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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The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

Debra Martucci
Vice President, Information Technology

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

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’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

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

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

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

Understanding and conforming to legal compliance was very important to our company. We turned to LSA Global to provide a quality and cost effective way to ensure that we were AB 1825 compliant. Their interactive eLearning program was top-notch. It allowed our managers to learn at their own pace, and on their own time. The program was tailored to include our logo and our internal harassment policies. It was interactive and met all federal and state legal requirements. I would highly recommend LSA Global to any company looking for an efficient and effective and top quality way to train their managers to be in compliance.

Kelly Warren, SPHR
Director, HR & Compliance

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
HR Director

“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

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

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

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

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.

Stephanie Webb
HR Program Manager

Rambus

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.

Jennifer Remling
Director of Global Recruiting

AKQA

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