Employers Look to Develop Talent From Within

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By Genevieve Douglas

April 19 — Facing a shrinking labor pool, most employers plan to fill critical jobs from within the company, but this could be difficult, as more than one-quarter of employees plan to be out the door within a year, a new survey from Mercer shows.

Some 70 percent of organizations are confident about filling key positions with internal candidates, and 28 percent of employees say they plan to leave their company in the next 12 months, Mercer's “2016 Global Talent Trends Study,” released April 11, found.

Employers are facing ever-growing competition for labor, and the main strategy for how to deal with it is developing talent from within, Kate Bravery, partner and global solutions leader for Mercer’s Talent Business, told Bloomberg BNA April 14. Unfortunately for employers, a “huge proportion” of employees are stating they plan to leave within a year because “they feel they don’t have a career,” Bravery said.

“HR professionals are challenged to meet employees’ demands and achieve a talent advantage, especially if they don’t have a seat at the table—and this is crucial if they are to remain a viable part in the talent ecosystem,” Bravery said in a press release announcing the survey results.

Making matters more difficult, the survey found that only 4 percent of HR professionals think HR is viewed as a strategic business partner in their organization.

The survey findings are based on responses from more than 1,730 HR leaders and 4,500 employees across 17 countries.

Examining Workforce Skills

Developing talent within an organization has to be prioritized, “but I don’t know if employers have done a great job of it yet,” Amber Hyatt, director of product marketing at HR technology provider SilkRoad, told Bloomberg BNA April 19.

Employers need to first take inventory of the skills their workforce possesses and see which are lacking. This will allow them to create the right training programs and career development initiatives. “As jobs develop, skill sets need to develop as well,” said Hyatt, who was not involved in the Mercer survey.

Employers should also look at how they are coaching and communicating with employees. Managers make a huge impact on employees, Hyatt said, but many are ill-equipped to successfully coach them. HR needs to give managers coaching tools to ensure a more productive and successful workforce, she said.

In terms of retaining key talent, HR has to accept that the job market has changed and “employees have options now,” she said. Workers didn’t have that flexibility a few years ago, so now is the time for HR to examine company culture, flexibility and rewards to ensure they are offering an enticing workplace, Hyatt said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at gdouglas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tony Harris in Washington at tharris@bna.com