Industry norms ranging from how workers communicate and collaborate to how leaders ensure their employees have professional development opportunities look different than they did five years ago. This is especially true in talent development, as leaders committed to hiring and retaining top talent now have access to a broader range of candidates due to the rise of remote work.
These changes heighten the ever-present need for strong leaders in talent development. As employees voice their desire for new opportunities and career advancements, organizations are looking for innovative talent development professionals who bring a variety of skills to the role. Through an Ed.D. program, such individuals can grow those skills and learn how to put them into practice concretely, such as meeting remote employees' needs, offering training programs tied to specific career advancement opportunities, or launching unique diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Learn more about the importance of excellent training and development, discover how strong leaders can be positive change agents in talent development and consider how a doctorate of education (Ed.D.) can equip professionals to lead in hiring and retaining top talent.
What Is Talent Development?
Talent Development is an organizational process that considers both the needs, abilities, and career advancement of individual employees while seeking to fulfill the mission of the organization as a whole. The process of talent development includes:
- Identifying employees’ skills and abilities
- Providing opportunities for employees to build new skills
- Cultivating existing and new employee skills both to help individual professionals advance their careers and to contribute to the achievement of organizational goals
Talent development works in conjunction with talent management, which considers an organization's overall needs and endeavors to recruit and hire talent accordingly.
Why Strong Leaders Are Needed in Talent Development
that strong talent development and management platforms are critical to an organization’s success. 34 percent of workers who left previous roles say they did so because of a lack of opportunity for career development. A glaring 94 percent of employees say that they would stay longer at a company if it offered learning and development opportunities.
Perhaps most striking, McKinsey (2023) found that the number one reason employees cite leaving previous jobs was a lack of career development and advancement, surpassing factors including inadequate total compensation and lack of meaningful work.
These statistics make clear that today’s professionals are eager for opportunities to learn and to grow. With expertise in transformative leadership, professional collaboration, and organizational change, Ed.D.-equipped leaders can help organizations recognize where professional development opportunities lie for their current employees.
5 Ways to Lead in Talent Development
Organizations are looking for managers, directors, and beyond who take an innovative, agile approach to leadership. Skilled Talent development professionals add value to employee experience and career advancement as well as the success of an organization’s overall mission.
Consider five ways Ed.D.-equipped talent development leaders can be change agents in their organizations.
Develop a Talent Development Strategy
Before a talent development leader can implement programs, they need to establish an overall strategy. There are several benefits to establishing a talent development strategy, including:
- Ensuring alignment with organizational goals
- Encouraging buy-in from key stakeholders
- Enhancing overall performance through intentional actions
Industry leaders agree that the following steps are critical to establishing an effective talent development strategy that benefits individual employees and the organization as a whole:
- Tie talent development goals to organizational values and culture
- Garner C-suite support
- Identify existing employee skills and gaps
- Create a culture of democratized learning and ongoing development
- Build plans for recruitment, retention and succession
While needs may change over time, a solid talent development strategy empowers leaders to make meaningful decisions rooted in concrete organizational knowledge. Ed.D-prepared professionals are especially equipped to create such strategies as their coursework includes topics such as administering human and social capital, strategic thinking, conflict resolution, and succession planning.
Design Training Programs
One of the core functions of a talent development leader is designing training and learning programs that meet the needs of employees and contribute toward reaching the organization’s goals. Like designing an overall talent development strategy, designing a training program starts with assessing training needs within the organization.
Students in leadership-based Ed.D.s gain real-world experience through projects that meet their course requirements. Projects could include:
- A cultural literacy training program for a company expanding internationally
- Technology training for employees of an organization implementing new business analytics tools
- A women’s development program to strengthen a company’s pipeline of female leaders
Upon identifying organizational needs, talent development leaders can creatively engage with research and best practices to deliver a meaningful and successful program.
Engage and Empower Employees
For Mutual of Omaha, an insurance company, engaging and empowering employees looked like an HR employee named Candi recognizing a need for one-on-one coaching within the company. At the time, there was no such role, so Candi pitched a proposed position to the head of HR, showing how such a role would enhance the training and development of their employees. The executive agreed, and now Candi meets with around 45 employees monthly in one-on-one coaching sessions, helping them identify their career goals and take the steps to meet them.
As Candi’s example shows, having a strong sense of the organization’s needs is always at the heart of solid talent development. With 86 percent of employees saying they would change jobs if a new company offered them more opportunities for professional development, organizations must employ leaders who listen to, learn from and leverage employees' potential. An Ed.D. program with in-depth curriculum in building strong professional relationships and collaborations prepares such leaders.
Retain Top Talent
The data couldn’t be clearer: employees who feel undervalued and unappreciated look for new jobs. Genuine feedback and expressions of appreciation make a monumental difference in ensuring that employees feel respected, appreciated and interested in staying at their current organization.
Opportunities to demonstrate employee appreciation that helps an organization retain top talent include:
- Acknowledging and celebrating excellent work
- Rewarding top performers
- Meeting with low performers to identify steps toward success
- Promoting from within the organization
- Creating opportunities for workplace fun
- Asking for employee input
Expressing genuine appreciation through words, actions and compensation can go a long way in helping employees understand that leadership does not merely see them as cogs in the organizational wheel but as meaningful assets to achieving a collective mission. An Ed.D. program that includes coursework in collaborative and systems-thinking leadership perspectives will equip talent development professionals to express employee appreciation in meaningful ways.
Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
The majority of US workers are fans of DEI efforts, and it’s not hard to see why. Research shows that DEI in the workplace improves:
- Customer satisfaction and engagement
- Employee satisfaction, engagement and retention
Talent development leaders can promote DEI by:
- Recognizing that not all employees have the same development needs
- Meeting with a wide range of employees to assess DEI needs
- Designing development programs according to the needs of diverse employees
- Using inclusive language and imagery in training materials
- Assessing the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of DEI initiatives with honesty and willingness to adjust
Organizations can increase their opportunities to recruit and retain diverse talent by prioritizing and promoting DEI. Through education in ethical leadership, global perspectives, and social justice, Ed.D. students are well-prepared to launch and sustain these initiatives.
Become a Leader in Talent Development with a Doctorate in Leadership
Suppose you want to be a talent development change agent equipped to recruit and retain the best professionals for the job. In that case, Marymount University’s fully online Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation can prepare you to thrive.
“This program isn’t filled exclusively with textbook material leaving us wondering about the application when we finish,” says recent EdD graduate Jessica Burns-Turch, a co-owner of six funeral homes. “This is real-time, supporting every step of our leadership journey.”
Courses that empower students like Burns-Turch to succeed professionally and directly apply to talent development include:
- Leading an Organization: Theory, Practice & Reflection
- Transformative Leadership: Leading Organizational Change
- Professional Collaboration and Engagement
Whether you want to make a difference in your organization or in your community, an online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Innovation will empower you as a change agent ready to initiate and inspire.