Building a Game-Changing Talent Development Strategy

Employee Training

5 tips to help you develop a game-changing talent development strategy.

If you’re going to succeed, you can’t just hire good people. You have to make them great.

Every business blog or podcast on the planet will tell you that your people are your best asset—and we agree. People can bring your goals to reality and make your best ideas even better.

But if you want to build the team of your dreams, you can’t just cross your fingers and hope people level up on their own. You need a talent development strategy and the support of your leadership team to bring it to fruition. There are real business benefits to prioritizing talent development, and we’re going to walk you through some strategies to achieve them:

Create a seamless onboarding experience.

Onboarding doesn’t have to be just paperwork and an awkward tour of your office supplies. Good onboarding can make a meaningful difference in how quickly your new hire starts contributing to the team.

Good onboarding begins well before your new hire’s first day. You want your new hire to feel like you’re excited and ready for them to join the team. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Make a list of all the people who will work closely with your new hire and set up a meeting so they can get to know each other right away. This one-on-one time is great for building relationships and learning the nuances of a job right away. Email a copy of this schedule to your new hire a few days in advance so they know what to expect. 
  • Talk to IT and the building manager ahead of time to make sure all your new hire’s stuff is ready for them: a desk, a laptop, keys to the building, any special equipment, etc. 
  • Give your new hire a real tour on their first day. Show them where to find the bathrooms, the kitchen, a first aid kit, and other departments where they may spend a lot of time.
  • Make sure they have log-in access to everything they will need to do their jobs successfully; it can immediately turn off new hires if you send them on a wild goose chase to get technology access.

Bottom line: Don’t just leave your new people to fend for themselves. Do what you can to make them comfortable from the beginning so they can integrate quickly and start really showing you what they can.

Encourage growth and keep good employees through upskilling and reskilling.

Upskilling and reskilling aren’t just business buzzwords. They are continuing education strategies designed to keep and grow good people.

Upskilling refers to teaching someone new skills that they’ll need for a promotion or a more advanced role. Think leadership training for a new manager or extra training for a bookkeeper who wants to be an accountant.

Reskilling refers to totally new skills that someone needs to make a lateral move to a different job function, such as manufacturing to sales or admin to HR. Let’s say you have an employee with a ton of knowledge and experience with your company. There’s nowhere for them to go in their own department, but they’re ready for their next move—and you really want to keep them around. Ask if there’s another area of business that interests them. You might find that their current experience makes them a great candidate for a switch, as long as they get some extra training—or reskilling.

Continuous education is the key to both upskilling and reskilling. Making this a priority means you can keep people with a lot of institutional memory who are more likely to understand and appreciate context and nuance. Additionally, investing in your team like this builds loyalty, so your people stick around longer.

Become more agile with cross-training.

Cross-training refers to strategic training on another person’s job function. Your goal isn’t to create ten people with the exact same skillset. Rather, you’re looking to create a backup so your team doesn’t fall apart if one person is out sick and no one else can handle their duties for a day or two.

Cross-training makes the team more flexible and resilient, and it makes it easier for everyone to collaborate when they understand each other’s jobs a little better. Cross-training also lets people get a taste of other roles that might interest them.

You can make this fun by letting your team members design their own curriculums to cross-train each other. A trivia-style learning platform like Trivie is fully customizable, so it’s easy to cover the quirks and nuances that make every job different.

Recognize and celebrate your employees—and not just at the company picnic.

69% of employees say that they’d work harder if they felt like their efforts were better appreciated. That means two things: Employee recognition really matters, and employees want to be recognized for something other than how many years they’ve been at the company.

In other words, it’s time to step up your appreciation game. Here are a few approaches to consider:

  • Make it specific. Vague compliments don’t mean much. Your team members want to know that you’re really paying attention to what they’re doing and how it affects the company. Celebrate their exact accomplishments, such as successfully managing a complex project, coming up with a highly profitable idea, or implementing a strategy that saved time for everyone. 
  • Make it personal. Not everyone wants a gift card to the new brewery in town. Some of your employees might prefer flowers or a celebratory lunch with their manager instead. Recognition gifts should be unique to each employee, to show them you know them.
  • Make it peer to peer. Of course, it feels great to be praised by leadership, but peers often have a unique perspective on each other’s work that a manager may not see. Create opportunities for your team members to give each other shout-outs for work and camaraderie that goes above and beyond.

Make it stick and make it fun with social learning.

If you’ve ever seen a sitcom, you’ve watched a scene that made fun of on-the-job training videos. The Office, Schitt’s Creek, and many others have all taken a crack at it, and they’re never wrong. Those videos are as ineffective as they are ridiculous.

There’s a much better way: Social learning. Learning from and with other people makes room for us to ask questions and pick up on context and nuance. Additionally, learning together is more fun and builds rapport between team members. 

There are a lot of ways to practice social learning on the job: shadowing, mentoring, training, and more. You can even preserve the benefits of social learning through a computer with a gamification learning tool like Trivie. Trivie users remember 90% of what they learn even after a full year.

To learn more about how Trivie can support your talent development goals, get in touch.



We believe that knowledge is the fundamental element that drives human growth, and retaining knowledge creates the building blocks to a better world. Everything we do, everything we believe in, is to ensure this happens efficiently and effectively.

Related story

In our Blog

Awesome! We can't wait to connect with you.