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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LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

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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.

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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
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LSA’s customized Effective Presentation Skills program has helped me elevate my presentation skills to the next level. I now have a much greater self-awareness of my presentation skills and can leverage off of my strengths while working to improve upon other areas. I would definitely recommend this solution to anyone for whom business presentations are an integral part of their job.

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Samsung

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

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

Terry Wassman
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I am very impressed with the quality of work and talent. LSA did a great job of listening to my needs and providing the exact management training program expertise I needed to get the job done.

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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

LSA helped us design and deliver a blended learning solution for our leaders to help drive our growth plans in a way that aligned with our specific culture and values. LSA understood our business, had deep expertise in the content areas, tailored the programs to fit our specific needs, and delivered great results. They constantly strive to deliver business impact and align their solutions with our business initiates, culture, and performance management systems. I highly recommend them to anyone looking to take their leaders to the next level.”

Beth A. Taylor
Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

We consider LSA our true business partner in the areas of Learning and Organizational Development. From Strategic Planning to Presentation Skills and Management Training, they continue to provide excellent value and extremely high quality solutions – not just one time events. I recommend them to anyone looking to drive true business results.

Michelle A. Mitchell
Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources

We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

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Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

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