within. According to Ed Nathanson’s recent post on “How Training Can Help Hiring,” hiring from within not only improves retention, but organizations also “get better value from an existing employee who is eager for the opportunity to learning and grow into a role.” Which in turn leads to the last area of…
- Transparency into internal opportunities – A true story from a friend of mine – she was starting the search for a new job and on a whim she decided to scroll through her current company’s careers page. Sure enough, she saw an open position that caught her eye. It was outside of the realm of her current position but was within the scope of an area that interested her and where she could see herself long term. So she reached out to HR and…..was told that the position was posted two months ago and that an offer had already been extended. A little transparency into internal opportunities can go a long way when it comes to keeping your best people!
It is time to put an end to the epidemic and have a corporate talent hoarding intervention. Encouraging talent mobility instead of talent hoarding can not only ensure a strong lineup of future leaders but can also improve engagement, retention and productivity.