Five ways organizations use talent mapping to get ahead 

28 Jul 2020

Five ways organizations use talent mapping to get ahead 

Talent mapping provides organizations with the intelligence required to enter new markets, identify skills gaps, and recruit outstanding executives. It has thus become an increasingly important part of strategic planning. Industry mapping exercises can help identify high potential talent both internally and externally, as well as provide broader market insight and competitor analysis.

As executives navigate through this current fog of disruption, many leaders have shortened their planning cycles dramatically, focusing on the coming weeks and months rather than the fiscal year ahead. They’re increasingly looking at how to innovatestreamline, and prepare for an undetermined future, and many of the leaders we’ve spoken with are also carefully examining their leadership teams and assessing whether they have the right managers in place to weather this storm and the next.  

Do they have the right board directors to provide strategic oversight? Do they have the right executives in place to enter new markets or rebound? Are they nurturing and developing the right people to lead a strong and inclusive organization?  

Organizations are struggling to answers these questions, and that’s where talent mapping can help.  

Talent mapping has traditionally been an exercise completed by HR in conjunction with an annual performance review process and is most frequently used to identify leaders and rising talent to create development plans. Over the years, however, it has gained strategic importance as proactive succession planning becomes an increasingly essential part of an organizations' strategic plans and good corporate governance.  

The output of a talent mapping exercise can still help identify high potential talent and internal competencies, but it can also provide a much deeper competitive analysis of other market leaders. Imagine the value of a report that identifies top competitors; the backgroundsexperiences, and tenures of their functional leaders; and an overview of other available expertise and skills in a specific market to help gauge growth or acquisition opportunities 

Organizations are using talent mapping in a variety of ways to gather intelligence, plan their next steps, and determine what talent is available to help them grow and innovate. 

Here are five ways organizations are using talent mapping to get ahead: 

The internal talent map: Assessing your home team  

Do you have the right internal talent to pivot and innovate? Do your next-gen leaders have the right traits, behaviours, and skills to lead your organization through the next disruption? Are skills hiding in functions where they’re not being used or where they could be developed?  Talent mapping can answer these questions and more.  

An internal talent mapping exercise usually uses skill matrices and psychometric assessment tools to map or categorize an organization’s internal leaders and high-potential talent. practical internal talent mapping exercise should evaluate employees, deliver training and development plansand identify advancement opportunities. It can also help detect untapped potential within the organization or skillsets that aren’t being leveraged 

Succession planning: Who’s up next? 

There’s lots of pressure on boards and executive teams right now to get everything right. Now, more than ever, organizations need innovative leaders who can manage through disruption, pivot quickly, and have strong communications skills to inspire and develop a resilient, and perhaps remote, team. And with executive tenure being at an all-time lowit’s become essential for leaders to continuously plan for executive turnover.  

A well-executed succession planning exercise should provide an objective assessment process for comparing internal and external candidates and set ongoing development and retention plans for internal rising stars. It should also share insight into the external talent landscape and changing recruitment trends.  

Partnering with an external leadership firm helps ensure that this process is confidential and can identify additional talent trends in your industry or sector. It should also help an organization understand whether it has the right value proposition to attract the talent that it may be hoping to acquire.

Board composition and development planning: Building your roster 

Board compositions are being more heavily scrutinized than ever before. As the fiduciary duties of boards increase, so, too, do the expectations of directors to be highly experienced and accountable. There’s also increasing pressure on organizations to recruit more varied professionals with diverse views, backgrounds, qualifications, and experiences, while also anticipating the changing expertise required to properly support the organization into the future 

Board composition and development planning looks at the organizations strategic plan and growth opportunities and creates an evergreen roster of qualified board directors that can be approached as existing tenures near their end. This exercise starts by assessing the current directors strengths and finds opportunities to bring in new skills and experience that complement, rather than mirror, those of existing directors. It's not just about having names ready, but about keeping potential board candidates 'warm' so they’re available when you need them. This added preparedness helps reduce board gaps, while ensuring that institutional knowledge does not get lost during turnover. 

Growth planning and talent acquisition assessment: Creating a game plan 

Some organizations are finding ways to take advantage of current disruptions by scaling up their operations or by exploring acquisition opportunities. During periods of rapid growth, organizations may contemplate whether they need new skillsets or different types of leaders to take them to the next level, but may be unsure if they are ready to trade in current strong performers 

A firm may have a well-performing sales leader but needs to gauge whether they are the best person to lead through an acquisition or mergerWhat about growth in a new marketAn external leadership firm can discreetly map out the existing talent against that of a potential acquisition or new markets to help boards and private equity firms plan out their next steps.  

Competitor talent mapping and gap analysis: Evaluating the competitor’s team 

In today’s environment, the right talent can make or break an organization (or can provide a significant competitive advantage). That is why a competitor analysis and marketmapping exercise of external players can provide valuable insight for strategic planning. There are many tools on the market that provide insight into your competitor's performance, revenue streams, and even website traffic, but do you know who’s playing for your competitor’s team?  

What skills do they bring to the table? What experience is being leveraged for innovation and growth? What industries are they pulling talent from? A competitor talent mapping exercise looks at your top competitors and maps out their leaders – invaluable insight for planning your next steps.  

Ready to learn more? 

At Odgers Berndtson, we provide organizations with the intelligence required to enter new markets, identify skills gaps, and recruit outstanding executives. With over 160 dedicated researchers, our global team works closely with industry leaders and local consultants to develop comprehensive and compelling talent mapping reports outside of our traditional search services. Talent mapping provides an economic way for organizations to evaluate talent and opportunities, without committing to the more comprehensive search process. 

Want to learn more about how talent mapping can help your organization? We’re ready when you are. Let’s talk.