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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Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

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.

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Vice President Human Resources

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Senior Marketing Manager

Samsung

What a refreshing change from the half-baked psycho-babble you normally get from training and consulting organizations. LSA gives you the practical and results-oriented assistance you need to define and reach your goal.  They provide a results driven plan – not just a temporary fix. They are great to work with, and even more importantly, they “get it!”

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Vice President Human Resources

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HR Manager

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people in the areas of performance coaching, diversity, and inclusion. They focused on helping us succeed and were very flexible in meeting our specific needs. LSA Global exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and value standpoint. I would recommend LSA Global to anyone looking for a true business partner.

Anita Luckinbill
Director, Human Resources

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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VP of Human Resources

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

Mitch Mandich
CEO

Edify

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

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

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

“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

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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Director, Business Planning & Analysis

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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SPO Partners & Co
Kim Silva, CFO

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