5 Proven Methods for Developing Talent at Your Company

Beyond numbers, marketing campaigns, R&D, and other business aspects, your staff is the greatest asset that you have. It’s only natural that you would nurture their well-being and develop their talent, right?

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case for many companies. Instead of focusing on the staff that they have, the idea of building a team of top talent becomes buried under other focuses. It’s not that you don’t want to develop your team; it’s that you’re not sure how to do it or where to start.

But talent management and the development of your team stand to make or break you as an organization. If you factor in the cost of hiring, training, and onboarding new employees, talent development should become a focal point of your business moving forward. It’s the low-cost alternative that can make a world of difference in your organization and something that can create a strong company culture, employee engagement, and results you can see every day that you're on the job.

What Does Developing Talent Mean for Your Business?

Talent development is a part of human resources and performance management that’s single goal is to inspire and motivate workers, as well as help them reach their full potential. To this degree, it’s not filling skill gaps or building a person’s skill set. It’s the idea of helping an individual reach their full potential through any means necessary.

Whether you deem a person skilled or unskilled, a keen eye is necessary to discover if a person has a specific, innate skill set that’s untapped. You have to make the decision for yourself, but if you have a strong hiring process and business strategy, chances are that these people are already on your staff. They’re just waiting for your guiding touch to take them to the next level of their career through learning opportunities and employee experience.

The Benefits of Developing Talent

Group of people hanging out on a dock

The benefits of developing talent should seem self-evident. You have a stronger workforce that contributes to improved productivity and a better bottom line. However, talent development can also lead to a number of other benefits for your company, including:

  • Reducing skill gaps, upskilling, and reskilling people to wear many hats within the company, even if it’s a new role or multitasking
  • Preparing the best talent for roles in management
  • Identifying high-potential employees and putting them on a path that helps them reach their career goals, as well as meeting your organizational goals
  • Creating a reputation for a solid hiring system through word of mouth and networking among your employees and other companies
  • Crafting a talent development plan and talent development strategies that can bring harness the potential of new hires and retain them
  • Future-proofing your business to succeed after upper management retires or moves on
  • Building a vision that’s based on more than a mission statement or profitability, bringing employee development and leadership development into the fold

The Reasons That Developing Talent Should Be High on Your Agenda

According to a McKinsey study, 87% of companies are aware of a major skill gap currently or within the next few years. But this isn’t just a current lack of talent — it’s all about succession planning within the company and building a formidable business that can compete far into the future. This is perhaps the main reason why you should be developing talent.

But even beyond the future of your company, developing talent can create a streamlined effect. It creates an immersive, cohesive work environment, set forth the training programs you need for success, and even lead to new career paths for individuals who felt they were stagnating at their position.

As a leader or manager, you aren’t just developing talent. You’re leading people to development opportunities that improve their quality of life and comfort of living. These particular facets may now show on the balance sheet, but the well-being of others can lead to inner satisfaction and a reputation for social responsibility — two things that most companies push under the rug.

5 Methods To Develop Talent at Your Company

Clearly, the results and advantages of developing talent can make your company a better place to work and give you a win-win situation in terms of personal satisfaction, company performance, and improved employee morale. You only need to put the idea into action — something that’s much easier said than done.

While you can always construct ideas on your own, these proven methods for developing talent can provide you with the insight you need to craft a strong talent development program. Here’s where you should set your sights moving forward.

1. Add Mentoring to the Equation

Developing talent should include a vested effort toward mentorship. Within the mentor-mentee relationship, employees that show potential can learn the know how, soft skills, and hard skills necessary to take their career to the next level.

In an ideal world, you could entrust mentoring to qualified individuals in your company. However, this may be beyond the reach of your capabilities or resources. In this case, you can always use outside sources or your network to find the perfect candidate for a mentor.

Not only does a mentor offer real-world insight, but they can also pique an employee’s interest on particular topics relevant to the job. It’s a win-win situation that can mold an employee into a potential leader — or at least someone who becomes a part of your plans for the future.

2. Improve Employee Skills Through Continuous Learning

Building a job learning or continued education program through your business works three-fold. It develops talent, improves employee retention, and helps employees build new skills that can streamline your business operations.

The good news about continuous learning is that it doesn’t have to cost you a bundle. Continuous learning is an umbrella term that encompasses leadership and management training programs, on-the-job training, cross-training, upskilling, e-learning, or even a small education stipend.

Through these types of learning, an employee can become better at what they do and impart that knowledge across other people within their department. At the end of the day, the employee becomes more knowledgable, a better performer, and hopefully, a thirst for knowledge as long as they’re working.

3. Focus on Leadership Traits

Group of diverse young employees

A stellar resume, education, and experience doesn’t necessarily equate to a visionary or a future leader of a company. Furthermore, that particular person may like exactly where they are and have the ambition and self-starter mentality to further their career on their own.

That’s not to say this person shouldn’t be a part of developing talent. But instead, you should focus on leadership traits and potential that don’t necessarily show up on a resume. Soft skills are key in this regard.

The intangibles — such as empathy, emotional intelligence, drive, and adapatability — might be better suited to developing talent. You can’t teach these skills to everyone, and they aren’t inherent in most people. So if you notice some of these rare qualities within an individual, embrace them. This is the candidate that requires the company’s guidance and initiatives to take them to the next level of their career path.

4. Use Internal Issues as a Learning Experience

No leader or manager at a company likes to put their errors on the front page so to speak. They may think it shows weakness, a lack of clarity, or failure. However, these negative instances can be turned into positivity and help in developing talent by using them as a learning experience.

But you don’t have to take them as a learning experience on your own. If you’re developing talent, this is a tailor-made opportunity to show employees how you went about a decision, why you made a decision, and how you can make the right decision the next time around.

Employees thrive when you entrust them with the internal workings of the company. You may not want to divulge every mistake you’ve made, but when you can teach them why and how a mistake was made, they can learn from it and apply it to their own position.

5. Enable Transitions Across Jobs

Depsite the overflow of jobs on the market in a post-pandemic world, companies are still struggling to fill positions. The reasons for these are innumerable, ranging from a lack of remote work to a lack of daycare. Whatever the reason for numerous job openings, it leaves holes in your organization that someone needs to fill.

Developing talent embraces the idea that people with ability are able to be trained in numerous areas of the business. That doesn’t mean you’re going to pay them the same for several jobs — compensate them accordingly. But what it does mean is that you can develop talent in several different facets and provide the knowledge and support for employees to excel — all while filling the positions you drastically need at your organization.

Thinking Outside of the Box

In a perfect world, you would have a talent development department, but in reality, that just isn’t realistic. Sometimes, you can do everything in your power to develop talent at your business, but it can still fall short. That’s when you might want to consider some outside help.

Unicorn Labs offers comprehensive curriculums, coaching, and instruction via our leadership programs and retreats to build your team’s competencies, improve skill sets, and create a strong company culture.

Developing talent is something that can streamline your business processes and improve your bottom line. When it comes to your team, nothing is a sunken cost.

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