Businesses that fail to develop the talents of their workers risk falling behind in an increasingly competitive world. Not only that, but failing to provide talent development for employees shows a lack of planning for the future. Researchers estimate that up to 60 percent of all new jobs created in the next century will require skills that only 20 percent of the current workforce now has. In other words, companies and individuals that do not currently have a strategy in place need to start working on one right away. If they don’t, people within the organization may suffer from low employee engagement, below-average job satisfaction, and increased work anxiety.
In this article, you’ll learn about the basics of talent development, why it’s so important, and the strategies you can use for making your own program.
What is Talent Development?
Talent development is the process by which organizations and individuals take existing talents within people and refine and improve on them, helping workers grow in their strengths and fortify where they may be weak. From an organizational standpoint, companies may use talent development to place employees where they will excel the most, in turn benefiting the company. For individuals, it means maximizing their skills so they can progress in their careers. Talent development boils down to growth, essentially putting in the work now so one can be prepared for and succeed in the future.
Why is Talent Development So Important?
As mentioned above, companies need talent development for the future. Jobs change with technology and technology changes at a rapid pace. Those who don’t plan ahead by developing their talents may fall behind. That includes helping people develop the right leadership qualities as they plan to take over management positions. Furthermore, when leaders combine talent development with leadership development through a comprehensive professional development plan, the result is a workforce prepared for the challenges ahead.
Beyond that, developing talent is something that younger workers want. In a survey of millennials by PwC, participants were asked what makes them want to work for a company. 35 percent of those surveyed said that an organization’s training and development programs were important to them. This was the third most common response. That ties closely with the top answer, which is a company that provides opportunities for career progression. From these results, it’s clear that employees want their employers to invest in them.
Talent Development Strategies
When creating a talent development strategy, there are many steps companies should take. The goal should be simple: help employees develop their skills for future success. Listed below are strategies you can follow to help with talent development in your organization.
1. Keep in Line With the Company’s Mission Statement
Every company should have a mission statement. This is a statement explaining why the company exists in the first place. It describes an organization’s mission and can point out its overall goals. When creating a talent development strategy, make sure it stays in line with the business’s mission statement. For example, if the company’s mission statement involves providing expert customer service, grow the talent development program with this in mind. Or, if an organization states they want to make the world a better place, talent development should focus on strategies that help employees develop in ways that improve their community and the world.
2. Get the OK From Executives
At the same time, creating talent development programs requires getting approval from those in charge. This might not be simple if executives don’t believe developing employee talents is worthwhile. Company leaders should learn about the benefits of talent development and how it helps not only the individual workers but the company as a whole. Executives should see how encouraging talent development sets a positive tone for the organization, one which employees will feed off of. Once the top leaders are on board with the idea, developing the program becomes that much easier.
3. Conduct a Training Needs Analysis
To have an effective training and development program, companies first need to figure out what talents they want their employees to develop. This is done through a training needs analysis, which identifies what employees currently do well and where they need improvement. Organizations gather data on this subject and map out the skills to improve upon, all while keeping in mind the goals and objectives of the company.
To conduct a training needs analysis, go through the following steps:
- Set a clear goal.
- Determine what workers should know to meet company objectives.
- Find out what workers already know through performance reviews, assessments, workplace observations, and surveys.
- Gather insights from managers on what they think employees need.
- Identify training resources required for the program to succeed.
4. Allow for Choice Within the Program
A development program can work well when focused on a specific talent or skill, but it pays larger dividends when you offer more choices. Employees love having the freedom to choose what works best for them and their individual long-term career goals. One person may want to join a leadership development program to focus on improving their skills so they can become a manager one day. Another person may want to improve their writing and editing skills as they look to excel in that area. With the freedom to decide between different options, workers can make a choice that helps them and the company as a whole improve.
5. Foster a Culture That Promotes Talent Development
As part of a talent development strategy, companies should focus on building team culture which encourages talent development and learning. That might mean setting aside time during the day, week, or month devoted exclusively to training and development that emphasizes improving talents. Or it might mean providing reading lists of leadership books that could help workers grow in knowledge about specific areas. Are employees asking, what is leadership? Give them a chance to read books about the subject. Create and foster a culture that shows just how important talent development is, and with it, people will work to improve themselves.
6. Provide Mentorship
Part of building up a company culture of talent development includes providing mentor opportunities. This could be done through a formal part of the program, or each team can choose what works best for them. Mentorships give people someone to turn to for answers and guidance. Mentors act as coaches, and they can come from anywhere in an organization, not just executive or managerial positions. This close one-on-one connection facilitates learning as mentors understand where workers can improve. Discussions can include figuring out what someone’s career goals are, what resources they need, and how often they would like to check-in.
Talent Development Starts Today
No matter the strategy you use for developing talent, the important thing is to start right away. As Terry Mark says, “Your talent can take you to any height as long as you keep building and developing it daily. It may be delayed but can never be stopped, until you quit.” Planning for the future requires beginning the journey today.
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