Why are talent development processes so important?

How to turn talent development into your safeguard against the Great Resignation


By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

December 28, 2021

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Workers have undeniably gained the upper hand in the employee-employer relationship. Many businesses are struggling to retain key members of their workforce, while employees are weighing their options and refusing to settle for dead-end jobs or subpar paychecks.

As a result of this shift in power dynamics, most leaders are now asking themselves the same question: what’s it going to take to hold on to high-performing employees in the new world of work? Although there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are a few initiatives that can be prioritized as safeguards against the Great Resignation, and talent development has earned a spot at the top of that list.

When organizations actively strive to help their people achieve their fullest potential, their employees won’t be likely to jump ship for something better. Consequently, talent development can become your secret weapon for improving attrition, but not all approaches are created equally. So, what can you do to upgrade your talent development strategy and harness it to help you boost retention levels?

What is talent development?

Talent development is a series of processes designed to attract high-potential candidates and motivate and retain members of your workforce. As a sub-category of performance management, talent development is frequently used to help companies uncover hidden talent within their organization and empower high-potential employees to grow with the business. Talent development goes beyond training and includes on-the-job learning opportunities such as shadowing and mentoring.

What’s the difference between talent development and talent management?

These two terms get used interchangeably from time to time, but there are actually a few key differences that set them apart. First off, talent development is specifically focused on continuous growth and employee learning, while talent management is about strategically maximizing individual talent. Additionally, the focus of talent development is individualized learning and growth plans, while talent management is an organizational strategy for finding, hiring, and retaining top talent. Talent management strategies also include the recruiting process as well as succession planning.

The benefits of prioritizing talent development

While it takes time and effort to devise an impactful talent development initiative, both employees and employers have a lot to gain from the right approach, including:

  • Improve performance and productivity
    If you want to inspire your people to soar past their KPIs and work more efficiently, talent development needs to be a priority. When employees understand their roles and possess the skills and tools they need, they’ll make fewer errors and can complete tasks in record time.
  • Reduce skill gaps
    Talent development and skills are not the same thing. However, the best talent development strategies always empower employees to expand their skill sets, through both targeted L&D curriculums and experiential development opportunities like mentorships. Since 87% of companies globally acknowledge that they have a skills gap, encouraging employees to learn and grow will be crucial for acquiring the competencies you’ll need to thrive in your next chapter.
  • Retain and engage employees
    A lack of growth opportunities is one of the top reasons why employees are looking for new jobs, as our own research shows. Whether your employees are hoping to stay in their domain or channel their experience into new roles, employers need to demonstrate that their people have a bright future with their organization if they want to retain and engage them.
  • Prepare for the future of work
    The World Economic Forum predicts that as much as 50% of the global workforce will need reskilling by 2025. Instead of watching knowledge gaps widen, a talent development plan can encourage your employees to proactively start honing their skills and developing new expertise so that you can outpace your competition

Best practices for improving talent development strategies

Given the myriad of associated benefits, it’s no surprise that many organizations already have talent development plans in place. While any initiative is a step in the right direction, there are several best practices that leaders should keep in mind to ensure their talent development strategy gets the results they’re looking for. Top tips include:

  • Give employees decision-making power
    A cookie-cutter approach to talent development won’t do. Your people should play an active role in deciding the skills they want to develop, the roles they may wish to move into one day, and the types of learning opportunities that will help them get there. Since workers currently have the upper hand in the employee-employer relationship, it’s particularly important to ensure your people have a sense of choice and agency when it comes to building their future with your organization.
  • Create a culture that celebrates learning
    For talent development programs to take off, learning and internal mobility need to be encouraged and celebrated at your organization. Make sure to recognize and reward internal role models who are actively participating in your talent development initiatives and share stories about what they’ve accomplished to inspire colleagues to follow in their footsteps.
  • Remove boundaries and break down barriers
    All too often, silos prevent organizations from reaping the full benefits of a talent development program. Employees should have the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from colleagues in different departments so that both team members can expand their skill sets.
  • Align development plans with business priorities
    If you want to maximize the value of your talent development plan, you need to make sure that your employees’ learning experiences are aligned with your organizational goals and business priorities.

How to upgrade talent development with marketplace dynamics

In the past, talent development programs often fell flat because it was challenging to align every employee’s unique professional ambitions with organizational priorities. As a result, employees were often on the receiving end of development plans that failed to take their individual ambitions into account, causing team members to lose motivation and disengage.

While it is virtually impossible for small to large enterprises to match employees to relevant growth opportunities manually, AI-powered technology puts company-wide visibility and alignment within reach for every organization. Talent marketplaces take the guesswork out of the equation by collecting information about an employee’s skills and experience and using these insights to generate suggested opportunities that align with both personal goals and organizational priorities. And unlike human decisions, the matches generated by a talent marketplace are free from bias. Ethically constructed AI enables leaders to see their people for their potential, maximize their talent development strategy, and make sure no one is overlooked.

Prioritizing talent development is a win-win that will empower your employees to reach their full potential while contributing towards your business-critical objectives. To find out more about the benefits of an impactful talent development strategy, learn about TATA Steel’s skills-based approach.

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