Why do organizations need to invest in their workforce? The answer to this question seems self-evident – as talented and skilled people who enjoy a healthy work environment are what drives a company’s success. Nonetheless, some organizations fail to create programs able to add value to their employees and meet their business needs.
Reskilling and upskilling are crucial not only to scale people’s careers but to outperform the competition. Ineffective training costs businesses between $17 billion and $30 billion a year. Talent wars show no sign of stopping anytime soon and a solid and attractive Employer Value Proposition (EVP) is key to attract the right people with the right skills.
But what is talent development? It’s the area that enables employees to develop their competences. It aims to promote and facilitate learning activities in organizations, creating optimal conditions to make the learning process as seamless as possible while providing the best experience to the participants. Talent development ensures a high-performing environment which is aligned to business objectives, while at the same time providing opportunities for employees to grow their careers and preparing them to respond to different situations. This means that it’s not only about offering training to improve or create new skills, but it’s also about building leadership and communication abilities.
To provide an example of a successful talent development program, I’d like to now dive into the details of Belatrix’s own efforts to build a world-class talent development structure. I sat down with Gisella Tromer and Aldana Gutierrez, both responsible for Belatrix’s talent development program, to find out more about it and the initiatives that we have created.
Firstly, we are proud to say that, on average, each of our employees undertakes more than 100 hours per year of training, which focuses on both hard and soft skills, enhancing performance, and developing their career paths. But what is behind those 100 hours? Our human-centered approach. Our team creates programs that address the specific needs of our employees. They take into account, for instance, their position and level of seniority to determine how specialized the training needs to be, whether it is more effective to take it remotely or on-site and many other variables that impact the quality of the training.
As we have headquarters in a variety of locations, our talent development team takes into consideration the specific culture and time zone of each location as it plays a role in motivation and availability to undertake training.
In order to ensure they meet their learning needs, our talent development team works closely with different areas and departments. The first area they focus on is being at the forefront of new technologies. Belatrix makes sure to be prepared for new opportunities that our client-facing staff see, because this helps us anticipate the demands of the industry. The second source of information are our clients and the specific needs of existing projects. For example, there are cases in which customers require expertise in certain tools.
Another important source to detect learning needs is related to helping employees who want to grow in their careers, either by developing their potential in their own position or changing roles. And last but not least, Belatrix drives the continuous improvement of internal policies and processes so that they are aligned with the new demands of the market.
According to a report by Udemy, learning activities by themselves are not sufficient to build a high-performing and engaged workforce. As a result, these initiatives need to include growth opportunities that go beyond acquiring an isolated skill. Thus, our talent development team has made efforts to create a varied offering of different programs that not only aim to benefit our employees but also reflect our commitment to social causes.
Our mentoring program for instance, consists of fostering a spirit of fellowship by putting in contact two people that have pursued the same career but have different experience and abilities. They partner up to help each other develop skills that go from technical knowledge to communication and leadership competences.
As a result, the more experienced person provides guidance to his or her partner to help develop their careers. For instance, when developers want to be recategorized or change their role, their mentor will provide assistance with the subjects and abilities that the person would have to acquire to achieve their objective. This program also aims to support employees when they need to reinforce skills in a specific subject.
The program is an effort to foster trust, teamwork and empowerment, which are part of our company values and culture. Belatrix wants to play an active role in providing the means and tools to help our employees grow while also improving our practices in the process.
Another initiative that reflects Belatrix’s commitment to positively impact peoples’ lives is our intern program. This initiative aims to encourage young students to develop skills and carry out practical activities to get to know what a professional environment looks like. We have established relationships with universities to conduct an annual event where we offer training programs for students undertaking the last semester of their degree, in order to provide the know-how that will prepare them to respond effectively in a real project.
As well as being part of our talent development activities, these initiatives reflect Belatrix’s commitment to helping our local communities. For instance, we visit schools to encourage youngsters to pursue a career in software engineering as well as carrying out activities in our offices with high school students. We also have initiatives such as the “Women in technology week” and we support local communities such as the “Girls programming club” to help foster gender equality in the technology industry.
One of the tools that the talent development area uses to improve their processes and diversify their programs is the Association for Talent Development (ATD), a platform that aims to “create a world that works better”. The association helps companies to work more productively, empowering professionals to create programs that enhance the potential of others. They offer content that includes case studies with the support of industry experts, events, conferences, certificate programs, education programs, among others. This platform has helped our talent development team at Belatrix diversify their capabilities and help make our workplace an enjoyable and high-performing place to be.
Another interesting resource our team has used to improve performance is a program of liberating structures. This is composed of 33 methods to help work teams improve communication and share their ideas in a fun and effective manner. The objective of liberating structures is to encourage people to make small changes in the way they interact with others to harness creativity and come up with innovative solutions. This is particularly important for us when working with leading organizations across the world on some of their most important and innovative initiatives. Leaders, managers, executives and even interns can use and lead liberating structures in their organization; it’s small changes that make the difference.
Our workforce is the core of our company. From day one we have invested resources and energy to be an organization that is known for its great work environment and over the years we have seen the results. We are constantly looking for new ways to encourage talent development inside and outside the company, and we welcome suggestions to continue improving. We hope to hear from you in the comments below.
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