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5 Steps to Getting Started With Internal Talent Development

As good talent becomes harder to find, more companies are looking to educational programs for developing their talent pools from within.


f the trend toward jobs requiring college degrees or credentials continues, employers will need to be more proactive than ever to develop their own talent through educational programs. Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation, offers five suggestions for getting started:

1. Understand the educational attainment of your workforce

Make sure you have a complete understanding of the degrees and credentials your workforce currently holds. This will help you create a solid plan for filling in gaps.

2. Maximize existing education benefit programs

Before starting a new initiative, it pays to take a look at how you’re already using education benefits.

Has your organization already developed programs and then shelved them or not effectively publicized them to your workforce? How can you improve on or maximize your previous investments in developing an education program?

As Jamie Fall, director of Upskill America at the Aspen Institute told us in a previous article, employees may need multiple reminders that a tuition assistance program is available. Low utilization after one announcement does not mean low interest.

3. Put administration scaffolding in place

A fantastic educational benefits program won’t get results if it’s not well administered. Ask how people learn about your program. Is it being seen by the people who need it most, or only those who are proactively interested in it?

Ultimately, successful learning programs are ingrained in the company culture.

4. Create equitable criteria for eligibility

Glover recommends organizations use a model in which everyone is eligible within certain thresholds, rather than putting the decision of eligibility in the hands of a manager or department head.

Even the most well-meaning manager can fall prey to unconscious bias, and requiring employees to go through one specific manager may discourage certain segments of your workforce that are already disadvantaged.

5. Choose the right educational partners

Picking the right institution or institutions to partner with is crucial. Whether you are offering a general program of study or more tailored programs for the needs of your employees. (Southern New Hampshire University has over 200 online degree programs.)

Ideally you will be working with a partner who understands the unique needs of adult education — that working adults want more active and project-based learning that is highly career relevant. Vet each potential partner to make sure they have great completion rates with working adults.

Investing in an educational program to train talent can pay off in dividends for both employers and employees, as Comcast’s Dave Davis recently found. He recently finished his associate degree and is now able to apply for internal promotions within the company.

“There are very few ways you can invest in yourself that have a better payoff than education,” says Glover. “When employers are providing resources and employees are stepping up and taking advantage of them, you can really come out with a wonderful win-win on both sides.”

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution – and one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. Since 1932, we’ve been meeting the needs of our students and the workforce, offering undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs that keep pace with new technologies and professional requirements. Recognized as a “Most Innovative” regional university by U.S. News & World Report, SNHU continues to reinvent affordable, accessible higher education.

SNHU aims to transform lives, partnering with organizations with the same life-changing mission. Through alliances with the military, sports teams and leagues, academic institutions, corporations and more, we’re able to invest in the advancement of people, organizations and communities – across the country and around the world.