Frontline Intelligence: HR Technology - Leadership development plans

by 10 Nov 2011

It's no secret in business today that Human Capital can be a competitive differentiator. When the talent pool is managed effectively, a steady supply of the skills needed to execute corporate strategy is readily available. Nurturing leadership potential and fast-tracking talented employees is key to this philosophy, as it heightens engagement and increases employee retention.

Identifying and leveraging talent for future needs can be cumbersome, and the tactical burden can be a barrier for some organisations to adopting these key tactics. If you are able to fully utilise your Human Capital Solution, many of the manual processes can be eliminated, providing you with more time to align workforce initiatives with company strategy.

Key management roles
When creating your leadership development plans it is vital to understand the roles that are key value drivers in your business. Once you understand these positions and key skills required to fill them, it will be easy to identify the employees who are the closest match.

This information may already be at hand — many Talent Management solutions store the skills required for a position and, at the click of your mouse, will display a listing of current employees with the closest skills match for the role.

Performance reviews
Regular performance reviews are the optimum time to identify potential leaders and plan their movement within the organisation.

When you understand the skills needed for target roles, it will be effortless to develop learning plans that will help the employee to acquire the skills needed.

What is motivating your leaders and potential leaders? What keeps them engaged and aligned with the enterprise? Is it financial? For many talented people it involves being heard and included in projects that expose them to new skills and provide recognition. It's important to have a solid understanding of this information, as it will aid the development of programs that nurture leaders and aid retention. Keeping top performers motivated minimises turnover costs and protects your IP.

Look to the future
Planning for the future workforce will ensure your workforce is able to adapt to planned changes.

What skills will the enterprise need and what personal qualities will support your corporate DNA? This understanding should be applied to new recruits, as building your future workforce starts at the recruitment process.

If you can easily identify the candidates who are not suitable, it will save an enormous amount of time and money on bad hires. An online recruitment solution can be beneficial.

Bench strength
How many successors have been groomed for your key roles? One of the primary objectives of leadership development is grooming employees for those key roles. Yet many organisations are unable to easily identify succession plans and the employees being prepared for those positions.

Your Talent Management solution can help with this vital function and should be able to provide the metrics on how succession risk is being managed within the enterprise.

While Leadership Development and Succession Planning are two separate functions, they need to work together to ensure leadership pipelines are overflowing.

It's about people
Ensuring you have the right people is vital. While some employees may have the desire to reach CEO, they may not have the right personality or analytical skills. So it can be beneficial to conduct some type of profiling to ensure your potential leaders have what it takes to be a successful leader within your organisation, prior to investing in expensive programs.

At the end of the day, it's all about people, and having them in the right place at the right time, to execute corporate strategy. If you are able to leverage your existing HR and Talent Management tools, the process will be much simpler.

About the author

Nick Southcombe is General Manager, Frontier Software. For further information phone (03) 9639 0777 or visit