The UK is currently experiencing high levels of employment. In a tight labour market and facing skills shortages, many companies are focusing on developing their team members. This can offer business benefits through reduced staff turnover, increased employee motivation, engagement and productivity; as well as helping employees to develop their careers.

When working with my client companies to develop their talent, we work through the following steps:

Which roles are you looking to fill in the future?

Consider which roles are critical to your organisation. Businesses often think about developing their future leaders and managers, but how will you deliver your products and services if other key postholders such as your technical experts or specialists decide to leave?

If you don’t already have them, job descriptions can be beneficial to both current and future incumbents in setting out the required responsibilities, skills, knowledge and experience.

Which employees are you going to develop into those roles?

You may identify which employees to develop informally from day to day conversations, or through formal appraisal discussions about their skills, knowledge, experience and career aspirations, and matching those to business needs.

Many large organisations carry out formal talent mapping exercises on a regular basis. This involves looking at each employee’s performance in their current role against their potential for future development, and can help managers to be fair and objective about all members of their team.

Being open and transparent about how you decide who to develop for future progression is important to making sure everyone feels engaged, as well as avoiding claims of discrimination.

Design a development plan

This can involve:

• On the job training
• External courses or qualifications – this helps employees to gain insight into current best practice as well as how other companies operate
• Coaching and mentoring from more experienced colleagues or consider bringing in specialist external support
• Seconding employees into a variety of roles to give them exposure to future opportunities
• Shadowing more senior colleagues to give an understanding of what their jobs involve on a day to day basis

Consider other options

Recruiting apprentices or graduates means that you can teach new starters in your ways of working from day one. These options will mean that you need to spend time at the start of their employment in guiding, supporting, training and mentoring, so you need to make sure you have the time and resources available to do this.

How can HR Solutions Yorkshire help your business?

With 25 years’ experience in senior HR roles across a variety of businesses and sectors, we work with SME businesses across Yorkshire on an ad hoc or retained basis in the following areas:

• HR strategy/projects
• Change management
• Learning and development
• Employee relations
• Employee wellbeing

To find out more about how we can support your growing business, get in touch with Sarah on 01937 591577/07495 857525, or email

You can also find our website at