Creating a Talent Pipeline

The global market for talent is more complex than ever and finding the right employees to help your organisation grow is an on-going process. New technologies and new markets enable new opportunities, but finding talent who can navigate these constant changes continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing organisations today.

Cara Reil, Vice President of Talent Management and Leadership Development at Singtel, discusses how to create sustainable talent pipelines in rapidly changing business environments with Matt Chapman.

The future success of an organisation can be measured by the quality of its current employees and its pipeline of future leaders. As businesses continue to grapple with the war on talent, HR leaders are forced to take a more proactive approach to recruitment.

“The days of solely recruiting for open positions are over,” says Cara Reil, Vice President of Talent Management and Leadership Development at Singtel. With over 15 years of experience in HR, she has experienced first-hand how the environment for talent has evolved. “There was a time when you could create a recruitment strategy and then spend the next five years executing it, but that’s almost unheard of today.”

Understanding Key Business Strategies

Talent pipelines allow organisations to cultivate relationships and develop the talent needed for its future success. But to achieve this, management and HR must partner together.

While ownership of the pipeline resides with management, it is HR that breathes life into it. “Management sets the agenda for the overall direction, they define the strategy and identify the next generation of leaders. But we as HR must have a seat in those strategy meetings so that we can truly understand our key business drivers,” explains Reil. “We design the talent programmes and build the infrastructure. As talent leaders it’s our job to think of creative ways to identify, attract, retain, and develop the talent needed to achieve business objectives. But we can’t do that if we’re not involved from the onset–when the strategy is being outlined.”

Developing Your Talent Pipeline

Reil says that a key component of HR’s success at Singtel is its ability to remain flexible. It has evolved past the mindset of policy setters and rigid structure developers. “We have moved into different markets that put us in competition for talent with investment banks, consulting firms, and technology companies like Google.”

To attract the kind of talent to lead their business into areas like digital, cyber security, and IoT (the internet of things), Singtel realised it had to develop a multifaceted approach to its talent strategies.


“Historically, we’ve been the Singapore telephone company, but we’re so much more than that now. It was important for us to create an employer value proposition and help future employees understand our business–who we are, and what we’re about. And without getting that EVP across to candidates, you’re not attracting talent that understands your business.”

As organisations expand their products and services to provide new offerings and become market leaders in their industries, a key challenge will be identifying, recruiting, and developing talent–both internally and externally. The creation of a pipeline of future leaders who will lead their organisations through the rapidly changing and increasingly complex global marketplace will be one of HR’s key measures of success.


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