6 Tactics to Overcome Talent Development Challenges

Developing talent internally is no longer an elective for businesses today. With an increasing skill gap in the digital economy and competitive job market, internal development is imperative to achieve employee engagement and retention of top talent. However, to succeed, your company must make learning a strategic priority.

Explore six tactics to see how your company can make learning a priority today.

Ensure that learning is relevant.

  • Tie developmental opportunities directly to employees’ goals and preferred learning approaches. For instance, provide an employee, who is interested in advancing into an active project management role, access to courses, reading materials, and stretch assignments that will enable them to take on the new position and excel.

  • Provide tools that enable your workforce to search for learning activities that best fit their learning style. Learning looks very different for everyone. Some employees prefer watching videos, others reading books and article while others may best thrive through interactive simulations.

  • Encourage employees to review the skills requirements for their current job and help them identify and select one or more jobs they are interested in exploring.
    They can also assess how well their current skills match the requirements for the new jobs and determine which developmental experiences can best help them close skill gaps.

Integrate learning into employees’ workday and workspace.

  • Make it easy for employees to learn at any point in their day, on the job. When learning is readily accessible, employees are more likely to seize opportunities to master new skills and acquire new knowledge. For example, provide a company intranet with single-sign-on functionality where employees can regularly visit to find answers as they encounter challenges and make decisions in the course of their work.

Support micro-learning.

  • Deliver learning in curated, bite-sized formats, much like what employees are accustomed to in their consumer lives. Content channels such as YouTube, blogs, and Twitter have primed people for learning in bite-sized chunks as they go about their day. To enable micro-learning on demand for employees, deliver learning in easily consumable formats that will help them apply what they have learned by delivering timely, topically relevant content that addresses challenges on the job.

Enable self-directed learning.

  • Make it easy for employees to see what skills and knowledge they must build to close performance gaps in their current job. Give them feedback on how they are doing as they advance toward their goals. Equally important, help them identify what is next along their career path—what kinds of work they want to do next and what they must do to get there. This provides the control that many employees today want over their own careers and professional development. Self-directed learning, valued particularly by millennials, differs from the process currently in use in many organizations, whereby HR directs training out to employees in a prescriptive way.

  • Give employees access to tools they can use to manage their learning. For instance, if they take a course, determine whether they are interested in learning more, then guide them to relevant new learning content. HR’s role thus becomes more about helping the workforce identify what training they should take to attain their goals and to understand how they can benefit by completing the training.

Provide guidance.

  • Take the guesswork out of professional development for employees by providing relevant content. There is a wealth of potential learning content available out in the world, much of it accessible on the Internet, as well as within every organization. This plethora of content is a double-edged sword: It gives employees a considerable degree of choice—but it can also prove overwhelming. Technology can be a powerful ally in guiding learners through this complex landscape. The right learning management system can enable organizations to deliver learning content that is the most credible and relevant for employees, allowing them to extract the most practical insights.

Foster accountability.

  • For external content and training, make sure that their learning is accounted for in the organization’s talent development system, and that their achievements are tracked. These practices foster accountability for progress on the part of learners by enabling them to see where they are in their learning plan. Such practices can also motivate learners to stay with the company and seek out future opportunities for growth.

By enacting these tactics, you are boosting your organization’s ability to use learning to drive development and growth. Setting learning as a priority is a wonderful achievement. The next step is to ensure that learning and development programs deliver results that directly support the achievement of business goals defined by top management.