Talent development

Good managers know that creating strong companies means investing in employees. But just as important as hiring the best talent is developing current employees.

Providing development opportunities for employees not only shows them that they are valuable contributors to the company, but it gives them skills they can use on the job – to the benefit of the organization as a whole. However, just as with every strategic decision, managers need to be deliberate in their talent-development plans.

Aligning talent development to the overall team or organizational strategy is key. There are some typical reasons managers may not have aligned talent-development strategies. Sometimes, managers view talent development as a way to reward individuals for good performance rather than as a strategic tool for the employee and organization’s growth. As a result, they might simply agree with what the employee requests without considering their development within the context of the overall team and organization. In addition, some managers tend to develop their employees in the same ways they always have, without evolving their development initiatives in ways that will help the broader team or organization in the future.

Overall, talent development should be linked to long-term organizational strategy in order to be the most useful to the organization.

Managers should consider the following when building their talent-development plans:

• What skills should current and future employees have in order to help the organization realize its overall business plan?
• What skills does each department and team need in order to meet their responsibilities as part of the overall business plan?
• What skills are presently rewarded on the team and organizational levels?
• Are there any gaps between skills needed and skills that already exist in the organization?
• What type of long-term talent development plans can be implemented to bridge those skill gaps?
• What could be some market-, client- or sales-related issues that this organization may face in the near and long term?

After the talent-development program has taken place, managers can learn more about ways to leverage their employees’ new knowledge and skills by holding a debriefing session. This shows employees that their manager is interested and involved in their development, and allows managers to strategize for future plans with the employees’ new skills in mind.

Providing talent-development opportunities is good for employees, but also the organization as a whole. Managers are advised to think of the development as part of their organization’s strategy, and to see that the development plans are aligned with the organization’s overall goals. This ensures that new skills are put to use and are deployed for the good of all parties.

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