A Comprehensive Guide to Building a Talent Pool

How to Build a Talent Pool

The topic of recruiting is always relevant for any company due to personnel turnover in organizations of various scales. Finding a worthy replacement, even for one valuable employee, may be quite a challenge within a short timeframe. A provident way of avoiding hasty recruitment is building a talent pool.

What Is a Talent Pool?

A talent pool is a group of employees and job applicants who are potentially capable of taking over a specific position in the company. Creating a talent pool is an effective management instrument to provide the organization with a backup source of suitable candidates. Most businesses choose to build both an internal and external talent pool.

The internal talent pool is formed of current employees who are either ready to be promoted to a new position or have the potential to develop the necessary competencies. The list of available target vacancies for the candidates is generated after analyzing the enterprise’s current needs and development prospects.

An external talent pool can be built using the database of applications sent by job seekers. The application is carefully revised before it gets selected to the talent pool with the candidate’s consent.

How Can a Company Benefit from a Talent Pool?

The creation of a talent pool serves the following purposes:

  • Identification of personnel potential

  • Timely replacement of employees

  • The possibility of filling up open vacancies promptly

  • Creating prospects and motivation for professional growth

  • Training and upgrading the qualification of employees

  • The promotion of working specialists

  • The decrease in the employee turnover level

  • The reduction of risks in the search and selection of new candidates

  • Fostering the continuity of the company’s productivity

  • Improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the company

Why Is Planning A Crucial Step of Building a Talent Pool?

Creating a talent pool is a strategic priority for most growing companies. The availability of competent, trained specialists ready for promotion to the organization’s key positions fosters the business's security and confidence in the future.

The planning process of the talent pool building process consists of five crucial steps:

  1. Creating your ideal talent pool definition. The managers should determine the target positions for the talent pool. The goal here is to estimate the staffing level of the company's structural divisions. The organization should not allow the emergence of understaffing, especially when it comes to narrow specialists and rare professionals that are difficult to outsource.

  2. Analysis of the company's top managerial positions. The primary purpose is to identify the most critical leadership positions in terms of their contribution to business performance and assess their prospects of becoming vacant. It is worth noting the managerial positions that the company plans to create in the future (for example, when forming new divisions as part of business expansion).

  3. Analysis and categorization of the positions that need to be in the talent pool. It is practical to sort them by importance and urgency.

  4. Planning the optimal number of candidates for each target position. The objective of this step is to ensure personnel security for key roles of the enterprise. The optimal number of potential employees for a vacancy is 2-3 people. It ensures the target position to be covered, creates healthy competition for the position, and increases the candidates’ motivation for development.

  5. Analyzing the key positions and drawing up a competency map (job profile). The goal is to determine the basic requirements for professional and personal qualities, knowledge, and skills that an employee must have to succeed at a particular job position.

Given the task’s scale and complexity, creating a talent pool requires an integrated approach and careful planning from the HR manager. An incorrectly defined sequence of actions in working with the talent pool or the omission of a critical stage jeopardizes the work’s quality and effectiveness.

How to Build Your Talent Pool

When the preparation steps are complete, it is time to take action. The process of forming a talent pool consists of the following stages:

  1. Nomination of candidates based on the estimate and defined criteria. The person’s work experience, education, knowledge, psychological characteristics, and other work-related qualities are considered. The responsibility for nominating candidates lies on the supervisors and HR specialists. However, self-nomination is also possible.

  2. Formation of general lists of candidates for the personnel reserve. At this stage, candidates are evaluated. The management carries out an analysis of personal documents related to the educational background, certifications, completed training, interview results.

  3. Selection of the potential talent pool candidates by leadership qualities, personal characteristics, the level of motivation, and devotion. Various methods can be used for this purpose, such as individual and group interviews and psychological testing. Based on the results, the management can create a draft of the talent pool’s candidates.

  4. Formation of the final list of employees enrolled in the talent pool with an exact indication of the reserved position.

  5. Approval of the lists by the CEO and other key members of the organization’s management.

The period for which such a list is drawn up depends on the company. Nevertheless, practice has shown that the optimal timeframe is one year. At the same time, it is necessary to review the candidates’ contacts at least once every six months. It allows the talent pool to stay up-to-date.