The 4 Biggest Mistakes Managers Make With Their New Talent


I’ve been talking about it for months now.  

We are in the most competitive job market in over a decade. And that means even your best employees are at risk of quitting.  

The most effective retention strategy is not offering more money than your competitors. Gallup surveys found – and our research agrees – the top reason that new and young employees quit is they’re not getting enough training and development.  

The Association for Training and Development (ATD) recently published a white paper on how to train emerging talent. Their study found only 12% of emerging talent believe their company does a good job of developing talent.  

That’s pathetic!  

Especially is you are one of the millions of U.S. based companies who think they are doing a good job training.  

Here are the 4 big mistakes that managers are making when it comes to training … and what you can do to fix it before it’s too late.

1. They assume emerging talent have the skills already.  

People hire for skills and fire for behavior. The challenge is that we are looking at the technical skills for the job. Not the emotional intelligence, problem-solving or personal leadership it takes to thrive in the job.  

Unfortunately that isn't the case. Nearly 75% of Millennials expect to be trained for their first job, at their first job. On-the-job training is key to cultivating the skillsets you need longterm from your employees.  

2. They weren’t offered the same training.  

This is the #1 biggest mistake I see leaders make every day. They project their own experience on the next generation. They assume because they didn’t need the training at that age, that it is not relevant to the job.  

Some leaders will complain that “common sense isn’t common anymore.” But here’s the thing with common sense. It’s completely relative. Common sense for one generation was balancing a checkbook; while common sense for my generation is downloading a finance management app.

People hire for skills and fire for behavior.

In the ATD study, the biggest gaps in talent development were: leader development, manager skills, process improvement skills, and critical thinking skills. Do you currently have training that addresses those core issues? And if so, are those programs built out so that employees can utilize the resources in a way that they best learn?  

3. They don’t know what skills they need.

When we work with companies, we always interview the top leadership. We ask questions around their concerns, what they think their young talent need to be trained on, and what their personal goals are within the organization. We then do the same thing with their next generation employees.  

Without fail there is a huge disconnect between the skills the leaders think their young talent need, and the skills the next generation employees state they need. Translation: leaders don’t always know what their talent really need.  

Conducting regular one-on-one interviews and development focus groups with employees is essential to keeping them longer.

4. They don’t see it as a top priority … until it’s too late.

When the economy is down, one of the first budgets to get slashed is training and development. As a consulting and training company, we have seen two very big trends. We have clients who ebb and flow with their training based on their budget. Bigger years, they will flood their employees with trips, training, and certifications. In leaner years, they pull way back. Some of our clients realize the importance of training for retention. They put aside consistent line items for training.  

Leaders don’t always know what their talent really need. It won’t surprise you that the clients who ping pong back and forth their employees’ development have sky-high turnover. The clients who realize that even if it’s a sacrifice, developing their employees consistently, end up saving millions of dollars in turnover-related costs.  

Here is a brief checklist of what will make your organization even more effective:

  • Give regular feedback for emerging talent
  • Train managers at all levels on how to give effective feedback
  • Provide clear career paths as soon as they are hired
  • Conduct ongoing discussions about their career path
  • Hold regular listening sessions with emerging talent
  • Offer IT skills training 

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