Is investment in talent development a cost?

When the going gets tough, it’s easy for organisations to sacrifice talent development. The thinking is that talent development is there to draw money out of the organisation without any tangible benefits that can be realised from the skills acquired.

By Paul Nyausaru

The question that comes up is whether talent development is really worth the huge investment channelled towards it.

In this article, I will explore the justification for embracing talent development.

To begin with, talent development provides stability for employees for it gives them a sense of belonging in the organisation.

When the organisation defines its talent development programme, employees get the satisfaction that the organisation is investing in them and sees value in what they (employees) have to offer.

That sense of feeling that they are respected by the organisation is in itself a strong motivator and cultivates a spirit of loyalty to the organisation.

As an organisation, do you realise how costly staff turnover is? Research has it that 40% of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year.

When asked about their reason for leaving, they cite lack of skills and human resources development as their primary reason for moving. Consideration has to be made on the cost of turnover.

Surely, if an organisation loses just one employee, it will negatively affect service delivery/production.

Over and above that, finding a suitable replacement will require time spent on screening and interviewing applicants for the post.

Once recruitment has been done, the newly-recruited employee has to undergo training. Above all, morale among employees suffers.

Talent development provides employees with the much-needed tools and information vital to perform their job successfully.

If an employee is armed with the required goals, is taught how to obtain those goals and given the tools to see the process through, it makes them enjoy their job.

It has been observed that employees that are thrown into a job without formal development usually find themselves lost, lack purpose and are frustrated due to their inability to complete their tasks.

Talent development is a recruiting tool. Gone are the days when people look just at the pay cheque when they are looking for employment.

Today’s young generation looks beyond money, as they are geared toward seeking employment that gives them an opportunity to learn new skills.

There is a likelihood of an organisation being able to attract and retain high quality employees if it offers talent development opportunities.

Having a structured talent development programme can also act as a retention tool, which instils loyalty and commitment from good employees.

Employees that are kept looking for the next challenge are likely to stay longer if they are offered opportunities to learn and grow while they are with the organisation.

So, the longer they stay with your organisation, the more the better for you.

Ultimately, paying attention to employee skills makes business sense.

It may take time to see a return on your investment, but the long-term benefits associated with employee talent development make a difference.
The short-term expense of a talent development programme ensures you keep qualified and productive employees who will help your organisation succeed.

That is an investment you can surely take to the bank.

Paul Nyausaru (FIPMZ) is Human Resources Practitioner. Views contained in this article are personal. He can be contacted on email

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