Deploying Talent

Deploying Talent is about drawing on identified talent to place people in the right roles at the right time to fill critical workforce gaps and support individual career growth.


Managing your succession pipeline

To understand the strength of the pipeline for critical roles and identified talent segments, good succession management is key. This will guide decisions on where and how to deploy people through career moves, development and strategic recruitment.

Succession planning is also a critical risk management exercise. Potential succession risks that need to be managed might include:

  • turnover risk leading to a sudden vacancy in critical roles
  • readiness risk resulting from a lack of prepared internal successors
  • process risks that may result in longer periods of time where critical roles are vacant
  • diversity risk from a talent profile that does not reflect the diversity and inclusivity of the organisation

Succession planning informs a number of important activities:

  • helps you to understand the critical pools of talent needed to drive future organisation success and determine your internal deployment processes
  • provides a pipeline of individuals to move into critical roles, as well showing which other roles individuals may progress into, and therefore helps to guide development and deployment in a strategic way
  • if gaps in the pipeline for critical roles are identified without any credible internal successors, the plan shows where the business may need to hire externally


Succession Pools vs. Succession Plans

You can choose to create succession pools in place of succession plans which traditionally determine successors to individual roles. Succession pools provide a format for reviewing the succession depth of an organisation by combining similar roles of similar size and scale. It is based on the premise that there are groups of roles with critical capabilities and common skills around the organisation which will continue to be high in demand as the shape of the business changes in the future, reflecting the chosen talent segments (hyperlink to Talent Segmentation).  Identifying individuals who have the potential to be part of the pipeline to a succession pool in the short-, medium- and longer-term allows the depth of succession to be clarified.

Succession pools can be preferable to planning succession for specific individual roles which may change and alter, as they reflect the more flexible nature of organisations and are more likely to open up opportunities for cross-border movement. To be most effective, it should be a live document that is used throughout the year to aid deployment and career move decisions.


Critical Roles

While all jobs in the NHS are important and all contributions are important to delivering quality of care, they still differ in terms of their relative significance to the organisation’s success, their complexity, the skills required to be effective and the scarcity of those skills in the labour market.  These differences are dynamic over time according to need.

Critical roles are posts which if vacant have a high impact on the functioning of the department. It is common for organisations to identify their most senior leadership positions as critical roles and the main targets for succession management.  However, organisations are realising that key capabilities for delivery of the strategy, continuity and risk management are also found in other roles. There are also roles which are difficult to fill due to a shortage of qualified candidates either internally or externally. Focusing on critical talent segments identified through the talent segmentation process, ensures that you have a pipeline of talent for organisational success.

The nature of your critical roles will depend on your organisational need, the key capabilities that are required to deliver your organisation’s long term strategy and the need to protect business continuity. For example, this could include Band 5 nurses, General Managers or A&E staff.

Use the Succession Management Tool to identify your critical roles and create your succession plans or pools.

Download the Succession Management Tool


The importance of talent mobility

Talent mobility enables the movement of talent around an organisation and is an effective way for an organisation to provide a range of valuable developmental experiences without losing its talent.

Development and deployment are synonymous with one another and for one to be effective, you have to have the other. For individuals to develop, they need to be exposed to new challenges, which means a change in context through a new role; a significant change to their current role, secondment, shadowing or stretch opportunities to gain the breadth of experience where major shifts can take place for the individuals to learn fastest.

Without effective job move processes to get talent moving, an organisation may identify and develop its high potential or talented individuals only to see them leaving the organisation as they are not motivated or engaged to stay.


The role HR can play in facilitating talent mobility

There may be obstacles in moving around talent to both the individual and the organisation.  The individual may not be motivated to move roles and line managers may not be willing to relinquish their high performers. The organisation may not see talent as an organisation-wide resource that can be deployed flexibly and a lack of supporting processes for moving talent can create barriers.

It can be helpful to develop a talent principle (hyperlink to Talent Strategy) that recognises and commits to the notion that certain types of talent can be ‘shared’ throughout the organisation, rather than a division or even an individual manager.

Use the Role of HR Model to explore the different roles that HR can play in order to facilitate talent mobility and career development.

Download the Role of HR Model

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