How to Choose a Talent Development Platform Solution That Actually Drives ROI

August 14th, 2023 – SkillCycle

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Building up the skills in your workforce is critical need to help ready your organization for changes it will face in the future. Choosing the right talent development solution can help you proactively develop your people, and employ best practices that benefit you and your employees. 

Why should talent development be top of mind for most organizations? In many companies, there’s a gap between the skills your employees have today and what they’ll need in the future. A significant skills gap can make companies less competitive in their markets, leaving them vulnerable as other companies gain ground.

Eighty-seven percent of companies believe they have skills gaps now, or will within a few years, according to McKinsey. The same research shows 78% of leaders also say capability building is important to the long-term growth of their organizations, with 53% agreeing that reskilling will be the best way to close the gap. 

In this article on talent development solutions, we’ll explore:

  • What is talent development?
  • Why talent development matters (and how it drives ROI)
  • Six steps to successfully implement a talent development solution 
  • What to look for when comparing employee experience platforms


What is talent development?

Let’s define it before we dig in too deep. Talent development is the strategic approach of nurturing and enhancing employees’ abilities and potential within an organization. It involves identifying individual talents and aligning them with company goals to help fill skills gaps and develop team members so they grow with the business. 

Talent development is an ongoing process to drive benefits for your company and create a better employee experience. It includes leadership development, succession planning, on-the-job learning, upskilling, performance management, and coaching.

It also entails providing targeted learning and development opportunities to foster growth. Many organizations today use talent development software to enable employees to reach their career goals while contributing effectively to the organization’s success.


Why talent development matters (and how it drives ROI)

Is talent development a big deal? Yes! The skills your company will need in the future could be radically different from today. As technology adoption increases, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.

Talent development can help you demonstrate your commitment to your staff. In a recent Gartner survey, just 25% of employees expressed confidence in their careers at their organizations. Three out of four who were looking for new roles were looking outside their companies. By developing your best talent, you’ll be better positioned to keep those individuals — and their skills — from jumping ship.

The advantages that come along with talent development drive interest in learning platforms for companies looking to keep all-star team members. It’s a wise approach. Ninety-four percent of employees say they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development, according to LinkedIn.

On the other hand, losing talent is expensive. The hidden costs of turnover are well-established, which means the longer you can keep valuable employees, the more you’ll protect your bottom line. A learning experience platform can help you track, measure, and analyze the workforce insights demonstrating your progress — and your returns.


6 steps to successfully implement a talent development solution

So, it’s easy to say that investing in your team members is a smart way to keep building value in your company, but harder to do. It can be tough to keep employee development top of mind in busy organizations. 

Globally, 49% of talent developers reported that one of their top three challenges is getting managers to make learning a priority for their teams, according to LinkedIn.

The right technology needs to be combined with the right approach to talent development for smooth adoption and the best outcomes. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to successfully implement a talent development solution in your organization.

Make a comprehensive hiring plan aligned with your long-term strategy and budget, avoiding the temptation to rush hiring just to fill roles you think you need. Prioritize the immediate hiring needs that support your company’s current needs and future growth, ensuring that each role’s contributions and long-term sustainability are backed by your budget. 


1. Assess skills across your company

Ideally, a talent development strategy will offer you a way to get from the capabilities you have today to what you’ll need in the future. A skills assessment can help clarify the starting point, especially when you can pull all your data together into one place with the right tech.

2. Identify skills gaps

As you consider trends that could affect your business over time, you’ll be able to see gaps where your current workforce wouldn’t be prepared for that change today. The difference between these two points is the skills gap you’ll be working to fill. With robust tracking and reporting in a talent development platform, you should be able to monitor your progress in closing the gap.

3. Ask employees about their career and development goals

People want to feel seen at work and like they are making progress in their own goals for their career path. Ask your employees what skills they’d like to learn and where they’d like to go in your company, and ensure these goals can be logged in your system and connected to the goals you set for your team members.

4. Offer ongoing learning opportunities

Learning opportunities help build critical skills and should be offered to all employees throughout their time with your company to help build the value of your workforce. A robust learning platform should be able to connect the goals you’ve set for talent development to the learning opportunities you offer each employee.

5. Create a culture of continuous feedback

It’s vital to recognize employees and their progress throughout the employee lifecycle to help nurture growth in your team. Managers should feel confident in connecting with employees on a regular basis to offer feedback and support toward goals. For best results, look for a talent development platform that includes custom coaching plans that engage and motivate employees to work towards acquiring new skills and using them effectively at work.

6. Connect everything in a single employee experience platform

The more you can streamline the efforts of your HR team, the more impact your talent development strategy will have — on both your people, and your company. The best solution will tie as much as possible together in one platform to help you plan, implement, and measure results.


What to look for when comparing employee experience platforms

Time to do a little comparison shopping. If you want to be strategic about talent development, you’ll want best practices and a proactive approach to boost your impact. There are a few options to consider when looking at learning platforms for companies that want to prioritize employee development.


What to avoid when evaluating learning platforms

Some platforms act like comprehensive solutions on the surface, but don’t remove the need to use multiple systems. Others may not be scalable or practical for all organizations. Some focus on leadership development, but aren’t inclusive to all employees or don’t cater to all types of learners. Many don’t have a way to tie learning to performance improvement, leaving employees frustrated and disengaged.


Green flags when comparing learning experience platforms

Keep an eye out for easy-to-navigate platforms, robust content libraries, and as much functionality as possible within a single platform. Connecting learning experiences to personalized coaching and performance management drives a much bigger impact than if these components are managed in disparate systems. Look for workforce insights that truly help connect individual goals to business outcomes. These data insights drive better decisions in your company and help you understand how you’re progressing in company goals to fill skills gaps.

Want to find the top tech platform that goes beyond those expectations? Explore how the solution you’re considering supports and benefits employees and the company all the way through the employee lifecycle. Finally, ask questions about how the platform bridges company goals for performance, and the learning and coaching the employees can access.

All-in-one platforms are rare, but SkillCycle connects everything you need to drive meaningful impact. Find out how SkillCycle is an investment for your brand and can contribute to your ROI goals.


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