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How to identify, engage and nurture high-potential talent

Sharon Florentine | May 4, 2016
Succession planning should be a core part of your workforce management strategy. Here's how to get it right.

If your organization is taking the time and putting in the effort to work closely with employees on their development and growth, having an open dialogue about succession possibilities, and has the courage on both sides to place someone in a new role, that's when the true "magic" happens, says Jones.

"The employee's career plan matches up with a company's succession plan -- but that's not about coincidence, for the most part. It's about having a structure and process to identify talent pools of people developing for future opportunities and working with the employees to develop their skills and experience for that time when openings come up to place those people in new roles," she says.

Focus on engagement and retention

It's not just about ensuring the current success of the business, but also about talent engagement and retention strategy, too, Jones says. Succession planning and employee development and training demonstrates a commitment to employees, and shows them they have a future in your organization, according to Dan Schawbel, partner and research director at research and workforce management consultancy Future Workplace.

"If your employees don't see a path up, they will start looking for a path out. It's in companies' best interest to make sure they're making their workers' skills, experience and interests a priority and to help them navigate and nurture a growth and development plan. It can help in areas like cultural fit, where companies often struggle -- if you have great people within the company already, you have to do whatever you can to keep them, because it's hard to find," Schawbel says.

It's an area companies are starting to pay greater attention to, according to a survey from Future Workplace on The Active Job Seeker Dilemma.

Only 50 percent of the 4,347 job seekers polled by the survey say that their most recent employer has helped them advance in their career, even though 48 percent say their employers could help them do so through project assignments, 39 percent say their employers could help them advance through promotions and 35 percent say they could be helped through leadership development programs.

There's good news in the survey, though; of the 129 HR professionals polled, 68 percent say they're focused on promotions and 47 percent on project assignments, and 56 percent say they seek to enhance their employee experience in 2016 by investing more in employee training and development.

"There's a psychological component here; people like to be around others who have their best interests at heart, and that extends to the employee/employer relationship. We see this in a lot of smaller companies, especially, where they might not have a lot of openings, incredible pay or traditional advancement opportunities, but where there are many chances for and interest taken in development and growth, retention and engagement is so high. We see a lot that, if you invest in and develop your people, even if you get to the point where you're developing them out of your company, they'll still stay," says Tom Schoenfelder, Ph.D., and senior vice president of research and development at talent management company Caliper Corporation.


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