Challenges in the Talent Development Pipeline

No matter where on the spectrum an organization is on talent development, companies are constantly looking at how to keep, grow and challenge their employees and executives. These people are your organization’s engine and the importance of keeping them around and running at top speed is no secret. I’m often asked about how to address some of these challenges:

So, why is it so difficult to keep our executives? What can we do about this?

Research has shown that retaining recently hired or promoted executives is a challenge for many organizations (Corporate Leadership Council; The Center for Creative Leadership). The creation of leadership development programs and processes for onboarding executives is very effective at addressing these issues. It’s also vital not to forget to include middle managers so they can grow to be the leadership you’ll need. Employees are more likely to stay when they feel an investment of growth is being made in them, which helps retention rates.

How can we ensure continuous enrollment, especially when individuals work in remote locations? Should participation be optional or required, and what about a nomination process?

Recently, one global organization’s learning and development department was challenged by dwindling enrollment in their program. To address the issue, it took on a partnership with each business unit’s executives and HR business partners in order to increase enrollment and perceived prestige of the program. It instituted a formal nomination and application process with a limited number of openings annually, which led employees to perceive the opportunity as an exclusive and competitive employee benefi t for those considering future management roles. Additionally, the curriculum was revamped and a new online cohort was established in order to meet the needs of the business units with geographically dispersed participants. The result was a much stronger and more successful program, with more employees clamoring to participate.

How do you successfully assimilate new managers from external organizations in an effort to enhance retention?

In this case, the organization addressed the issue on a case-by-case basis by making the new manager program optional for external new hires. Many participated in the full program in order to integrate into their new roles and fully understand the leadership and management principles. Many took advantage of select modules so they could learn about strategy or
the culture. Finally, there were several geographically remote managers who, while they could not complete the entire program, were able to take advantage of the online content for the previously offered modules they missed. Overall, the program was enhanced and grew to help all managers better understand the strategies and management culture of their organization and their roles within it. No matter the challenge, just keep in mind that as a talent development professional, whether internal or external to the organization, demonstrating credibility is paramount. Show your understanding of the business, and most importantly, the needs of the talent you are trying to retain.

JIM CARUSO, MBA, CPA, MHRD, CPLP, IS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR ON DREXEL LEBOW’S CORPORATE AND EXECUTIVE EDUCATION TEAM AND AN ADJUNCT MANAGEMENT INSTRUCTOR AT DREXEL LEBOW. HE IS A SEASONED TALENT DEVELOPMENT PROFESSIONAL WHO HAS DESIGNED, DELIVERED, AND MANAGED CUSTOMIZED AND EXPERIENTIAL BUSINESS ACUMEN AND LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS GLOBALLY FOR FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES FOR OVER 15 YEARS. HE BRINGS AN INTEGRATED AND HOLISTIC PERSPECTIVE TO CLIENTS’ TALENT DEVELOPMENT NEEDS CAPITALIZING ON HIS DIVERSE ROLES IN TRAINING CONSULTANCIES, CORPORATE L&D, AND ACADEMIC EXECUTIVE EDUCATION.