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Addressing the impending global skills shortage


Vincent Belliveau examines how organisations can nurture and retain talent from within to combat the continuing global skills shortage.

When faced with employee losses or an inability to attract and retain key talent, how do organisations close these gaps? We have seen first-hand that when our clients create an 'employee life cycle' – starting from the day a new hire arrives at the office that it helps to drive staff engagement to organically develop leadership potential and structured succession planning strategies.
"A combination of strategy and technology helps to deliver that empowerment, motivation and knowledge sharing."

A combination of strategy and technology helps to deliver that empowerment, motivation and knowledge sharing. An organisation-wide talent management strategy makes a basic assumption that every employee should be developed to maximise their contribution to the organisation, but this strategy requires an organisation-wide integrated learning and talent management system that delivers the necessary information and consistent insight for efficient decision-making. Simple records of each employee's career history and performance are not enough; effective talent management, succession planning and career pathing also requires clarity regarding the career paths and development opportunities available to employees – all tailored to the organisational current and future talent requirements.

The impact of technology

The game-changer has been the introduction of self-service talent management systems with powerful integrated learning and development (L&D) capabilities. These systems enable employees and managers to identify targeted programmes for personal and career development and help managers identify, develop and groom high potential employees at all levels of the organisation. Modern, integrated self-service solutions for talent management also deliver real efficiencies in terms of time, cost and effort by engaging all employees in sharing their career information and aspirations. This dramatically reduces the effort and time needed to collect and collate data that can then be used to drive talent management and engagement across all the organisation's employees. Furthermore, such rich, timely data enables HR professionals to search within the company for a 'model employee' to fulfil a role, by desired attributes such as skills, experience or mobility aspirations.
An integrated system can help employees to understand the career paths within the organisation, what their natural career path might be and what development is required to gain promotion or make a lateral move. Therefore an employee can identify themselves as a potential successor for a particular role and then proactively complete the required L&D, rather than wait to be identified by HR or a line manager – turning succession planning on its head.  Furthermore, when every employee has the tools to target their next career move, it can help to build bench strength at every level of the organisation.  When employees' career aspirations are aligned with the business' priorities organisational capability and talent readiness are strengthened, delivering a step-change in the company's performance.
"Augmenting traditional succession planning processes with self-service career management delivers higher levels of employee engagement, better retention and strong talent readiness."

Augmenting traditional succession planning processes with self-service career management delivers higher levels of employee engagement, better retention and strong talent readiness. This will be particularly important as the global economy improves and when inter-company employee mobility increases.
In summary, there are four elements to consider when managing and retaining talent:

  1. Onboarding: Use assessment tools to identify high potential people, group new hires into talent pools and create learning and development plans based on aptitudes revealed in the assessment results. This also allows the employer and employee to align development goals with business strategies, ensuring a relationship of reciprocal interests.
  2. Performance management: Measure performance against personalised learning and development plans. This enables employers to evaluate staff progress and realign individual performance with business goals. It also enables an individual's development plans to be adjusted based on their specific needs.
  3. Enterprise-wide learning initiatives: Learning management is a fruitless endeavour when development plans are randomly assigned or poorly executed. If employers want to create leaders that are capable of tackling global challenges, then they must actively identify, address and minimize relevant knowledge gaps across the organisation.
  4. Succession management: The process of identifying, assessing and developing future leaders and other strategic talent imperative for competing in the global marketplace. To do this effectively, organisations need a system that integrates information for talent profiles, career management, internal recruitment and employee succession planning.

Vincent Belliveau is Cornerstone OnDemand's SVP & general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Previously Belliveau was a consultant with McKinsey & Company. Cornerstone OnDemand is a leader in on-demand, integrated learning and talent management software and services. For further information please visit 

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