Successful organizations include Human Resources as part of their strategic planning team. HR, as a partner in the company’s plan, can execute recruiting and employee retention plans, develop timelines and assist in budgeting for new hires. Ensuring that the talent pipeline contains an adequate number of qualified candidates requires workforce planning.
Identify Critical Skills
Identify critical jobs – jobs that must be performed well for the company to succeed. These positions often reside in the conduct of everyday business rather than in upper management. They could be new positions and skills based on future company initiatives. Companies need to identify, attract and develop candidates for the critical skills pipeline.
Assess Talent Pools
Now that you’ve identified current and future skills requirements, take inventory of what you already have. Once you’ve identified the critical skills the company needs, create a profile of the ideal employee for that position and take a look at current employees that could fill critical roles and those who should be included in the critical talent pipeline. Use the profile to identify external candidates as well.
Perform a Gap Analysis
When HR is part of the strategic planning team, they become aware of future plans to upgrade a computer system or to open new warehouses. Many of the initiatives mentioned as part of a five-year plan will require specific talent and staffing requirements. The qualifications and number of positions required to support future business development and the current expertise will expose the gap in staffing.
Track Development of Internal Employees with Critical Skills
Those candidates that fit the profile for specific critical skills should be offered development in order to reduce the chance of turnover and to make them more valuable to the company. Regular assessments can provide an indicator of critical skills development.
Create an External Critical Skills Candidate Pipeline
External candidates with the required skills and competencies should be viewed as potential hires for critical roles. The staffing challenges that come with new technology or economic fluctuations can be successfully managed with a well-tended talent pipeline.
The debate between education and experience is one of the oldest in the hiring book, and it’s still relevant today. According to Glassdoor’s U.S. Employment Confidence Survey, 82% of U.S. college graduates said their level of education has been an asset to their careers . Instead of wrestling between absolutes, start asking different questions. Every position has its own unique needs, and the right person for the job could come from either end of the spectrum.
The Benefits of Less
Never discount an applicant simply because they lack either education or experience. Taking on candidates fresh out of school with little experience gives you all the benefits of a freshly educated, malleable mind that can grow to exemplify your organization’s values. A candidate with little education but a mountain of experience will bring intuition and insight only the battle-hardened can boast.
Rather than treating education and experience as broad subjects, look at the details. An applicant whose qualifications are specialized in the field you need is invaluable to a team and is often a better choice than someone with a more extensive but non-specialized background. The specifics may also reveal unexpected perks, like training that would benefit a major project your organization is working on or alternative viewpoints that add extra value to a candidate.
Consider Your Current Team
If your applicants will be working closely with other people, identify the gaps or imbalances in your current team and look to fill them. If your current staff is heavy on experience, bring in someone with a more extensive education. If your staff is well educated but lacks experience in the type of project you are about to undertake, choose someone with the right practical skills.
Seek a Middle Ground
When it comes down to it, academics and practical skill are equally important, and having a balance of both is ideal. Remember that you can use seminars and other training programs to polish otherwise perfect candidates with a few gaps in their resume.
As applications come across your desk, give education and experience equal weight. Hone in on specific skills and think about the assets you are lacking. Striking a balance will always serve you well.