I’m just coming up for air in the midst of a large project that provides talent development for high potential executives and realized that it’s been a few months since I’ve put together a blog post. I really haven’t had much time to read outside of the travel and work involved in this project, so I started casting around for something interesting to write about.
In what might seem like serendipity or just blind luck, one of the first things I cam across was a recent digital article at HBR that talked about a study that specifically looked at ‘What High Performers Want at Work.’ The results were a bit unsurprising with competitive compensation, bonuses, and retirement plans as the top 3 items. However I was struck that in fourth place at 44% was supplemental training programs.
Its nice confirmation, as I spend a good chunk of my time selling companies on the necessity and benefit of investing in developing their top talent. The most successful companies do a good job of this, but for many others it amounts to lip service, or an unsophisticated hodgepodge of programs that don’t really help the company in the long run. The study offers a nice piece of evidence that the participants themselves are asking for the development too. Further, my experience is that trying to differentiate on compensation can be tricky, but differentiating on quality of the developmental experience is much easier. There will always be someone else offering a bit more money for your best people — it will be harder for them to say that they will learn more or be a better leader overall if you are investing in them for the long term.