24th August 2021
Recruiting an external candidate can undoubtedly be beneficial; as well as the valuable experience they bring with them, a new employee often provides a fresh perspective that can help a company innovate and think differently.
But it’s not the only way an organisation can ensure it has the best talent in place. In fact, a company that totally depends on this approach to address skill gaps as they arise could be particularly exposed to shifts in the recruitment market. Recent turbulent times have resulted in a predominantly candidate-driven market. Employers can’t rely on posting an advert then expecting to have their ideal applicant, complete with dream skill set, walk in through the door a few weeks later.
This is why there’s a lot to be said for organisations growing their own talent by developing and nurturing existing employees and recruiting for future potential rather than for the “finished article”.
When it comes to people, the need to build resilience into the way companies operate is more important than ever. An approach that focuses on succession and talent management rather than depending more on reactive recruitment can help them achieve that. Aligning the business strategy and goals – short, mid and long term - with the people development plan helps organisations focus on creating the skill base they need by nurturing emerging talent and enabling individual employees to fulfil their potential.
Not only is nurturing your own talent a great option for building a long term committed workforce but it also helps address problems that might be on the horizon at the same time. There are already skills shortages in key areas with more skill gaps predicted over the coming years. A more reactive approach that relies entirely on being able to fill vacancies quickly with external candidates who have very specific skills is unlikely to hit the mark every time. A broader succession strategy gives a company more options.
Of course, not every scenario can be planned for – but by having a cohort of talent already in the pipeline, a company will be better placed to respond quickly. That can reduce the risk of rushing to hire someone because of an urgent need for a particular skill set: something which could turn out to be a costly error.
Companies can support succession plans by recruiting for personal attributes then focusing on skill development over a longer period. For example, organisations looking for talent that they can shape and support may find apprenticeships offer an attractive solution. There are plenty of younger people seeking apprenticeships; for businesses keen to support individuals in developing company-relevant skills for the long term, it can be an ideal way to grow talent. Apprentices don’t just have to be recent school leavers either. Apprenticeships can appeal to a range of people attracted by the blend of on-the-job learning and the more formal qualification opportunities that might be available.
Relationships can be built up with graduates too with an eye on the future by offering placements throughout their degree to encourage them to come to you after they graduate. As well as developing a sense of commitment to you as an employer, they’ll also be familiar with the company which will increase the chances of them moving quickly into their first substantive position.
While a “grow your own talent” strategy benefits employers, it also benefits individual employees too. By investing in them this way, you’re sending the message that your company is committed to them. This can have a positive impact in a number of ways such as by increasing motivation and engagement levels as well as overall job satisfaction. A lack of career development and limited growth opportunities are frequently highlighted as reasons why people decide to leave their job. By developing employees and offering them career progression opportunities, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll choose to stay with you.
No approach is risk free. Growing your own talent means investing in someone who might then move on. And there will be times when it’s absolutely the right decision to bring someone in from outside who is ready to hit the ground running.
But by taking a more blended approach, carefully targeted external recruitment for the skills needed here and now can be combined with a longer-term perspective that recruits for potential and develops existing employees, building a loyal and highly capable workforce. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you recruit talented people to support your succession planning then please get in touch with us.