Training High Potentials vs. Training All Employees

A businessman points to just training high potentials

Should You Invest More in Training High Potentials?
There is an ongoing talent development debate about whether it is wise to focus on training high potentials or to spread training resources more evenly throughout the workforce.

Training High Potentials Point of View
Some leaders believe that it makes sense to provide special development opportunities for their most promising and most strategic workers. After all, these are the employees who are ambitious, talented, dedicated and most likely to succeed where it matters most.

Don’t they deserve special investments in time and training?  Some clients believe this is the only way to go if you want to impact business performance.  For example,

  • One recent client decided to focus on their top 72 leaders.
  • Another decided to focus on a special group of 285 high performers.

Training All Employees Point of View
Other leaders do not believe in playing favorites. They would rather invest in developing all their employees and creating a culture of equality. Many are also betting that, in their larger population, previously unrecognized talent will emerge as a result of the general training and their “equal opportunity” strategy will pay off in more engaged employees overall.

There Are Risks in Both Approaches
A company that focuses on training only high potentials is likely, on average, to lose over half of them over a five year period to better offers from the competition. And a company that invests in training all employees, may well risk a great deal of their development dollars on employees who are not yet ready for the training or not sufficiently skilled or motivated to transfer the new skills to their jobs and make a meaningful impact on the business.

So What?
So where does that leave us in the debate of training high potentials versus training all employees?  Based upon twenty-plus years helping clients in the field of talent management consulting, we believe:

  • Different talent should be treated differently based upon your specific business and people strategies.
  • Training must be addressed as a change initiative if you want to impact business performance.

The Attributes of Effective Training
We heartily believe in the value of corporate training and development if it is done right.  That is a big “if.” We consider training done right to have the following attributes:

  • Designed to address a pressing business issue
  • Customized to the trainees’ real world to create high training relevance
  • Actively supported by the participants, their boss and company leadership
  • Reinforced with performance coaching and training measurement to ensure transfer to the job

Then corporate training can provide a needed and exciting competitive advantage.

The Bottom Line
Company leaders need to assess their training priorities in light of their overall corporate strategy and workplace culture. This will help them make a wise decision on whether to target the training on a specific group or deliver it more broadly. Develop the talent that you need to grow and compete.

For the optimum use of your training budget, align your talent with your business and people strategies.

To learn more about taking your training approach to the next level, download The Top 10 Warning Signs that Your Training Function May Be in Trouble

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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

Barry L. Byrd, SPHR
Human Resources Manager

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

Emily Couey
Director of Human Resources

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

We recently partnered with LSA Global to offer our Supervisors and Managers a customized two-day management training program. Everyone who attended said it was by far the best management training program they had ever attended. The content was rich and highly interactive. The case studies were relevant. Each participant walked away from the training much better equipped to lead their teams.

Jeff Coon
Director of Human Resources

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Bob Ward
Director of HR

Harmonic has worked with LSA for over 8 years. We have found their partnership extremely beneficial. We recently implemented a Management Development Program that was designed and customized to support our company’s strategic initiative of hiring, building, and retaining key intellectual property and human talent. We worked closely with LSA to target and implement the right solutions with the greatest impact. I would recommend LSA to any company that’s looking for a trusted training and development partner.

Janice Passarello
Director of Human Resources

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

Kristin Westland-Kaune
Director, Team Development

We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

Steve Feller
Vice President, Human Resources

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