Building the HR Talent Pipeline: Collecting and Sharing Best Practices


Guest Post by Charlie Tharp, Executive VP, HR Policy

Over the past year, HR Policy has conducted a series of high-level regional meetings of Association CHROs, and one of the recruiting themes we heard was about developing the pipeline of future HR leaders. As participants have shared their various strategies for addressing the issue and coaching new talent, some common elements emerged. These included: placing newly recruited graduates in rotational programs, generally structured as a series of six to nine month assignments in recruiting, compensation and benefits staff; assignments outside the United States to provide exposure to global talent issues; and assignments in non-HR areas such as finance and sales. There was also some debate about what types of academic training are most useful for young HR leaders. Some companies prefer recruiting MBA students with a broader understanding of business, while others prefer undergraduate or masters-level students from the top HR and ILR programs to ensure a deeper understanding of HR and a stronger commitment to HR as a career path. Still other companies try to steer high potential employees from outside of the HR function into rotational assignments within HR to broaden their understanding of key talent issues and expose them to the possibility of pursuing a career change into HR. While there is significant attention to developing the pipeline of HR talent, the CHROs we spoke to felt additional efforts and new approaches are needed in this area.

Given the level of interest we heard at our regional meetings regarding development of HR talent we thought it would be helpful to invite member CHROs to share their approaches to developing HR talent in hopes that there will be innovative and effective initiatives that can be adopted as best practices within the profession. If you would be willing to share your approach to developing HR talent please send me a note with a brief discussion of how you have structured your development initiatives. We believe our members would be interested in not only those initiatives that have been successful but also learnings from developmental practices that have not been as successful as hoped. We will consolidate the input we receive into a white paper on best practices in developing HR talent and post the findings on the CHRO website. Your input can be as brief as a paragraph or two or a broader description and discussion of your experience in developmental programs for HR talent. Also, please indicate if you would be willing to have your approach identified with your company name in the collection of best practices or if you would prefer that the program is described without attribution. Please submit your input to me at