4 Ways to Optimize Talent Development – The Hire


Business Strategy + People Strategy = Results

4 Ways to Optimize Talent Development

Welcome to week two of our Talent Optimization series, focused on Talent Development. Talent Development is your first approach to keeping your key players by cultivating in them the skills your business needs to remain competitive. After all, you can look outside for that purple unicorn – but none will be so sparkly as one cultivated from within your business.

Optimize the Climate

Developing people effectively means aligning your people strategy with your business strategy and culture, so you understand where you have been, and where you are going. From this process you can achieve the organizational buy-in to achieve your vision by engaging with your employees to gain their perspective. A great Organizational Development team, or external firm like The Hire, can make this a valuable and memorable experience.

To do this effectively from the start, plan wisely and gain the approval and support of your organization’s formal [and informal] leaders. They are your evangelists for change, and while development needs to be unilateral, your leaders are your front-line advocates. Build a plan to support and develop them, so they can inspire the results you seek.

Ask all of your employees what they think is working, and what could be better. Get their input on what they need to strengthen their performance. Then, as you make your plan to upskill and/or hire, you will be able to set up your structure in a way that will allow them to grow.


Successful organizations are providing tailored solutions that empower individuals to reinvent themselves within the company. This is key both to enabling workers to navigate 21st-century careers and to allowing employers to access the skills of the future.

– 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends

Customize Leadership Development

While many organizations  talk about the value of developing leaders, few have found the secret sauce. This is because they often try to apply generic or “cultivated” solutions to a problem that is more unique and complex. Generic models are a starting point, but in order to develop leaders in your organization you must dig deeper.

You must examine the work environment and culture to approach development in a systemic manner. Give leaders the opportunity to be successful learners, and coaches, daily. Ensure they are focused on developing their team by cutting away the noise. When you do that, they will be able to effectively bring work and learning together for others and foster a culture of high performance. Because…

  • Leaders develop Leaders and,
  • High performers help you meet your business goals and surpass the competition.

Prioritize Development Opportunities for Everyone

While Leadership Development is necessary for success, providing development opportunities for all of your employees is just good business.

The Association for Talent Development (ATD), reports that organizations that have comprehensive training and performance coaching have 218% higher income per employee. Further, the same companies report a 24% higher profit margin.

Great Leader’s will be enabled to do this when your organization provides avenues for growth. This includes, but is not limited to, skills training, on-the-job learning, and individual coaching. You will find these opportunities especially attractive to your high-performers and, therefore, a potentially effective form of Reward or Recognition.

Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they’re your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company’s mission.

– Anne M. Mulcahy

Start at the Beginning

As we introduce above, developing people means first defining what the organization intends to achieve (Strategy) and how (Culture). From there you define the competencies and skills needed to successfully get there, and the state of those skills in your workforce. Lastly, you must understand the employee sentiment, readiness, and capacity for change.

If this sounds like a lot, fear not, you likely have most of what you need to get started. Things like your company’s goals, the Vision/Mission/Values, Job Descriptions, and awesome people who are subject matter experts on your business are the foundation. If you have an internal Organizational Development team utilize their expertise and/or you can work with an external firm, like The Hire, as your partner.

Following are some guidelines to get you thinking:

1.   Be transparent. Communicate what you are doing in a straightforward way that makes it relevant to ALL your employees.

2.   Be authentic. People can see when you behave differently from the norm, this is not a show, this is your work. Play to your strengths and interact in a way that is both effective and natural.

3.   Talk to people directly, even if that is over a web conference or phone call, one-on-one.

4.   Create more intimate settings, like sponsored lunch meetings or regular small team meetings, to talk to specific work groups.

 5.   Consistently ask for employee opinion in surveys and town hall meetings.

We can help you take a closer look at your culture and engage with your employees at every level. That way you will be in the best position to attract, hire, and retain top performers. Come back next week when we continue the series with the Talent Acquisition pillar of your people strategy.

Lisa Crockett is a leader and professional development coach with more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, Learning, and Performance. To learn more about her professional career visit her on LinkedIn.

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