Future Leaders: How to Bridge the Talent Gap
“Everything in the world we want to do or get done, we must do with and through people.” – Earl Nightingale
The next time you see a school bus, visualize the children inside as your future leaders. Does that make any of you nervous? These grade school or high school students are more technologically adept than ever before, yet aren’t ready to provide relief and fill talent gaps today. In fact, many executives question whether students will be ready in the future. According to recent reports from Deloitte and PWC, as many as eighty percent (80%) of CEOs are concerned about a growing talent gap worldwide.
According to a 2016 SHRM report, C-suite executives claim that both internal and external candidates lack the necessary competencies for future success–especially in three critical areas: Communication, Critical Evaluation and Leadership Navigation. You may wonder, “What factors are contributing to these gaps?”
- In the past, employees were hired for their deep experience, specialized skills and unique capabilities. Today, employers look for wider breadth and more sophisticated skills as well as cultural fit.
- Many internal resources are unprepared to assume new, complex leadership positions. Their managers have focused on current roles and job responsibilities rather than on how to prepare them for growth.
- Recruited senior leaders leave before being fully assimilated. Many new leaders report that the culture is different than expected and/or they feel blocked from contributing. Feeling stymied and unable to use their talent, many choose to leave.
- There is a current unconscious bias toward hiring new and different leaders rather than engaging older, skilled talent. When hiring managers look and behave as they do, many miss the best talent to fill gaps.
- Younger workers want to find a greater balance between their work and home lives. Some choose opportunities without the “confines” and expectations of traditional workplaces.
You may be asking; how can we narrow the gap and retain top talent? Successful organizations:
- Consider hiring military veterans, many of whom have held significant responsibility, led large numbers of people, and managed more resources earlier in their careers than their peers in private sector roles.
- Offer co-op programs for college students within key technical areas most needed internally.
- Provide mentors and/or executive coaches to accelerate onboarding and cultural assimilation.
- Identify and engage high potential employees in activities and experiences to accelerate their development in the capability areas most needed.
- Partner leaders with nonprofit organizations to build skills and capabilities.
- Create corporate environments that are personally rewarding for employees.
- Work with educators to teach and focus on the skills most needed to succeed in business today.
To win the war for talent, organizations need the equipment and tools to build a “learn, change, and grow” culture. Research consistently indicates that the most important factors in developing and retaining talent are engagement and professional development. It is critical to invest in learning and development to ensure that you have the right talent for the future.