Dollars and Sense: Investing in your staff development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 18, 2006

In our series on talent management, we have emphasized the recruitment and retention of A players and B players with A potential. Even if our recruiting process is working effectively, we cannot stop there. Management&8217;s job is to provide for the successful continuation of the business. Developing the depth and strength of our talent pool is critical to business success.

In times past, employee development often just sort of happened. This was true at large companies and continues to be true today in many small businesses. Little thought was given to developing good performers as the poor performers we thought to be the only ones needing help. Ongoing performance coaching and candid performance evaluations were frequently the exception.

So how do we approach people development? In reality, each organization must evaluate its own circumstances. Is the business in a fast growth mode or in a maturing industry? Are we number one in our industry or striving to get there? Do we have a high percentage of A players already onboard? Do we have a rigorous performance management process that drives our people development efforts? These are the types of questions that must be answered.

Today, companies are wiser about the importance of developing employees and employees are more vocal about asking for assistance. A players know that they must constantly keep learning and growing to maintain peak performance. They want to work in organizations that value employee development. Companies that do a poor job in people development are at a huge competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining A players.

Companies with successful talent management programs understand that enhancing employee performance is an integral part of business. Management must create an environment where employee development is valued, and emphasized. Development must become part of the fabric of the organization. Development means that employees receive challenging experiences, coaching, and mentoring. And most importantly, employees receive frequent and candid feedback on their performance. It is recognized that everyone, including A players, has developmental needs.

The lesson for companies. Invest in developing your staff or your competitors will.

Kevin McKenzie is a partner in The Moser Group. Contact him be e-mail at