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What Talent Development Should Look Like in 2020

Businesswoman discussing with colleagues over laptop in office

The war for talent has never been so fierce. Millennials are more likely to switch jobs than other workers —perhaps the result of growing up in a culture where a ‘job for life’ is no longer the default—and the global economy is in a much better place than it was ten years ago. The improvement in the economy is fueling demand for candidates of the highest quality.

It’s always been a good practice to nurture and retain in-house talent. Someone who has been with your organization for a while is in a much better position to hit the ground running when taking on a new role compared to an external new hire.

Additionally, promoting someone who’s already part of the company will probably cost less than head-hunting and training external talent. Now, it is more beneficial than ever to promote within because the highly competitive recruitment market could leave an open position with a lengthy succession gap.

It’s not just the recruitment market that’s changing at a fast pace right now; the workplace is also undergoing rapid change. So, it’s up to businesses to adapt the way they deliver talent development services to ensure they are up-to-date with current work trends to keep employees motivated and engaged.


Learning and development — key tools for retention?

In a recent survey taken by Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials, 70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job. Not surprisingly, the figure is highest for Millennials at 87%.

This clearly indicates that offering talent development as part of your retention strategy is crucial to keeping employees. There are even more business benefits when you help employees develop their skills to the highest level. So if your company does offer employee learning and development, you should market this to external audiences to attract future employees as well.

So how can you deliver that training in a way that suits the modern workforce? 




training should be flexible

Employees have very different working patterns, so when you offer training that doesn’t suit individual schedules, it comes at a personal cost to them. If the training can’t accommodate a wide variety of working patterns and personal needs, employees are less likely to take the training and development courses being offered.

Ultimately, this can negatively impact their performance and increase the risk that you’ll lose them to an employer who will work around their schedule. You can make life easier for employees by offering learning and development on a few different dates and times, and in a variety of formats. Wherever possible, the training should be accessible from the office and for remote workers via video-conference. 


training should cover behavior, mindset, and skills

Nowadays, employees want to improve their behavior and mindset just as much as they want to improve their technical skills. While practical skills are still in high demand, behavior is what sets the leaders of tomorrow apart from the pack. People understand now that leaders aren’t born— they’re made.

Many people want to learn how to develop leadership skills, be more resilient, and inspire other people to achieve great results. Strong team development is another area in high demand these days. It’s not just about team leadership or learning how to work as a team; it’s also about understanding the different roles, respecting those roles, and leveraging them better.


training should have a solid return on investment

We’re not just talking about a financial return here, although you can certainly put objective measures in place that look at project outcomes, general productivity, and staff turnover rates. It’s important to look at the more subjective measures as well. How happy are people around the office? Did they enjoy the training?

Short employee surveys can help you gauge success without bogging people down with paperwork. The best way to ensure that training delivers a positive return is to identify your success criteria early on. If you don’t know what success should look like, it’s impossible to ensure that the training you offer will meet your goals!


Offer the full package

We’ve already touched on why in-office learning isn’t always ideal, so how can organizations best deliver learning and development so that employees are motivated to take part in it?

We’re finding that when it comes to focusing on mindset and behaviors, businesses are moving away from curriculum-based training that delivers predetermined course plans. Instead, they focus on coaching, which can be tailored to an individual’s needs, and this is more likely to result in positive outcomes.

This coaching can be delivered:

  • One-to-one: through personal or executive coaching, in person, on the phone, or via video-conference.
  • One-to-many: team coaching generally in person but not necessarily in the office.
  • Online via training software: we’re all for leveraging technology to allow people to improve themselves on their own time and on their own terms. Online psychometric tools, for example, offer great insight to help people figure out their next steps, and these tools can be fun too!

Companies have been taking learning and development training more seriously over the past few years. You may find yourself taking part in some pretty heavy, scientific coaching around mindset and behavior. It may sound scary at first but is actually really effective, as it helps you determine what may be holding you back right now. 


Market your talent development program like your business depends on it

However, if you deliver learning and development opportunities, you need to make sure people know about them! It’s imperative to market your learning and development training both internally and externally. Marketing internally will help you maximize your return on investment, and marketing externally will allow you to be seen as the ‘employer of choice’ for people who care about their learning and development.

Good news stories, in the form of case studies, blogs, articles, videos, and testimonials, can help you promote your message in precisely the way you want to be viewed. These encouraging stories will ensure that when employees sign up for your services, they’re already bought in, motivated and energized.

It’s incredibly rewarding to witness the transformative effect that a well-organized learning and development program can have on a business and its employees. For employees, it means that training is something they can look forward to, rather than a chore that needs to be ticked off the list. For future employees, it’s a reason to choose to work for your company instead of your competition, and you can’t put a price on that!




About the Author:  Kim joined Connor Consultancy in 2016 as the People Development Practice Manager, where she was responsible for the day-to-day running of the practice. She is also a consultant and accredited VoicePrint coach, designing and delivering high-value development interventions for organisations, teams and individuals.Kim is an active member of the CIPD and holds a post-graduate diploma in HR management. She has a strong generalist HR background and has worked in large corporate organisations, including Home Retail Group.



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