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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Solve a business problem: develop employees

We all know that organizations are facing a much more difficult landscape than they did two years ago. Organizations at the forefront of their industries are the ones that attract the best and the brightest talent who bring the innovation and creativity needed to win.

Organizations that value their employees know that they bring a unique set of experiences and expertise. They realize those in the trenches can see where efficiencies can be created and are often the best source for innovation. Encouraging employees to share their perspectives and insights will help an organization enrich its offerings, address organizational issues, become more creative, more efficient, offer a fresh point of view, and escalate the competitiveness of their organization.

Employees want to be involved in business strategy execution and in helping their employer to be more successful. These future leaders want to play an active role and contribute to its success in a meaningful way. Employees are no longer content watching from the sidelines; they want to be part of the decision process.

However, study after study share findings indicating future leaders are poised to leave organizations once the job market improves, while engagement research shows that keeping employees engaged is a key to retention.

Leaders must address how to improve engagement while staying focused on business needs. Developing employees is highly correlated with increased engagement and employee retention. However, simply developing employees may not lead to improved organizational results. There needs to be a link between development and the strategic goals of the organization. An Emerging Talent Program focused on identifying and developing high potentials is a catalyst many high performance organizations use to engage and retain their best and brightest. With direction and input from senior leadership, employees identified as “Emerging Talent” are given organizational goals to research, analyze, and make recommendations on. Examples include identifying additional solutions or offerings, establishing more effective practices, and identifying new market strategies. Throughout the program senior leadership assesses the direction of the projects and makes refinements where necessary to ensure constant alignment with business objectives. Recommendations are then reviewed by senior leadership, decisions are made based on strategic priorities, implementation owners are identified, and action plans are created. Throughout this implementation process the Emerging Talent members are fully involved, and their development continues to expand as a result. Upon completion of the one-year Emerging Talent program, members become mentors and coaches to the next program class to help share their insights and give feedback on the direction of the projects.

Organizations that engage employees through development activities, such as an Emerging Talent Program, while focusing on strategy, increase engagement and retain key talent, creating the high performance workforce needed to move the company to the forefront of their industry. When implemented as part of an organization’s overall business and talent strategy, engaging high potentials by offering development opportunities solves a critical business issue: having the right people with the right skills in the right roles.

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