Talent AcquisitionTalent Management

Building the Pipeline

New research provides best practices on filling leadership vacancies.

By Zee Johnson

Executives are worried. Last year’s events paired with evolving workplaces have made CEOs and CHROs concerned about the state of talent.  Leadership jobs have become more demanding whilst the talent pool’s behaviors and skill sets have changed, seemingly in an alternate direction.  How can executives adapt their strategies to ensure up-and-coming talent is properly prepared to fill leadership roles?

Since many of these changes are happening at once, to remain productive and proactive, companies and their leadership teams must adjust. The need for clear and purposeful training amongst high-level professionals to support individual and team development is critical. DDI’s CEO Leadership Report 2021, a survey of 368 CEOs and 2,102 HR executives from around the globe with a median company size of 28,000 employees, lists four common themes that should be addressed in order for organizations to differentiate themselves.

  1. Developing future talent is crucial for CEOs. Companies must provide formal support to frontline and mid-level professionals. The days of individuals pursuing their own development are over. Leadership needs to take the reins to efficiently skill their workforce.
  2. C-suite candidate quality is dwindling as the jobs grow more demanding. Many companies are now struggling to fill pertinent positions due to descending bench strength.
  3. CEOs and executives need further support to become more effective. If companies want to continuing thriving in an ever-evolving landscape, CEOs and CHROs must be developed enough keep up the pace. And right now, they aren’t.
  4. Many CEOs are not leveraging HR strategically to align their business needs with talent needs. Executive teams are not on the same page. This lack of alignment could be detrimental to reaching business goals, as highly aligned CEO and CHRO teams are witnessing far better outcomes.

CEO respondents agree on another thing—they aren’t impressed with their next-in-line talent.  Only one in three CEOs (34%) say their organization’s frontline and mid-level leadership quality is “very good” or “excellent.” However, 58% of the group described their senior team as high-quality. Could this lack of leadership confidence be a contributor to top-talent turnover? Possibly.  Companies where CEOs have a positive outlook on lower/mid-level employees who will go on to take executives positions are more likely to receive a best place to work rating.

For leaders who are concerned about the quality of their up-and-coming talent, here are some best practices that can make a difference.

  1. Efficient internal coaching. Managers cannot expect their teams to thrive without constructive feedback. Advance coaching skills can help lower and mid-level professionals prepare to elevate.
  2. Non-bias systems to help transition talent from a diverse pool. Executives who believed their companies recruited and promoted from a diverse pool were ultimately more confident in the quality of their leaders.
  3. High-quality leadership development programs. According to the report, CEOs with development programs viewed their frontline leadership in a more positive light. If CEOs want proven bottom-line results, equipping leaders with the skills they will need to succeed is essential.
  4. High-quality leadership assessment and feedback programs. Assessing strengths and weaknesses is important to scope where a leader can be most beneficial. This also for individual targeting to continue professional development.
Tags: Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

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