5 talent pool development practices HR leaders need to know

Ensure your workforce is developing the skills they need to set your business apart

Avatar photo
By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

As skill gaps widen and labor shortages continue, many HR leaders recognize that it’s time to reassess their approach to developing talent pools. In the past, talent acquisition teams primarily looked outside of the organization to build talent pools and fill vacancies. Yet, in the new world of work, more organizations are turning their attention inwards and focusing on the people they already have.

Prioritizing internal mobility and employee growth has several benefits. When companies build their talent from within, employees step into new roles with more contextual knowledge. Team members are also encouraged to continue putting their best foot forward in order to grow within the company.

While there are plenty of advantages associated with internal mobility, it also means that leaders must rethink how they create their talent pools. Instead of relying on external hires, it now falls on HR teams to nurture their talent and develop an in-depth understanding of how to effectively harness the skills they have to offer.

What is a talent pool?

A talent pool is a database of potential job candidates who possess the skills and qualifications needed to excel in a given position. Usually, people think of developing talent pools as part of an organization’s recruitment strategy that focuses on proactively filling positions, rather than reactively responding as vacancies arise. The most comprehensive talent pools will include information about each candidate, including their skills, potential roles they may be a good fit for, and relevant professional experiences.

While the terms might sound similar, talent pipelines and talent pools do not mean the same thing. The former describes a selection of candidates who have already been deemed qualified for particular positions, while the latter is a broader group of potential candidates. Building, maintaining, and nurturing high-quality talent pools is a vital strategy for ensuring your organization can satisfy both its short and long-term skill needs.

Why are talent pools important?

When HR teams prioritize developing talent pools internally, they enjoy several game-changing benefits.

  • Promote diversity and inclusion
    Organizations that proactively create and nurture their talent pools can also ensure that these groups are comprised of candidates from all walks of life. Rather than looking for one type of applicant or prioritizing a very specific set of criteria, HR managers can include both internal and external candidates of various ages, backgrounds, geographic regions, and ethnicities.
  • Enhance agility
    When organizations actively develop and nurture talent pools, it becomes easier to tap into the skills they need in real-time, as new challenges emerge. Forget about starting from scratch to fill a role—instead, leaders can harness a database of qualified candidates whenever their organization needs to pivot or shift gears.
  • Reduce costs per hire
    Developing talent pools doesn’t just help with speed and agility—it can also cut costs. Instead of having to put money behind advertisements and other recruitment marketing tactics, HR leaders that develop their talent pools can ensure their organization gets direct access to a community of qualified internal candidates.
  • Improve employee engagement
    When leaders prioritize internal development, it sends a strong message to their employees that their future with their organization is bright. Given that two in three workers say that they would leave a job where no internal mobility is offered, it’s evident that there’s a powerful link between access to opportunities and enhanced retention and engagement.

5 steps for developing your talent pools

While building the right talent pools has always been a priority, access to highly skilled networks of candidates is a non-negotiable for achieving success in today’s fast-paced world of work. There are a few steps HR leaders can take to ensure they’re setting their organizations up for success when it comes to talent development.

#1. Assess organizational strategies
Before HR teams can begin developing their talent pools, leaders should meet with stakeholders across the organization to align on future skill requirements and talent priorities. Talent pools must be developed based on emerging business needs, so HR leaders should have this foundational knowledge before moving forward with nurturing their talent pools.

Rather than attempting to manually track in-demand competencies, forward-thinking companies are harnessing workforce agility platforms to gain insight into employees’ skills, emerging knowledge gaps, and job benchmarking.

#2. Evaluate your current workforce skills
Similarly, HR teams need a full picture of the skills within their workforce in order to develop talent pools strategically. In the past, leaders may have devoted a lot of time and money to external hires when there was an internal candidate with comparable skills and experience.

To prevent top internal talent from getting overlooked, HR needs a comprehensive breakdown of the capabilities in their workforce, which is where workforce intelligence comes into play. The best offerings include insights and recommendations from purpose-built AI algorithms to pinpoint exactly which skills you should be hiring for, as well as the capabilities you already have in-house.

#3. Identify best-fit candidates
Once HR teams have an in-depth understanding of workforce skills and organizational priorities, it’s time to start finding candidates with qualifications that match. Instead of sticking to the outdated approach of relying on external talent, HR leaders are setting their sights on hiring from within their organization.

Internal mobility comes with many game-changing benefits: faster onboarding, reduced hiring costs, and enhanced cross-functional collaboration, to name a few. By harnessing a workforce agility platform’s talent marketplace, HR leaders can align employees to relevant opportunities based on the skills they have and the competencies they’re looking to develop.

#4. Prioritize upskilling and reskilling opportunities
To make the most of internal mobility, all employees need streamlined access to experiential learning opportunities that will empower them to grow their skills. Projects, gigs, and mentorships are just a few examples of the hands-on experiences that will let employees utilize the lessons they’re learning in their L&D curriculums.

Talent marketplaces give everyone transparency into the development opportunities that your organization has to offer, in turn breaking down boundaries and empowering employees to achieve their full potential.

#5. Monitor your progress
HR teams must keep tabs on the talent pools they’re developing because they’ll need to evolve as business priorities and market conditions change. To maximize the value of internal talent pools, leaders can harness workforce intelligence to keep job architectures updated. They can even view suggested positions to merge and job codes to update and receive recommendations on relevant and trending skills that should be prioritized, based on internal and external data sources.

To learn more about the benefits of workforce intelligence, find out how you can harness the tool to grow and develop your people.

Gloat live On-Demand: 2 Days, 13 Sessions, 20 World Renowned Business Leaders

Watch now →