Talent Development and the Field of Dreams

March 26, 2014 by Wally Bock

Why people really leave their jobs.” That was the title of Jena McGregor’s recent article in the Washington Post. For me, though, the money quote was only partly about the reasons why people leave. After describing a recent LinkedIn survey, McGregor says this:

“The survey, conducted by LinkedIn, found that the No. 1 reason workers left their jobs was because they wanted greater opportunities for advancement. There are two things interesting about that finding. For one, it means many workers may not be aware of the formal programs their companies have in place to promote and retain people in-house. Another recent LinkedIn survey found that 69 percent of human resources managers in the United States said employees were well aware of such “internal mobility” programs, yet just 25 percent of the departing U.S. employees in the new survey said they knew of them.”

There are two kinds of development opportunities at your company. There are the ones you have and the ones people know about. When it comes to retention, only the second kind matter.

Otherwise you’ve got a “Field of Dreams” approach to talent development. You believe that if you build it, they will come. Not true. But what can you do about it?

You can send out a memo, put up a poster, or just sit in the corner and hope. Or you can make your managers responsible for the development of their people, and make talent development part of their assessment.

The memo, poster, and hope are not very effective, but very common. If you want to make a difference in talent development in your shop and a difference in the role it plays in retention, you need to make the big change and make talent development part of the manager’s job.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Talent Management

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