A company that will take the time and effort to develop "their people" is investing in not only the employee's future but also the company's future.
Talent management is a strategic imperative for forward-looking organizations today, and it’s not just HR’s responsibilities, all senior executives should become talent masters, from workforce analytics to talent development, it takes both strategy and practice to manage the most valuable asset in modern business: People. However, training is often given on learning from past and training departments often share 'best practices' only. So how to design a better leadership development program?
1. The Purpose of LDP (Leadership Development Program)
A company that will take the time and effort to develop "their people" is investing in not only the employee's future but also the company's future. Employees want to feel valued and giving new opportunities, and when done right, it will make people want to stay, and to sum it up with one sentence: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care". By developing your employees (if done properly), you show that you care. It is a win-win situation.
- Perhaps the first step is to well define leadership fundamentals, what are leadership substances, what are leadership styles fitting in today's business dynamic, and how to combine nature & nurture in developing leaders or managers, it takes strategy to build up leadership strategy. So it’s more than methodologies and processes, it’s understanding the context of decision and problem which helps to achieve solutions.
- Focus on Developing the Current Leadership: It depends upon the culture of the employer. If they are doing it as a feel-good Bandaid, then it doesn't make a positive difference. If they wish to develop leaders, they also need to focus on developing the current leadership. Many fear-based leadership styles actually hurt the advancement of others. The up and coming leaders become "too careful" in order to keep their current job, and this can create a bad habit that hurts their future employ-ability as executives.
2. How to Design an Effective LDP?
Though it’s understandable that talent management should always be one of the top priorities in business strategy, however, the statistics shows 90% of leadership training programs fail, so how to do such leadership development program more effectively & creatively, do you grow the leaders or are you training managers? What are effective solutions to develop talent at every level?
- Good LDP programs require extra effort on the employees' behalf so they value the learning in both taking and delivering leadership development training, a support network is needed back in the "real world". People tend to revert to their prior behavior in the absence of support, it usually takes 7 weeks to form a new habit or behavior (your mileage may vary) with conscious effort. This is where coaching or a support network is crucial to lock-in the changes. Through employee development, organizations are giving them something they can take away and use to grow and make a difference.
- Investments targets at activities which develop "genuine" participant buy-in, respect individualism, create custom development plans and provide an ongoing follow-up support structure, will ultimately be more effectively than solely classroom based teachings, leadership programs followed by an assignment to test the application of learning and a mentor sponsor during the entire assignment goes a long way in making it a success at both personal and organization levels. The future assignment post completion can help you gauge not only the effectiveness of training being imparted but may add to assess 'attitude' of a person towards learning new things.
- Blended Training Options to leverage Formal and Informal Training: With collaboration over social media' the workforce learn through other channels of collaboration in social media, where existing challenges and complex problems are debated on subjects with a vast amount of expertise from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) across the word. : For senior leaders and talent managers: How to be change agents on their own? how to cultivate learning culture, not only through one size fitting all formal training, but also through informal engagement and participation, deeply understand talent with empathy, provide a creative working environment to grow talent and business. This gives a balance of challenge and fun.
- formal classroom during work hours
- lunch and learns
- virtual/social learning
- limited seminars
- job shadowing
- challenging projects
- books or online self-paced
3. Any correlation between having a leadership development program and better employee retention rates?
Will it improve retention rates? Better quality programs may do. You pole your organization with an employee survey and conduct a cultural assessment of your organization. With this information, you can then understand more clearly about what is the root cause to the rates not being where you want them.
- Training Does Improve Performance: The challenge today is for organizations to build a lasting capacity for continuous learning in order to build a culture of learning within the organization. There was a higher level of performance from the people who attended the training. And the training helped improved the culture in the department as well as giving us a common nomenclature that we could all use. Organizations also see an overall improvement in morale and an improvement in overall performance within the department.
- Why an organization should feel any 'shame' for not being able to keep each and every one of the Best and Brightest high potential employees. For organizations to thrive, new positions/promotions need be based more on business justifications than employee-readiness. So if a top-notch employee wants to continue growing elsewhere, better the company support and encourage that than require an incumbent bury his/her untapped potential by staying put. Besides, if done right, former employees will always remember – and appreciate – the leadership development program they received from employers past. That said, in some cases, unless proper employer/employee expectations are set on the front-end of a leadership development program, increasing the readiness of employees to be better leaders (or managers-of-managers) all-too-easily creates poorer employee retention rates -- especially if the organization cannot promote those now ready for promotion in a reasonable amount of time
Therefore, the next talent development practice will be not only recognizing the talent, but also develop innovative, tailored solutions with flexible process and methodology, as the new generation of workers also pursues freedom, independence, and autonomy, at highest level, to find meaning, purpose and mastering of work, so focus on what will matter most to your talent.