Six Reasons Why Talent Development is More Important Than Ever
All non-essential business travel has been canceled. Bars, restaurants, and coffee shops are closing until further notice. Employees are working from home in an effort to practice social distancing.
Much of what we know about doing business is off the table for the time being, it seems, except that more than ever, business needs to carry on so that we aren’t faced with a global recession worse than we faced in 2009, from which we’re still recovering today.
But how, in the midst of an international pandemic, can businesses forge ahead? While many have been tasked with the pragmatic logistics of financial forecasting and preparing for the worst, there’s power in staying committed to your organization’s pre-coronavirus goals for the future.
As an example, many ambitious and inspiring companies have been prioritizing gender diversity, some even setting goals for 50/50 gender representation at the leadership level by 2030. Several are implementing corporate practices that make their companies highly sought after by working mothers.
The companies that will come out on top, after however many weeks or months it takes to get this virus under control, are those staying true to their mission and these valiant objectives. COVID-19 may be front-and-center at present, but it won’t be that way forever.
Yes, we are facing a crisis right now, but here’s why talent development should still be a priority for your organization.
1) Positive psychology, reinforcement, and affirmation for employees is critical to productivity and motivation.
With so many professionals working from home, a casual pat on the back or workplace shoutout requires more effort than it normally might. Confidence-building affirmations, however, are a standard part of any good talent development program -- they’re built in via coaches, group work, accountability partners, and self-reflection exercises.
2) Chances are, your employees are scared because the future is so uncertain.
Launching a new talent development program or staying the course with any you’ve already committed to is a way to reassure your people not only that their jobs are secure, but that the organization is optimistic about the future and is using this weird time to take performance to the next level.
3) Working from home can either be insanely productive or insanely distracting.
Studies show that the busier someone is, the more productive they become, so empowering employees to invest some time for their professional development might be exactly what they need right now to keep them moving forward and working hard, to keep them from worrying about the pandemic, and to give them the extra tools they need to re-enter your workplace more prepared for success than ever.
4) Strong talent development programs provide participants with an arsenal of skills to help with productivity and resiliency.
A few of those skills particularly relevant right now include positive visualization and goal-setting. Visualization exercises, typically used in the workplace to work toward professional milestones, can also help keep any anxiety or hysteria at bay so that teams can focus on what’s important for business and your company’s bottom line. Setting goals, too, bodes well for keeping both morale and productivity high, helping your teams stay on track so that no one misses a beat when work resumes as normal.
[Related: Planning to Be Proactive Instead of Reactive]
5) Rock-solid communication has never been such a necessity.
Having a talent development partner often means you have some help facilitating communication between leadership, management, and teams, which can ease confusion, quell fear, and bring clarity to go-forward plans for a successful business in times of uncertainty.
6) Even with a focus on individual advancement, development programs - especially those that are cohort-based - provide a built-in community for participants.
Thanks to platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting, anything is possible -- from virtual meetings to coffee dates, both of which are crucial not only for business, but for overall wellbeing. Social connectedness, even over a computer, makes employees feel more supported, less stressed, and happier in general, which directly translates to their performance at work.
Don’t let the coronavirus weaken your workforce or compromise your talent strategy. Instead, use this time to make your employees stronger and more resilient than ever. Let them know you care by investing in their continued development.
Molly Dewey is the co-founder and co-CEO of Mettacool.
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