Finding the Missing Link in the Talent Gap

by Susan Mazza | Posted | Leadership

Finding the Missing Link in the Talent Gap

A recent report by Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) titled, “Talent Pipeline Draining Growth,” reveals some alarming findings about just how significant the gap is between the need for emerging leaders to fill critical roles within organizations and the ability of organizations to fill that gap. 

According to the CGMA report: 

“A new survey of more than 300 senior executives (CEOs, CFOs and HR directors) conducted by the Economic Intelligence unit…shows that businesses are missing out on performance targets and growth opportunities because of human capital management…”

And:

“Worryingly, 38% of respondents believe it is likely they will need to go externally to recruit for C level positions in the next 12 months. This indicates a lack of confidence in being able to recruit from the internal pool, bringing into question the effectiveness of organization’s existing human capital strategies, including succession planning for such roles.” 

Clearly senior executives know they have a problem.  In fact, the survey also revealed that, “While nearly 36% of HR directors are confident that their firm will not need to go externally to recruit for senior roles, less than 10% of CEOs and CFOs agree.” 

Where do talent gaps come from?

Is the talent gap problem inadequate attention to succession planning or ineffective talent management programs and tools?  Could it be a lack of clarity on who has the responsibility for measuring the effectiveness or of talent management or the quality of the data available to adequately identify and assess the gaps that need to be closed?

Perhaps it is all of the above, yet haven’t we been talking about all of these things for years while the problem continues to get worse, not better? Certainly all of these things are important to address, yet what are we missing?

Perhaps it’s this…we still seem to be looking at talent management as though it is just a part of the whole system that can be somehow sectioned off and addressed in a vacuum, rather than the lifeblood of the a healthy, sustainable system.  People are not machines and neither are organizations — despite our attempts to mechanize them for the sake of efficiency.  You don’t need to develop talent simply to make your organization more efficient, you need to develop talent that can chart the path and lead the way to an abundant future. 

Who is accountable for filling the talent pipeline?

There is a question far more important than who is accountable for designing and implementing an effective talent management program or monitoring and measuring its effectiveness. 

The most important question for us to answer is: who must be accountable for ensuring there is a pipeline of talent to fill the most important roles to ensure the success and sustainability of our organization’s future?

Could the answer be as simple as those who are in those roles today? 

After all, who would know better about what the capabilities, knowledge and mindset that are required to succeed in those positions than the people who now hold those positions and are successful in those roles?

Talent management is not something executives can afford to simply hand off to someone else. It’s not that leaders have to revert to doing it all themselves either.  Partnership with savvy HR, leadership and human performance professionals is essential, as well as great tools and informative data. 

Yet whether it is internal HR or the companies that are hired to train and coach these leaders or the tools that are deployed, none of them can be effective without true collaboration with the current leaders.  

It is only when responsibility and accountability for developing talent is embraced by the leaders of today that the abundance of excellent programs, tools and training can ever hope to be leveraged to ensure we have the talent we need available tomorrow. 

Now more than ever, senior leaders must learn to effectively cross the generational divide and personally guide the development of future leaders.  In the end, programs and tools don’t affect results, people do. 

How are you going to embrace your responsibility as a leader to ensure the people who work for your company today become the talent it can depend on tomorrow?

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