Positioning your organization for future growth includes building a sustainable talent pipeline to ensure that you have a ready supply of top talent at any given time. Building such a pipeline involves a number of essential strategic elements. Here are some of the building blocks of strong talent pipelines. Align Talent Management with Business Strategy and Processes: Which business strategies and processes are essential to the growth of your organization? Once you have answered that question, it is important to drill deeper and discover which positions within your company are essential to those processes. Those positions are the ones around which your talent management strategies must revolve. Oracle’s “12 Steps to Building an Effective Talent Pipeline” notes: “Although the output of all work within an organization is important, certain roles are key to operations and directly drive business goals and results. Simultaneously, the talent to perform those roles may be scarce. Companies can reduce their risk and ensure the availability of top talent to fill those roles by building critical-talent pipelines.” Perform Current and Future Needs Assessments: In order to adequately assess current and future needs, it is necessary to tap into both your internal talent pool and your external one. The balance you have between hiring internally and externally largely depends upon your company culture and your internal development programs. Robust applicant tracking systems can help you make assessments, particularly in the area of external hires. With a focus on both active and passive candidates, you can more easily see where gaps in your talent pipeline might exist. Accept Talent Management as a Core Business Process: AMA’s “Building Sustainable Talent Pipelines” gives this advice: “Actively engage leadership throughout the organization on an ongoing basis to assure that a nimble, functioning, and robust process is in place … To drive talent management into the culture of your business, integrate it with critical processes like selection, performance management, rewards, and compensation.” Measure Talent Management Progress: As with all core business processes, talent management requires measurement, analysis, and constant adjustment. Talent needs for your firm change over time, and talent management strategies must adapt to the changes with agility. Sustainable growth necessitates change. Maintain a Strong Internal Development Process: Developing the leadership potential of employees you already have will strengthen your talent pipeline. Internal hires often tend to stay in their positions longer than external hires, so investing in development of internal talent is a wise acquisition and retention strategy. Use Applicant Tracking to Develop Passive Candidates: Internal hiring, however, will only get you so far as a talent management strategy. For gaps in your talent pipeline, using an applicant tracking system to cultivate and network with passive candidates can ensure the continuing viability of your talent pipeline. Embrace Talent Management Technology: The AMA article notes: “Create communication mechanisms to ensure a resilient information-sharing process about … talent. Web-based tools with the ability to allow varying levels of access to critical information are vital. They allow for the dynamic management of the information. Without these tools, the process of tracking talent and sharing information buckles under its own weight.” The Takeaway Organizations can maintain sustainable talent pipelines by adhering to some fundamental processes, including: strategic alignment between business processes and talent management processes, continuing assessment of current and future needs, a strong internal development process, and use of robust talent management technologies.