Identifying Top Talent - Career & Financial Planning

Employability Today: Part 4

In Part 3 of the Employability Today series, we looked at the second pillar of Employable Talent- Balance and how achieving a healthy work/life balance is vital, more than one would think. We discussed at how to obtain balance, how it affects a potential candidate's performance in your organization, and how to spot those with characteristics of balance.   

For Part 4 of this series we will look at the third and fourth pillars of Employable Talent - Strategic Career Planning and Active Financial Planning.  We will answer what these processes are and why they are important for today's world of work. 

Strategic Career Planning -

Each day, the world becomes more complex. Neither organizations nor individuals can be as confident about their future as we could be 30 to 40 years ago. To maintain continuing viability, growth, and prosperity, organizations around the world have long relied upon strategic planning. On a departmental or divisional level, strategic plans are prepared as a supplement to the organization’s overall goals. 

career planning

What does strategic planning offer? Why bother at all? Organizations that do strategic planning are often able to produce healthy returns on assets for shareholders and stakeholders. The top executives of such organizations employ strategic planning to ensure that divisions, departments, teams, and employees use their resources, time, and effort in a manner that supports optimal productivity and profitability. 

Having a plan in place—even if it is less than perfect—helps minimize the potential for wasted time, misdirected funds, and misplaced efforts. In business, things change at a moment’s notice. Forward-thinking organizations led by savvy, critical- thinking managers have contingencies in place should things not go according to plan. 

A good strategic career plan includes options for events or occurrences outside both the individual’s control and even the employer’s. After all, industries are born and eventually grow, mature, and decline or die. Mergers and acquisitions are a common fact of business life. Within companies, downsizing and other logistical and strategic shifts happen. 

Strategic career planning need not be relegated to an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly routine. Make refinements to your strategic plan activity list regularly. Why? The business world is dynamic. Managers come and go. Clients are won and lost. Government regulation or deregulation can dramatically impact an industry or an individual business. You want to have a strategic career plan in place that reflects your goals and that encompasses the latest changes in your external environment. 

Having a plan in place—even for the short-term only—is a valuable career tool. Used properly, your strategic career plan can help guide your days, weeks, months, and years. During periods of doubt or uncertainty, misdirection or challenges, your plan will help you stay on the high road to your goals and aspirations. 

The lesson for HR professionals, counselors, executive recruiters, and anyone involved in hiring and retaining Employable Talent is to encourage people to develop career strategic plans because, indeed, no one can guarantee—let alone predict—the future. It is in the best interest of your career, organization, and Employable Talent that a strategic career plan is in place.  

Active Financial Planning -

Financial TroublesThe fourth pillar of Employable Talent is active financial planning. Everyone wants to be financially secure. No one lives easily or well if constantly suffering from want and worry. We all need to pay our bills on time and have enough left over for a decent standard of living. We want to put funds aside for retirement or a rainy day. 

Yet, the 50-year-old American has assets of less than $50,000—and that includes the net value of their home. Many people have not saved adequately for retirement. At least a third of adults knowingly spend more than their means; two out of five households spend more than they earn in a year’s time. 

From my experience, only 10% of job candidates engage in active financial planning and have their finances and records under control. It’s a feather in the cap for the job candidates who have already done their own financial planning. Those who demonstrate leadership, ask the right questions, convey that they’ve undertaken a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis, and hint that they have their finances in order are highly attractive candidates.

How does Employable Talent convey this to you, the interviewer? When discussing compensation and the various benefit options, they may chime in with, “I already have disability insurance” or “I already have a whole-life insurance policy.” Employable Talent with active financial plans maintain a sense of composure at job interviews. These individuals are able to realistically approach the salary that they could entertain. 

Fortunately, tools and consulting resources abound for assessing one’s personal finances, including software, spreadsheets, online tutorials, charts, books, pamphlets, and articles. Unfortunately, few people will address this crucial activity in advance. Those who manage their financial planning beforehand represent a very small fraction of the population. 

It’s not too late to initiate a plan; active financial planning is valuable to any worker at any age. By making small contributions to savings and investments, people can see their funds build up to notable numbers.


In Part 5 of the Employability Today series we will dive into the process of Selecting Top Talent for your organization and the importance of contributive value. You’ll be better able to recognize individuals who can make specific contributions within your operating culture and to look past traditional indicators, such as what college they attended, what classes they completed, or the other tickets they punched. You will also be able to identify individuals who can enhance your organization’s mission and generate contributive value. 



Dr. David Miles is Chairman of the Miles LeHane Companies, Inc. He is a member of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), a member and founding chapter President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Association of Career Professionals (ACP) and a Charter Fellow of the Institute of Career Certification International (ICC International), as the largest global non-profit certification Institute.  Author of The Four Pillars of Employable Talent and Building Block Essentials.  Follow David on Twitter @David_C_Miles

Strategic Management Search & Recruitment Career Transition Executive Coaching