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Investment in staff pays dividends, says report

The Nurturing Talent report by Cranfield School of Management on behalf of learndirect Business also found employers who make strategic rather than operational staff development decisions are best placed to achieve these benefits.

Successful organisations are typified by those that use formal training policies to nurture talent. However, although the report highlights training and development can have significant benefits such as increased staff motivation and retention, only a third of employers have a formal training strategy.

The report, which was compiled using responses from 1,189 training and recruitment decision makers, reveals that 78% of employers see skills development as more beneficial to their organisation compared to recruiting staff externally.

Report author Dr Emma Parry, senior research fellow at Cranfield School of Management, said: “With training budgets arguably among the first to go in a recession, this research demonstrates that growing your own is an effective way for organisations to obtain the skills they need while saving money.

“For employers, the nurturing talent concept means managing and developing employees to achieve business goals. This could include training; employee coaching; staff mentoring; and job enrichment to stretch employees with new tasks.”

Sarah Jones, chief executive of Ufi, the organisation responsible for learndirect and learndirect Business, said: “Nurturing staff is a vital strategy for employers whatever the economic situation, although in tougher times it can become a challenge as other business demands take priority.

"However, as this research highlights, organisations do not just stop hiring during an economic downturn – they simply work harder to ensure their available resources are allocated more effectively.

“Organisations must focus on nurturing talent if they are to survive, grow and succeed. As a CEO, I know the continuous development and growth of people is inextricably linked to business performance.

"At Ufi we have a structured process of evaluation and assessment to help ensure employees realise their full potential. Each member of staff has a structured development plan, which is aligned to specific business and individual needs.

“As we’ve seen, the business case for developing staff is compelling. Effective training can reduce staff turnover and absenteeism, improve motivation, increase productivity, help boost and improve customer satisfaction. By focusing resources on nurturing existing talent, organisations can ensure they reap significant rewards.”

To ensure employers can gain access to high quality flexible training opportunities, learndirect Business has developed a dedicated network of highly responsive training centres through which organisations can access online and work-based learning covering a wide range of business issues.