Posted 25th November 2019

One of the challenges of being a leader is keeping an eye on day-to-day operations as well as looking ahead. Since people are your greatest asset, it’s important that your plans are underpinned by an effective workforce strategy, but how well do you know the people who will determine your organisation’s success today, and in the future?

When they have a vacancy or a new project, most employers start by looking outside of the organisation. They call recruiters or take out job ads and hope for the best. External recruitment is important, particularly if you want to grow your workforce or be more diverse, but when you’re starting from a blank canvas, it can be an uphill struggle.

Finding the people who want to work for you is just as important as knowing the ones who already do. Internal candidates understand your company values and culture. They are committed to you and can hit the ground running. So, how do you know if you already have people in your midst who are capable of taking on the new challenge you are offering?

The answer is VISIBILITY.


Make your people visible to you

Let’s take Femi. She’s your business support officer. When she applied for the role, you noted her qualifications and previous employment. At the interview, you asked her where she wanted to be in five years. Since then, she’s had a couple of annual appraisals and you’ve assessed her training needs for her current role. All that information is filed away… somewhere.

Imagine if you asked her regularly: What are you good at? What do you want to learn? What do you enjoy doing? What is important to you?

When you get to know the people that work for you and understand their capabilities, motivations and potential, you make them visible and you can have more effective conversations with each other. Keep this knowledge up to date and you can ensure everyone has the career experience they are looking for.

Unfortunately, you don’t, so you only know that Femi is performing well at her job and never a cause for concern. What you don’t know is that in her spare time, she’s been moonlighting as a school governor and has recently been elected chair. She is busy acquiring new skills that she is keen to hone and develop professionally.


Make opportunities visible to your people

Whilst you are satisfied with an employee who is good at her job and working hard for you, Femi is growing restless and contemplating her next move. She is beginning to spend her breaks browsing job sites for inspiration. Meanwhile, a project management vacancy pops up in your team that, with some support, would be ideal for her. However, you only know Femi as your diligent business support officer, so highlighting it to her doesn’t even occur to you, and she’s unaware that her new and developing skills make her a suitable candidate.

Femi doesn’t want to leave your company as she enjoys working there and has built up some employee benefits, but she wants to develop professionally and doesn’t feel there are any opportunities for her to do so if she stays. Meanwhile, there are a number of people external to the company who want to work there and have the skills to step in and take over Femi’s role if she vacates it for whatever reason.

Ultimately, as you are unaware of any of this, Femi does find another challenge elsewhere. You lose her knowledge, skills and networks and are left to contact recruitment agencies and pay a hefty bill to fill two vacancies.

What if you had been aware that Femi was a good fit for the role and knew you had suitable people waiting in the wings to fill her current position? What if Femi was aware of the opportunity you were offering and that it could be an option for her?

Knowing what motivates your people becomes really powerful when you also make opportunities visible to them. It’s a win-win situation: Femi continues to build her career with you and is naturally self-motivated while you reduce recruitment costs.


Have visibility over insights today and for the future

Predicting the future is always a challenge, but when all your people are visible, you have unprecedented and unbiased insight that you can harness to help the business plan more effectively.

Optunli is a new AI-driven platform that both you and your people can use. It puts them in control so they can tell you all about themselves and matches them to opportunities that fit their skills and preferences. Your whole community’s potential will be visible, including your workforce and beyond. You can use this visibility to plan, identify gaps, confidently respond to ever-changing needs, and find people who would be a great fit for your opportunities – even if they don’t work for you yet.

Teresa Fox
Post author:Teresa Fox

Teresa Fox is a Co-CEO and Founder of Optunli.

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