So Much Potential, So Little Investment: Why Great Talent Languishes

Here’s an interesting contradiction: According to a survey from executive team consultancy Gap International, executives overwhelmingly agree that talent can make or break a company; yet only a minority actually say they invest in leadership development programs. 

How important is maximizing a company’s talent? Very, said 85 percent of execs surveyed. In addition, 83 percent said the same of empowering employees to succeed. The problem: the “maximization” bar is set too low.

Only 37 percent of leaders surveyed said they believe their employees can become top performers. What’s more, less than half said they would “invest innovation efforts” in leadership development or employee performance training this year.

That data points to a disconnect between how employers think and how they act regarding talent development. If it’s really that important, why aren’t more companies investing in leadership training programs?

Gap International CEO Pontish Yeramyan says this disconnect is understandable. She tellsInc that leadership development programs often just don’t work very well; the ROI is not clear, so companies don’t invest much effort or money into them. Before companies can invest serious energy into leadership development, they must fput plans in place that guarantee strong outcomes of the programs, she says.

Teramyan acknowledges the chicken-or-the-egg paradigm here, and sees it manifest in other data, too. For example, she says, only 32 percent of leaders say they “strongly agree” that they can predict whether their teams will deliver the results they’ve promised. That, too, indicates a need for executives to refocus on outcomes and results as it pertains to talent management, she says.

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