Why Training is Essential to Your Talent Management Strategy
Talent management is an ongoing challenge for modern organisations. Over the past few decades, talent management practices have been largely dysfunctional, leading businesses to lurch from shortfalls of talent to surpluses... and back to shortfalls again. Only in the past decade or so has talent management really come out of the dark ages, and made its mark as a respected performance-driving business practice.

One of the most popular trends in corporate development today is the integration of training with talent management. According to research by The Economist, over 45% of HR professionals rate training as one of their top talent management strategies.

Employee Training

Training touches every element of talent management: recruitment, performance management, leadership development, and succession management. These critical processes span the entire employee life-cycle, and training is at the core of each of them. Any company that is looking to build strengths in talent management must by necessity implement and own good training practices.

Why training is essential for talent management

Employees care whether a company takes a genuine interest in their future

The emphasis here is on the word “genuine.” Training should be something a company devotes significant time, energy and resources to. This makes employees feel satisfied with their role in the organisation.

They feel like the company looks after them, invests in their future, and wants to see them grow and develop as people. In turn, employees are happier, and more motivated to give their best performance.

Training builds loyalty - which increases productivity

When companies invest in their people, those people in turn invest themselves in the company. And when an employee is loyal, he or she is more engaged, which means higher job satisfaction and more productivity.

Talented people want to advance - and they value a company’s support in the process

Motivated, ambitious employees want training, coaching, and mentoring. They want to become more valuable and versatile in the business world. What employee doesn’t appreciate support that helps advance their career? If your company doesn’t provide that support, rest assured, your top talent will soon find another employer that does.

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Training corrects systemic weaknesses in your business

Often, companies have one or two core areas of dysfunction that hold them back. Customer service, marketing and elements of the sales process are often areas where companies tend to fall significantly short.  These weaknesses usually correspond to skill gaps in particular teams.  Well-chosen training eliminates those weaknesses, and takes the brakes off company growth.

Specialised coaching supercharges your top performers

As much as we'd like to believe business is an entire team effort, the reality is that there are handful of people in your organisation who drive most of the growth and profits.

If you can identify these people and give them the high-end coaching that helps them excel, you'll make a big difference to your bottom-line.

Training fuels a culture of learning.  In 2015, business moves fast. Markets shift, technologies change and skill gaps widen. And the change is accelerating. The companies that thrive are agile and adaptive – that is, companies that “learn” as organisations.

If you want to bake learning into your company culture, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Be generous with training budgets, cover the costs of self-learning materials and online courses, and fund employees' further education in situations where it can benefit your business.

Why is training overlooked in talent management strategies?

Unfortunately, training often isn't given the prioritisation it deserves. When a company is focused on growth opportunities, it tends to ignore how it's poor talent processes nibble away at performance. In other cases, managers and owners simply have no experience in organisational performance - they fail to understand how skill gaps limit growth.

Decline in Growth

A recent report from Forbes Insights and BMO Harris shows that the negative impacts of poor talent management, at least in the beginning, are often obscured by overwhelming success in other areas of the business.

However, the opportunity to gain from training is massive – organisations that invest in carefully selected training for the employees who need it can expect it to pay for itself several times over.

So, what makes training effective?

Corporate training is a gargantuan topic, and many books have been written on how to get it right. However, a couple of core principles have stood the test of time.

Give the right people the right training, and at the right time

The more targeted and appropriate your training, the more your organisation will benefit. The more scatter-gun it is, the bigger the waste of time and money it will be. Find out precisely where your skill gaps are, and who exactly needs to be trained. Select programs that closely match your business's needs.

Support learning after training

Training programs should be seen as the first step to skill acquisition, not a one-and-done transformation.

Employees needs to be able to practice and use what they've learned to cement the skillset.  Make sure they can apply their new skills, receive support and feedback, and are given enough time to ramp up their performance.

Good training is a central pillar of talent management

The good news is that the bar is low, and it doesn't take much to use training to trump and gain a real edge. Most companies either neglect training, or waste money on inappropriate programs without follow-up.

Take the time to get your training right, and your gain a real advantage in talent management – which will inevitably be realised in your bottom-line.

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