Building Your Pipeline to the C-Suite

Embracing a philosophy and culture that prioritizes pipeline development strategies is not merely a choice but a necessity it today’s top organizations. A new report from BroadView Talent’s Steven Hatchett highlights what role a well-structured talent pipeline plays in developing strong and diverse leadership.

December 12, 2023 – In the fast-paced world of corporate leadership, the journey to the coveted C-suite begins long before talented individuals reach the executive level. A new article from BroadView Talent PartnersSteven Hatchett is designed to highlight the pivotal role that a well-structured talent pipeline plays in developing strong and diverse leadership. “As we navigate the challenging landscape of talent acquisition and retention, it becomes apparent that embracing a philosophy and culture that prioritizes pipeline development strategies is not merely a choice but a necessity,” said Mr. Hatchett.

“A strong leadership pipeline ensures a continuous flow of capable individuals who are ready to step into critical roles when necessary, helping companies avoid stagnation and disruption,” he said. “It represents a key component of succession planning. Investing in leadership development not only prepares these individuals for the top, but also helps engage and motivate them to reach their highest career goals and aspirations (HCGA). This reduces turnover and regretted losses which is particularly important for the younger generations. Millennials and X-Gens must be proactively retained or they will grow bored and move on.”

A separate report from BroadView recently pointed out succession planning can be viewed as a two-pronged approach that requires honest conversations and a transparent lens into what’s best for your organization. “It can be achieved by cultivating your best and brightest X-Gen talent, grooming them for a leadership role while reducing your regretted losses,” the report said. “It can also be achieved by bringing new individuals into your organization who have the experience, ideas and energy to take you to heretofore never-achieved levels.”

BroadView notes that without a succession plan, you not only run the risk of losing your best people to other organizations who better position these leaders to achieve their HCGA more quickly but also expend money to recruit and fill those positions. “Succession planning helps you retain your best talent while filling your bench,” the firm said. “It also gives you the ability to better market and sell your organization if you are recruiting outside. Organizations that have succession plans show both newcomers and existing employees that they are serious about attracting and retaining the best talent in the marketplace while preserving their mission and maintaining forward momentum.”

Exceptional Value

Mr. Hatchett explains that those who have grown within a company also tend to be more aligned with its values and mission, and as companies invest in the skill and development of their employees, they also boost their own competitiveness, tapping into new insights, adaptability and problem solving capabilities.

For almost 20 years Steven Hatchett has worked in both the non-profit and higher education space focusing on early and mid-level talent. Prior to starting at Broadview Talent Partners in 2021, he worked at the first and only Historically Black College/University in Austin, Texas. His contributions include developing a diverse pool of talent and building strong relationships with corporate partners interested in cultivating intentional DEI partnerships. During his tenure, Mr. Hatchett also worked to generate over a quarter of million dollars in donations to help his department place students from diverse backgrounds within international technology firms in the Austin job market.

“It costs two-to-three times salary to replace executive talent, taking away both time and momentum from the organization and, worse, leading to low morale and unstable organizational leadership,” he said. “A pipeline of talent fixes that.”

The Path Forward

Using structured assessments and performance evaluations to identify high-potential individuals, look beyond current job titles to recognize those who demonstrate leadership qualities, adaptability, and a commitment to growth, according to Mr. Hatchett. “Schedule regular opportunities to provide constructive feedback, identifying strengths and areas for development,” he said. “Encourage open dialogue about their career aspirations and how these may — or may not — align with the organization’s needs. Consider developing an internal mentorship program to pair emerging leaders with higher-ups who can provide guidance, share knowledge, and offer exposure to different aspects of the business. Also invest in outside leadership development and continuous learning opportunities, tailored to the specific needs of potential future leaders and any gaps that they may have.”

Related: 10 Tips for Networking with an Executive Recruiter

“To strengthen diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in your organization, identify areas where diverse talent is underrepresented,” Mr. Hatchett says. “Develop partnerships with educational institutions for internships and other initiatives that backfill those career pathways for underrepresented individuals while looking ahead to mid-career and executive talent gaps. Regularly collecting and analyzing data related to DEI can help measure the impact of these initiatives, and ultimately reinforcing them both vertically and horizontally in the organization will beget success.”

Incremental Steps

Mr. Hatchett notes that changing the culture of an organization to focus on employee development doesn’t happen overnight. “Building a clear and compelling succession plan is an evolving process that should be revisited annually and reflect an overall mission and strategic plan to support future stability,” he said. Mr. Hatchett provides three key components to get started, each one building on the prior.

1. Define clear career paths. Outline clear and transparent career paths that provide individuals with a vision of how they can progress to higher roles, and highlight it during the onboarding process, according to Mr. Hatchett. He says that providing clear information on potential career paths and growth prospects gives employees a safe space to develop relationships, feel seen, and engage appropriately when they are ready. Meanwhile, offer challenging assignments that stretch their capabilities and help them gain experience.

2. Emphasize individualized career planning. Collaboratively set career goals and aspirations with each high-potential individual and tailor development plans to align with these objectives. “Schedule regular check-ins to review progress, adjust goals, and provide ongoing support,” said Mr. Hatchett. “Collaboratively set career goals and aspirations with each high-potential employee. This can be achieved through a variety of approaches, including direct reports, enterprise resource groups or internal leadership development workshops. Mentors can then be utilized to overcome challenges and interruptions like imposter syndrome, life events, or other barriers to progression.”

Candidate Sourcing Strategies to Build Your Talent Pipeline
Make sure you maintain communication with your hiring manager, says a new report from IQTalent Partners. It is also beneficial to re-engage candidates, even those who have been declined. And though LinkedIn is useful, other online sources can also prove invaluable. “Utilizing smaller, less frequently used sources can help you expand your talent pool and reach untapped talent you would have otherwise overlooked,” says the study. Let’s take a closer look.

3. Recognize and reward achievements. Mr. Hatchett also notes to acknowledge and celebrate achievements along the leadership development journey which reinforces the commitment to growth and development. Ensure that career advancement and compensation are tied to performance and potential, motivating individuals to strive for excellence.

“In conclusion, the pathway to leadership excellence starts with nurturing and advancing talent from within the organization,” Mr. Hatchett said. “A well-structured talent pipeline becomes the backbone of an organization, ensuring that it thrives even in times of transition. By identifying high-potential individuals, encouraging their growth and development, and recognizing their achievements, organizations can secure long-term success.”

Serving Non-Profits

Founded in 2015, BroadView Talent Partners is a national executive search firm dedicated to placing leadership in affordable housing agencies, non-profit organizations, and associations, as well as middle market companies. The firm provides clients with a national network; commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a record of long-tenured placements. Its specialties include executive search, talent acquisition, retention solutions, career management, executive coaching, and board development.

Tracy McMillan is managing partner and CEO of BroadView. He has over 25 years of experience providing executive search, retention solutions and leadership advisory services to clients. He has developed a strong focus within the affordable housing, non-profit and middle-market sectors, and established a track record of well-placed, long-tenured C-suite executives. Prior to starting BroadView Talent Partners (formerly HCGA Consulting Partners) in 2015, Mr. McMillan served as the vice president of global talent acquisition for the NBA. Previously, he spent five years as a managing director at Diversified Search Group.

Related: Six Sourcing Strategies for Recruiting Passive Candidates

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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