Tapping the Talent Pipeline

Article excerpt

Organizations need to know where to look for top project professionals- and what to do when they find them.

It's no wonder more people are becoming project mangers: The work is challenging yet stimulating, the field is growing and, while many companies are trimming payrolls, the median project manager salary in the United States is a robust US$$ 105,000, according to PMI's 2011 Project Management Salary Survey.

But as more people flood the field, many organizations are finding it difficult to identify, recruit and nurture top talent. PMI's Pulse of the Profession" In-Depth Report: Talent Management found that 83 percent of organizations reported difficulty in finding qualified project management candidates to fill open positions in the past year.

The challenge, then, is to tap into the talent pipeline early to get the best project professionals on the right track.

"We really want to make sure that we're getting the right talent," says Lynn Batara, director of Franklin Templeton Investments' enterprise project management office in San Mateo, California, USA. "But that can be tough. With so many folks being out of work, there's a lot of talent we have to sift through, so it takes us a lot longer now to find talent. In the end, companies need to find a way to make the hiring process happen more quickly."

The solution for project management veterans such as Ms. Batara is to make the talent search more strategic. Forget about one-stop shopping for agile experts and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator scorers at job fairs. These days, project leaders are finding the best talent using targeted sources, from business networks and university campuses to referral programs and social media channels. Many are experiencing winning results as they redefine the way companies recruit project management talent. Here are five promising pipelines to consider for future talent:

1 The Company Ranks

Who You're After: Up-and-coming talent to fill an entry-level project management position

"We always look internally first," Ms. Batara says. "For an entry-level position in project management, we start by looking at our testers or operations people as sources."

After all, mining one's internal talent ensures that you're filling the position with an individual who's already familiar with the company's corporate culture and project management methodologies. A Wharton Business School study found that external hires earn 18 percent more than talent promoted from within but have significantly lower performance ratings.

Talent-management software that tracks employees' strengths and weaknesses allows seniorlevel executives to flag and groom employees that demonstrate leadership qualities and real project management potential.

Get Them Up and Running: "Even if our internal employees don't have specific project management skills, we're likely to engage them in a curriculum that will train them, especially if the company wants to motivate its staff," says Eugénie Hercouèt, PMP, consultant in program management at Safran Consulting in Paris, France. PMI's Pulse of the Profession ln-Depth Report Talent Management found that 83 percent of organizations that are successful at developing highperforming teams make training a priority.

The more formalized the training offered to internal employees, the better, according to Jozef Suchoza, a managing consultant at Capgemini in Bratislava, Slovakia. "You need to participate in internal training programs in order to absorb corporate methodologies and people-skill trainings."

2 Industry Events

Who You're After: Seasoned project managers who may not be in the job market

If an internal search fails to produce qualified candidates, organizational leaders can use industry events, such as PMI global congresses or chapter meetings, for help in discovering local talent who might not be circulating their résumés.

Tm quite involved with the PMI chapter in Sydney and attend as many of their events as I can," says Maja Kowalski, PMP, a program director at consultancy Beyond Projex, Sydney, Australia. …