Learning & Development

Build Your Cutting-Edge Talent Development Program

By Sandy Pennington
Excellent training programs are pivotal in securing a company’s future. Would you consider your organization’s talent development initiatives to be cutting-edge? To help you begin building the best program possible, here are some tips from Sandy Pennington, chief people and process officer for Clinicient.

In 2013, 52% of employers stated that their top business challenge was hiring and retaining talent. As this business challenge shows no signs of letting up any time soon, companies must rethink their approach to talent management.
Talent management, or an organization’s commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market, is evolving dramatically and quickly.
Formerly perceived as an HR task, talent management is now a technology-enabled, holistic strategy for driving business value.
This transformation is visible in how top performing organizations talk about talent management. Often these internal conversations about staff training and hiring resemble business development strategies. Instead of asking the question, “Is this person a good fit for this role?” talent management experts inquire: “Is this person not only a good fit for this role, but also for the company as a whole, and for future roles they may inhabit?”
Identifying and hiring the right people is a key first step. But it is just that—a first step. Once the right people are in the organization, however, you still need to provide them opportunities for growth and development or they will look elsewhere to find them. Building a strong development program is a key piece to retaining and growing your talent.
I have designed talent development programs at technology and services companies for over a decade. Below are my top tips for building a talent development program that will position your organization for success in any competitive industry.

Tip #1: Start by Listening

In order to make a competitive difference with talent development, organizations must start by listening to their employees. Engage employees to better understand the gaps that currently exist, and identify departments that struggle to engage employees in the right skill development.
For example, at Clinicient, we conducted a thorough audit of our talent development offerings. We identified which departments needed the most support and how to most successfully deliver it. We learned that while our instructor-led courses and robust on-demand trainings are valuable, these resources alone did not satisfy the needs of many employees.
By listening closely to employees, we learned they desired shorter, more frequent learning opportunities to fit with their busy work schedules. We embraced this feedback and developed microlearnings by breaking down several trainings into shorter units for bursts of learning.

Tip #2: Make It Accessible

As organizations set out to transform their learning and development programs, they must identify a learning platform that can be easily accessed by all employees. Traditional learning management systems can often be cumbersome to use and may only be accessible from a PC and not mobile devices.
This inflexibility significantly limits how employees can interact with the development content housed on the platforms. It is ideal for employees to be able to access training and development content from anywhere on any device—no matter if they are in the office, commuting home, or traveling to a client’s location. If your platform is limiting your employees’ access options, it may be time to look for a more flexible platform.
Pennington has three more training program tips for our readers in tomorrow’s Advisor.