Create an Incumbent Worker Pipeline Programmatic


Employers sometimes overlook a prime talent pool to fill high demand positions — their current workforce. These workers are known to the employer and are already familiar with the organization’s culture. However, they might not necessarily have the skills or education to advance beyond their current position. Internal structures that grow the current workforce — opportunities for job shadowing, professional development, and training — allow employees to fill critical positions, and advance their careers. By prioritizing current staff, employers can boost morale and engagement and reduce hiring costs.


Strategic employers prioritize the growth and development of existing workers in their talent development strategy. By creating an internal pipeline of trained and motivated workers, employers can save time and money when it comes to filling vacancies and build loyalty to boost retention. Here are a few common steps to building a successful incumbent worker pipeline:

  1. Conduct a workforce analysis. Workforce projections provide valuable information. Knowing your organization’s data related to retirements, voluntary turnover, and demand for existing or new positions allows your organization to identify current and future workforce needs and plan how to address them.
  2. Review or identify job skills, competencies, and experience. Understand what background candidates need to fill in-demand positions. Assess whether long-standing or traditional requirements, like a high school diploma or years of experience, are truly necessary for the position. Clearly defining job requirements can help reduce unintended barriers and identify skills gaps.
  3. Provide accessible learning and training opportunities. Once you are clear on what is needed, work with external partners – colleges, training organizations, or other education providers – or create an internal system to assess employees’ skill and provide them with an opportunity to gain necessary skills and experience. Develop career pathways and use career coaches and supervisors to help employees understand what they need to do to climb the career ladder.
  4. Market opportunities to your incumbent workers. As you advertise for positions, don’t forget to promote these opportunities internally. Enlist job coaches to spread the word and make sure they are up-to-date on job openings. Share job postings on the organization’s intranet or employ communications and consider hosting an internal job fair.
  5. Review HR policies:  Sometimes an organization’s hiring policies and practices make it difficult for incumbent workers to advance within the organization. Review your HR policies to make sure incumbent workers can move both laterally and up within your organization