Developing Top Talent: Best Practices for Learning & Development
It can be challenging enough to find and attract top talent. Once you identify your all-star team members, you will also need to do your best to retain them. And you certainly want to make sure they reach their full potential. This means you have to prioritize their development. How should you go about that? Well, we have a few ideas:
Emphasize the Importance of Learning
The best leaders are often individuals who place a premium on learning. Their curiosity fosters continual growth and forces them to routinely evaluate where their knowledge gaps may lay. As a result, it’s easier for them to overcome problems, accomplish difficult tasks and set new goals.
Allow for Failure
Even your most ambitious employees might hesitate to take on a challenging task if they know there’s a high risk of failure. Understandably, they fear it will reflect poorly on their overall performance and potentially impede their trajectory. However, in order for them to truly develop, they must tackle stretch assignments. And they should push themselves to test their own capabilities. After all, they need to learn how to cope with stressful situations and deal with setbacks.
Build a Culture of Mentorship
If you truly want to see your employes flourish, you’ll build a culture of mentorship. This will allow your company to become a place of connection and growth. Moreover, it’ll signal that you care about your workers’ professional aspirations. And, in turn, your employees are more likely to demonstrate company loyalty.
Encourage Balanced Development
We often identify top talent based upon certain strengths and skill-sets they’ve displayed. For example, an individual might be an amazing wordsmith or excel at data analytics. And those are the areas in which a company might decide to provide further training. However, if you really want to invest in an employee, you’ll help them develop skills in other areas. That way they can hone weaknesses and become more well-rounded. In turn, they are likely to become better managers and they’ll avoid relying solely on their core strengths.
Reinforce Values and Missions
You want your future managers to display values that are in line with the company. Moreover, they should fully understand and embrace the firm’s mission and recognize the role their own job plays in fulfilling those goals. This allows everyone to see the importance of their position. And it both affirms the company’s message and makes it easier to relay said message.
Hold Regular Reviews/Evaluations
It’s critical to check in with your employees at regular intervals. This way you can assess their progress and see how they’re feeling. Are they happy? Are they feeling stymied? You can discuss their personal growth and evaluate their vision for their professional future. Additionally, this offers you the opportunity to provide invaluable feedback. You may address performance metrics and illuminate areas in which they are excelling and those in which they might need improvement.
Offer Assignments Beyond Their Purview
Many companies divide their organization by department and function. Employees fill a specific role and don’t expand beyond their job description. However, if you want an individual to eventually move up the ranks, they need exposure to other areas of the company. Create opportunities for them to tackle responsibilities beyond their actual job function. This will increase their understanding of the overall office, widen their skill-set and strengthen their communication with secondary colleagues.
Provide External Resources
If you want to develop your talent, you need to invest in your talent. That can mean turning to outside organizations for additional education or certification. These programs often provide new insight, a fresh perspective and training that can’t be offered internally. Even better, they underscore a company’s commitment to learning and to their employees.
To see your top talent truly excel, help them network. Make introductions and connect them with colleagues who will be additional role models and mentors. This allows them to bolster industry relationships and enhance their expertise. Best of all, it will likely encourage them to open doors with their own subordinates.
If you truly want to develop your top talent, you need to invest in your top talent. And that often involves tapping into outside programs that help them hone their leadership skills.