9 Best Practices for Developing Top Talent

by Sam Levine

1. 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.

2. 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.  However, in order for top talent to truly develop, they must tackle stretch assignments, learn how to cope with stressful situations, and deal with setbacks.

3. Build a Culture of Mentorship

A culture of mentorship allows your company to become a place of connection and growth where employees can flourish. It shows that you care about your workers’ professional aspirations and can even increase employee loyalty. 

4. Encourage Balanced Development

We often identify top talent based on their strengths and assign further training to continue to improve these strengths.  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 employees and managers. 

5. Reinforce Values & Mission

You want future managers and top talent to fully understand and embrace the company’s values and mission, as well as recognize how their own job contributes to the firm's goals.  This keeps everyone aligned and ensures your employees represent your company well. 

6. Hold Regular Reviews & Evaluations

It’s critical to check in with your employees regularly to assess their progress and see how they’re feeling.  You can discuss their personal and professional growth aspirations, while also giving you the opportunity to provide feedback, address performance, and identify areas of improvement.

7. Offer Stretch Assignments 

Many companies inadvertently create departmental silos in their organization. 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 to widen their skill-sets.

8. Provide External Resources

If you want to develop your talent, you need to invest in your talent. Help your employees develop their skills with classes, certification, conferences, and more.  These programs often provide new insight, a fresh perspective and training that can’t be offered internally.

9. Make Introductions

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 your top talent to bolster industry relationships and enhance their expertise.

If employees are scared to be their true selves at work or don’t feel their voices are valued, they might be reluctant to speak up, share ideas, and volunteer for projects. This can also lead to an increase in absenteeism, burnout, and ultimately turnover, which can be costly for your organization.  Investing in diversity and inclusion (D&I) is proven to positively impact business performance. When workplaces build an inclusive team and community that embraces diversity, they see increases in innovation and revenue, according to this Harvard Business Review study. That’s why investing in diversity and inclusion should be a priority for any organization. Managers need to appreciate the unique characteristics of everyone on their teams. By leading with vulnerability, empathy, and solidarity, managers can ensure employees from all walks of life feel valued and appreciated at work.  Here’s a look at how managers can use these three skills to build an inclusive team and workplace culture.

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