Sustainability isn’t something that is always associated with Talent Management; rather, it is usually associated with environmental issues and activities. However, Wikipedia describes Sustainability as “…in a general sense [it] is the capacity to support, maintain or endure“. For me, sustainability in a Talent Management context is about organizations developing their future leaders, managers, specialists and employees from the talent potential within. It is about reducing the need to hire externally and releasing the potential of individuals throughout the organization. It is about creating a talent supply without needing to rely on ever-dwindling and competitive talent supply externally.
It is a well-known fact that, financially, recruiting an individual externally is far more costly than recruiting an individual internally. In the long-term, an incorrect hiring decision can prove more costly, whether this is external or internal, and so internal recruitment must be done properly – and a well-executed talent management strategy can help to achieve this.
Internal recruitment is based on a number of factors that can be controlled with much more precision than for those hired externally. It goes without saying that behavioral traits, performance, competencies and qualifications, experience, ability to deliver results, communication, derailers and disruptive tendencies, and potential are some of the things that are best judged when the individual is from within the organization. When an organization knows that its training and development programs are aligned with its needs and goals, then the outcomes bear much more reliability and suitability than if a similar type of development activity was performed elsewhere.
With all of this, planning successors for mission-critical, and non-critical, positions becomes a lot easier. Long-term plans can be drawn up for the individuals identified as successors and specific development considerations made would increase the reliability of hiring that individual into a senior position versus the risk and cost of hiring externally. Workforce planning activities can be performed with additional accuracy to ensure that the right people are available in the right positions at the right time.
Having a talent management strategy that enables the right individuals to be hired and onboarded, supports identification of potential leaders and specialists, keeps employees engaged and retained, and provides the right development platform will enable organizations to grow organically and become sustainable. Employees that know they have development and career progression opportunities are much more likely to be engaged with the organization and support achieving the organization’s goals.
All-in-all, sustainability isn’t just about the responsible management of the planet – it’s about the responsible management of unleashed talent.