SWOT Your Talent PipelineBy
Your company’s talent pipeline is its lifeline for maintaining a skilled and motivated workforce essential to profitability and success. SWOT is a powerful tool that will help you reinforce that lifeline and deliver a significant competitive marketplace advantage.
The structure of SWOT, the involvement of a cross-functional team and dynamic interaction that are tied into the process, leads to high quality decision-making and a solid foundation for action and results.
SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and, in the context of talent management, can be defined as follows:
- Strengths: Activities, programs or characteristics of a business that are helpful in achieving talent management objectives.
- Weaknesses: Activities, programs or characteristics that are in the way of achieving talent management objectives.
- Opportunities: External circumstances that are helpful to achieving talent management objectives.
- Threats: External circumstances that could do harm to the talent pipeline and, therefore, hurt the business’s performance.
Typically, you and your team are guided by a facilitator to identify the elements across both internal and external dimensions and place each in one of four sections in a matrix. Questions elicit SWOT responses. Here are some examples:
Question: “What are we doing to make sure we have a ready supply of engineering talent?”
Response: ”We have an emeritus program to retain our best and brightest engineers on key projects even after they retire”
Question: “What do we need to improve in our talent pipeline?”
Response: “We lack a mentorship program to transfer knowledge from older to younger employees.”
Question: “What are the workforce demographic trends we can capitalize on?”
Response: “We can target retired professionals as consultants and establish flex work arrangements.”
Question: “What is our competition doing in managing their talent that we should be worried about?”
Response: “In the last six months, they have started actively poaching our best professional and executive talent.”
As the SWOT matrix is filled in with the contributions of the team, a framework is developed that outlines what is needed to maintain strengths, correct weaknesses, seize opportunities and counter threats. Using SWOT to assess your talent pipeline is a valuable tool for use in your overall talent management planning process.