How to build a successful talent pipeline

Do you have a robust plan for how you would fill each position in your business should it become vacant? What would you do if a key employee resigned?

Many larger business in the automotive industry – including the vehicle OEMs – have talent pipelines in place. But this is not just something for the big boys. Small organisations and SME’s in the automotive space can also take many steps to future proof their workforce. Having unfilled vacancies will cost your business, hinder growth and may prevent you from fulfilling orders.

This article – about building a talent pipeline – is written for automotive industry employers and is based on Copeland’s 20+ years’ experience helping organisations in the automotive industry fill vacant sales, marketing and operations positions.

What is a talent pipeline?

A talent pipeline is a proactive strategy for building long-term relationships with potential candidates for job roles in your business. It can include both existing (internal) candidates and new (external) candidates. It’s about creating a talent pool of well qualified candidates for each job role in your organisation. That way should any a vacancy arise you’ll already already have a plan and can act quickly to fill it.

How to build a talent pipeline

There a number of steps you can take to build and improve your talent pipeline. Here are 3 simple steps you can take:

1. Address your Employer Brand

Getting your employer brand in shape is the first step to building your talent pipeline. A strong employer brand is now widely considered as essential for both small and large organisations. With the right reputation, you can recruit, retain and engage the best people for your team. Today’s employees don’t just choose a job for its salary and title – they’re looking for a community and an organisation they buy into that will pave the way to their future success. Take a look at our free downloadable Employer Branding Guide for detailed advice on how you get your employer brand right.

2. Always look at your internal talent first

In the recent Copeland automotive industry employee survey, employees told us that career progression opportunities was the most important factor when choosing a new job. See: Automotive Industry Salary Guide.

So it’s vital that as an employer you maximise opportunities for progression within your organisation. There are multiple steps you can take to nurture your internal talent including:

  • Regular review meetings with employees setting out career goals. Not only will this help you identify the potential within your organisation, but done well will help reduce the rate of turnover.
  • Training a development plans for internal employees to build necessary skills and experience. Investing in your existing talent and readying them for the next step will allow you to tap quickly into your internal talent when the need arises.
  • Talent mapping or succession planning. For each employee, identify potential future roles AND for each job role, identify potential future talent. Many organisations create specific programmes for individuals who they have identified as ‘high potential’ or ‘future leaders’ for example.
3. Build an external talent pipeline

This is about building connections and creating an interest in your organisation in anticiptation of future job opportunities. This can be done all level of position from entry level to senior management. Again there are numerous ways you can do this including:

  • Building strong employer pages across social media. Don’t just limit this to LinkedIn. Consider what social channels to your future target employees use and ensure you build a following here. Using your existing employees and their ‘career stories’ is a great way to showcase the opportunities and potential that your organisation can offer.
  • Keep in touch and nurture relationships with past employees and past interviewees who you have not subsequently employed. These people could be potential future hires or useful ‘brand ambassadors’ for you.
  • You can build a database of potential future talent – but be very aware of how you manage personal data and how long you can ligitimately hold on to it.
  • Identify and build a relationships with specialist recruitment agencies to cover all job functions in your business. This may involve a few agencies – perhaps one for commercial (sales, marketing & operations) roles – such as Copeland Automotive Recruitment, one for IT roles, one for administrative roles and one for finance roles.

Final thoughts

I hope this article has given you some useful information on building a strong talent pipeline for your automotive business. If however the worst happens and one of your key employees leaves and you don’t have any suitable replacements in your talent pipeline, Copeland can help. We have over 20 years’ experience recruiting sales & marketing roles for automotive businesses. Get in touch to discuss your hiring needs.

Further Reading:

Employer Branding Guide

Interviewing for Sales Jobs

Interviewing for Marketing Jobs

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