3 Ways to Nurture Your Internal Talent Pipeline

February 14, 2020 John McLaughlin

The global economy faces a growing shortage of high-skilled workers in 2020. In China, the projected gap between the supply of high-skilled workers and the demand is 23 million. In Europe and the U.S., the gap is projected to range from 16 million to 18 million. The global competition for top talent will be fierce.

With the growing shortage of talent, employers need to rely on building an internal talent pipeline to meet their workforce needs. Providing employees with options for professional growth and internal pathways for career progression helps ensure that you have the talent you need down the line.

Here are three ways to nurture your internal talent pipeline.

Respect Employee Agency

The goal of pooling internal talent is to help employees “own” their careers and to understand their options for growth.

Empowering employees to own their careers includes giving them a significant degree of control over their training and development journey. Employee buy-in into reskilling is a critical element of building a future-ready workforce, and that buy-in is easiest to attain when employees are given agency over their career paths.

The goal of pooling internal talent is to help employees “own” their careers and to understand their options for growth. This involves dispensing with the “ladder” as a metaphor for career advancement. A more apt way to think about an individual’s career path is a climbing wall. The right move for an employee isn’t always directly up — sometimes a lateral move is more effective for that individual’s progression.

To this end, it’s important to give employees reskilling options. Allowing their professional growth and development to occur organically based on their interests, goals and motivations produces engaged learners and the best results. The best outcome for the future-ready workforce comes not from organizational coercion but from employee investment in their career journey.

Map Out Job Neighborhoods

The creation of job neighborhoods can serve as a valuable tactic for employee career ownership. Certain job groupings are more aligned with certain competencies and skills. These can be grouped together into “neighborhoods.” Once those potential career moves are laid out, employees can match their skill sets to a series of interconnected job pathways.

Job neighborhoods open up new pathways for employees based on their existing skill level and help them map their futures at your organization. Employees receive multiple options regarding their mobility, and your organization benefits from the distinct, individual career paths that are woven. If employees can collaborate with supervisors and your human capital management team to determine their career trajectories, they will be more likely to buy in to reskilling initiatives and contribute to the growth of your organization’s internal talent pipeline.

Incorporate Growth Experiences

Professional growth is essential to developing a future-ready workforce. In some ways, agility and digital competencies remove hierarchy, so experiences are important factors in upward mobility. Different employees are seeking different experiences, and that can determine which trajectories their career paths take. Some employees might look for chances to go abroad, for example, so it’s important to put those opportunities in front of them.

Individual experiences will have a larger role in career mobility and compensation in an agile workforce, and openness to new experiences and opportunities to learn will be critical.

Read our whitepaper, Does Your Workforce Have the Talent DNA for the Digital Future?, to learn more about steps you can take to grow your future workforce from within.

About the Author

John McLaughlin

John has worked for cut-e, now Aon’s Assessment Solutions, for 10 years in a variety of roles and geographies across Europe, South America, and North America. This in-market experience combined with his current role as the global commercial director for the group leads to an in-depth knowledge of global trends impacting talent strategies across all organizations.

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