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Talent Development: 7 Ways to Secure and Retain Top Talent

March 15, 2024

Employee Talent Development

Today, more businesses are investing in talent development programs to keep their best workers from leaving for other opportunities. Corporations realize that a skilled and engaged workforce is key — and it's much easier to keep top-notch employees than recruit new ones.

Having the right talent development strategy in place can not only keep your team engaged at work, it helps future-proof your business.

Here, we'll explore why talent development is important for businesses today, ways to attract talent, and how to retain top talent for the long term.

What is Talent Development?

Talent development refers to the activities that promote employee learning, growth, performance, and productivity. Some companies even have a talent management department in charge of overseeing talent development initiatives.

Equipping people with new skills to do their jobs better is essential. But helping them grow as individuals so they can overcome workplace challenges is just as important. Doing so can lead to higher retention rates, increased employee satisfaction, and boost your bottom line.

The most successful companies offer opportunities for growth both on and off the job through:

  • Training Programs
  • Networking Events
  • Continuing Education


Benefits of Talent Development

Incorporating a talent development program into your business strategy can have many benefits, from attracting top talent when hiring to enriching the employee experience for existing employees - all of which benefit the company.

Employees who view their job as more than "a way to pay the bills" are happier and more likely to stay put. Creating a stable, productive workforce makes retaining your most valuable employees easier.

Here are some of the key benefits:


Boosted Performance and Productivity

When employees have the knowledge and skills they need to do their jobs effectively, they naturally become more productive.

Talent development initiatives can equip workers with the latest tools, techniques, and industry best practices, allowing them to get more done in less time.


Reduced Skill Gaps

The business world is constantly evolving, and the skills needed to stay competitive can change rapidly. Talent development programs can help businesses identify and address a skills gap within their workforce, ensuring they have the right people in place to meet future challenges.


Improved Employee Retention

Employees who feel like their company is invested in their growth and development are more likely to be satisfied and engaged in their work. This can lead to lower turnover rates and a more stable workforce.


Increased Innovation

A well-developed workforce is a creative workforce. When employees have the skills and confidence to think outside the box, they're more likely to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions to problems, helping companies reach their organizational goals.


Attract Top Talent

Companies with a strong reputation for employee talent development are more attractive to potential hires. In today's competitive job market, talent development programs can be a major differentiator when it comes to attracting and retaining top-tier talent.

This can also help build a strong talent pipeline to draw upon in the future.


Stronger Compliance

Certain industries have regulatory requirements that employees need to be aware of. Talent development programs can help ensure that employees are up-to-date on the latest compliance requirements, reducing the risk of fines and penalties.

Overall, employee talent development is a win-win situation for both businesses and their employees. By investing in their workforce, companies can create a more skilled, engaged, and productive team.


RELATED: 12 Employee Engagement Ideas


Talent Management Focuses

Talent management focuses on the entire employee lifecycle, strategically attracting, developing, motivating, and retaining high-performing employees. Here's a breakdown of the key focus areas of a talent development professional:



Strategic Recruitment: Developing targeted recruitment plans to find diverse and qualified candidates who align with the company's goals.

Building a Talent Pipeline: Proactively identifying and nurturing potential candidates for future openings.



Learning and Development Programs: Providing opportunities for employees to acquire new skills and knowledge to stay competitive and advance their careers.

Performance Management: Setting clear goals, providing feedback, and creating a work culture of continuous improvement.


Engagement and Retention:

Creating a Positive Work Environment: Offering competitive compensation and benefits, fostering a sense of belonging, and promoting work-life balance.

Employee Recognition: Acknowledging and rewarding employees for their contributions to keep them motivated and engaged.

Succession Planning: Identifying and developing future leaders to ensure a smooth transition when key positions become vacant.


Alignment with Business Goals:

Understanding Skill Gaps: Identifying discrepancies between the current skillset of the workforce and the skills needed to achieve business objectives.

Developing a Talent Strategy: Creating a plan that aligns talent management practices with the overall business strategy of the organization.

By focusing on these areas, talent management helps organizations build a strong and sustainable workforce that can drive success and achieve their strategic goals.


7 Tried & True Talent Development Strategies

Understanding the importance of talent development is one thing, but it's another thing to dedicate time and energy to talent development efforts.

A lucrative employee engagement strategy includes finding ways to help your employees grow professionally and personally. Training programs, mentorship opportunities, and education grants are fantastic ways to start.

Here, we discuss 7 training and development strategies to help improve employee performance at your company.


1. Implement a New Hire Training Program

Research shows that 40% of workers who do not get proper job training will leave their roles within year one. So focusing on onboarding training programs can be critical.


Three popular training types include:

  • Orientation Training: A formal introduction to the company goes a long way to welcoming a new employee. Explain your core values and vision, administrative procedures, and company policies.
  • Onboarding Training: Set your new hire up for success by getting him/her up to speed with the software and tools they will use. Consider partnering your new hire with a more experienced employee.
  • Technical Skills Training: Check in with employees to determine which skills they'd like to develop. You might discover hidden talents that not only benefit the company, but that also help give your employee greater job satisfaction.


2. Focus on Leadership Development

A leadership development program (LDP) is a structured program designed to help employees hone their leadership skills and grow their ability to excel in leadership roles within an organization.

According to the Talent Management 2020 report by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 76% of organizations surveyed said their top talent is important or very important for business growth.


A strong leadership plan may entail:

  • Self-Paced Learning: Encourage your team members to learn new things at their own pace.
  • Leadership Mentoring: Your employees may be adept at what they do, but not everyone is a natural-born leader. Mentoring is one of the greatest ways to develop future leaders.
  • Job Rotation: Give people exposure to roles related to their own so they can develop new skills. This fosters a well-rounded workforce.
  • Job Shadowing: Let your workers spend a day observing a different job. This inspires them to go beyond their usual responsibilities and take on new challenges.
  • Professional Certification: Continuing education is crucial for growth in any industry. Employees who commit to completing a professional certification show their interest in building their knowledge bank.
  • Professional Development Course: Things are always changing in every industry. Make your team members adaptable by offering a professional development course.


3. Offer Opportunities for Professional Growth

WorkStep surveyed over 18,000 hourly workers across 150 companies and found that lack of career growth was the top reason for turnover.

People want to feel as though they’re growing, developing, and advancing. Furthermore, the ability to develop skills is a fundamental component of employee engagement. This is especially true for younger employees.

According to a LinkedIn study, 40% of young workers said they were willing to accept a 5% pay cut to work in a position that offered career growth opportunities. Additionally, 76% of Gen Zers want more opportunities to move up or increase responsibilities at work.


4. Provide Flexibility

Flexible working arrangements are key to attracting and retaining top talent. The ability to work from home, take time off, or work at a location other than the office are all ways you can show your employees that they matter.

This can also benefit the company, too. The Garner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey reports that 43% of employees found that "flexibility in working hours helped them achieve greater productivity."

Figure out what arrangement your employees want by sending regular pulse and engagement surveys.


RELATED: 5 Ways to Retain Employees During the Great Resignation


5. Encourage Continuous Learning

Think about it: What is the point of staying with a company if you are not learning? If employees get bored, they may look elsewhere for more professional growth and development opportunities.

Create successful talent development by building a culture of learning. Offer:

  • Leadership Support: Get buy-in from leadership to emphasize the importance of continuous learning. Leaders who actively participate in development programs set a positive example.
  • Personalized Learning: Develop individual development plans (IDPs) for employees that address their specific needs and career goals.
  • Make Learning Accessible: Make learning resources and opportunities readily available to all employees, regardless of location or position.


6. Give Employees Decision-Making Power

It is crucial to give your employees a voice in the direction of your company. Doing so signals that you value them as part of the team. Allow your workers to make decisions, and they will feel empowered to do their best work.

This is especially important if your company is a startup. You attract better talent if you give people more power over their work lives. Employees that have a stake in the company's success will be more loyal and productive.


7. Refine and Adapt

Be prepared to adjust your strategies based on feedback and ongoing evaluation. The talent development landscape is constantly evolving, so your approach should be adaptable as well.

Check-in with your employees during one-on-one meetings but also through regular pulse and engagement surveys.

Surveys are a great way to gather data for benchmarking against your goals and gauge progress. They're also an effective tool for uncovering employees who are interested in your talent development program.


Questions to ask employees about talent development

  • What are your current career goals?
  • What skills and knowledge do you feel you need to develop to achieve your goals?
  • What are your preferred learning styles? (e.g., classroom training, online courses, mentoring)
  • Are there any specific topics or skills you'd like to see covered in future development programs?
  • Do you feel there are currently enough opportunities for you to learn and grow within the company?


An Employee Development Plan Provides Professional Growth

Finding and retaining elite talent is a must for long-term company success. Talent development programs keep employees motivated and satisfied so that they stay with a company for years to come. They grow with the business as they acquire new skills through training.

Interested in more employee development ideas? Terryberry offers the only end-to-end employee engagement platform:

Pulse Survey Software: Be Heard is an employee survey solution that's designed to enhance your employee experience while fueling business performance.

Service Awards and Performance Awards: Recognize and reward employees based on years of service awards, anniversaries, or performance.

Social Recognition: Empower your employees and managers to recognize their peers and celebrate successes with an easy-to-use social recognition application.

Feedback and Communication: Unlock improved feedback and communications with employee and customer feedback solutions.

Wellness Programs: We make it easy to run wellness programs and activity challenges that increase engagement, expand corporate health, and build team camaraderie.


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