Maureen Moriarty wrote an excellent article for the Seattle Post-Intellegencer about developing and retaining key talent. In the article, she says

“The most successful high-growth companies support and promote a culture of learning and development. High-performing employees understand they need to continuously improve to maximize job performance, grow into new roles and responsibilities, and move up the corporate ladder. They also understand their worth and often leave companies who fail to support their development and career path.”

While professional development and career management remain an individual’s responsibility, there are many ways that employers can encourage and support the employee’s development efforts. Employers benefit from the partnership by getting more engaged and energized employees, and by retaining their top talent.

Some of the best practices recommended by Moriarty include:

  • Use assessments to identify strengths, skill gaps, and challenge areas; and to assess technical or emotional intelligence.
  • Establish employee “ownership” of the development process.
  • Identify the non-negotiable performance measures.
  • Utilize SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
  • Provide frequent feedback, support, and follow-up.