Grow Your Own — Or How To Build the Talent You Need

Well we are now on the home stretch in discussing what makes up a world-class staffing function. Let’s continue on with a discussion on why the development of talent is part of the recruiting mindset. To refresh your memory, these are the qualities that MUST exist for world class status: 1. PAPER IS NON-EXISTENT (Discussed on Wednesday October 7th) 2. MANAGERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RECRUITING PROCESS (Discussed on Wednesday, October 14th) 3. THE ORGANIZATION USES THE RIGHT TYPE OF EMPLOYEE IN THE RIGHT POSITION (October 21st) 4. DEVELOPMENT OF TALENT IS PART OF THE RECRUITING MINDSET (October 28th) 5. THE ONLY CONSTRAINTS ON FILLING POSITIONS ALMOST IMMEDIATELY ARE CAUSED BY SCHEDULING DELAYS (November 4th) 6. STAFFING IS PART OF THE IMAGE DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING EFFORTS OF THE ORGANIZATION (November 11th) 7. THE ORGANIZATION MEASURES RECRUITING SUCCESS (November 18th) Demographics suggest that we will not have enough people to fill all the jobs that will exist over the next decade, no matter how good we get at finding and enticing them. Oh, the sheer numbers will be there but those with the skills we need, with the particular set of experience and education and the desire to work for corporations will all be lacking. And while this is a doomsday view that has been around for a while now, there are things we can do to lessen its impact or even to avoid any affect on our business at all. How? We have to develop a multipronged strategy to ensure that our organization, whatever it is, will have enough people. One prong is to get very good at sourcing and enticing candidates. We have already discussed this. Another prong is to encourage our own employees to continue to get more training and education so that they can assume new roles. Even as automation and the creeping evolution of processes and systems replace more and more people, new jobs will be created as well. For example, recently I had my eyes examined. The doctor used a new fangled machine that automatically checked my eyes (in about 2 minutes) and gave her an estimated prescription. Then she conducted the normal eye exam (which took about 30 minutes). After she finished, she compared her findings with the machine’s findings and guess what? They agreed with each other! If I were her, I would be worried about the future of my profession. It seems that only the medical part of the eye exam is left for the doctor (for now at least). Yet, someone will have to refine and improve the machine, and set it up and calibrate it. Hence several new jobs are created. I remember when I was in high school (yes, I can still remember back that far) we predicted that there would be widespread unemployment because so many jobs would be eliminated. We were right and wrong. Many jobs have disappeared or the number of people pursuing them has declined (car mechanics, car assembly workers, nurses, train conductors, typists, word processors, etc., etc.). Yet, more jobs have been created including such jobs as web master, computer network specialist, astronaut, telecommunications technician, and chief knowledge officer. The bottom line is that we need to offer people a continuous opportunity to develop themselves and prepare for these emerging opportunities. On-going education outside of the traditional university system is growing rapidly. The University of Phoenix (, one of fastest growing institutions of higher education, is forging alliances with other schools and is entering more states. It has recently reached out internationally to offer degrees in a variety of formats. And, to top all of this off, it operates as a profit-making corporation, not as a non-profit as most universities do. On-line education is a growing business with classes being offered via the web by companies such as DigitalThink in San Francisco which offers technology courses of high quality as does another company in Denver called Real Education ( The Western Governor’s University ( is another effort to encourage working adults to continue their education on a part-time basis without leaving home. The Western Governor’s University is a collaborative effort of many Western states to offer degree-level education to almost anyone. It recently has expanded its reach by entering into partnerships with schools in other states and with the Open University in the United Kingdom. Degrees are granted when a student shows mastery of a subject, not when he or she has spent enough time in a chair! The California Virtual University ( is another allied project to leverage the state’s already immense resources to provide more education to people remotely. It is an exciting time or a very scary time to be involved in education, depending on your viewpoint. Everything is changing and the growing demand for talented people will continue to push educators to experiment and expand to meet the demand. Many corporations are forming corporate universities to help meet these same challenges. Corporate universities, while perhaps best covered as another column, use many different approaches to anticipate employment needs and develop people for these positions even before they are needed. If this interests you, please take a look at my web site: Corporate Universities and Human Capital ( This is also where you can find all the past columns I have written in one easily indexed place. A comprehensive and world class recruiting function will have a strong collaborative arrangement with the training function to begin developing talent internally. It will also work with the high school and community college system to make sure they are aware of your needs and have programs in place to educate and train potential and current employees. State-of-the-art functions will also have vigorous programs for ringing in high school a college students to provide them experience and education and to begin the recruiting process as early as possible. Without some involvement in education, your organization cannot have a world class function. See you next week.

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Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at