Best Practices in HR
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  January 15, 2020

Talent Development Strategies and Tips from Leading Organizations

In order for an organization to be successful long-term, the most valuable asset you need to support is your team. An organization that offers ongoing opportunities for career growth and advancement,  such as training that allows professionals to acquire new skills, breeds confident and competent team members that are loyal to your company, have bought in to your mission, and help support the goals of your business. However, one of the leading challenges many organizations face today is creating effective talent development and management programs for their employees. Fortunately, there are plenty of highly successful organizations who have shared their top tips and their insights around the most successful strategies you can use to empower your team with effective L&D programs.

Successful Talent Development is Purpose-Driven, Performance-Oriented, and Principles-Led

When we take a closer look at the long-term success of companies, regardless of their size or maturity, we see that many companies will fail while others will thrive and grow stronger over time.  According to the Harvard Business Review successful companies such as BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, have several commonalities in that they are, “purpose-driven, performance-oriented, and principles-led.” These values can and should be incorporated into your talent development strategy in order to successfully measure the goals and needs of your organization. Additionally, commitment from top executive teams is a key element to growing and maintaining a strong talent team and this winning mindset.

Creating a Culture of Learning

According to Forbes, some of the challenges that organizations face that are a critical part of talent development are lack of time, the need to create different learning plans for team leaders and team members, and a lack in the development of office culture.

In order to address the challenge of how to create a culture of learning that supports talent development, we can learn from Cori Hill, the Director of High-Potential Leadership Development at PDI Ninth House and co-author of Developing Leaders and Organizations Through Action Learning. Hill recommends the following tips for company leaders to keep in mind in order to create an effective culture of talent development:

  1. Act as a role model for your team by demonstrating transparency as well as vulnerability.
  2. Encourage and reinforce the importance of learning.
  3. Create a realistic and sustainable process whereby employees understand how they are doing, areas where they need to improve, and the availability for growth within the organization.
  4. Reinforce corporate missions and values as a standard that is connected to everyday tasks and responsibilities to the values in the organization.
  5. Create an environment where acceptable failures can be leveraged as opportunities for learning and development and where employees can develop without feeling like mistakes will set them back in their career or jeopardize their job.

The Importance of Leadership Development

Additionally, as leaders in the company rise to more senior positions, it’s natural to feel like they need to demonstrate strategic thinking, strong business acumen, and effective P&L management, but the ability to develop and manage talent is less obvious and often overlooked.  This can have a negative long-term impact on the success of a company.

In a case study in the Journal of Values-Based Leadership, Ryan Orsini of Georgetown University states that “Effective leader development is too often the first casualty of high demands placed on leaders from corporate America.”  Orsini continues to comment that leadership development is lacking in both military and civilian sectors.

This gap in development is generally not deliberate, but rather a result of a breakdown in strategy that rewards short term performance over long term growth, which creates a breakdown in between the original vision and goals of the organization.  In order to retain top talent and support your organization’s goals, your leadership team must be nurtured with effective L&D that focuses on their ability to develop and manage their respective teams as well as provide them with training related to their positions. Providing training to supporting your leaders is just as crucial to success as training and onboarding your newest employees.

Combining Talent Development and Overall Company Culture

In another study by ERE media, John Sullivan, a professor, author, and corporate speaker, reviews the talent practices of Facebook and reveals a number of features that they attribute to their success. Some of these features include:

  • The consideration of employees as a high value corporate asset.
  • Providing employees with amazing choices such as a six-week boot camp or their “Hacamonth” process. The latter allows employees who have worked on a project for a year to select their next project team. They can then work with this new team for a month and decide to stay if they like or try something else.
  • LOTs of free food including ice cream, barbecues, and Happy Hour every Friday.
  • A focus on speed and risk-taking.
  • A focus on excellence.
  • Economic rewards including unlimited sick days, extra benefits for new parents, performance-based bonuses and investment opportunities.

There are many different strategies for developing talent, but they all seem to have a common thread that leads to success. Successful companies seem to be:

  1. Leader Driven — They have leaders who provide purpose, insight, follow-through, and set an example.
  2. Employee Focused — They empower their talent through teaching and mentoring at all levels.
  3. Culturally Rooted — They develop a culture that facilities open communication, mutual trust, and the desire to learn.

By supporting your talent with a fostering, culture-focused, and positive work environment, top employees will feel engaged, empowered, and encouraged to continue to grow their skills in order to better perform within their roles.

While the ability to develop talent may be a continued issue for organizations, companies can learn to overcome the challenges that discourage or even destroy talent by fostering strong leaders, making a commitment to its people and fostering the connections that are needed to succeed.

To learn more about how to develop an effective talent management program or to explore the latest eLearning tools and solutions that can better support your team, contact us. Or, request an individual demonstration below to speak with our experts.

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