Tiffany C Diehl, Director-Workforce Analytics and Succession, Brown-Forman
Every company knows that filling a vacancy with internal talent accelerates onboarding. Even with only a few data points, like performance and tenure, an internal candidate is almost always less “unknown” than an external candidate. It is assumed that an internal candidate is a “fit” within the company culture and that they are engaged—at least enough to take on a new role.
The assumptions that are made about employees don’t stop there. Companies assume they know the career desires of employees as well as the employee’s willingness to relocate. Companies also assign “potential” and tend to quantify potential in ways that are nothing more than an expression of what is assumed.
What’s wrong with this approach? Nothing, unless your company finds itself moving internal talent to roles that don’t seem to work out long term or hearing that employees feel as if they “can’t say no” when asked. Would companies choose to direct or nudge people in to potentially life-altering roles if they had an option? Of course not. So, what is missing from the process? Technology.
In today’s environment, employees of all types want to feel “known” by their company. While this is especially true of the employees that are thought of by the company as “promotable” or “high potential,” unidentified emerging leaders and those that want to “grow in place” are equally interested in being a part of development and succession planning processes. Employees expect more from their employer, especially with the available “get to know you” resources that leaders have at their disposal. This is where technology becomes the difference-maker.
Using the technology that is likely available in your Human Capital Management (HCM) system, you are able to involve employees by having them identify their skills and desires.
Take a quick study of the online resumes of your employees. How does this compare with the information you have about them in your HCM? If it’s less robust than the leading external career networking site...you know the one I mean....then give serious consideration to tapping in to your HCM’s built-in employee profile tools and requiring that employees partner with you.
The uses of HCM-driven tools that incorporate the employee’s profile render a better succession plan and afford companies the opportunity to think beyond critical roles
Companies that leverage their HCM and the available internal profiles for planning are maximizing their talent pool and increasing the accuracy of the entire process. If you can replace assumptions with facts, shouldn’t you? Companies should demand that employee internal profiles are as robust as those created on an external career site. Should someone external to your company know more about your employees than you do? Surely not. If you aren’t currently leveraging these via your HCM in order to capture employees background, work history, and career desires, then you should be.
When knowledge of the employee is coupled with the HCM-driven succession planning process, the “art” and “science” converge to increase the accuracy of a higher-level guessing game. Here’s why...a succession plan is never 100% accurate until the vacancy occurs, the candidate is identified, and the offer is made and accepted. Until then, we have a few data points….and hope.
The uses of HCM-driven tools that incorporate the employee’s profile render a better succession plan and afford companies the opportunity to think beyond critical roles or the top 10 percent of the company. Consider the advantage of a truly vertical succession planning process—from Clerk to CEO—where plans are created at all levels so that the cascading “domino” effect of a promotion and the associated vacancies that it creates can be controlled by inputs stored in the HCM. And, HR teams know that it’s rarely the initial vacancy that stalls productivity, but rather the second and third vacancies created by internal moves.
Broad-minded organizations realize that the future ____ (insert any position title) can be found at any place in the organization. Perhaps the details offered by the employee in their internal profile will save your company from buying external talent and then crossing your fingers that they will be a “cultural fit” or be engaged.
Technology has granted companies and employees a game-changing opportunity to “know” and “be known” to one another. Don’t allow your employees to remain unidentified and risk missing opportunities for growth. Fill your internal profiles and commit to using them.