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The atmosphere was electric during our recent visit to Civil Service Live, as civil servants, private organisations and leading experts shared ideas to inspire and develop those working in the UK public sector. Our Central Government Lead, Michael White, led a workshop session, offering advice on how to optimise talent within the Civil Service. From short-term succession solutions to long-term strategic planning, Michael highlighted some of the key areas in talent management which are crucial to get right…

The Capabilities Plan

In April 2013, the Capabilities Plan was released by the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, as an integral part of Civil Service reform. The aim was to create a Civil Service that is more skilled and more unified, and the plan expressly called for effective talent management strategies.

So why should employers be managing talent?

A recent survey by the CIPD on resource and talent planning found that the number of employers seeing increased competition for well-qualified talent has risen to 62% (up from 20% in 2009). These are factors affecting all UK organisations, and year on year, professional, specialist and senior management roles are proving the hardest to fill.

The Civil Service faces further pressures when it comes to sourcing and retaining talent, including a global talent shortage, pay gap and competition with the private sector, and public sector budget cuts. But despite these factors, talent management can be done, and done well. Here’s how…

1) Mobilising talent

Mobilise your talented people to give them experience of the organisation. Rather than try to manage talent in departmental silos, plug skills gaps and provide career progression opportunities to create a dynamic internal process which ensures talent is moved where it is needed, when it is needed.

2) Identifying successors

Plan for successors’ successors. Talent management is clearly about identifying the right people for the right roles. However, the challenge lies in filling the critical, high-risk roles whilst also matching talent with potential future roles.

3) Developing successors

Grow the organisation from within. Determine which employees are selected for talent development programmes based on how well they demonstrate competencies in their current role. This gives a good measure of their potential and their desire to progress within the organisation. Leaders then know which pressing skills issues to tackle in a particular profession, department or region whilst supporting employees along their chosen career path.

4) Using technology

Technology is an enabler – it doesn’t make the decisions, it’s there to support the decision-making process. It’s very difficult to identify successors if you don’t know who they are, where they are, what their current skills are, and what their potential may be. To make good decisions you need to have good information, as without it, talent can be hidden in the organisation.

Spreadsheets are a starting point but they don’t allow in-depth analysis or enable effective succession planning.  They’re labour-intensive, prone to errors, constantly out of date and don’t provide a holistic cross-departmental view.

For true talent mobility, you need all the right information in one place with the right people being able to see it. A good talent management system will hold key data on the people within your talent pool, enabling you to map the performance and potential of key employees within a 9-box grid to identify critical roles and high potential successors. You will also be able to consider retention risk, role readiness, and career trajectory of those successors, to gain a true picture of current talent pipeline status at cross-government, department, profession and individual level. Getting these elements of talent management right will help you create a truly optimised strategy within your organisation.

Find out more

To find out more about talent management in the Civil Service, please e-mail our Business Development Team at businessdevelopment@kallidus.com

Join the debate

Is talent management high on your agenda? How has the Capabilities Plan affected your talent strategies? We’d love to hear from you. Comment below, Tweet us @Kallidus or visit our LinkedIn page.

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