How to Nurture Your Top Talent so You Don’t Lose It

a drawing of a potted plant with the caption: Cultivate Your Talent

The best leaders work hard to hire and develop the top talent required to succeed now and in the future. Once your carefully selected workers are on board and prepared, however, you cannot afford to neglect them. To retain high performers, you need to engage them, challenge them, continue to develop them, provide them with an attractive career path, and show that you value and appreciate their contributions.

With all the investment in learning and development these days, we are surprised when we hear from workers, even at large companies that claim robust training departments, that they are frustrated at the lack of relevant learning opportunities. The operative word here is “relevant.” We might also add “timely.” Relevant, timely and reinforced learning is what matters in a serious learning organization.

With organizations being ever more challenged to find workers with the competencies needed to succeed, it is critical that companies find ways to nurture and grow the talent pools they already have. There are traditional ways of supporting the growth and learning of your talent and there are ways that rely more on technology. Here are four modalities to consider:

1. Leader-led, classroom format
This delivery format is still regularly used in corporate settings. Live workshops are very effective when fully customized to the relevant needs of the participants, their bosses and the goals of the business. Our research finds that this high degree of relevance, when reinforced with skilled coaching, integrated support processes, timely application and training measurement, creates a 4-to-1 improvement when compared to stand-alone training events. Additional benefits are obtained when you seek a shared understanding and common learning among a target employee population.

2. Informal learning format
Informally, employees can learn effectively by observing experts in the skills they need to adopt, by receiving coaching from managers who know how to encourage and shape behavior, and from actual on-the-job experience. On its own, or in conjunction with leader-led training, on-the job application and feedback should be a critical component to any learning and development curriculum.

3. E-learning
Learners go online at their convenience to access information, learn targeted skills and then test out of each level as they prove proficiency. This is typically a far less expensive way to learn and can easily be delivered across geographies. It is useful for simple concepts; less effective for more complex skills.

4. Social media
Companies that take advantage of what is called “social learning” often develop their own internal platforms. Here, employees can share best practices, case studies, pose questions, receive coaching, and share meeting results and new product information. Many companies take advantage of existing social media platforms to connect employees.

Before selecting the most effective medium for learning, identify the specific business metrics that you are trying to move. Typical sales training metrics include revenue, margin, and win-rate. Typical management training metrics include employee engagement, employee retention, employee performance and employee relations. Once you know the success metrics that matter most to the business, assess what skills and knowledge are needed to achieve those success metrics. When you identify the gaps between what is needed and what your talent currently knows, you have your high-level curriculum. Depending upon which skills are needed and by whom, you can figure out a delivery system. Most often it is a combination of all of the above.

Companies that recognize their talent as a significant competitive advantage know they must continually nurture and grow their work force and align learning opportunities to business needs.

Benchmark your training initiative to see where you stand.

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I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

Terry Wassman
VP of Human Resources

Congratulations on your pro-activity in establishing this program and developing such an effective New Employee Orientation course.

Farhat Ali
President and Chief Executive Office

Fujitsu

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

In my years working with LSA, it seems like I’ve had a personal consultant at my fingertips to help me identify just the right solution to satisfy our needs. The entire LSA team has become a trusted friend of Actel — assuring we provide state-of-the-art learning to meet our complex, high-tech business and people needs.

Linda Mitchell
Training Manager

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

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

SeaTel has found our partnership with LSA Global to be very valuable and beneficial. We turned to LSA to customize a supervisory/leadership solution to meet our needs. LSA delivered a customized top quality solution. I’d recommend LSA Global to any company looking for a best-in-class training and consulting partner.

Kortney Riddle
HR Manager

LSA helped to meet the needs of my teams within a very narrow timeframe. My team walked away with highly useful management tools and practices. LSA saved us time in delivering the right solution for our specific needs.

Sandeep Kumar
Director, Software Engineering, EPG

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

Working with LSA Global has proven to be extremely valuable and worthwhile. LSA understands our business, has deep expertise in content areas, and tailors the programs to deliver great results. The facilitator was extremely knowledgeable about Working Globally with India and her energy and passion made the session interesting, fun, and enjoyable for all that attended. The participants walked away extremely pleased along with highly useful practices and tools. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company that has partners or offices in India.

Glenn McGillivray
Human Resources Business Partner

Intuit

Each program is preceded by an assessment of the participants. The course is then designed to fit the specific parameters and needs of the group. The highly interactive delivery is provided by recognized experts in their fields. On the spot coaching is provided during the program and each participant receives individual follow-up after the course. Courses can be delivered in-person or virtually. Given the nature of Cisco’s business and the way we operate, these remote workshops are a must for anyone who joins our company. Their work is eye opening. Great content and fantastic delivery.

Frank J. Kuypers
Business Development Manager

Avon’s success is dependent on strong relationships among our Customers, Representatives, Associates, and outside resources we hire to help us meet our business objectives. We were very pleased with the results from working with LSA Global to design and facilitate a custom program for our events management team. LSA demonstrated responsiveness, flexibility, and an innovative approach to working with us.

Deanna Rudnitsky
Senior Manager, HR Destiny Sales Region

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

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