Talent Mapping: Laying The Foundation Of Your Executive Search

For a successful executive search, the key is long-term planning. Skilful talent mapping gives you a clear overview of the abilities and potential already present in the company and helps highlight areas of weakness. Crucially, it considers the expected growth of the business and the goals that you would like to achieve. This way, you can ensure that the resource is there to meet those aspirations.

Why Choose Talent Mapping For You Executive Search?

At its absolute simplest, talent mapping is a planning tool for hiring. It is a way of identifying which skills the company is going to need to develop internally or externally hire, in order to continue to grow and expand. By identifying these gaps before the need arises, you have plenty of time to conduct a thorough executive search. Greater time means greater opportunity to get to know someone, assess their abilities and decided whether they’re a good fit for your work environment.

Talent mapping is heavily influenced by the company’s agreed business plan. Business growth and recruitment go hand in hand. A comprehensive business plan should give you an indication of which departments are expected to see the greatest expansion in the foreseeable future. It may, in fact, be that you need to create and recruit for an entirely new department that will service and support a new venture within the business.

As well as considering business expansion, you also need to account for anyone likely to be leaving the company, whether temporarily or permanently. For example, those approaching retirement or maternity leave. By planning for personnel change well in advance you can smooth out the handover and ensure that no one is unexpectedly left picking up a workload, reducing their productivity.

Finding The Talent Within

Successful talent mapping for an executive search relies on you knowing your employees inside and out. In larger companies, this task is obviously made more difficult and so the competency of any internal managers gains greater importance. They need to be able to provide honest feedback to HR decision-makers about the performance and potential of employees under their supervision.

Managers should consider whether anyone in their team is showing particular promise in one area or has skills that aren’t currently being well utilised. They should also consider whether, with the right training and guidance, an employee would be motivated and keen to learn such skills. Done right, talent mapping should give you plenty of time and notice to develop any untapped raw talent within the business.

An attentive manager should have a good awareness of the personal career goals of their team. They can advise you on whether individuals are likely to respond well to the prospective career paths that you’re laying out for them. On the whole, employees tend to respond well to the idea of talent mapping as it tells them that management is seriously considering their future prospects.

Once internal talent is identified, you need to follow through on unlocking that potential. Excellent talent mapping gives you the gift of time to utilise it well and prepare them for the role before it becomes critical to the company’s growth. They may need to learn very specific technical knowledge or develop their general business skills. For example, as part of an executive search, you might wish to hone someone’s conflict resolution technique.

Looking Outside To Fill The Gaps

Not every position in an executive search can be sourced internally. By using talent mapping as the foundation of your recruitment policy, you should know this in advance of needing to fill the position. This gives you time to look at your competitors’ workforces and identify any burgeoning talent hidden there. At executive level, this task is made easier by their more well-known and public profiles.

Technological improvements within the past decade or so mean that identifying internal and external talent is becoming easier. Social media sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter can give you an insight into an individual’s employment history, skills, achievements, goals and opinions, without you even speaking to them. Some companies use quite subtle technological means of assessing the talent at their disposal by encouraging people to play enjoyable games that evaluate their thought processes, reactions and decision-making.

To conclude, talent mapping considers your business goals and forces you to be proactive in finding the resource to meet them. It’s about working backwards from where you want to be and plotting out which skills are going to be necessary to get you there. In the long term, talent mapping should boost your employee retention rate as people are generally far more motivated and engaged when they feel supported in their career path and know that training has been put in place with their progression in mind.   


In the last 12 months, 6 Group has built talent pipelines to identify and, engage and assess over 1,200 senior-level candidates across multiple geographies and industries. 

For more information about how we can work together, get in touch.

Industry news & insights

View all