Managing People

How to Address Lack of “Ready Now” Candidates for Leadership Positions

How can HRM develop employees into leaders and hire them for leadership positions? This article shows how it can be done properly.


If you are in human resource management or serve in a related capacity, you are facing many issues. Whether to promote or hire to fill a leadership position is one you face on a daily basis.

And it is a positive thing when an organization relies more on promotion than on recruiting. This shows that the development and training structures put in place are effective enough to groom leaders.

However, a recent report reveals that many organizations lack candidates who are “ready now” for promotion to leadership roles.

The report titled “Succession Matters: Impactful Leadership Development and Accelerated Readiness”, is a valuable asset on this topic. It is third in the series of a global study. I fact, the executive recruitment and management group Korn Ferry and performed by Hanover Research commisioned it.

Approximately 50% of the respondents said that their organization lacks a concrete channel for developing and delivering “ready now” candidates to fill leadership positions.

Many companies thus resort to recruiting instead of promoting when a leadership position lacks a worker. In fact, “43% of C-suite positions are filled from the outside.” – Korn Ferry Study 


1. Nonspecific Development: Many organizations do not focus on the unique development of employees with relation to their goals and potential leadership duties and challenges.

“Oftentimes, leaders spend a good part of their careers participating in standard development programs that aren’t customized to their specific needs, which significantly hinders the fulfillment of their true potential being reached.” – Korn Ferry Study

2. Lack of Adequate and Personalized Experience Opportunities: Experience remains the best way to learn. Yet, most organizations do not provide enough experience and development opportunities.

Worse yet, the opportunities provided follow a general standard that has no real emphasis on building up a particular employee so he can take on a leadership role. 


1. Start Development Early in An Employee’s Career: From the very onset, an employee’s career should have a defined growth path. Employees should discover challenging experiences right from the beginning so that their leaders can identify their aptitude for decision making.


“With careful planning much earlier on in a person’s career, organizations can ensure that leaders gain the experiences that truly matter for future success at advanced levels,” stresses Stu Crandell, Senior Vice President of Global Offerings at Korn Ferry and the Korn Ferry Institute.

2. Make Development and Experience Opportunities Unique to The Skills and Goals of Each Employee: Once an employee’s skills and experience have been identified and recorded, development plans need to be designed around them and in relation to their leadership goals.

3. Use a Skills Tracking and Goal Management System: The first two steps may lack structure and direction if there is no way to track the skills and experience of each unique employee.

A skill tracking system stores a current list of an employee’s proficiencies and experience. If this system also incorporates goal management, weaving skills and experience into the development process becomes a simple task.

“Your decisions will only be as strong as your data.” – Korn Ferry Study

If you already use Skills DB Pro for skills management, one easy way to create unique career plans is with the Competency and Goal Management System. With it, you can compare the current skills and experience of an employee with what is required for a leadership role and easily Identify gaps.

Leadership Positions
SkillsDB Report Chart Showing Employee Competency Compared with Requirements of Their Current Job Title

How Can Skills DB Pro Help?

Once you identify the gaps, you can then add the employee to scheduled trainings to bridge these gaps, using our training module.

SkillsDB has recently gone one step further. We are currently beta testing an Individual Development Plans (IDP) module, and the name says it all. We will publish a blog on this feature when it becomes available to all our users.

If you use any other skills management system but do not yet know if goal management is part of it. You may want to read their documentation or contact the providers.

If you haven’t used a skill and goal management system at all, our 45-day free trial is a great place to start.  

By: Mesheal Fegor
Sales & Support

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