Wood Words

Young Professionals Learning Together

Home Grown Talent: Are You Doing Enough to Develop Your Best Employees?

Struggling to hire the dynamic employees you need?

Grow them yourself!

In a tight talent market, employee development is critical to your business’s continued success. Training improves your team’s skills, making them more valuable and versatile within your company.

But developing your team does much more than increase and/or broaden their job skills; it’s a powerful recruiting and retention tool. Millennials and Gen Z employees, in particular, want to work for employers that take their professional development seriously – by offering training and other growth opportunities to keep their skills relevant and keep their career moving forward.

4 Tactics for Growing Talent Internally

So, what should your Middle Tennessee business do to formalize and strengthen employee development initiatives? Here are a few tips from our Sumner County recruiting experts:

Individualize plans.

One-size-all doesn’t work for professional development. For training to be effective and meaningful, it must be tailored to individuals’ interests and career goals. Meet with employees one on one to find out what matters most to them. Then, help each craft a 3-to 5-year career path within your organization. Identify the skills and training they’ll need to get there, and then customize a professional development plan to bridge critical gaps.

Assign mentors.

Mentoring is a low-cost, high-impact tool that accelerates employees’ development, while boosting their engagement and confidence, too. Pair senior employees with younger ones according to their strengths, to:

  • facilitate knowledge transfer (in both directions);
  • grow younger employees’ skills;
  • develop leadership potential in both the mentor and mentee;
  • deepen younger workers’ ties within your organization.


If your business is like most, departmental success is interrelated. Cross-training promising employees helps them broaden their skills and develop an appreciation for things they can do to drive success beyond their department. Create opportunities for job-shadowing and learning skills required for success in other departments. With a stronger foundation and understanding of how work is accomplished throughout your organization, employees become more diverse and better interdepartmental collaborators.

As an added benefit, cross-training exposes high-potential employees to other areas of your business – which could lead to new long-term career paths for them within your organization.

Develop soft skills.

Soft skills – things like emotional intelligence, communication, creative problem-solving and decision-making – are often overlooked when it comes to professional development plans. Yet, offering skills training on these intangibles can strengthen your culture, boost individual and team performance, and make your employees even more “promotable.” Consider bringing in an outside expert to teach your team how to read body language, strengthen their presentation skills, or develop other soft skills relevant for their roles.

Final Thoughts

While each of the tactics outlined in this post build individual skills, they also promote team and interdepartmental cohesion – creating a positive ripple effect that improves culture and your bottom line.

Struggling to find people with the skills you need? Want to free up core employees’ time for training?

Our Gallatin staffing agency is ready to help – and just a phone call away!