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Talent pool: 5 important issues and 2 rules for working with reservists

Talent pool

Managers, employees, and HR specialists have different understandings of the meaning of the phrase “talent pool”.

The head of the company represents the personnel reserve as a line of employees who are ready to take up a responsible position as soon as it becomes vacant. Whether a specialist or a manager quit his job or did not cope with the work – it does not matter – a trained reservist will take his place. With the company’s growth, there are no problems with staffing – new positions are occupied by reliable, loyal, and qualified employees.

An employee presents the employee enrollment in the talent pool as a mega-positive change in work and career when dreams of “professional and career growth” come true – there are interesting tasks ahead, training, new positions, and salary growth.

In the mind of an HR specialist, “talent pool” is a project that you can be proud of because the terms “talent management” and “talent pool” will finally become a part of everyday work.

Developing grateful and loyal reservists is much more interesting than charming distrustful and capricious applicants, besides, it will become easier to attract new employees – it will be possible to present career prospects that few can resist.

How to understand if your company needs a talent pool

Even though managers, employees, and HR-specialists are ready to consider the training of reservists as a reliable and versatile way of providing the company with loyal and effective human resources, examples of successful implementation of projects to create a talent pool in the practice of personnel management are rare.

Let’s try to answer a few questions to find out what difficulties the use of this tool causes, and whether it is suitable for your company.

Working from home benefits the environment and personal well-being •

Do you need to “reserve” managerial positions?

Will you buy two cars so that one drives and the other stands in the parking lot in case the first breaks down? Probably not. Is it profitable for you to keep a “spare” head of the unit in case the “main” suddenly quits? Or is it more profitable and easier to find a replacement for it?

Another of the risks of implementing the “personnel reserve” project is the preparation of a “reserve” for the current leader who is not going to leave his post because such a decision will definitely not add positively to the relationship between the manager and the subordinate-reservist. An employee cannot help dreaming about vacating the position of a manager; the manager will strive to eliminate the threat in the person of a “reservist”. Either the discomfort of such a situation will force the employee to leave the company, or the manager will find a reason to eliminate a potential applicant for his position.

Is this the result you want?

Is it profitable to prepare a talent pool for new positions and projects?

Suppose you want to train a new department manager from a manager. It is possible that he will succeed as a leader, but not immediately – in one and a half or two years when he gains experience, but, of course, no one will give you guarantees that after this period you will get what you want. Are you ready to invest in such a “reserve”?

Will you wait for the employee to “grow up”, or will you go to the labor market and buy yourself a “ready-made” manager, because training a reservist and bringing him to the required condition is too long and expensive process?

Are you sure that your talent pool will not deteriorate?

Storing what you don’t use is not free of charge. If you don’t drive your car and store it in a warm parking lot, it gets old, loses in value, and you pay for parking. Keeping a “talent pool” is not cheap – reservists awaiting appointments must be provided with jobs and wages. At the same time, it is not a fact that this state of affairs will suit them – the work performed by the “reservist” will be considered temporary, waiting for a promising appointment.

If new positions do not appear or existing ones are not vacated, then the motivation of the personnel reserve is rapidly deteriorating. Deceived expectations and thoughts that they deserve the best push reservists to look for a worthy position outside the company.

The realities of the modern labor market are such that the average duration of an employee’s work in one place is limited to 1-3 years. Reservists can hardly be expected to wait patiently for more than a few months.

About the fact that the reality of the timing of the appointment of reservists to new positions is one of the key factors for the success of the project for the training of a personnel reserve, I already wrote in the material Ideal case about the personnel reserve.

Are you sure you will not lose employees who are not included in the talent pool?

Are you sure you have selected the best employees for the talent pool? Do those who were deemed unworthy of “career prospects” consider your decision to be fair? Do you think they will be loyal to a company in which “nothing shines” for them if you decide to leave them in their jobs because they are doing an excellent job, and you are completely satisfied with it? Will these employees diligently prove their right to get into the talent pool next time, or will they start looking for a new job?

You know your employees better – only you know the answer.

Will the cost of training reservists pay off?

Are you sure that all the reservists you have trained will be in demand? The costs of training those who left the company on their own or did not wait for the appointment are your direct losses. Assess these risks before launching a talent pool project.

It is unlikely that it can be considered successful if the total cost of a trained reservist is several times higher than the cost of a specialist of similar qualifications in the labor market.

How to estimate the direct and indirect costs of training reservists – see the article How to calculate the profitability of personnel training.

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