How Strong is Your Bench?

Will your business be ready the next time there is a crisis?

Being caught in a weak position when a crisis hits is something no one wants. The time to make sure your company will weather whatever the future holds is now. With careful, targeted recruitment and internal development, you can stack your bench with talented people who may have been out of reach just a few short years ago.
The time is now to look at positions that are the most difficult to fill or that have a high likelihood of becoming empty and assess your current leadership lineup to see who might fill these vulnerable slots. Start with the ones that have a deep impact on the business and would be the most difficult to do without. If losing someone would mean scrambling to find a replacement as soon as possible, there should be a highly qualified understudy in the wings.

Clearly defined positions are most crucial when the cost of replacing someone is especially high, such as leaders and key management personnel. Some of the skills and traits required to lead may only develop fully over time; and during a crisis, you don’t have time to wait. Bringing someone into the pipeline now who meets what’s required will accelerate the process of readying him or her to step up. It gives you the opportunity to provide development and training that is specific to the needs of the job.  It is simple to identify which of your current employees or new hires are the best candidates for advancement when you use comprehensive assessments. With a key position benchmark in hand, scientifically based, valid and reliable assessments will easily show how well they already match the position for which you’d like to groom them, and targeted coaching and a development program that will have them completely ready to step up when you need them.

Job benchmarking is the way to make sure that you are recruiting and developing leaders who have exactly what it takes to excel in your company’s unique environment. Positions with the same title and basic job description can be very different from one company to the next. Even in different divisions or regions of one company, they may require different skill sets and have distinct accountabilities. Your company’s key leadership and management roles are unique to your company, and as responsibilities have evolved to accommodate leaner staffs, these roles may have changed. Planning for future leadership without job benchmarks and talent reports is the equivalent of catering an event without a check-off list for food and equipment. It’s gambling that whatever you happen to have on hand will be enough when the time comes. Cultivating your bench now is a better bet.

Whatever your hiring and training budgets are this year, make them deliver maximum returns. Matching the right person to the right job and anticipating grooming those individuals for leadership will bring the most value to your organization’s bottom line.


(Adapted from TTI NL).