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How to use L&D for effective talent management

Published 14th December 2016 by Melissa Farrington

With the average cost of replacing an employee in the UK at £30,614*, attracting and retaining talented people has never been more important.

In 2016, we saw unsatisfactory pay dropping to third place in the UK workforce’s “unhappiness factors”. It’s clear that while the right pay is important, it’s not the only factor that influences who employees choose to work for.

Attracting talent is no longer a transactional one-off event, but a long-term “dating game”. Successful employers are considering much more than just salary – focusing on workplace culture, employee benefits and staff training opportunities too. 

So, how can your business attract, engage, and foster lasting relationships with talented people?

Attraction – offering appealing development opportunities

With 24% of employees saying they would rather their employer invested more in their training and development than receive a 3% payrise, individual growth and development is a key factor for employees driven by mastery.

High-performing organisations invest in L&D to attract the best people. They also shape recruitment strategies to achieve greater returns from their investment; hiring people with growth and development mindsets increases the prospect of long-term returns.

Engagement – delivering on promises and seeing it through

A Harvard Business Review study of 1200 high achievers found that many early exits were fuelled by dissatisfaction with employee development efforts.These early exits aren’t cheap - there’s the loss of knowledge and potential and the time and resources needed to hire replacements. In a network economy, dissatisfied former employees are bad for business, so it’s vital to deliver on promises.

If you talk about learning and development at the recruitment stage, you need to see it through. Consider the opportunities for development at every level, from on the job learning through mentorship and shadowing, to training programmes that upskill and broaden employees’ knowledge.


Attracting talent is no longer a transactional one-off event, but a long-term ‘dating game’.

Lasting relationships that lead to mutual benefits

Effective, useful and relevant learning and development will foster a lasting relationship between the employee and employer. Your people will feel valued, which will increase their commitment and incite advocacy, and the organisation will benefit from the skills and knowledge acquired through higher employee performance. The result? A mutually beneficial long-lasting relationship for you and your talent.

You can’t buy an employee’s decision to join your organisation, but you can create the most attractive proposition, by showcasing how you invest in your people. In the face of changing market, L&D offers your business a way of recruiting, shaping and retaining the knowledge, skills and abilities that are essential for sustainable growth and performance.


*Oxford Economics