Human Resources: Filling the talent gap

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In today’s economic climate, many companies are faced with the difficult decision to trim staff. While this may be necessary, it often has the negative effect of creating a talent gap in the organization.

A talent gap occurs when a highly knowledgeable, experienced employee is let go and the position is not filled.

This creates a paradox. Facing stagnant or falling revenue, companies feel they can’t afford to replace key employees. But, without them, many companies won’t effectively improve their bottom line.

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Interim executives an option

If your company is facing the loss of a key employee, such as a sales executive, chief financial officer, marketing manager, human resource or even chief operating officer, you may want to consider an interim or part-time executive. Executives who join a company under these circumstances offer several advantages:

  • They ensure that your day-to-day business issues continue to be addressed
  • They do not require the compensation package of a full-time, permanent executive
  • They bring a fresh perspective to your business goals and challenges

While there was a day when top executives would not have considered joining a company under these circumstances, times have changed. Many skilled executives find themselves in a place where this type of arrangement is appealing. Perhaps they’ve taken early retirement but aren’t ready to retire. Maybe they’ve been downsized out of a position and are seeking something temporary while they figure out next steps. Or, they could be interested in the greater freedom that a part-time or contract position offers.

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Whatever the reason, there are experienced, highly skilled business leaders who are willing and able to fill the talent gap. 

Hidden costs of a talent gap

Perhaps you are thinking that you can’t afford to hire a senior executive even on a temporary basis. However, the cost of leaving the position unfilled may be significantly higher than the expense of a temporary solution. Consider the cost of lost opportunities, inefficient work processes and an over-burdened, inefficient and unhappy staff.

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The talent gap that occurs when you lose the knowledge, skills and experience of a senior business leader is not something that can be filled by just anyone. Nor is it something that should be ignored. What is needed is an experienced leader who can come in and effectively manage and motivate the team. The value of high-quality interim leadership is well worth the cost.

Unexpected benefits

While your primary motivation may be to address the daily tasks that your previous employee handled, there are additional benefits to hiring an interim executive. An experienced executive who comes in under these circumstances can serve as a catalyst for change. Lacking established relationships within the company, it is sometimes easier for this person to challenge the status quo and shake things up if necessary. Frequently, unresolved and or difficult issues can be addressed more comfortably by an interim executive. Some examples of these issues are:

  • Lagging performance.
  • Reducing operational inefficiencies based on legacy processes, systems and mindsets.
  • Cutting through internal politics.
  • Creating more impactful cross-departmental communications and teamwork.

The transition time during which you use an interim executive presents a unique opportunity for objective analysis and problem-solving. If you take advantage of the person’s fresh, unbiased perspective, you will likely reap benefits that last long after the interim executive has left. 

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