How to identify, engage and nurture high-potential talent

Succession planning should be a core part of your workforce management strategy. Here's how to get it right.

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In a tight talent market, succession planning should be a core part of any business's workforce management and development plan. Building a pipeline of talent ready to take on progressively greater responsibility and leadership in an organization is key to driving success, especially in the constantly evolving IT market.

Building a strong "bench" of strong talent starts with identifying, engaging and nurturing high-potential employees at all levels, and then working to develop their strengths and retain them long-term. It sounds simple enough, but the truth is, succession planning isn't easy -- it takes a determined, concerted effort to be proactive about the process, instead of simply reacting when your business is faced with a key skills gap or a vacant role when an employee leaves or is promoted.

"Most organizations do a good job of planning for the future when it comes to the business strategy and with plans to achieve set milestones like profit, growth and market share. But where many fall behind is the inability to plan, in equal detail, how roles will be filled with appropriate talent in support of that strategy. The same way we do SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats] analyses for business strategy, we should be doing the same for talent," says Dominique Jones, chief people officer and vice president of HR at Halogen Software.

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