In today’s competitive business environment hiring top-notch talent is essential for reaching organizational goals, staying ahead of the competition and achieving lasting success. The most capable human resources departments know that having the best and brightest doesn’t simply entail recruiting talented people; they also need to nurture their abilities with continuous learning.

An engaging, sustainable and scalable learning program is arguably one of the most effective ways to retain top talent and increase morale and performance over the long term, ultimately supporting the success of your organization. Therefore, creating a modern training program could be one of the most influential talent management decisions your team ever makes.

The Importance of Talent Management

For a long time, businesses hired people to perform certain jobs or tasks — and those jobs or tasks only. This approach views workers as static cogs in a machine rather than dynamic and valued individuals who can continuously enhance their skill sets over the years. Poor talent management not only results in excessive new hire costs and interludes in production as you battle employee churn. Viewing team members as compartmentalized task-performers can leave talented employees with a feeling of stagnation or a lack of job security, often motivating them to move on.

In recent years, organizations have come to recognize the importance of building their team members and truly taking advantage of their human capital. More than hiring capable employees and providing standardized onboarding and training for their current position, talent management takes a longer-term and more comprehensive approach to supporting each team member’s success within the organization. It emphasizes helping people learn, grow and advance within your company.

At a glance, these are a few of the benefits of developing a talent management strategy for your organization:

  • It attracts talented people.
  • It motivates employees by providing them with new opportunities to advance and learn within or past their position.
  • It improves employee performance as they learn and grow.
  • It engages the whole team in the business’ strategic success.
  • It helps retain talented people.

By supporting the talent within your organization, you can cut down on onboarding costs; increase productivity; and retain experienced, hard-working, loyal ambassadors for your organization for years to come.

Learning at the Center of Talent Management

The most important difference between talent management and traditional training or learning and development (L&D) is the focus on offering professional development and learning opportunities throughout the entirety of the employee life cycle as opposed to only requiring completion of certain onboarding, compliance or certification courses. Organizations that invest more time and resources into their learning programs are taking a big step toward equipping themselves with a more knowledgeable, confident and loyal team long-term.

Every year since 2017, LinkedIn Learning has asked L&D managers about their challenges. In 2017, 49% said “limited budget” was one of their top challenges. In 2018, that number dropped to 32%, and in 2019, it dropped to 27%. Executives now recognize the importance of providing continuous education. From a business perspective, encouraging employees to continuously develop their skills and understanding through study and practice means having more capable team members, leading to greater productivity and success. For employees, having opportunities to learn is engaging and motivating.

If you want to help build a successful business, don’t view team members as workers brought on to fit a role. Instead, view them as talented individuals whom you can foster and develop through accessible, consistent and effective workplace learning.

Building an Effective Learning Ecosystem

Of course, human learning is complex. Sometimes, we learn without any formal education. Other times, we fail to learn in a traditional setting. For a business to develop an effective learning program to fuel talent management, it needs to include the right tools and teaching methods that will help ensure optimal outcomes for each unique learner. With that goal in mind, here are some qualities of a well-designed learning ecosystem:

Accessible: An effective learning program should be easy to access for all learners. While in-person training has its value, incorporating a dynamic, flexible and mobile-compliant e-learning solution such as a learning management system (LMS) can help streamline efforts, diversify learning, and provide a centralized hub for team members to access courses and resources virtually anywhere. This accessibility gives learners the opportunity to develop their skills on their own schedules and encourages them to regularly spend time improving through L&D.

Aligned With Strategic Goals: You should design your learning program to support your organization’s strategic goals. Learning resources should help your employees develop skill sets that are relevant and useful for the organization and push them to become more knowledgeable or skilled in key tasks or objectives.

Measurable: Learning needs to be measurable, which is another area where e-learning can help. A digital training platform that can track learner engagement, who is taking which courses and how they’re performing, course evaluations and certifications, and other formal and informal learning data will help you determine how effective your training efforts are. It will also enable you to track and store employee progress to ensure you’re consistently and effectively supporting your talent. Within your LMS, you should be able to monitor and evaluate these elements at an organizational, departmental and individual level.

Streamlined: An effective learning program should be streamlined to fit your talent management objectives, not the other way around. You need tools that you can customize based your learners’ needs, job, location, and daily or weekly workload and that can fit seamlessly into your organization’s workflows. Flexibility and adaptability are key to an effective learning program.

Professionally Designed: Effective learning programs are designed by experienced professionals who understand the dynamics of both your organization and the personnel within it. Whether you employ internal instructional designers or an external e-learning provider, you’ll want to ensure that the people creating your training program have extensive knowledge in the successful learning methods, the leading tools and how to maximize the effectiveness of your solution.

Well-communicated: One of the most common pitfalls of learning programs is poor internal communication. Introduce people to the system, and set them up with clear initial goals so they can get their feet wet. For larger teams, running a pilot group is often beneficial. It’s a chance to work out the kinks while also developing a group of project evangelists. Clear communication is key to achieving buy-in and making sure the program is adopted across your organization.

Finding the Right Tools for Your Learning Program and Talent Management

At the core of most learning programs is a learning management system. E-learning is often the secret to effective training and talent management in modern businesses, because it offers the access, flexibility and metrics needed to run a successful L&D program.

When searching for an LMS, it is important to consider which metrics and methods you’ll need to fully support your learners and the goals of your organization. Once you have this understanding, you can determine the technology, platform(s) and/or providers you might use to deliver streamlined, effective workplace learning and talent management.

Find a provider that will help you implement your system and plan your learning program to be aligned with your business goals. Ideally, the provider should have a service team capable of bringing the instructional design expertise you need to be effective.

When creating your learning programs, it’s vital to incorporate continuous professional development to ensure a sustainable, knowledgeable and confident team. By leveraging flexible and future-proof solutions to build your learning ecosystem, you’ll transform your L&D program into a training and talent cultivation engine.