Visibility, readiness and results: bridging talent gaps

In preparation for Aberdeen Group’s 2012 Human Capital Management summit (March 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts), an annual gathering of senior HR and business leaders from around the world,  participants were polled to uncover the most pressing issues keeping them awake at night.

The number one issue cited was workforce planning, delivering the skills and competencies required to meet business needs. 

Planning for the future needs of the enterprise involves building deep pools of talent, both inside and outside the organisation, and business and talent leaders require technologies that can help them manage these talent pools.

Hiring and development are closely tied in responding to workforce planning needs, because the goal of each is to ensure that the right employee, with the right skills, is assigned to the appropriate initiative or gets put in front of the right customer at the right time.

It's a deceptively simple concept, one that has echoed through human capital management conversations for decades.

For the enterprises that Aberdeen Group studies, it comes down to visibility into talent data, and having the appropriate data visualisation tools to help uncover gaps between business demand and current talent supply.

Competencies such as skills, attributes, behaviours, become the common language that allows organisations to intersect talent management systems with workforce management systems.


As HR leaders look to their IT counterparts to help them integrate data, these common data elements are critical.

It's not surprising that the number one strategy among European organisations cited in Aberdeen's 2012 talent acquisition research was to develop a competency framework for selection, placement and promotion decisions (cited by 41 per cent of European organisations and 32 per cent of organisations throughout the rest of the world).

Competencies are fundamental to helping organisations identify and bridge talent gaps.

When the needs of the business are understood, these needs can inform talent strategy and help identify where key competencies must be sought outside the organisation through talent acquisition, or where they can be developed in existing employees.

Aberdeen's 2012 study Analytics into Action: Workforce Planning for Talent Success found that just over half (51 per cent) of European respondents cited the need to rapidly realign workforce to changing business priorities / customer demands as the top priority driving their workforce planning efforts. 

Additionally,  42 per cent of European organisations indicated their workforce planning efforts were driven by the need for better insight into internal talent pools due to shortages of key skills in the market.

By providing appropriate tools to manage talent data, apply analytics, and integrate business and talent strategy, IT can enable HR and business leaders to attract and retain the talent they need to meet rapidly changing marketplace conditions.