Using social business to increase your bench strength

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building bench strengthOn the GrandOldTeam Everton forum over the past week we’ve been discussing the relative strength of the Everton reserve team.  With the season entering its 2nd half, having strong reserves to come in when first choice players pick up inevitable injuries and fatigue can make the difference between success or failure.

Suffice to say that the same applies in corporate settings.  A central part of efficient talent management is to ensure you have contingencies in place should key talent leave your organisation.  They could be one of the baby boom generation that are due to retire en masse in the coming years.  They could be struck down with illness or injury, or they could simply move on to pastures new.  Being able to adapt to these circumstances can go a long way to ensuring your business remains on an even keel.

So how can social business help?

Good ‘bench strength’ is a matter of spreading risk.  It ensures that if key talent is unavailable you have others that can step into the breach.  In order for this to happen, you need two things available to you:

  1. A good spread of talent
  2. Knowledge of who has what skills

Social tools can be invaluable on both counts.

Helping spread knowledge

Social tools have been a central part of knowledge management for decades.  Used properly and they allow extensive tacit knowledge exchange by encouraging collaboration across departments.

When you share via social tools you’re not only sharing your knowledge, but also sharing what you’re currently working on and what others can assist you with.  This knowledge can be invaluable should your skills be unavailable for whatever reason because it increases the number of people with an understanding of the work you do and the skills to step in.

A skills database

HR should be trawling these conversations to build a comprehensive understanding of what skills are contained within the organisation, both on an individual level and inside particular departments.

Doing this will not only allow HR to plan for events they are aware of, such as pending retirements, but also give them much greater adaptability against events they are not aware of.  Should a key employee leave suddenly for instance, they can quickly scour their database to see who else has similar skills and can help out in the short-term.

So if you want to improve your bench strength, why not try becoming a social business?

2 thoughts on “Using social business to increase your bench strength

  1. I can appreciate the theory, but it does still rely on the 'reserve' person having the time to pick up any extra work. Most people where I work are already snowed under with stuff, so I can't see how they could move elsewhere, even if only for a short time.

  2. I suppose this depends on having a flexible workforce, which is not something many have. I mean hot desking is rare enough, let alone having people work as freelancers inside a company. Interesting theory though.

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