Developing internal talent. A dated standard?

Best practice in talent management has always been to build and develop from within, with many of our clients having sophisticated, complex and well established internal development schemes. The motivations for this approach are obvious. Grow your talent from within and they will know the organisation very well, will be sufficiently networked and will want to remain within the company for future opportunities, providing a more cost efficient solution than staffing these roles with external talent. Some of our clients go even so far as to purely fill leadership roles with internal applicants.

As the corporate world develops however, there are two key developments that throw the above into question. First of all product life cycles are becoming ever shorter as isolated markets disappear. Companies constantly have to push industry boundaries to remain competitive.

Do you have enough time to develop internal talent and does internal talent become too narrowly focused to push boundaries?

Another challenge for human resource professionals to note is the entrance of a new generation to the workforce, Generation Y. The concept of life-long careers with one employer is almost alien to this generation. Fast pace environments, constant development and achievement, individualism, work/life balance and an international career are the drivers for many of this generation.

Of course some of these points can be covered with internal development programs but they will need to change significantly – from long-term to short-term to cope with these environmental and generational changes.

What do you think? Do we all need to prepare our organisation for retention times of 2.5 years on average?