Is Your Talent Development Strategy Equitable? 3 Pillars to Drive Access to L&D for Everyone and Grow Your Talent

As companies grapple with the next trend in the People space, whether it’s “The Great Resignation,” the “War for Talent,” or the “Skills Shortage,” there’s a clear call for a more proactive approach to the way companies think of their talent. The companies that feel less pain from these People things are the ones who cultivate a true culture of growth and opportunity for EVERY ONE of their employees.

Rebecca Taylor
HR Exec & Co-Founder, Go Coach

As companies grapple with the next trend in the People space, whether it’s “The Great Resignation,” the “War for Talent,” or the “Skills Shortage,” there’s a clear call for a more proactive approach to the way companies think of their talent. The companies that feel less pain from these People things are the ones who cultivate a true culture of growth and opportunity for every one of their employees. Not just the ones they think are “worthy” or who have “proven themselves.”

For too long, companies have let meaningful talent development fall by the wayside, relying on job experience or a “sink or swim” mentality to build critical skills. This has proven to be a costly strategy, influencing critical things like employee turnover, talent acquisition costs, and engagement.

Thanks to innovation and improved technology, it’s now possible to offer meaningful and scalable personalized talent development opportunities for all employees. To drive equity in your organization by giving everyone - no matter their role, level or status - the opportunity to build their skills and unlock their potential. And the companies that recognize this quickly are the ones who will continue to be ahead of the curve.

There are 3 main pillars to consider as you’re looking to drive more equitable talent development practices in your organization:

Access

People learn differently, and access can mean different things. There’s the question of accessibility for the diverse employee group you have whether that’s internet access, physical access, or things like closed captions in training videos. An important part of driving more equitable talent development is to ensure everyone has access to learning, regardless of their position or status within the organization.

Think about it. Organizations have less representation of diversity the higher up people are. Why do you think that is? Employees are dropping off at a certain point in the organization, and companies are left scratching their heads as to why. Then, they reserve the most effective development tools (personalized learning and coaching) for their managers or “high potentials.” The process of promoting an employee or designating them “high potential” is often rooted in bias practices. Companies decide who they think are worthy of investment, rather than giving everyone equal opportunity to develop and grow. 

The good news is this can be changed. GoCoach was created to level the playing field, ensuring that those who need the most support will have the same opportunities as those who take them for granted.

We encourage companies to offer equitable access to learning through our platform, rather than designating certain employees based on arbitrary criteria. If that person works for you, they deserve a chance to grow with you.

You’ll see lower retention rates, improved productivity, and increased ability to recruit talent just by showing that you do not discriminate between your own employees and offer everyone learning equity – the same way employees expect pay equity, fair family leave policies, childcare access, etc.

Time

Behaviors need to be learned and practiced over the course of time in order for them to become true skills. People need time and headspace to learn, which is harder to come by as the lines between work and home blur. The best thing a company can do to support the development of their talent is to provide them with the time to learn. Even 1 hour a month can make a world of difference to that person’s focus and ability to retain information. 

Employees already have a lot on their plate with time management and prioritization being skills that we often get coaching requests for. Help your employees develop these skills by granting them the time and opportunity to do it. No more squeezing things in between tasks - if you want to see real change, you need to give people time to make it happen.

Reinforcement

It takes a village to raise a coachee. In addition to providing equitable access to learning and adequate time to spend in a learning environment, it’s imperative that leadership and management reinforce the behaviors that they want to see. If you notice your employee has improved their presentation skills or spoke up in a meeting where they’re traditionally quiet, show them that you see the work they’re doing. 

Recognition from a manager goes a long way in building confidence for each coachee to keep going and to keep practicing the behaviors they’re learning in their coaching experience. If you’re not recognizing and reinforcing the changed behaviors you’re seeing, the coachee is more likely to revert to bad habits and to experience a decrease in motivation - “No one cares, so why should I even bother.” Your support will play a major part in translating small behaviors into long term skills that elevate the performance of the entire team, one employee at a time.

The Future of Work calls for a more human approach to how we all work. While tasks can be automated, many sources will tell you that the roles that will thrive are the ones that involve human creativity and interaction. It’s the humans who work at a company who will keep innovating and growing the company. Employees of today become the leaders of tomorrow, bringing companies to new heights and paving new paths forward.

Every company has the opportunity to invest in this talent, and the high expectations from employees everywhere show how hungry they are to grow and develop.

So, now is the time to unlearn everything you think you know about talent development and rebuild a more equitable and scalable vision that gives everyone the opportunity to thrive.

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