How Deep Is Your Bench?

Having spoken with and observed hundreds of hiring managers and executives in our time as renewable energy recruiters, it is clear that the leaders who run some of the best performing teams all have one very important thing in common…

They have a deep bench of candidates at all times.

Just like a basketball coach knows that his starting point guard could be injured at any moment and taken out of the game at any moment, top managers know that they may need to add someone from the bench to the starting lineup at a moment’s notice. They have a shortlist of candidates that could be a good fit for each critical role on their team in case someone leaves unexpectedly or the workload increases to the point where they need to add headcount.

Why is it important?

The workload increases significantly for everyone when a high-producing member of the team leaves. Without a succession plan in place, or candidates on the bench, the hiring process must begin from scratch. Although different for every organization, it generally takes at least 8 to 10 weeks to identify, hire, and on-board a new person. The time it takes to hire rockstar talent can easily be cut in half with a deep bench.

How do they do it?

Highly successful managers and executives never truly stop the interview process; that’s how. The process may slow down, but it never comes to a complete stop. Even when they aren’t looking to hire, they continue interviewing promising candidates and building relationships with talented individuals who may one day become a part of the team.

Great leaders know how difficult it can be to attract top talent, so instead of waiting until they desperately need to hire someone, they keep the process in motion and build out a deep bench of strong candidates.

Filling the Bench

A few tried and true ways to get better results in the search for talent are to:

  • Encourage referrals from current employees.
  • Find opportunities at tradeshows and other industry functions to meet individuals working for their competitors.
  • Look internally for individuals that have excelled in their current role and could bring value to other areas.
  • Build relationships with recruiters who know the industry to stay informed when top candidates are making moves.

If the best person on your team quit tomorrow, would your bench be deep enough to quickly get another great individual to take over that position? Or will your bottom-line take a hit until you can find a decent replacement?