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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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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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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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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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.

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We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

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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.”

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Vice President of Human Resources

Thoratec

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.

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Intuit

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Rambus

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