3 Tools to Build a Leadership Pipeline Use these three tips to build a talent pipeline of future leaders and ensure your company remains in good hands.

By Kes Thygesen

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Leaders are difficult to find, leaving many companies scrambling when a higher ranking employee decides to leave. The Global Workforce Leadership survey from Workplace Trends found that almost half of the companies surveyed in February and March 2015 said that leadership is the hardest skill to find in employees.

How can companies manage the transition when leaders leave or when management positions are open? These changes in leadership shouldn't be a catastrophe. By building a talent pipeline of future leaders, employers can simply fill urgent talent needs with a qualified internal hire.

However, building a talent pipeline is not just an event to do as needed. It's a fully integrated process that requires more than just a set-it-and-forget-it philosophy.

Related: Why You Need to Invest in a Leadership Development Program

Let's take a look at how to build a talent pipeline of future leaders:

1. Create an employer branding message.

Growth opportunities are great for attracting top talent and retaining employees. LinkedIn's "Why and How People Change Jobs" report found that 45 percent of the 10,536 people surveyed who changed companies between late 2014 and early 2015 say they left because they were concerned about a lack of advancement opportunities. Fifty-nine percent say they started a new job for a stronger career path and more opportunity.

In other words, start marketing the company's emphasis on career development and growth opportunities. Cater the employer branding messaging to those who aim to become leaders and make sure it is clear and consistent.

The company's online presence should make it clear that employees have a lot of room to move and grow within the organization. Share employee testimonials to highlight real-world examples for interested job seekers. This adds a level of credibility and authenticity to the message.

Related: 5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership, No Matter Your Style

Utilize social media outlets to expand the brand's reach. For example, if a new department is in need of some entry-level workers, share the job listings on Twitter and Facebook. Make the most of visual platforms as well, like Instagram. Post images of the office or live stream video from a training seminar to show job seekers what it's like to join the team.

Consider updating the core values and mission statement to incorporate employee development. Remember, creating a culture based on personal growth doesn't just happen overnight. The best method for this involves a documented, fully developed talent mobility program.

2. Start a talent mobility program.

Talent mobility programs are essential for building a robust talent pipeline, especially for filling future leadership positions. Unfortunately, finding an employer with a leadership program is nearly impossible. The 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte found that while 53 percent of younger workers want to take on leadership roles, only 6 percent of organizations have strong leadership programs in place.

Talent mobility attracts more job seekers and improves retention rates. After all, employees who are being invested in will want to stick around. Investing in the workforce builds a strong relationship between the employer and employee that is based on trust and respect.

When creating a talent mobility program, incorporate leadership training so employees can start developing those valuable skills they'll need when it comes time for them to succeed higher-ups.

Start encouraging participation within the company by promoting the benefits of the program through email notifications, signage in the office, meetings and other tactics that can catch their attention and engage them with the program. Raise awareness by clearly defining how it is advantageous to employees who want to move up in the company.

Related: Why Leadership Development Needs to Be Updated

Some employers fail to make the most out of their talent mobility programs. To maximize the results and to understand the talent pipeline well, start measuring and tracking.

3. Use performance analytics.

Performance data gives employers and management visibility and insights about the talent on hand. Track how employees are faring with succession activities in the talent mobility program and provide feedback consistently to guide them toward achieving their goals and becoming a better leader.

Use data to assign tasks that they can succeed in, but also push them out of their comfort zones so they learn new skills or further develop ones they already possess. When employers fully understand each person's strengths, they know who their best candidates are for future leadership roles.

Measuring and analyzing performance data helps companies make the right decisions. They can hire more confidently with predictive analytics. Promoting from within is not a guessing game. Talent mobility programs empower companies to build deep talent pipelines where they can choose from the best of the best to ensure the future of their company remains in good hands.

Kes Thygesen

Co-founder and head of product at RolePoint

Kes Thygesen is the co-founder and head of product at RolePoint, a complete social recruiting suite that provides unrivaled access and reach to quality job candidates.

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