How to Develop a Talent Development Program

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

If your organization isn’t taking Talent Development seriously, you are missing out on today’s best and brightest and pushing your current talent out the door. Depending on the article or survey results you read, the same items are at the top of employee lists for why they accept offers and stay with a company: compensation, culture, and professional development. Compensation and culture can be difficult needles to move, but formalizing a Talent Development program is something you can create and drive in your organization.

Below are ten steps to building a professional development program:

  1. Understand1: Take a deep dive into your company’s short- and long-term strategy. Determine the major skill gaps your workforce is missing.

  2. Explore2: Research internally and externally to identify the best and most creative components of professional development programs that will address your needs. What are people doing now in your organization and what do they wish they could be doing?

  3. Build3,4: Take the time to build out your business case. Programs receive approval because there is a strong business need.

  4. Assess: Every company has a threshold for the time and budget employees can spend on professional development. Even “free” development activities, such as informal mentoring or special projects, should be balanced with meeting business goals and objectives.

  5. Develop5: Your Talent Development philosophy should match your organization’s culture and budget. This will help employees think about their own development in a way that your company can support.

  6. Package6: A straightforward process with a simple form will keep employees focused on the content. Let employees be as ambitious as they want to be. Some may be happy keeping up with the technology in their area of expertise, while others may have their eye on the C-suite.

  7. Train: Ensure you provide training for employees and leaders on how to approach the process and the expected outcomes.

  8. Track: In the beginning, tracking employee completion rates for developing a plan and sharing it with their managers is a great step. Encouraging employees to share their plans with others who could support them is also a great way to build in accountability.

  9. Reward7: As employees start to actively develop themselves and communicate more clearly and formally their professional goals, rewards will likely be easy and organic. You may need to encourage behavior in the beginning with recognition but over time, employees will see that those who take the process seriously will get the special projects, lateral moves, and promotions.

  10. Revise9: No program or process would be complete with ongoing evaluation and improvements.

Talent Development programs take time and consistent effort to build. However, once they become part of your culture and drive how people think and feel about being employed by your company, it will become your most valuable asset.


1 Solving Today's Skills Gap (Training)

2 Implementing a Training and Development Program (HR Council)

3 How to Build an HR Business Case (SHRM)

4 The Right Way to Present Your Business Case (HBR)

5 The 70-20-10 Rule for Leadership Development (CCL)

6 Development Plan Templates (Google)

7 Using Incentives to Promote Learning and Education in Your Workplace (Talent Crunch Blog)

8 Driving Organizational Objectives with Program Evaluation (SHRM)

Other interesting articles:

5 Reasons You Should Be Investing in Employee Development (Inc)

2017 Employee Benefits Remaining Competitive in a Challenging Talent Marketplace (SHRM)

How Professional Development Helps Companies and Employees Succeed (Forbes)

8 Key Tactics for Developing Employees (Forbes)

Six Learning and Development Trends to Embrace for Maximum ROI (Forbes)

5 Steps to Creating Employee Development Plans that Truly Work (Insperity)

569 views0 comments