Skip to content

What is Talent Development and How Can Your Business Benefit?

One Minute Takeaway

  • Talent development boosts employee engagement and reduces turnover
  • 82% of HR leaders say traditional performance management strategies are ineffective
  • If you want top talent to stick around, make development an ongoing conversation

When it comes to employee engagement, standing still is as good as going backwards. If you think compensation is enough to keep your team content, you’re in for a nasty surprise. Employees want to grow— 94% say they’d stick around longer with a company invested in helping them learn.

The good news is, this is win-win for businesses. An effective talent development program not only keeps employees happy (and reduces expensive turnover) but it helps them become better at their jobs.

What is Talent Development?

Talent development is all about helping employees reach their full potential. Raw ability becomes reality; top talent become leaders; star performers are given the tools to excel.

How do you recognize a culture of talent development?

  • Managers see themselves as coaches
  • Feedback is a lot more regular than just once a year
  • Performance is tracked with ambitious, but measurable, goals

It’s not one process but many, and begins the moment a new hire walks in the door. A great onboarding experience provides a fast start, learning management systems build new skills while effective career management pushes employees to develop in the right roles at the right time.

Why Performance Management Isn’t Enough

For too many companies, talent development simply means performance management. This is a problem, because traditional performance management is failing. Only 18% of HR leaders say their performance management achieved its primary objectives and so it’s no surprise only 20% of employees feel the way their performance is managed motivates them to do outstanding work.

Here’s why: feedback is given too rarely, with a focus on past not future performance, and isn’t aligned to any effective goal-setting methodology. Annuals reviews don’t work for anybody—employees fear for their jobs, while managers struggle to look beyond an employee’s most recent project. Without a reliable goal-setting system to judge performance by, feedback risks being subjective and overly personal.

Talent Management Best Practices

Performance matters, but future performance matters more. Rather than criticizing past performance, feedback should focus on finding ways to inspire employees and facilitate their development. To achieve this, performance management should be an ongoing conversation, where employees and supervisors work together to build on growth opportunities.

Feedback should be collected and built on, rather than starting from scratch once a year. Performance reviews don’t need to be hierarchical, either. 360 feedback programs collect the impressions of all those with whom an employee interacts, not just their direct manager. This way companies can find a better-rounded and more balanced perspective on day-to-day performance.

Why Goal Setting Matters

An employee’s output should be judged according to specific goals, not vague job descriptions. To make this a reality, many companies employ the OKR methodology. This goal-setting framework allows objectives to flow from a company’s overall vision down to individual key results.

This allows performance to be tracked alongside measurable metrics, for a clearer view on employee progress. Employees can see how the work they put in each day is directly related to the company’s vision. Increased transparency into the OKRs of other teams helps employee see exactly how they fit in the company, and why their work is important.

What’s the Right Talent Development Framework for your Employees?

The right talent development framework depends on your company. Different industries will gravitate toward different cadences for goal-setting and feedback. If you employ remote workers, it’s a good idea to encourage more frequent check-ins to keep employees engaged. When employees and supervisors share a workplace, feedback and learning opportunities are more likely to occur spontaneously.

What’s important is that your talent development processes are tied into a broader strategy. It starts with succession planning, understanding the skills your people possess and where you have opportunities for growth. Who has the potential to step up, and for what roles do you need to recruit?

When you identify talented performers within the organization, are they given the resources and roles they need to thrive? Do your managers do a good job of explaining the overall company vision? Does this vision align with the goals you set and the tasks employees spend their time working towards?

Planning Your Employees Talent Development

Tying all these threads together can seem a daunting prospect for HR teams. That’s why talent development software is so useful. It facilitates the ongoing conversation you need for growth-oriented coaching, aligns organizational goals and integrates with other HR tools like career management and learning management systems.

Paycor Talent Development offers:

  • Customized feedback templates to facilitate great 1:1s
  • Automated workflows to reduce admin
  • Storage of historical feedback so you can build on what’s gone before
  • 360 feedback features to make use of your whole team’s experiences
  • Integrated OKRs and SMART goals to get everyone on the same page

How Paycor Helps

Paycor builds HR solutions for leaders. With Paycor, you can modernize every aspect of people management, from the way you recruit, onboard and develop your team, to the way you pay and retain them. See how Paycor can help the leaders of your organization solve the problems of today and tomorrow.