The summer has only just ended, and companies are already beginning their planning for the next year. Conference centres are receiving more and more requests for strategic planning events. The number of corresponding articles in the renowned trade journals is also increasing. Many have used the somewhat quieter summer time to review the previous year: What were the goals, which ones was implemented, what still has to be done? And where do we find the suitable talents?
A part of these considerations is always based on the focus of the company. What does the future hold in store? Are we properly positioned for the challenges that lie ahead? Are there any technical or economic developments that are relevant to the company? What impulses are coming from the employees?
Depending on the company, new and well-known topics like digitalization and demography come up. And it might turn out that a correction of the company strategy is the right thing to do. These considerations are discussed with the management team and clarified accordingly. And then comes the question: How do we implement all of this? Who has got the right skills?
Internal talent scouting for new competences
And this is where it gets exciting. Many companies have a concrete idea of what they expect from their employees and write this down in job descriptions, competency profiles, or the like. Employees are also assessed according to clearly defined procedures. But what if the company suddenly needs other competences?
This problem does not only concern obvious examples such as digital marketing. That is where companies like to hire new employees who are experts. But what if the establishment of a new department is on the agenda? Or the company is planning to introduce a new process or software? Then the demands on the employees change. For example, if a company decides to focus on innovative products after years of inventory management, it needs the appropriate creative employees.
Of course, companies can then hire staff from other companies. Or HR employees can focus on the graduation years at universities and colleges to find qualified job starters. Far too rarely, however, companies look for suitable employees and talents in their own ranks in order to promote and develop them.
I once worked for a company that was planning to generate more sales with products that are less than five years old. So creative, innovatively thinking employees were looked for. At that time, I was in a committee that distinguished creative projects. A so-called ‘blue collar’ employee had been given the award for several years. He had been working in the same position, doing more or less the same job for decades. None of the people in charge had ever wondered where this man got so much creative energy. If one had asked, one would have learned that this man successfully made sculptures out of scrap in his spare time.
Why does such a creative talent remain unused in a company? An employee with such potential could be involved in projects that require a wealth of ideas. Especially since this employee knew very much about the products due to his long experience and could easily rival any engineer and marketing manager.
HR can make an important contribution to successful strategy implementation. To achieve this, managers must be aware of the talents and abilities of their employees and promote them accordingly. If this is done consistently, strategic realignments can be implemented without a long search for personnel. A win-win situation!