4 Keys for Building a Rich Talent Pipeline

Here are several career-development investments that can deliver a huge return.
By: | December 7, 2018 • 2 min read

As more and more baby boomers exit the workforce each day, companies are increasingly facing the formidable challenge of finding their replacements.

To be sure, many of those positions will ultimately be filled by qualified candidates from outside the organization. But there’s also little doubt a major part of the solution rests on being able to tap quality talent from within.

One company that’s embraced this latter strategy with a fervor is insurance provider Aflac, which has taken a series of steps aimed at building a rich talent pipeline.

“Training employees for different roles or responsibilities can help keep employees engaged in their current role while also ensuring the organization has new leaders who are prepared to manage the company years down the road,” says Chad Melvin, vice president of leadership, learning and development at Aflac.

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Melvin recently shared with HRE four keys that can help your organization develop capable successors:

Create development plans. The first step to investing in your employees is to create a development plan. Survey each employee to find out what their interests are, as well as what they want to accomplish in their current role and at the company. This information will shape a plan that provides the employee and company leaders a roadmap of what their career will look like for the foreseeable future. The process can be repeated over time as the employee advances in the business so that his or her goals are always up to date.

Implement career-success programs. At Aflac, our employees have access to one of three Career Success Centers, which helps coach, empower, consult and assist employees as they prepare for career opportunities. The centers provide the resources needed so employees can take control of their career—including getting help crafting their résumé, participating in mock interviews and more. Since opening in 2015, Aflac’s Career Success Centers have helped more than 1,200 employees earn promotions. Implementing programs like these ultimately boosts talent retention and supports a high-performance, driven culture.

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Make mentors available. Offer employees a mentor within the company who can help guide their career growth. As part of the Career Success Center, we implemented TEACH, an open-mentoring process that allows employees to manage their own learning relationships and engagement types. This program provides less-experienced workers with the opportunities and tools to connect with and learn from tenured workers. At Aflac, ethnic minorities make up 65.2 percent of TEACH mentors and women make up 73.5 percent, meaning employees can find and learn from mentors with whom they can easily relate.

Look beyond company walls. It is important to afford employees the opportunity to make connections outside of the company. You can help them advance in their careers by providing access to training courses and workshops, sending them to professional industry association events or sponsoring professional networking events outside of the office. By having a robust network, employees receive additional support, advice and information on how to grow professionally and personally. It also gives the organization an ambassador for the business.

David Shadovitz is editor of HRE. He is also co-chair of the HR Tech Conference and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. He can be reached at [email protected]