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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Intuit

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What a personal and professional pleasure it has been to Partner with LSA. They are truly a strategic partner with Wyse. For more than 5 years, LSA has been engaged in delivering various training and development solutions for Wyse, from custom on-site programs targeting specific core competencies, to working individually with clients to build job skills, and offering invaluable services to me and my team as we continue to build our learning programs. LSA’s representatives do more than sell a product, they offer a full service solution: they understand our business, our strategic initiatives, and the needs of our customers.

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LSA has been a tremendous asset to my portfolio, both at my current company and my past company. As an HR leader, I am always looking for ways to find external resources that can provide a solution to our management training needs. LSA does that for me. Their solutions are presented in a much more leadership-oriented manner so as to be crisp, business relevant, and easy to apply right back on the job. I will continue to augment our programs using LSA solutions.

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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.

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LSA Global’s consultant brought a fresh perspective to our behavioral based interviewing strategy for two key executive positions we needed to fill, and their consultant helped us develop questions that produced a much deeper understanding of candidates’ capabilities. I am confident that the two new executives joining our organization have the right skills to add significant value. Throughout the process LSA was also very responsive in dealing with short lead time requests.

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Kim Silva, CFO

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.

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I consistently look to LSA Global when I need custom programs put together for my client groups. I can always count on LSA to do a thorough needs analysis and to put together spectacular programs that are well received. Their management development and performance management expertise and professionalism make them one of my top-rated learning and development partners.

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I had been working with LSA for many years with my prior company. Currently, I’m with a company who hadn’t done much basic management skills training. After identifying and presenting a program recently, our managers are excited and talking in the halls about the great experience. LSA saves us time in delivering the right training for our needs.

Phyllis Moracco
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Terri Wright-Scheer
Vice President Human Resources

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.

Don Pryor
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