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Nurturing Internal Talent and Fostering Career Development

Every organization is trying to attract top talent. However, not nearly as many are investing in what they should in order to keep the top talent they already have. While voluntary turnover is a natural part of any organization, many companies have been dealing with higher-than-normal employee turnover over the past few years. 

Why is that? There are a number of reasons that employees may choose to leave an organization, many of which you’d probably expect: better pay, unsustainable expectations, lack of flexibility and more. However, after compensation, the biggest reason why employees leave a company is due to a lack of career development and advancement opportunities. 

With how difficult it can be to find top talent, it’s incredibly important for organizations to develop the talent they already have. Additionally, the added financial cost of employee turnover can prove to be a burden, whereas investing in internal career development encourages employees to stay and also provides benefits to your team and organizational culture.

Below, we’ll talk about some of those benefits as well as discuss strategies for nurturing the talent within your organization. 

Benefits of Internal Employee Development

Showing employees your willingness to help further develop their professional skills not only helps them achieve their own career goals, but it also makes your organization stronger overall. 

Improving performance and engagement.

There can be a number of reasons why things don’t work out with certain employees. With that said, it’s rarely due to things like incompetence or insubordination. Often, employees encounter struggles with their performance when they are unable to connect with the work they do or when they aren’t fully aware of the expectations. 

That means it’s important to train your employees well and to find ways to challenge them to achieve more in their specific roles without overwhelming them. When people feel a sense of achievement in their roles, they’re more likely to become engaged and connected with their work and those around them. They are also more likely to deliver high-quality work. 

Training future organizational leaders.  

Whether it’s to a management position or the C-suite, organizations should have the capability of recognizing potential leaders within their company. By investing in your employees and giving them proper career development strategies, you give those potential leaders the space and opportunities necessary to obtain these roles. 

Sure, you can potentially look outside your organization to fill leadership roles. However, people promoted within your organization are typically more loyal to your organization because they feel valued for their work. Additionally, they see how they were able to rise through the ranks and can pass that knowledge on to others within the company and are typically more likely to trust those who were promoted from within. 

Attracting talent for the future.

Despite our focus on internal development, recruiting and finding top talent should still be a top priority for any organization. At the same time, investing in employee career development can actually be a major selling point to prospective employees. 

Research shows that 87 percent of workers view training and development as essential for reaching their career goals, meaning that offering those opportunities makes you a more attractive organization to applicants. If people are leaving organizations because they don’t feel like they’re getting the proper investment in return, showing that your company will make that investment will help you stand out.  

Building organizational culture.

We touched on this a bit earlier, but the impact on company culture cannot be overstated when it comes to employee career development. If people feel like they’re in a “dead-end” job where they have no hope of advancement, it could severely impact team morale. People may no longer feel motivated to work for a greater goal. Instead, they might turn their focus to finding a way out.

On the other hand, investing in employee development is more likely to lead to increased employee retention, particularly among your top performers. When your employees stay longer, it’s likely to lead to more familiarity and increased camaraderie for the team, which only increases employee satisfaction. It’s a mutually beneficial approach that both builds trust and helps improve the company’s bottom line. 

Tips for Nurturing Organizational Talent

As you can see, there are a number of benefits to developing the employees you already have. Though each employee has different needs and responds differently to certain managerial approaches, below are a few strategies for nurturing talent within your organization and creating an environment where employees can thrive:

  • Assess needs and design plans – It’s important to start by understanding the core competencies and skills required for the different roles within your company. Not only that, but you should also evaluate the current skillset of the employees within those roles and communicate with them to gain insight into their training preferences and how they learn best. Once you do that, you’ll be able to collaborate with others to come up with clear objectives and strategies for success.
  • Set clear goals and expectations – Many organizations fail to provide proper career development because their programs don’t set well-defined goals or have reasonable expectations. Employees should have clear, measurable and relevant goals so they know what they’re working toward and why so they can track their progress. Perhaps most importantly, the goals set for each employee should also be attainable, which will help keep them engaged. 
  • Encourage open communication and collaboration – Employees should never feel afraid to ask questions and they should never feel left in the dark when it comes to their performance. That means it’s important for people in management positions to offer an open line of communication to ask questions, raise concerns and get feedback. Having a culture of openness and encouraging people to ask questions and work together is a great way to instill confidence and trust within an organization. 
  • Allow for Flexibility – While it’s important to have structure, nurturing talent is very difficult if employees feel their work environment is too rigid. It’s important to show employees that you trust them to complete their work and achieve their goals in a manner that works for them. There are several ways organizations can do this, whether it’s offering hybrid work opportunities, allowing workers to take time during the day to take care of personal obligations and more, but it’s essential to work with your employees on an individual basis to understand what works best for them. 

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