06 Aug 2018

Addressing Concerns about Investing Talent Benchstrength and Development

Some organizations worry that they will spend precious funds on developing people who will then leave the organization after “building up their resume”. It is true that no matter what we do, we will have some top talent leave the organization after investing in their growth and development. However, here are other ways to look at this concern:

  • The risk of spending time and money on developing employees is that they will then leave the organization and we lose that investment. But what is our other choice? If we fail to develop our talent, we will eventually only have employees who are not growing in their competencies, and who are not keeping their knowledge current within our industry. Or, we will have to pay more money to go out and “buy talent” time and time again. So which is the greater risk—potentially losing a few employees we have spent money to develop OR keeping a large number of employees who lack current knowledge and new skills for our growing organization, and constantly paying to hire new talent in the company?
  • The Talent Benchstrength procedures in Talent Review meetings are designed to identify knowledge and skill gaps that are targeted specifically to prepare employees for expanded roles, for successor positions, and for new leadership roles. In an organization without these Talent Benchstrength procedures, the typical Employee Development Plan often does serve only to “beef up” an individual’s resume, rather than planning for the employee’s career growth within the organization.
  • The employees who first become frustrated and leave the organization due to a lack of career growth and development are your TOP talent employees—the employees who are your innovative future leaders. The employees who are more likely to be retained are employees who may lack an interest in continuous career growth, development and top performance. Failing to create retention plans, succession plans and development plans also creates a recipe for losing top leadership talent.
  • Take a look at the Employee Relations staff in your organization—do you have a larger staff focusing on employee relations issues, performance problems, employee conflicts, etc. and a smaller staff (or even no staff) for employee and leadership development? Is there is a significant difference in your staff size and budget in these two areas?

If so, consider the analogy of a manufacturing or engineering organization that plans a large budget because they know they will have expenses, potential lawsuits and fines due to employee accidents and safety violations, while planning a low or non-existent budget for safety training, safety equipment and safety procedures and postings. Safety training and procedures are designed to prevent accidents and to reduce costs, while Talent Benchstrength strategy and succession planning practices are designed to prevent talent loss and to reduce external recruiting costs. So while a successful manufacturing or engineering organization should have budget and a focus on safety training and on accident prevention, so to should any organization have a budget and a focus on leadership development and talent loss prevention.