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Talent development

Talent development

Table of Contents

    It’s no secret there’s a global skills shortage, and it’s been building for some time. As a result, reskilling and upskilling the workforce has become a major priority for L&D teams across the globe.

    This process, also known as talent development, helps companies future-proof their workforce, engage employees, drive performance, and boost retention. 

    Now we’ve got your attention.

    Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about talent development, including:

    • What talent development is
    • Examples of talent development in action 
    • Why talent development should be your priority 
    • Tips to help you craft your talent development strategy 

    Let’s get right into it!

    What is talent development (TD)?

    Talent development is the process of fostering employees’ learning and development based on an organization’s objectives. 

    The people who make up a company are at the core of this process.

    The function of talent development is to increase employee knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), with the end goal being the success and growth of the organization.

    As such, it’s a part of performance management. 

    Talent development is a way to boost employee engagement, assess skill gaps and competencies, and identify learning opportunities. 

    This is necessary for a company to succeed in today’s (and tomorrow’s) challenging and dynamic business environment. Thanks to events such as The Great Resignation and the Covid-19 pandemic, organizations have been scrambling to retain talent.

    In the next section, we clarify the difference between talent development and talent management.


    Talent development vs. talent management

    The main difference between talent development and talent management is that talent development focuses on developing employees’ skills and competencies, while talent management aims to attract top talent and maximize it. 

    Even though these two terms are often confused with one another, they have differences in scope. 

    Talent development is all about helping employees advance their career paths. 

    On the other hand, talent management is a broader, more strategic activity that has to do with the company’s entire talent acquisition pipeline: From recruitment and onboarding to eventual succession planning. 

    Coming up, we go over three examples of talent development.


    Three examples of talent development

    Talent development will look different for every company. 

    That said, here are three of the most common use cases that apply to almost every type of organization.


    1. Personalized development plans

    Retaining and developing existing talent isn’t possible without individual attention. 

    Managers can work together with employees to create a dev talent development plan that is actionable and realistic. 

    As part of this, managers should assess competencies and identify any skill gaps. Then, through additional training, it’s possible to gradually bring the employee to where they need to be to advance their career path.

    These individual plans are an excellent way to foster employee development in your organization. 

    It can also be the first step toward effective leadership development for high-potential employees. 

    Your corporate Learning Management System (LMS) will be one of the key pieces of the puzzle. 

    L&D teams and Managers can create personalized learning plans for employees to help them develop the necessary skills to progress on their career journey. 

    Top LMSs also come with skills management tools to plug knowledge gaps and drive upskilling. 

    For example, Docebo Skills gives HR & L&D leaders an easy way to identify skills gaps and address them with training activities, aligning learning with business goals.

    2. Team training and development programs

    Talent development happens at a team level too. After all, functional and effective teams make up successful organizations. 

    This is why it’s important to consider the KSAs in your organization at a team level.

    What skills should the team have to align it with the overall business strategy? 

    After identifying these, companies can find development opportunities for their teams.

    Training and development programs are a great way for teams to reach their full potential, acquire new skills, and become empowered on their career paths. 

    These can be delivered in person, online, or with a blended approach. That said, we all know it’s virtually impossible to get the whole team together for training. As a result, digital training is usually the go-to method for team talent development training.

    A Learning Management System (LMS) helps keep training programs on track. Managers can assign training modules to the team and monitor each individual’s progress using the LMS dashboard. 

    Most of the leading LMSs offer gamification tools like leaderboards and points to motivate teams to complete training and develop their competencies.

    For companies, team development programs lead to the accomplishment of engaged employees and business objectives.


    3. Mentorship programs

    Mentorship is invaluable to leadership development. High-potential employees can benefit from a one-on-one mentoring relationship. 

    As leadership involves many soft skills, the mentors don’t necessarily have to come from the same business function as the mentees. 

    Being creative with fostering mentor-mentee relationships can boost the professional development of your high-potential employees.

    As always, the mentorship programs should be actionable and measurable. 

    These programs are also a key part of an organization’s learning culture.  

    On top of formal training, there’s also the possibility of implementing informal coaching and mentorship in your organization. 

    Opting for an LMS with social learning features can build a coaching culture in your business and encourage seasoned employees to share their knowledge.

    For instance, Docebo’s Ask the Expert feature allows employees to ask in-company experts questions about training topics, processes, and workflows. This happens directly in the LMS, meaning other employees with the same questions can see the responses (saving experts from answering the same questions over and over).

    Next up, why you should prioritize talent development in your organization.

    Five reasons why you should prioritize talent development

    Still on the fence about investing in a talent development strategy? Keep reading. 

    We’ve rounded up five of the top benefits of talent development for your business.


    #1: Talent development makes your organization more attractive to top talent

    A recent McKinsey study found that 40% of workers in the United States are at least somewhat likely to leave their jobs within the next 3–6 months. 

    This trend, dubbed the Great Resignation, is ongoing due to several reasons: preference for remote work, concerns about Covid-19 safety, and so on. 

    However, that same study identifies talent development as one of the things that can help companies both keep their current employees and attract new ones.

    With the ongoing labor shortage, people are choosing to work at companies that empower them to learn and develop.

    A commitment to talent development gives you the edge in the job market, making top talent more likely to choose you instead of another company.


    #2: Talent development increases productivity and performance

    Development initiatives increase productivity and performance because they foster employee engagement and make people feel valued. 

    A Gallup poll found that engaged employees are 22% more productive. In 2019, the Employee Engagement Trends report by Quantum Workplace identified career and professional growth opportunities as one of the key factors impacting engagement.  

    The stats speak for themselves: Continuous learning opportunities within an organization increase engagement. This, in turn, boosts productivity.

    In addition, regular training equips staff with the necessary competencies and knowledge to develop their skill set, improving overall employee performance. 


    #3: Talent development can increase customer satisfaction

    Another metric directly linked to employee engagement is customer satisfaction. The wealth of stats in this Forbes piece makes the link clear.

    Since we already know that talent development increases engagement, it makes sense that your talent development programs impact customer satisfaction too. 

    Engaged, highly-trained staff members work harder for your customers, solving problems faster and delivering a better experience. 

    So, if improved customer satisfaction is one of your organizational goals, prioritize talent development.


    #4: Talent development boosts employee retention

    Let’s consider the Great Resignation again. As we mentioned, about 40% of employees are at least somewhat likely to leave in the next three to six months.

    The big question is why.

    A 2022 study by Amdocs asked employees in the US why they are considering leaving their jobs.

    Of those surveyed, 64% cited a lack of growth opportunities and poor training and upskilling programs as the main reasons they are considering quitting.

    On the flip side, training and career development were the number two demands (56%) of employees in 2022, behind only health and wellness. 

    It’s very simple: Talent development is what today’s employees want. If they don’t get it at your company, they’ll go somewhere else.

    A culture of improvement is what keeps employees at their workplaces.


    #5: Talent development helps reduce skill gaps

    As technology advances, it creates new jobs and changes how we do existing ones.

    That’s why, according to a study by Gartner, 58% of workers will need new skill sets to do their jobs successfully.

    The definition of skill gaps is the difference between what an employee knows and what they need to know to do their job right. 

    Talent development strategies can identify these skill gaps in individuals and teams and then come up with training programs to address them.

    While an organization can always bring on a new hire who already has the correct skillset, the fact that 87% of companies have skill gaps proves this isn’t a winning strategy. 

    Instead, you should work on talent management strategies to help you continually upskill your workforce.

    Fostering a culture of knowledge sharing is one way to drive upskilling efforts. From creating an internal knowledge base in your LMS to building channels for employees to share their knowledge, it arms staff with the tools to learn on the job.

    Keep reading to discover 12 tips on developing a talent development strategy.


    Twelve tips to develop a talent development strategy

    Creating a talent development strategy won’t happen overnight, but it also doesn’t have to be hard. 

    Here are twelve tips to help you foster effective talent development programs in your organization.

    Here you go:

    • Identify the skills that are necessary for your organization to perform and succeed
    • Invest in mentoring and coaching
    • Align talent development programs with your company’s goals
    • Establish a learning culture within your organization and incentivise employees to participate in training
    • Use an LMS to keep track of your training programs and measure results 
    • Identify opportunities for reskilling and upskilling to help your workforce remain competitive in the market
    • Consider leadership development as a serious option for your high-performance employees
    • Include everyone in the company in your talent development efforts: the HR department, talent managers, team managers, and the employees themselves 
    • Use an LMS to scale your talent development initiatives
    • Put your employees in the driving seat of their career path, and give them real decision-making power: A sense of agency and control is great for engagement 
    • Tear down the silos to enable cross-department collaborative learning
    • Look for hidden talent; someone who isn’t performing well might blossom in a new role

    Of course, every organization is different. How you implement these tips will depend on your organization’s size, culture, and goals. 

    That said, these 12 tips will get you on your way to reaping the rewards of a talent development strategy.

    Time to recap the key takeaways.


    Ready to develop a talent development strategy?

    What business doesn’t want higher employee engagement, better performance, and happier customers? Talent development is the key to unlocking these benefits.

    Are you struggling with employee retention? Implementing a talent development plan might just be the best defense against the Great Resignation, reducing the huge costs of high turnover rates.

    To kickstart talent development in your company, you’ll need:

    • A winning strategy
    • A high-powered LMS
    • Stakeholder support

    With these three pillars in place, your organization is ready to upskill your workforce and futureproof the business.