Investing in People: Talent Development as a Sustainable Business Practice

In today’s marketplace, the competition over attracting and retaining talented employees is fierce. With so many options, it is the workforce marketplace that is driving innovative approaches to create a career experience that is more than just a paycheck. There is a unique opportunity for businesses to make an investment that can pay dividends year after year.

Talent Development is an investment into the people portion of a business. It can include coaching, training, teambuilding, and a wide variety of job performance skill and ability development opportunities. Companies such as John C. Maxwell, Franklin Covey, and Coeus Creative Group offer a number of opportunities in those areas that can empower a workforce. These opportunities often create conditions in which employees feel like a value to the organization, rather than a commodity that can be sacrificed for the “greater good” of corporate profits. Talent development leads to better leadership and management in addition to significantly reducing the amount of conflict within an organization; again, this can produce a measurable return on investment for the sophisticated company.

Here are a number of benefits organizations can expect when they invest in their people:

  1. Replacing an Employee is EXPENSIVE – Talent development helps retain good employees.

According to a study by the Center for American Progress:

“Specifically, the economic studies we examined reveal a number of patterns about the cost of turnover:

    • For all positions except executives and physicians—jobs that require very specific skills—across the remaining 27 case studies, the typical (median) cost of turnover was 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary.
    • For workers earning less than $50,000 annually—which covers three-quarters of all workers in the United States—the 22 case studies show a typical cost of turnover of 20 percent of salary, the same across positions earning $75,000 a year or less, which includes 9 in 10 U.S. workers.
    • Among positions earning $30,000 or less, which includes more than half of all U.S. workers, the cost of replacing an employee is slightly less than among positions earning less than $75,000 annually. The typical cost of turnover for positions earning less than $30,000 annually is 16 percent of an employee’s annual salary.”

At the low end of the spectrum, you are looking at $3,000 – $4,500 for every employee who walks out the door. At the high end of the job spectrum, $15,000+. Ouch. When an organization invests in an employees’ personal and professional development, that employee is more likely to invest themselves into the organization.


  1. An Attractive Culture for New Hires – Talent Development Draws the Top Talent

According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, 87% of Millennials say development is important in a job. Given that millennials are dominating the workforce and will continue to do so, an intelligent company will look to invest in their future and create an environment rich in learning and development. Just think, do you want an employee who is interested in being better? If so, you can be the organization that offers the opportunity for growth, which can lead to significant gains in loyalty and job satisfaction. If you build it, they will come.


  1. A Better Workforce and Workplace – Talent Development Improves Necessary Job Skills

Talent development opportunities can build critical skills that will help your organization save money, time, and heartache. Some of the most impactful training for a workforce resides in the areas of leadership development, communication effectiveness, and conflict resolution. Again, investments into these critical workplace skills yield exponential returns on investment:

    • A recent article on Forbes highlights a number of different organizational costs stemming from poor employee communication.
    • Inc.com quantifies 3 major hidden costs that are a result of poor leadership.
    • Entrepreneur.com points to a CPP study which calculates that 385 million workdays are lost as a result of conflict in the workplace annually.

One way or another, organizations pay for the skills of its workforce… It doesn’t take a Warren Buffet to see that investing in employee development is a far greater use of resources than the alternative of paying for mistakes.


In today’s economy, a business leader knows that talent development is a necessity for sustainable business. Invest in your people and they will invest in you.

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