How Important is Talent Planning to Growing Companies?

M.J. Plebon, Montreal online marketing and lead development specialist speaks with Anne Pertus, co-founder of “The Pillars” a Montreal based organizational development consulting firm on the topic of talent planning for companies in growth mode.  One of Anne’s specialties is in the area of talent management.

M.J.:     Why should an organization be even thinking about talent planning at this day and age?

Anne:     Talent planning or workforce planning has been around for several years. Basically, this is part of the strategic planning process by understanding where the company is going, what it does and what it will need to achieve its objectives. In the “what we will need” part, we look at the people and the talent. So if companies bypass this step and just hire haphazardly, they may not have all the competencies required for the near future.

Imagine going on a lengthy camping trip with your best friend.  You plan your itinerary and buy all your items, food and beverages. Off you go on your trip and it’s time to pitch the tent.  This is your first trip and you do not know the first thing about pitching a tent.  You look to your friend and he doesn’t either. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone knew? You wish that you had planned for this and practiced pitching the tent before the big day. Yu wish that you had recruited the talent required for this trip. Well the same goes for recruiting internal and external talent to achieve the long term goals of your organization.

M.J.:     From your experiences, are companies putting “Talent Planning” on their radar?

The Pillars-Organizational-Development-Consultants-Montreal-OttawaAnne:     We work with small and medium sized growing companies that typically hire when the need arises. This can be often in a growing company and not much thought is put on the future, the next year or 2 years from now. Perhaps they do not even have an HR person helping them in recruiting and hiring process. If they do have an HR person, oftentimes, the HR person is focused on the tactical aspects and may not look at the strategic components.

M.J.:     If an organization is not concerned about “Talent Planning”, how can a manager of a department or HR department raise awareness?

Anne:     Have conversations with the owner/senior management to present the benefits of a strategic talent plan and consequences of not having one. Typically, having a strategic talent plan will save hiring costs, retraining costs and increase productivity because you are hiring the best person in the job for what you need.

M.J.:     Are there any tools, resources, thought leaders that can be used, followed or quoted to help build a case?

Anne:     Talk about the ROI of having a plan. Build your case and site the turnover rates over the past year or years.  Also cover the retraining costs, the impact on productivity and the effect on the other team members.

M.J.:     If “Talent Planning” now has become an issue, who in an organization needs to be involved in creating this plan?

Anne:     Senior leaders need to be involved from the start. Everyone needs to understand the direction of the company and define what will be needed. Then a consultant or Strategic senior HR leader can work on the Talent audit and determining the gaps based on the vision of the senior leaders. They can then present back to the senior leaders to validate the information and define a talent plan moving forward.

M.J.:     Thank you Anne.  Talent planning should be on the radar on every organization.  As baby boomers retire and the workforce shrinks, organizations will need to be focused regarding their precise needs since the pool of talent will be shrinking.  For more information about the importance of talent planning within an organization, visit the website of The Pillars or contact Anne to speak with her directly.

M.J. Plebon

M.J. Plebon has co-authored several technical papers for the upstream oil and gas industry and also contributes to several online media publications. He is a teacher and content specialist at Champlain College in Montreal, specializing in online marketing and business development. He is a trainer and speaker in the areas of marketing, business development and public speaking.