How to Tap into Your Existing Talent Pool When Resources are Scarce

Predictors continue to speculate an increase in hiring, but a decrease in talented resources to access. In some industries, this poses a problem for many leaders and hiring managers who face a conundrum. They have to accomplish organizational goals with a limited number of qualified applicants. So where can they turn? To their existing talent pool inside their organization, of course.

First, reinforce the importance of talent management as a core business process with a significant impact on overall results. Make sure your entire senior leadership team does the same. This is vital to survive rough periods when a job opening may get just a tiny handful of candidates … or the flush times when you get 300. The benefit is that you have a grasp on the talent available at a moment’s notice.

In addition, existing talent pools have potentially shorter learning curved as they already know your business, your goals, and your corporate culture. Also, don’t ignore—or make assumptions about—any segment of your employee base. For instance, keep Baby Boomers in mind for leadership roles and don’t assume that they don’t want to accept the challenge. Tapping into their experience can be rewarding in several ways. 

Forward-thinking leaders will benefit from implementing the following recommendations to keep the talent pool deep:

  • Identify technical expertise, skills and talent needs for the future. Look at one-year, five-year and ten-year objectives and expectations.
  • Tap into leaders. Emphasize the need for their clarity and focus. Encourage them to see themselves as part of the problem, but also part of the solution.
  • Equip all staff members with the skills they need now and groom them for future organizational skill needs
  • Know the full scope of an individual’s skills and work to fully utilize and develop his or her potential one-on-one
  • Seek out the group of “high potentials” and groom them for more responsibilities and future needs
  • Seek out those who are engaged and motivate the existing human capital
  • Re-motivate those current employees who function from a point of disengagement
  • When interviewing to hire for one open position in the company, establish ongoing relationships with the top five to ten candidates in order to utilize their skill sets when and if needed in the future

When there is a need for additional resources but no money, time or approval to hire, consider some of the following ideas to encourage teamwork and get the job done:  

  • Ask for volunteers. There is always someone who is eager to do more and find new ways to be involved. Don’t decide how much is too much for others.
  • Solicit feedback and input on what employees want to work on. Learn about their interests, initiatives, and future objectives with the company. Give them the opportunity to educate you on how to fully and best utilize them.
  • Cross-train all team members in order to maximize efficiencies and resources
  • Job share with other departments
  • Rotate responsibilities
  • Get rid of nonproductive and nonperforming employees. They are not an effective use of a resource-spot in the organization; they send the wrong message about management; and they de-motivate the rest of the team.
  • Jump in and help get the work done. Role model the behavior you’re looking for from the rest of the team.
  • Recognize the existing talent and pre-call with individuals your interest in utilizing them for future efforts where their skills and talents would be most beneficial
  • Consider performance-management, mentoring, and coaching as top priorities and responsibilities to your team
  • Reward. Praise. Give employees a reason for working hard.

Rarely does an organization fully tap its internal resources. Typically, a business thinks it has no place to turn to for help within the company and believes the solution is to bring in more resources from outside. The key to company profitability and effectiveness is in the full utilization of employee development and productivity.

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