How adept are you at managing talent risk?

skillsGAPIt’s rare for a day to go by without some organization or other bemoaning the difficulties they have in attracting the kind of talent they need to thrive and deliver on their plans.  In our knowledge economy, our companies literally live and die based upon the talent they have at their disposal, and yet a new report suggests that this inherent talent risk is something that many organizations are not managing particularly well.

Talent Risk Management, by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), reveals that less than half of companies have any plans in place to address the risks posed by not having access to the talent they need to deliver on their goals.  Perhaps understandably, the biggest concern is in securing access to the technical expertise required to thrive.

Despite this concern however, some 67% of companies have done little to address the risk this represents.

A recent survey highlighted the size of the challenge, with nearly 50% of American employers reporting significant problems recruiting the talent they need, with this figure jumping by nearly 15% in the past year.

Talent risk management

i4cp identify talent risk management as the means by which an organization can assess the current talent available to them against the expected needs in one year and three years time.  Companies can then begin to take steps to mitigate any risks that they may have identified as part of this process.

The process can be broken down into four distinct steps:

  1. Assess the talent risk – this involves both conducting an internal analysis of workforce data and business strategies but also external labor market analysis and future supply/demand analysis
  2. Prioritize the talent risk – the next stage is to identify the key talent gaps and rank these in order of priority for your business.  Try if you can to quantify this as much as possible.
  3. Mitigate the talent risk – there are a number of possible strategies you can use to mitigate risks, from making more effective use of outsourcing or open innovation, to improving your retention rates and bolstering your knowledge transfer processes.  These should be part of a wider talent management process.
  4. Measure and monitor the talent risk – as with most improvement processes, the final step is to monitor how successful you’ve been.  You should have established benchmarks by which you can gauge your progress against, whether it’s retention rate or knowledge transfer efficiency.  This is an ongoing process so this final stage is crucial.

As you can perhaps appreciate, each of these areas are lengthy topics in their own right, and the report is not designed to provide a play by play guide for each of them so much as it is designed to prod you into action.  None of the issues are really that new, and the fact that so many organizations are still struggling to address them highlights the competitive advantage you can gain by doing it well.  The ball is now in your court.

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