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Your Hidden Gem Is the Talent You Already Have

  • By Brooke Ballenger
  • Published: 6/8/2021

hidden talent_article
When recruiting individuals for new positions, organizations often forget the benefits of building from within and upskilling their current employees. Most people develop their careers step by step, and developing talent from within allows organizations to create targeted training to support employees and build a more diverse company.

In an upcoming webinar, Your Hidden Gem Is the Talent You Already Have, Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of AFP, will moderate a discussion with Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Matt Sigelman, CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, to discuss the benefits of recruiting internally and strategies to identify existing talent to drive successful diversity and inclusion initiatives. Sigelman will specifically address the most in-demand skills for treasury and finance professionals.

Read below for an interview with SHRM on more topics that will be discussed during the webinar.

Why do most companies overlook their own employees when trying to create a more diverse workplace?

SHRM: Sometimes employers get wrapped up in developing a playbook but forget about how to incorporate the players. The expectation is that once a “diversity hire” is made, the box is checked, and the need is filled.

Inclusion is harder. It requires leaders to ensure these hires are fully engaged in the workplace culture and have equitable pathways and escalators to rise. This requires a strategy that goes beyond diversity initiatives to ensure that every employee’s voice is heard and valued. It is a principle that must be deeply embedded in the company culture from top to bottom.

Also consider the many dimensions of diversity. Diversity is not just about what an employee looks like. It can include the different layers of a person beneath the surface, like diversity of thought, life history and experiences. Realizing the internal assets that are available to employers can sometimes be eye-opening.

Describe the process for developing an internal recruitment strategy.

SHRM: Internal recruitment strategies strengthen an employer’s brand by increasing their employee retention and creating a reputation as a place of opportunity that attracts new and emerging talent.

An internal recruitment strategy begins with reviewing your workforce’s knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to determine who may be able to transition to new opportunities within the organization, and when. Reviewing the KSAs also allows employers to identify skills gaps that need to be closed through professional development and upskilling.

This process is critical to creating succession planning programs that identify future leaders and the tracks they need to succeed. This is where equity — the third piece of the DE&I puzzle — comes in. Equity means we are affording workers the same opportunities to achieve.

How does learning and upskilling play a role in advancing employees within the company?

SHRM: Upskilling employees within the company sets up a roadmap for underrepresented groups to advance to leadership roles and unlock their full potential. It allows the organization the flexibility to fill talent gaps without channeling more money and resources into external recruitment. Additionally, it demonstrates to stakeholders and customers that you really value employee growth and achievement.

What are the major benefits of developing capabilities within existing staff? Are there any disadvantages?

SHRM: Employee retention is a significant benefit. Another is enabling employers to assess their workforce to identify skills gaps and train employees in those specific areas, flexing to meet the emerging skills demanded by fast-moving technology.

Some disadvantages employers may face are workers who are resistant to change and learning new skills — and that is just human. Employers will need communicate a change management strategy that convinces employees that development will benefit them in and out of the workplace.

Another potential hazard is that after analyzing your talent and skills matches, you may discover redundancies that may no longer serve the organization’s strategic goals, and that can lead to difficult staffing decisions.

Describe the most in-demand skills that organizations are seeking.

SHRM: We know that the marketplace is rich with hard skills. Schools and training programs are turning out graduates with well-defined technical capabilities.

Where we are seeing the largest deficit is in soft skills, which are not being taught as extensively, even though they tend to be the traits most transferable across positions and industries.

Skills like critical thinking, persuasive communication, organizational skills, innovation, being a team player, self-motivation, leadership, and interpersonal skills are increasingly critical to the vitality of organizations.

Some employees wanting to advance might feel they are a non-traditional candidate for the job. How can employers become more open to considering previously overlooked talent?

SHRM: When you look at how organizations are typically run, you often see that People Managers are tasking employees with work they know how to do rather than what they can do. This approach does not leave much room for internal candidates who may not look qualified on paper for a different role.

This is an opportunity for managers to identify employees with soft skills that may be transferable, opening a broader marketplace of potential candidates. Again, hard skills are teachable, but finding candidates who exhibit these less-tangible traits is more difficult. Your internal candidates will have an advantage because the employer can observe first-hand how these employees demonstrate these soft skills.

Describe the human resource (HR) role in recruiting from within. How can HR both ensure compliance in the recruiting process but also act as a business partner with a talent acquisition approach?

SHRM: HR professionals play the most critical role in recruiting when they work to build strategic relationships with People Managers and departments. Working directly with hiring managers helps HR ensure that candidates have the skills, knowledge and potential to meet a company’s bottom-line goals.

Further, HR professionals can educate hiring managers on spotting their biases when evaluating diverse candidates and educate them on potential legal issues. Their guidance can help navigate compliance throughout the entirety of the process, from the initial posting and recruitment to interviewing and assignment.

HR’s leadership can also steer People Managers to look more broadly at non-traditional candidates and see the gems hidden in your workforce.

Register for the June 15 webinar, Your Hidden Gem Is the Talent You Already Have, to learn how to identify and develop talent from within the organization to help improve costs, retention efforts, and reduce organizational culture mismatches.

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