By SANDY CLARKE
Once upon a time, in a boardroom meeting, a cautious chief financial officer raised concerns over the organisation’s plans to invest in employee development.
“What if we spend money training them and they decide to leave us?” The ambitious chief executive, recognising the benefits of developing his brightest talents, replied, “What if we invest in them and they decide to stay?”
The war for talent
In the Age of Millennial, companies are no longer choosing the candidates – candidates are choosing the companies they feel are fit enough to help them carve out a successful career.
The war for talent rages on, with organisations doing all they can in order to ensure the brightest and best are knocking on their door to sign on the dotted line.
In decades past, it was enough that people had a job. They treasured security and stability above all else, and were happy to settle with one company for the duration of their working lives.
The era of the Great Depression and the uncertainty brought by two world wars meant that young professionals strived to build a solid foundation for themselves in the aftermath.
But those days are long gone, and young professionals are now on the hunt not just for a job – something they can find anywhere – but an organisation that will invest in them, nurture their strengths, and develop their talent.
They want to know what they’re doing is making a real difference and that their contribution is valuable to themselves as well as their employer. They relish the challenge of responsibility, and are keen to show what they can do through the innovation of their ideas.
If they can’t find such opportunities with one organisation, research suggests that, unlike previous generations, millennials aren’t afraid to go elsewhere and start over.
Investing in talents
The importance of talent acceleration programmes and employee engagement can’t be overstated, which is why social enterprises such as Leaderonomics have invested much of their resources in honing development programmes that work to ensure top talents want to remain where they are, with an enthusiasm to help their organisation in smashing through goals and objectives.
Savvy organisations now realise that qualities such as leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and innovation aren’t skills that can be learnt by reading a book, or attending a training class or listening to a speaker who has “been there, done that” – the chances are that, for much of the time, bored employees will be checking through their Facebook updates and e-mails.
The key to developing the kind of learning that sticks lies in creating real-life, real-time situations where team members learn by doing – a method that has been proven as the best way for people to develop their skills and abilities.
We might think of such development as an accelerated MBA, where employees are put to the test using tools that challenge them in ways that conventional learning fails to do.
And talent acceleration programmes don’t just benefit the participants who enhance their learning and capabilities, they also benefit organisations in many ways, not least of all in the investment of resources that are guaranteed to produce the kinds of results that are needed in today’s business world.
In a nutshell
Organisations that invest in their talents will be the ones who keep hold of their best performers, and those that show their team members that their professional growth is just as important as the growth of the business.
These organisations will be the ones that can go on to be recognised as people-centric, world-class companies, cultivating the kind of success that lasts for decades and further beyond.
Advantages of Talent Acceleration
1. Boost in engagement and motivation
When organisations don’t invest in their talents, how can they expect them to be enthusiastic about their role? By investing in your top performers, they will in turn invest in the organisation.
The key message investment in development sends is, “We believe in your potential and ability to help us achieve our vision.”
Developing employees empowers employees, increasing the likelihood that they’ll be looking to stay put as part of the team.
2. Increased productivity
Any disengaged employee will tell you what a drag it is to roll into the office for yet another Monday morning start to the week. The job becomes little more than a steady crawl towards pay day each month, and performance is often the bare minimum it takes to get through each day.
On the other hand, engaged employees who feel like key players in the team will give everything they’ve got in making sure the organisation reaches its goals and objectives, looking forward to each day and relishing each challenge that comes along.
3. Excellent client care
Nurtured employees will come to see themselves as ambassadors for the organisation and, as a result, will go the extra mile for clients lest it reflect badly on themselves and the company.
They will have the client’s best interests at heart, knowing that the service their company provides will serve to the maximum benefit for both the client and the organisation.
4. Reduced recruitment costs
Due to having implemented a successful talent acceleration programme that helps your team members to flourish and develop confidence in their abilities, those job sites will be a little quieter thanks to your decision to further invest in your people.
Organisations that truly seek to engage their employees aren’t ubiquitous as you might think; therefore, engaged employees won’t be looking to hand out their resumes any time soon.
5. Positive frame of reference for new recruits
There will be times when your organisation will be looking to bolster its strengths and diversify its capabilities. With employer reviews available online in abundance, and with the speed with which word travels nowadays, prospective employees can get a sense of a company even before they’ve clicked on a website.
There’s no better advertisement for an organisation than having a pool of satisfied, fulfilled employees who will only be too ready to offer glowing reports of how well people are looked after and how often opportunities for development and growth are provided.
Sandy knows only too well the value of lifelong learning, keeping in mind the advice he was once given by a school teacher that “education lasts longer than the time you spend in a classroom.” To connect with Sandy you can find him @RealSClarke on Twitter.
Sandy is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.