Creating and managing talent pipelines: do you need one and how does it work?

Finding a suitable candidate to fill a business-critical executive position can take time, and lost time can have a detrimental impact on the smooth running of an organisation. Succession planning is essential, and a talent pipeline makes the hiring process much slicker.

A talent pipeline is an organisation’s plan of potential candidates for a role, sourced internally or externally. They can be used for executive and non-executive roles, but the higher the level of the role needing filling, the more vital it is that an organisation knows of a candidate who possesses the necessary skills, character and qualifications to succeed.

For some hiring managers, the time it takes to create a robust talent pipeline may seem too excessive to make it worthwhile, but in today’s ultra-competitive and equally unpredictable economic landscape, a talent pipeline is a strategic necessity.

The benefits of a talent pipeline

The benefits of creating a talent pipeline far outweigh the effort it takes to set one up. Whilst the pipeline will need continuous cultivation, once the initial systems are in place much of the work is done.

The most obvious advantage of having a pipeline in place is that it will take far less time to source and recruit the right talent to executive roles, preventing executive positions from remaining empty and negatively impacting organisational operation and growth. The time to hire process has long been the bane of many a hiring manager’s life, and as employers continue to compete with one another for the best talent, having a sound pipeline in place can accelerate the process and give you an edge over your rivals.

It is also important not to overlook those individuals throughout an organisation who have the character to succeed in an executive role. If organisations invest in appropriate learning and development (L&D) initiatives to support their employees’ success, their employees will feel valued by their company and are more likely to choose to remain.

Even if recruiting externally, implementing (L&D) opportunities solidifies the company’s brand image and improves its corporate reputation. A talent pipeline will help determine the employee value proposition (EVP) that the company needs to develop to attract their desired candidates.

Since candidates now have more power to decide what benefits they want from their employer, analysing what they value in an interview process and employment package ensures organisations are set up to bring the right people in and retain them, even when things get tough.

How to create a talent pipeline

There are several steps to establish a talent pipeline, but once followed, they will help secure an organisation’s long-term viability and agility.

  • Create an attractive brand:

To convince people to work for your organisation, they’ll need to benefit from it. Cultivating current employees through wellbeing and L&D initiatives shows candidates that the company cares, and they can grow within the position.

  • Conceptualise an ‘ideal candidate’:

Knowing what traits, skills and experience are essential for each role will make sourcing candidates much easier. Different executive roles require different types of people, so an effectively organised talent pipeline will ensure clarity when a position opens up.

  • Network:

LinkedIn and other social platforms now make it easy to connect, and its common to meet the same people will be at various networking events. People are also more likely to believe the company brand if current employees are willing to talk positively about the organisation, so they should be encouraged to start a conversation with their networks, too.

Furthermore, previous candidates who may not have been the right fit for the role they originally applied for may be a perfect match elsewhere. Logging their details, maintaining a positive relationship with them, and getting their feedback on the application process shows them they still matter and may have further opportunities with the company.

When recruiting, organisational branding and employee satisfaction should not be underestimated. So, by taking time to create your talent pipeline, assess internal structures and perfect them will make hiring the perfect candidates much smoother going forwards and ensure an organisation’s future is more readily secured.


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