What Is Learning And Talent Development?

Girl Learning ballet skills

For learning and talent development, like many evolving management concepts, there is no widely accepted definition of Talent Management.  At the organisational level, Talent Development (TD) is part of Talent Management (TM) which is part of Human Resources Management (HRM).

In his Handbook of HRM Michael Armstrong defines Talent Management as follows: “Talent management is the processes of ensuring that talented people are attracted, retained, motivated and developed in line with the needs of the organization”.

This is a concept that refers to talent attraction, retention and development in an organizational context. So, talent management covers the acquisition, development, and retention of talent. L&TD focuses on the development and upskilling of current talent in an organisation. It helps the existing talent to evolve and acquire competencies in line with the organisational strategy.

As people become more prepared, they will be ready to take on more complex roles with greater responsibilities. L&TD deals with courses, training programs, coaching, qualifications, certifications, upskilling or reskilling.

How can learning and talent development help us?

Legal, technological and political changes have immediate effects on organizations and institutions. AI, health crises, social conflicts and climate change are waves of changes that have the power to move people and companies worldwide. Organizations have to face changes and prove their resilience in order to help people thrive. A consistent answer to these changes makes the difference between success and failure. This is where learning and development can be of real help.

During our professional lives, we gain experience, and knowledge and improve our performances. Our world is continually changing and so are the aptitudes and qualifications necessary for performing different jobs. Talent development can play a key role in a strong and strategic positioning in a society that is in constant change.

Integrating new knowledge and technology in learning and development planning is a way to keep up with the rhythm of changes. On an individual level, it can also help us move forward in our career paths and improve our professional opportunities.

Learning and developing new skills, not only can help us stay competitive, but it can also attract new talented people on our side. Few jobs, if none are protected by the constant turmoil and harsh competitive reality. We have to face changes, learn new things and acquire new skills all the time, so we can deal with all types of problems and challenges.

Learning and talent development strategies

L&TD can play an important strategic organisational role. Through this process, organisations can adapt to market needs, and align with social trends and market demands. New capabilities and know-how are acquired by implementing learning and talent development strategies.

A successful talent strategy begins with a clear vision of employees’ development needs. Organizational growth targets should be in alignment with the overall business objectives. The first thing to consider when designing a talent development strategy is that it should involve the people it is addressed to. They too need a general image of the competencies required for future projects. Also, their involvement is important for their motivation and commitment to solving the problems that are coming ahead.

An important part of a talent development strategy is to determine employees’ capabilities. This is how we determine current work frame capabilities and identify potential for improvement. For this phase, we can use questionnaires, assessments or self-assessments and previous appraisals.

Newly skills become valuable work experience in the market

Once we get a general picture of the skills we have and identify the gaps can proceed and design a learning and talent development plan. The talent development journey should be in alignment with the business strategy. L&TD plans to develop people by combining both individual needs and organisational requirements.

After the implementation of learning plans, training, coaching or mentoring activities, the next step is to keep track of how things are progressing. Tracking performance can indicate if the learning and development interventions were successful or if other initiatives are needed.

For almost all types of organisations integrating learning and development as a strategic direction into business strategy, brings additional resources and support for general objectives. At the same time, it constantly transforms new technological breakthroughs and socio-economical evolutions into learning opportunities. So, the new skills and tech become valuable work experience that can bring an edge to the market. Also, part of learning and talent development success is long-term and integrated planning because the end result is the organisational synergy that comes from both individual and team efforts.

What does a learning and talent development function provide to an organization?

Skills set for jobs are changing and most organisations are facing a talent shortage. One of the reasons talent disruption appears is as a consequence of and lack of qualified talent to use new technologies. When social and technical changes are on the rise so is the talent shortage.

So, we can definitely say that having clear learning and talent development planning and budgeting helps businesses and organisations keep up with changes and stay on a path of positive evolution. The learning and talent development goal is to improve both individual and group performance by increasing knowledge and developing a certain set of skills.

Learning and Talent Development Contributions to Organisational Success

Developing people’s potential creates a competitive advantage for companies, can improve operational efficiency and contribute to employee retention. For example, implementing long-term leadership learning and talent development programs solves succession planning and enables business growth. Nurturing leadership skills for people with the will and potential to become leaders is one way that learning and development contribute to organisational success.

The reality is that adaptation to social and political complexities is a continuous challenge for everyone. Thriving in such a changing environment makes continuous learning and talent development a necessity. A firmly set and well-executed learning and talent development strategy is needed to strengthen organisational capabilities and achieve good results.

Also, for a business having learning and talent development programs in place can attract competent and motivated candidates. As employees, the long-term advantages gained are related to the growth of skills and professional experience, increased productivity and work performance and a planned professional development path with defined goals, training or qualifications courses for a future career.

Investments in talent development are actually a constant pursuit of strategic organisational objectives. We can safely say that by implementing learning and development programs advantages are both on organisational and individual plans. Continuous learning and talent development is also a mindset beneficial not only to us, personally, but to the whole organisation, it’s a powerful edge that can strengthen organisational capability and drive people’s synergy.