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  • 17 January 2014
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The importance of nurturing your workforce

Nature or nurture: which shapes our destinies? Is it our genetics or our environment? And what about our careers: is professional advancement the result of the innate qualities that we bring to a job, or the skills and experience we accrue along the way?

The answer, of course, is that both matter. Most of us are born with certain attributes or aptitudes (nature), but it is education, training and exposure to new experiences (nurture) that help us to make the most of our talents.

That’s why HR professionals tend to talk about ‘competencies’: the complex mix of both innate qualities and acquired abilities that make a member of staff valuable to their employer. But while the intrinsic characteristics of an employee’s nature aren’t likely to change much over time, they can always benefit from the nurturing that enables them to learn new skills and acquire new knowledge.

Talent management, therefore, should be about helping employees to improve and expand their competencies, so that they can perform to their highest standard, and bring their skills and experience in line with the overall objectives of the company.

In other words, smart companies don’t allow talent to stagnate. They nurture it – and they keep on nurturing it throughout the employee lifecycle.

Long after the recruitment and on-boarding processes are over, HR professionals at these organisations continue to engage with employees to assess their competencies, consider their aspirations, provide training and new experiences and, above all, keep them moving forwards.

Nurturing talent is just as important for small and medium-sized companies as it is for large enterprises. Talent, after all, is a valuable commodity in workforces of all sizes and the risks of neglecting talent are the same, too: low motivation, low productivity, high employee turnover.  

We recently released a white paper, outlining a 10-step plan for nurturing talent throughout the employee lifecycle. This plan aims to produce a workforce of high-achievers whatever their skill and ambition, but will also help HR professionals to identify and fast-track those individuals who really stand out as future leaders.

After all, it’s no good labelling any employee as ‘talented’ if you don’t give them what they need to thrive. By nurturing their talent, HR can ensure that the organisation they work for is building the kind of leaders it will need in the future.