8 Common HR Mistakes in Digital Talent Development

If there’s one thing harder than finding high-quality talent, it’s keeping and nurturing it. According to McKinsey, only 7% of employers believe themselves capable of keeping their highest-performing employees. Even more, only 23% think their retention and acquisition strategies work properly. So how can HR professionals aid in developing and retaining talent that boosts their company’s productivity, innovation, and bottom line?

In addition to hiring the right candidates, HR leaders are responsible for developing and nurturing the talent working at their company. However, there are a number of obstacles and challenges that HR professionals frequently face that may hinder their efforts. This article will explore eight of the most common HR mistakes in digital talent development, why these mistakes occur, and how to mitigate their negative effects. 

1. Focusing Solely on Technical Skills

Technical skills are essential when planning for talent development. However, focusing solely on technical skills could result in a workforce that's weak in soft skill areas, such as communication, collaboration, and teamwork.

HR professionals should focus on helping employees develop the soft skills needed for their role, in addition to the necessary technical skills. This includes problem-solving capabilities, communication, teamwork, and innovation. Furthermore, employees must be able to incorporate all of these traits into their technical work and evolve as the organization grows and the industry transforms.

Organizations can also provide workshops, training sessions, and webinars to staff to foster these important skills. There, they can focus on developing their abilities to become a well-rounded teammate and integrate seamlessly into the workforce.

2. Not Aligning Talent Development With Business Goals

Not aligning talent development with business goals can lead to a mismatch between an organization's strategic objectives and the skills and competencies of its workforce. Early planning and consideration will ensure that the workforce is moving in the desired direction in terms of necessary skills and knowledge.

To create a talent development plan that’s in line with broader business objectives, a company's HR department must maintain an open line of communication with stakeholders and current team leaders. This ensures all parties are on the same page when it’s time to develop talent. Additionally, it’s crucial to have a way to measure the impact talent acquisition has on business goals using key performance indicators (KPIs), such as return on investment, internal promotion rates, employee engagement, and cross-functional collaboration.

3. Not Leveraging Technology to the Fullest

According to a 2022 PwC survey, 36% of HR professionals struggle with the modernization of HR systems and recruitment methods. When developing digital talent, especially technical professionals, it’s important that HR managers make use of all the tools and solutions available to them. If not, they risk missing out on valuable opportunities and hindering the growth of the organization.

There are numerous ways a company’s HR department can enhance its talent development process, allowing for a more engaging and effective onboarding and training experience. Learning Management Systems (LMS) for example, can help with streamlining the administration, tracking, and reporting tasks of training programs

Additionally, virtual tests can be used to gauge the real-life expertise of potential candidates before they become a permanent part of the team. These tests can also be useful to identify skill levels in order to develop the technical and soft skills of current employees.

4. Not Offering Enough Opportunities for Growth and Advancement

Exceptional digital talent is in high demand. That’s especially the case for candidates who possess a well-rounded skill set, along with a number of years of relevant experience. To keep the brightest talent, organizations must be willing to provide unique opportunities for growth and advancement in their careers. 

A culture of continuous learning is also essential to keep employees motivated and engaged. Failing to offer such opportunities would make it significantly harder to retain skilled talent for longer periods, and to attract replacements. US job seekers reported willingness to forego up to 12% of their salaries in exchange for training and development opportunities. 

To create a culture that promotes growth and advancement, both HR professionals and team leaders should encourage employees to learn through a wide variety of digital and physical resources. Offering cross-functional projects and rotational programs can also provide employees with new experiences and opportunities to develop their skills long-term.

5. Not Engaging Employees in the Talent Development Process

While talent acquisition and development are primarily the responsibility of an organization’s HR department, they often aren’t knowledgeable of the skills needed by existing teams. That’s why it’s crucial to have clear and open communication about the struggles of current staff members regarding the type and level of skills they’d like to reach as a team.

Establishing a reliable feedback loop encourages employees to voice their concerns and suggestions regarding new training programs and take ownership of their own development process. Through regular check-ins and performance reviews, HR can identify gaps in the teams’ skills and pinpoint the exact areas needing improvement. Also, this opens the opportunity of hiring a new team member to fill the void.

Moreover, HR professionals alongside business development leaders should recognize and reward both seasoned and new employees for their achievements and developments in learning. This is another way they can create an environment that fosters personal as well as professional growth.

6. Overlooking the Importance of Diversity and Inclusion

Having a diverse and inclusive workforce can significantly contribute to the success of digital talent development efforts. HR departments should focus on bringing in individuals from widely different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, as long as they meet the basic criteria for their positions. The variations in viewpoints and opinions can foster innovation and creativity among a company’s workforce, resulting in improved problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.

This is considered yet another weak point for many HR professionals as they must address their unconscious biases in the hiring and promotion processes. Inclusion can also be achieved through in-house and online education opportunities, bridging the gap of skills and knowledge between employees from a variety of educational backgrounds with their own unique learning styles. 

An investment in an organization’s diversity boosts more than its productivity. Employees are more likely to feel comfortable, welcome, and accepted in diverse and multicultural environments, increasing the likelihood of developing a positive relationship with their teammates and reducing the overall turnover rate. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse teams generate 19% higher revenue due to innovation.

7. Neglecting Talent Development Programs

The skills and knowledge required to succeed in the digital landscape are constantly evolving. As such, it is vital for HR professionals to continuously assess and adapt talent development programs to ensure they remain relevant and effective. Neglecting to do so can result in outdated programs that fail to meet the organization's current needs.

Fostering a culture of group learning is best achieved by regularly gathering feedback from both employees and stakeholders, allowing them to identify opportunities for improvement in their operations and skill development programs. Such feedback can also be used to directly or indirectly influence the material delivered in training programs, and how employees can access the resources; online or in person.

Moreover, HR professionals should stay informed about emerging technologies and evolving industry best practices, such as the use of virtual reality and augmented reality technology in remote meetings. By adapting talent development programs to keep up with these changes, organizations can ensure their workforce remains agile and equipped to tackle the challenges of this digital age.

8. Inadequate Communication and Collaboration Among Departments

Digital development through the onboarding of new talent isn’t an isolated effort. It requires the active collaboration and input of various departments to be successful. However, inadequate communication among the various departments can hinder HR’s initiatives. When departments work in isolated silos, the entire company could fall into inconsistencies and duplicate efforts, as well as missed opportunities from cross-functional learning.

The development and growth leaders of an organization should encourage knowledge-sharing and collaboration across all departments. While challenging, this can be facilitated through regular meetings, workshops, and training sessions that bring together members from different departments.

Aligning departmental goals with the overall talent development strategy is also crucial to ensure consistency and cohesion across the organization. HR professionals should work closely with department heads to identify specific skill requirements and ensure that talent development programs cater to these needs.

Keeping up With the Future of Digital Talent Development

As organizations continue to navigate digital transformation, it is essential to partner with experts who can help close data and digital skill gaps and develop talent for the jobs of tomorrow. At Correlation One, we are a proud workforce transformation company. We help enterprises prepare for the unpredictable job economy of the future by creating a resilient, reliable, and sustainable workforce

We provide access to a diverse talent ecosystem through global programs such as our own Data Science for All (DS4A) initiative, customer enterprise training, and engaging data competitions. Contacting us at Correlation One is the first step toward achieving a more streamlined and effective talent development process.

Publish date: April 27, 2023