Learning puts the "heart" in talent management

by Melany Gallant | Posted | Learning

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As you look to grow or re-invent your business in today's highly competitive business environment, investing in the development of your people just makes sense.

Learning is the one tool that allows organizations to respond quickly to rapidly shifting markets and business priorities while improving long term sustainability.

And yet, development and training programs are often one of the first programs to be cut in an organization when budget pressures build up.

That's why with budgets stretched even tighter these days, it's more important than ever to make sure you're getting a return on your training investments.

Because making the investment in learning can have a huge impact. Some of the advantages of this kind of investment include the ability to:

o build alignment
o preserve organizational memory and knowledge
o establish talent as a lasting competitive advantage
o increase employee engagement, productivity and retention

This last one I want to touch on because learning also helps to increase the loyalty of your employees. When you commit to developing and enriching the skills and experiences of your employees - you make them more employable.

And you need employable employees because they are your competitive advantage. They are the people with the skills, knowledge, expertise and drive to move your business forward.

Gaining a true picture of corporate performance

Talent management in and of itself is focused on improving performance throughout an organization. The processes and programs that manage each phase of the talent cycle depend on one another, and the data and information captured and created in one program can be critical to the effectiveness of another.

Connecting learning to these talent processes is about business outcomes. Do you have the right people in the right roles to reach your business goals? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Learning provides data that reaches the heart of an organization's skills and capabilities and paints a true picture of corporate performance.

Here's a diagram that demonstrates this point:

Learning puts the heart in talent management - diagram - Brandon Hall Group 2012

Exploring the connections between learning and talent management

It doesn't matter the size of your organization, this type of holistic view of the ways your talent management components work together - and complement one another - can help you build a world-class workforce that delivers results for your business.

This recently published Brandon Hall Group white paper discusses the impact of learning across a variety of talent management processes - including performance management, rewards, recruitment, and succession planning.

Here's an excerpt that outlines learning's impact on succession planning:

"Bench strength is a critical strategic challenge for almost any organization. Having the right people with the right skills ready to move into critical roles plays is essential to keep a business moving forward.

Learning plays an integral role in succession planning by closing existing skills and competency gaps so that internal roles can fill open leadership opportunities. An organization needs to be able to identify its critical roles, the skills and competencies necessary to execute those roles, and the people within the company who can fill those roles if necessary.

When the succession planning process identifies areas of improvement for high potential employees within an organization, that information can be worked into the learning process. This allows a company to quickly identify the talent that is closest to meeting the needs, and assigning the training necessary to close the gaps.

Continuing the integration cycle, the records of completed courses feed back into succession planning, helping to identify further skill gaps and learning requirements."

Technology plays a role too

While technology isn't absolutely necessary to manage connected talent management processes, it definitely makes it easier. Especially when it comes to collecting and reviewing data that drives key decisions about your talent.

According to Brandon Hall Group's research, the number of organizations who leverage an enterprise system with a learning module for their internal employees, over a stand-alone learning system, has doubled in just the last two years.

Connecting learning and talent processes is only effective when key data points are shared seamlessly, and integrated solutions can make that "connect the dots" exercise easier and more efficient. (full disclosure: The Halogen TalentSpace™ does this).

Learning is a key differentiator

Let's get back to that point about how learning can drives employee engagement and retention by the simple act of making them more employable.

Learning is a key differentiator in attracting and developing talent. If you invest in developing and engaging your talent for growth and improvement your employees will value these investments. Of course part of what they value is the fact you are improving their skills and knowledge, but it goes deeper than that.

By investing in learning and by effectively tying it to the talent programs that are driving performance (and thereby driving your business forward), you demonstrate the importance of your employees in helping you reach your business goals.

The return beyond employability is your ability to foster a culture where employees feel they are truly a part of your company's success.

Do you agree? What are your thoughts on learning's impact on talent management? Please share in the comments section below. And if you like this post, please consider sharing it with your networks.

You can learn more about learning's critical role in supporting all talent management processes by downloading this Brandon Hall white paper.


White paper download: Learning puts the heart in talent management


White paper download: Learning puts the heart in talent management


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