Jozef Opdeweegh on Building and Blending Talent for the Future

LONDON, UK / ACCESSWIRE / March 12, 2020 / Talent management and development have always been key priorities for Jozef "Jos" Opdeweegh, a seasoned C-suite executive with over 20 years of experience developing, leading, and growing public and private global companies. He champions the belief that by creating opportunities for growth, companies reap the benefits of employees' unique and valuable contributions to the overall goal.

With a career committed to team development and leadership, Opdeweegh has full confidence in his approach to growing and empowering talent. But when a colleague posited that it wasn't enough to simply invest internally and that there were times when building from within wasn't possible -- even pointing out times when he had hired senior leaders in a way that had leapfrogged other employees -- he reflected, that a blended approach to building talent was a more accurate description of the approach he champions.

A commitment to growing and developing talent remains fundamental to the health of most companies. It is especially necessary in working towards long-term goals, when the workforce is relatively stable and there is sufficient scale and opportunity to allow for regular career progression. But Opdeweegh recognized that even in the most vibrant and forward-thinking of organizations, occasions in which external hires can be both necessary and beneficial will arise.

"The impetus from fresh perspectives, particularly during periods of change, should not be underestimated," Opdeweegh remarked. "Nor should the objectivity external recruits can bring, helping to counterbalance established culture and processes that constrain our ability to see things differently."

Relatedly, there are times when organizations require a short-term injection of skills that would be uneconomic or suboptimal to develop internally. Technology projects, for example, often need experts in coding and system architecture, just as transformation programs will benefit from change management specialists.

And sometimes, particularly in rapidly changing markets, there is a critical need for skills and insights that simply cannot be developed in-house. Recruitment for these purposes comes at a cost but, if done wisely, Opdeweegh suggests there is no inherent conflict with a wider commitment to an internal talent and succession plan.

"Even those companies with a depth of internal skills to draw on are likely to have specialist partners," Opdeweegh noted. "In these cases balancing internal talent development and contracting externally is crucial."

A pattern Opdeweegh has observed over recent years is the extent to which temporary appointments are significantly more common in the U.K. than the U.S. In the U.K., it is not unusual to encounter interim specialists whose experience runs the gamut of troubleshooting, project management and "minding the shop", often never taking a permanent position. At their best, these specialists can be skilled at driving the quick and sometimes difficult decisions that a crisis or void demands. Yet when looking at the long-term, the attractions of interim appointments strike Opdeweegh as limited.

"As a colleague once put it to me: ‘Interims are a very sharp tool -- to be used for precision, and with appropriate care,'" he said.

Opdeweegh also agrees with the suggestion that investment alone is not enough, citing the history of sports as evidence that building successful teams is never solely about money. "Pouring cash into training and development programs, without the appropriate culture and opportunity to support the aspirations these foster, will lead only to roadblocks and frustration," he argues. What's more, "Companies then run the risk of training employees on behalf of their competitors, which is where they're likely to head."

"A blended approach to internal and external talent is the reality, if not the explicit strategy, of most sizeable companies", says Opdeweegh. "It's sometimes referred to as the ‘build-buy-borrow' approach - and the key is to get the balance right over time, while meeting the needs of each situation". Too much emphasis on external recruitment, he explains, will lead to demotivation and insufficient embedded knowledge; similarly, outsourcing works best when delivered through trusted partners who understand not only the immediate goals but also the culture and values of the organization.

Opdeweegh notes that he welcomed the challenge from a colleague to his perspective, seeing it as an opportunity to reflect and learn from the clarifications which followed. He believes all businesses should adopt similar open-mindedness in exploring the best way forward - founded on a commitment to developing their people, while welcoming newcomers and the skills they bring.


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SOURCE: Jozef Opdeweegh

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