Why Talent Bench Matters, Part I
In researching trends in executive coaching, I recently came across a Stanford University study. The research shows among other things how company boards are eager for CEOs to capitalize on internal talent, in part by recognizing the importance of the talent bench. No doubt, it’s interesting that company boards view this strategy as very important, but it’s highly likely your employees also place value on it as well. After all, people generally want to become better at their jobs and evolve in terms of their professional abilities and contributions. They also like to “move up” the ladder when they can. So this week, I’m kicking off a two-part series on the topic of that “talent bench.” Today, I want to share with you about why professional development and investing in your people are so vital to your company’s success. Then don’t miss next week’s blog, where I’ll focus on several smart moves you can make to better develop that proverbial talent bench.
Here are three great reasons why building your people up professionally could be one of the best investments you can make:
1. It helps in the hiring process.
There’s this funny misperception that we always need what we don’t have—or that it exists elsewhere, beyond the confines of our organization’s walls. Because of this, leaders fall into looking outside for great hires rather than developing the talent and hiring from within. This can be a big mistake for a couple of reasons. For starters, it tends to be more costly and risky to take chances on new hires, particularly if they are unfamiliar with your organization and its ways. But it can also send a demoralizing message to your well-deserving and highly capable current hires who, if you’ve been developing them all along, could quickly outperform any outside candidates. Overlook or disregard their value and it can create loyalty issues, undermining their respect for your leadership over time.
True, you may need to cast a wide net because that’s policy or the way things have always been done. But as long as you’re taking employee development seriously, it’s quite likely you’ve got what you need, or something very close to it—people who, with a little more training or support, will be the best choice. This thinking applies not just to traditional hiring but to succession planning, too.
2. It motivates people to perform.
Invest in the potential of others and they won’t just know you support them, they will feel (and experience) the benefits, generating a lifelong impact on them. And this can be very powerful—powerful enough to move people to act upon what they’ve learned from the professional development you’ve provided. Powerful enough to build upon the foundations you’ve provided. And powerful enough to return the favor by producing the results you want and need. Whether you’re teaching them to use some dynamic new software that will get them up to speed with today’s latest technologies, sending them to MAP’s 2.5 day workshop for executive training, or even paying for an advanced degree that will pack their brains with greater professional know-how, your people will feel empowered and motivated to perform for you and their team.”
3. It builds a winning culture.
Organizations that invest in and develop their people professionally tend to have high employee morale, greater goal alignment, and a propensity for constant dedication, innovation, and forward momentum. These organizations often develop a very strong brand. Their employees typically function well as a “team” yet they are clearly respected for their strengths and differences. As a result, these types of businesses are places where people really want to work. If they are current employees, they don’t want to leave. And if they are not, they want to be hired. As a Disciplined Leader, it’s part of your responsibility to build a winning culture. So when you think about how to go about creating this ideal, don’t just think about what you can get from winning. Think about what you can give to make winning possible. Invest in your people in the right ways and the winning will take care of itself.
What positive experiences do you have with developing your talent bench—what was the ROI?