If your organization is finding it difficult to maintain and attract sufficient talent, you're not alone. The talent shortage is of epidemic proportions, impeding the effectiveness of companies worldwide.
According to a 2014 ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey "more than 50 percent of global employers reporting talent shortages say the shortages significantly impact their ability to meet client needs" and "forty percent of employers say shortages reduce their competitiveness/productivity."
Clearly this is a systemic problem that isn't likely to be resolved with quick short-term fixes.
Acknowledgement that there is a significant problem and the abundance of conversation about it doesn't seem to be making much of a dent in the problem either.
Donald Delves founder of a Chicago based compensation consulting firm suggests that "the best way to assure effective succession is to foster a corporate culture that expects executives to focus on it because it is a leadership quality that the culture prizes."
Yet this change in culture must begin somewhere.
Why not with you?
Strategies for dealing with the talent shortage epidemic start with you
In fact, if talent management and succession planning hasn't yet been given the priority it deserves in your organization, consider that it may be up to you to get the ball rolling.
Whether you're a senior leader or a middle manager, start by thinking of yourself as the CEO of your piece of the organization, then put your own talent management plan and practices in motion.
You can adopt these 5 strategies to address the talent shortage:
1. Clearly articulate the talents each member of your team brings to the success of your organization.
Consider which skills, knowledge, competencies or experience contribute to the effectiveness of your team. And also consider the same for the other internal organizations you depend on. Look at the talent profile not only for individuals, but for the whole.
2. Clearly articulate the gaps/weaknesses in your current talent pool.
Look at where your team struggles most, are falling short, and could be doing much better in delivering on the results you promise. What's missing in your team's skill sets, experience or expertise that contributes to these challenges or that could improve your team's performance overall?
Once again consider the gaps/weaknesses in the talent you depend upon in other internal organizations since their talent gaps essentially becomes your problem.
3. Identify the biggest areas of risk, given the talent shortage.
Start with identifying who can't be replaced easily and why? What do they have in terms of knowledge, experience, skills and competencies that would be hard to find in someone else, internally or externally?
4. Design developmental goals for every member of your team to fill at least one current or anticipated talent gap.
Once you've done steps 1-3, you'll have a much better idea of your organization's talent profile. This will allow you to take a systemic and systematic approach to developing talent inside your team. The performance review process is a wonderful tool and opportunity for doing this.
5. Identify 3 people in your company who could potentially replace you in the future.
Two things can come out of this exercise. One, you'll likely identify where the risk is to your organization should you leave, so you can immediately begin to take responsibility for developing your potential successor(s). And two, you can identify people that you can and should coach and mentor.
Every leader should tackle the talent shortage epidemic
Creating a culture that values talent management and succession planning can begin with anyone who manages and leads in an organization.
You don't have to be THE leader to be A leader in tackling the talent shortage epidemic. After all, if not you, then who?