Here’s How the Best Leaders Manage Talent Gaps

It is not uncommon for executives and organizations to realize they have significant "talent gaps" after they are well into the deployment of their business strategies. We have heard and seen such stories in different industries and business segments. Here's how the best executive leaders manages talent acquisition.

Successful companies are transforming the way that they assess and acquire their leaders and ensure a stronger talent base and deliver better business results. This can be achieved through a disciplined process that will bring about demonstrable business results and enable long-term organizational advances.

First and foremost, they are looking at the talent acquisition process as an investment. In many cases, this is most critical investment a company must perform, in support of its business strategy. This starts with a thorough understanding of what kind of talent mix is needed to achieve the business goals and go all the way to ensure that the onboarded talent will stay and prosper with the organization. Another key element is tracking results, measuring the return on the talent acquisition investment and truly linking it to the bottom line.

Get Alignment from the Beginning  Checking your Talent Inventory!

It is not uncommon for executives and organizations to realize they have significant “talent gaps” after they are well into the deployment of their business strategies. We have heard and seen such stories in different industries and business segments.

5 Hiring Traps That Can Sabotage Your Entire Recruitment Process
Recruiters receive truckloads of resumes to scan every day, and that can add immense frustration to the beginning of any job recruitment cycle. Given that business processes directly depend on the quality of hires, there is no room to bring people on board who don’t deliver on day one.

A talent review program is an excellent tool to uncover both hidden gems that can become strong drivers of your business strategy or reveal competency gaps that require focused investments. At times, competencies can be developed on the go, as business plans are deployed. In many cases, however, the complexity and time required to develop lacking competencies will favor a talent acquisition project.

A Strong Plan Will Deliver Stronger Candidates

Once the linkage with the business strategy is well established, it is time to go hunt for talent. However, you cannot do this without the “proper gear” and a comprehensive “game plan” that includes:

  • A score card that describes exactly what you want a person to accomplish in a particular role.
  • Sourcing options, selecting tools and a selling approach to attract desired candidates.
  • Developing the talent acquisition strategy, while using project management discipline, design the process, establish metrics, allocate resources, set-up a timeline and determine costs.
  • Launching the recruitment process. Consider mapping sources of top talent, and targeting and screening the finest and develop an appealing branding to attract the best.
  • Ensuring the right match. Focus on strategic competencies and vital job requirements, but do not sacrifice cultural fit. Use the whole toolkit (assessments, interviewing, references) for candidate vetting.

Watch the Outcomes for Quality and Timing

The first result to monitor is quality. Bringing in “A” talent, or “Rock Stars” means producing candidates that, from top to bottom, match the requirements, as defined in the plan.

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Nonetheless focus must also be placed in the long term, especially when dealing with leadership positions. Here is where aspects like cultural fit, onboarding, and integration have an effect.

Next is promptness. Missing agreed upon deadlines will compromise business plans and potentially cause the loss of opportunities and revenue. The motto needs to be: Bring them on time, all the time!


Each new hire’s onboarding process should be planned and started weeks before the first day. Paperwork ready, company accounts set up, any important reading materials that can be studied ahead of time.

Consider the possibility to hire an executive coach to help ease the transition for new managers or executives. Meeting with the coach, prior to the first day, will help to create a more seamless transition, allowing the new executive and coach to start creating an action plan.

Long-Term Onboarding

Remember: an effective onboarding process takes at least three to six months. While the first weeks should help a new hire gain an understanding of goals and culture, over the next few months a new hire should start to build confidence and trust among key stakeholders while gaining a better understanding of the company’s various business strategies.

Assessing Higher Returns

By transforming the way you acquire talent and hire your leaders you will see outcomes like:

  • Stronger core teams that deliver better business results.
  • People that understand and are ready to initiate and execute your business strategy, addressing your challenges head-on.

This approach helps you establish a clear link between business plans and organizational capabilities while ensuring that plans incorporate the talent needed to deploy and execute the enterprise most critical strategies.

To realize your most ambitious business goals, you will need talent that can:

  • Fulfill larger competence gaps.
  • Get up to speed quicker.
  • Learn and advance faster.
  • Fit well in your company culture.

Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor

Contributed by Claudio Miers, Managing Partner at Pitcairn Partners LLC. Mr. Miers is an accomplished Senior Executive with more than 25 years of success across the industrial automation, consumer and engineered products industries. Leveraging extensive experience managing complex international organizations, he is a valuable asset for startup or developing companies in the Human Capital and Organizations Development sphere. His broad areas of expertise include talent management, organizational change and development, and process improvement.

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