7 Components of a Comprehensive Talent Development Program

On-Demand Workforce Purpose Work Culture

Companies’ ability to build diverse, flexible and versatile teams is critical for success. Ready your recruitment processes for the workplace of the future with these components of a comprehensive talent development program.


Future State Client Portfolio Director Lynette Phillips and Recruiting and Talent Manager Will French love building winning teams.

Although business is fast-paced all over the globe, working in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the ever-shifting tech industry, we often find ourselves on the forefront of emergent business needs. Today many of our clients and colleagues are asking about building better programs for talent management.

More than ever, companies are realizing their ability to build diverse, flexible and versatile teams are of the utmost importance to ongoing success. Talent management is changing, and that change is being driven by a number of trends; ATD research named these top trends influencing the next five years of global talent development: The need for an innovative workforce; more flexible organizations to adapt to our rapidly changing world; changes in skills needed for success in the workplace of tomorrow; employees demanding more of employers; and an increase in the strategic responsibility held by those responsible for talent development.

At Future State, we call ourselves a human-centered management consulting firm for this very reason: We have long recognized that people are the heart of any organization and the true drivers of innovation and ongoing success.

Because I’ve been getting asked more and more about this process and what is needed for success, I thought I’d share the seven components of a comprehensive talent development program.

#1: Define your framework. Creating clear vision, values and goals for your Talent Management program will serve as the framework to build and prioritize all other programs. This means looking beyond filling positions—it’s considering how talent ties in to the overarching goals of your organization and determining what roles are needed to make those goals a reality. It’s also defining the resources mix of your talent management plan: How many resources are you going to put toward internal talent development? How many toward recruiting? When might it make sense to bring in outside expertise to build systems or achieve specific goals?

#2: Build your roadmap. An end-to-end Talent Development Framework will serve as the roadmap for how you attract, retain and build talent. It’s important to consider having the right mix of workforce including skills and competencies as well as diversity, which may include gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age and other factors. A diverse talent pool opens up your networking capabilities, is proven to drive innovation, and helps attract top talent.


Many companies and leaders are concerned with and dedicated to creating a diversity strategy, but they’re not sure how and they know they’re not there yet.


#3: Mind the gaps. Conduct what’s called a Talent Gap Assessment. This provides a baseline of near-term competencies and actions that need to occur to shore up immediate gaps and guide long-term talent investments. Here outside consultants and on-demand staff may be a useful investment. Bringing in individuals or teams with expertise can help drive projects to success while you’re in the process of developing long-term staff.

#4: Develop your internal succession model. A Talent Succession Plan model defines the roles, responsibilities and demonstrated capabilities needed for advancement within the business. This should identify the prerequisite capabilities for various responsibilities and roles, and how internal talent can develop and demonstrate those skills.

#5: Stay in touch with your team. Develop an Employee Engagement Program to measure perceptions of the workforce and provide data to leadership on the true pulse of the culture and the workforce. Once you’ve recruited a stellar team, it’s critical to monitor key measures of satisfaction such as making sure team members have access to the resources they need, aren’t moving toward burn-out, and feel part of the workplace culture. Turnover is expensive. Aim to build in processes that help ensure employee satisfaction and retention, and help maximize the return on your biggest investment: your people.

#6: Be intentional about diversity. Use intention in creating a Diversity and Inclusion Strategy promotes balanced hiring. Many companies and leaders are concerned with and dedicated to creating a diversity strategy, but they’re not sure how and they know they’re not there yet. Building in accountability for diversity and inclusion is key to making sure this crucial component is met. Consciousness and accountability need to be built in all the way from recruitment to support at the executive level. As much as everyone may be on board, you’re much more likely to succeed if these measures are an essential component of something concrete, such as performance reviews or bonus structures.

#7: Be ready for the future. Develop an HR Talent and Tools Assessment to keep track of whether you have the internal capabilities to execute, maintain and measure against your talent management goals over time. Once you’ve built and begun executing a plan, continue to assess your team against your goals to make sure you are ready for whatever the future brings.



LYNETTE PHILLIPS is Future State’s lead Client Portfolio Director for On-Demand Talent. A foundational member of the Future State team, Lynette is an expert at holistically analyzing any project, seeing the gaps, and identifying the perfect people to round out teams and drive success.