Mind the supply-demand gap: Talent Management to the rescue!

‘True’, you might think. You first need a priority list of projects that helps you realize your corporate strategy. After this, you can do a capacity planning exercise to see which projects are feasible and which are not.

But what defines you as a future-proof and smart organization is how you handle what comes next.

What do you do if you notice a supply – demand imbalance within your resource exercise?

You have two options:

  1. You miss key talent in your organization to make your ambitious list of projects reality, so you cut the project and look for another way to achieve your strategic goal
  2. You proactively boost your in-house talent availability and make the achievement of your project portfolio a success. Because raising awareness among business owners or competence managers regarding a supply-demand gap no longer hits the spot. Successful PMOs develop a comprehensive skills plan to respond to their capacity and talent management challenges. This way, they evolve more towards a Strategy Realization Office (SRO) – learn more about the SRO in this blog.

‘Easier said than done…’ No problem, we hear you. Below you can find a few tools and techniques you can use to close skill-gaps and supply-demand imbalances. It is important to balance both the short- and long-term imbalances.

1. Competence Assessment

A first quick win with substantial benefits is to identify skill gaps via a competence assessment of your project managers. This assessment answers the following questions in a highly comprehensive and visualized overview:

  • What is the competence pool of your project managers?
  • Do project managers have the right level of competences required by the project management processes?
  • What actions can be taken if there is a skill gap, both positive and negative, in certain project management domains? Request example questions of this assessment here!

2. Visualization of long-term talent pipeline

You can do this via a competence heatmap. Do you have all the required skills to realize a project you will start in 3-5 years? If not, then what will you do? Will you upskill current profiles by creating a training roadmap? Will you establish a freelancer pool? Or will you initiate an internal or external recruitment process?

Based on insights in your demand-supply overview you can enrich your project management roles with behavioral descriptions or establish a separate knowledge matrix. This way talent management can proactively solve potential capacity issues. For example, what if 2 roles in your organization are quite similar when it comes to competences; you can solve a capacity issue by training those profiles to become 1 role.

3. Attract and select the right people

Over the years, we experienced a shift from outsourcing the hiring process to having HR or the PMO/SRO performing recruitment interviews at our clients. Our contribution to this trend lies in the quality assurance of the recruitment process by delivering objective behavioral assessment tools. These tools help

  • reduce recruitment time by 30%
  • increase the objectivity of the process and interviews
  • increase alignment between stakeholders on the future colleague
  • align and manage data from recruitment to onboarding and performance reviews

You have (1) the online project management self-assessment, which provides transparency on the competence levels project managers require to do their job successfully – benchmarked by our decade of experience in the international project organization domain, and (2) BARS, behavioral assessment rating scales, specifically designed for project management competences.

4. Reduce time to proficiency via onboarding track

This supports your new hires so that they become faster at creating value for your organization.

5. Boost employee retention

How? By providing perspective via transparent and flexible career paths. Employees want to understand how their professional career can develop within your organization. Keep in mind that this does not mean everyone wants to become a manager. There is a continuum from vertical to flattened career paths.

Training roadmaps are also a key step in retention and supporting employees to deliver value. Such a roadmap can contain training and non-training activities:

  • Training activities can improve behavioral performance, e.g. a class-room training to address poor schedule quality or a knowledge sharing session on stakeholder management.
  • Non-training activities can improve productivity by focusing on process performance, e.g. by clarifying ambiguous roles & responsibilities which hamper collaboration.

It’s clear that a Project Management Office’s role needs to become more proactive. Not only in providing insights into capacity issues, but also in undertaking real action to close skill gaps. Taking up this proactive role, helps the PMO evolve towards a Strategy Realization Office (SRO) and highly increases its value towards its organization.