SumTotal Blog

Finding Diamonds in the Dust: How to Source for Talent Internally

December 8, 2016

Picture this. You are sitting at your desk when you get an email alert. It‘s your boss telling you that a position on the C-suite has just come available and it is up to you to find a replacement…asap. Yesterday in fact. What do you do?

Diamonds in the Dust

Do you

a) Panic and then, if lucky and funds allow, call a recruitment company. Otherwise, well….


b) Panic and then remember there are a number of people already working for your company who could be ideal for the position?

Currently when presented with this scenario, almost 50% of HR managers choose the first option, according to SumTotal’s recent survey of 100 customers in the UK and Germany. In other words, only half of companies will look internally and feel confident that they have a process or system already in place to ensure succession or replacement is never a problem.

The question this response raises is, what does it mean? What does this divide say about our talent management practices? Is this a good thing? Okay, so that was more than one question, but in my defence, I see them as three moving parts of the same question.

Granted, there are times and situations where bringing someone in from the outside is the only choice—and the best one at that—but it is not always the case. Choosing from within comes with the obvious benefit of a shorter learning curve, but it also, perhaps more importantly, demonstrates a company’s desire to facilitate employee career development, a key factor for the majority of workers when making career decisions.

As Paul Devoy, Head of Investor People observed in a recent article in the Independent: “Small things can make a big difference. Feeling valued, understanding their role in the organisation and how they can grow with an organisation are all big concerns for UK workers.”

But since hiring the right candidate is crucial, the decision-making process is just as crucial, and should not be done without assistance. Steve Jobs is often quoted as saying he believed hiring was “a collaborative process,” a transaction that should involve more than one perspective. SumTotal couldn’t agree more. We believe the data from your talent management system should–and must be—included in the decision. Make recommendations based on data that can help you identify which employees possess the right skillset, who to nurture and develop and which employees are potentially at risk and may leave the organisation soon.

How does data help with the hiring process? Solutions like our Succession Planning can identify competency gaps across a workforce, develop talent pools and align succession planning to the goals and strategic objectives of your organisation. Our Talent solution includes tools like Position Fit which quickly and simply illustrates which competencies the candidates possesses and which skills need improving.

The point is that if, as in the original scene, you are asked to find someone to fill a position, you no longer need to panic. Instead, you simply turn to your computer, and let quantifiable data and talent insight provide you with a list of suitable candidates.

This in turn frees you up to concentrate on all the other tasks that always seem to appear, as if by magic, on your desk.

Learn more about how SumTotal helps empower career mobility: take the tour.

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