Investing In Talent – Have You Got it All Wrong?

Investing In Talent – Have You Got it All Wrong?

October 11, 2016 | Jason Futers

Investing in talent is the latest big thing. In fact, investment in training tools and technologies accounts for 5% of the average company’s budget…and for good reason. 

Successful talent management closes organisational skill gaps, gets the right people in the right jobs, reduces expensive hiring mistakes, encourages loyalty from staff, retains top talent, motivates teams, increases productivity and makes employees feel happier and more valued. 

$130Bn is invested in training and development globally ever year. As a comparison, for $130Bn you can buy Salesforce Inc and BMW and still have nearly $20Bn in change. It’s a lot of money. A LOT.

This equates to approximately $1,223 spent per employee - $661 of which goes towards health and wellness. Yet, only 11% of professionals are satisfied with their personal development, growth and professional wellbeing. 

So what’s going wrong? Why is so much money being investment with so little positive impact? Well, common themes are emerging...

Workload & Time Pressures: A whopping 41% of employees experience excessive pressure at work. This creates additional challenges, as it means much of the investment is only likely to attract those who are already healthy, motivated and engaged, and those that can create or have the time to engage. Employees don’t have the time to learn and grow, and aren’t being mentored to create that time.

Generic Development Programs: 50% of expenditure is on classroom-led development. Only 3/10 employees feel engaged in these programs. A “one size fits all” approach based on education and training is not sufficiently tailored to address the specific needs of individuals. Effective development requires engagement, and people are most engaged with activities that resonate and where they receive personal and professional that helps them grow as individuals.

Perception: many HR activities are focused primarily on the company, rather than individuals and their particular needs. Employer-led health and wellbeing programs are often viewed as paternalistic. This is actually unfortunate, as many people would benefit from many of the programs, but perception is reality and this needs to change.  

Discrete initiatives: Many initiatives tackle the professional aspects of development instead of considering both personal and professional elements including wellbeing. A series of discrete initiatives without a common theme comes across as disjointed at best, and uncaring and irrelevant at worst. In many cases, too little too late.

So, what needs to be done? 

Well, we need to think holistically about what drives personal and professional development. Traditional approaches to managing and nurturing talent can only have a limited impact because they’re not focused on an individual’s specific and unique needs.

The focus should be on the person, taking into account his/her personal ambitions, development needs and wellbeing, leveraging technology, data, analytics and science as key enablers. This information can be interpreted and absorbed directly, and through working with mentors and coaches.

Mentoring is crucial to making more of the current investment levels. Mentoring, in all shapes and size, is taking place constantly in the workplace, often informally and with a wide range of quality and consistency. We believe mentoring, combined with data and analytics, provides targeted personal and professional development, focusing on personal improvement and wellbeing. 

Cutting-edge, science-driven and data-driven technology solutions for Talent Management are the way to maximise the benefit from the huge investment being made in talent today, not generic development programs focused solely on the achievement of corporate goals. 

The metric of successful investment should not be the size of budget but key metrics such as retention and, crucially, the percentage of people satisfied with the personal and professional development support received in the workplace. 11% is simply not good enough, and I am really looking forward to see this number increase significantly in the coming years. 

We have recently released the huupe mentoring tool (HMT), and are actively seeking like-minded development partners to work together on the next phase of HMT development. We’re focused on innovative companies, with an early adopter approach to new technologies and approaches.

Get in touch and learn more on how huupe can help your company –



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