Talent Circles

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Internal mobility and talent clouds

By Kevin W. Grossman

Mercy, it’s been hot in the Heartland. Scorching hot. Lawns-catch-fire-as-you-drive-by hot. If you live here or you’ve been paying attention to the Midwest drought news, the devastated crops and the meteorological heat danger advisories, you know what I’m talking about. We’re here on family vacation in the Quad Cities where two cities in Illinois and two cities in Iowa bookend the banks of the great Mississippi River.

I know; why would we vacation on the surface of the sun, even if it were by a river? Because of family, of course. And there’s lots of fun to be had, even with the heat. But last night what was more disruptive than the heat has been was the wicked thunderstorm that woke us all up and kept us up for a bit. Much needed rain in exchange for a sleepless night I guess.

For those of us in business today, there have been many sleepless nights over the past five years, and even with record profits and increased productivity for many companies, the qualified talent drought has only just begun. If we want to make it rain inside and out these days, we’ve got to be able to control our talent weather. More precisely, we must be able to understand the molecular makeup of our talent clouds, and how rapidly the combining and recombining of the molecules change the innovative power of our people, as well as scorch the very earth we work on.

Wouldn’t we rather predict our weather than be carried away in the perfect storm? Of course we would. That means having to look outward for talent sunshine, which is usually more costly in regards to attracting, recruiting, hiring, on boarding and training. Necessary depending on who and what you’re hiring for, but more costly.

What we need today need is talent insight on:
  • What happened before
  • What’s happening now
  • What will happen if I move the warm front to the cold front and back again
I’m talking about understanding who we have now who can then help later when we need them then, over here, and over there, and over there. This can include selecting from full-time, part-time, temps, contractors as well as your own customers, partners and competitors.

Internal mobility has been mixed blessing for many organizations because although many would prefer to hire and promote from within, if they don’t have the right insight on their employees and teams, then it becomes difficult making those decisions, especially in such an interconnected global economy, with hot job markets only in specific sectors like IT.

Of course we can open up our position searches to internal folks and compare and contrast them and then hire/promote the most qualified, but that linear thinking doesn’t help when it comes to understand how our internal folks work individually, together, what their value is combined and recombined, and how they impact our business.

In the smaller organizations I’ve worked in, it’s easier to orchestrate our talent clouds. But in larger ones it can become the cliché of the resume database that stagnates like pooled rainwater that then breeds only mosquitos, not mobility. Talent network platforms that can send out virtual weather balloons and forecast where you are and where you’re going – combined with progressive talent acquisition processes, people and systems – can give organizations the tools and resources to better orchestrate their talent weather, although we all know how glacial change management can be. And you can’t always have just-in-time sunshine if you don’t control the talent clouds.

All right – enough with the weather metaphors. Internal mobility done right with talent network insight can help give you the competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace.


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