Talent Development Strategies to Foster Growth on Your Tech Team

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Talent development is a person-centric approach to performance management. It helps employees develop the skill sets they need to achieve their career goals. Creating a company culture that values talent development can improve employee experience, uncover hidden talents, and increase engagement.
Published on
April 26, 2024
Updated on
May 2, 2024

Do you know where your development team will be five years from now? Who will still be working with you? What skills will they have developed?

Developing a strong business strategy relies, in part, on whether you can answer those questions. And while it’s impossible to predict everything, there are steps you can take to improve your odds and future-proof your organization. Talent development is one of those steps.

The tech industry moves quickly, and top talent moves with it. Teams that know how to develop people see better retention, fewer skill gaps, and improved succession planning. This article explores the benefits and challenges of various talent development strategies and how implementing them can help you meet organizational goals.

What Is Talent Development?

Talent development is a strategy of processes and programs designed to help employees define their personal and professional goals, improve competencies, and progress through their desired career paths.

Talent development goes above and beyond training your employees to do their jobs. While training programs are one component, talent development includes upskilling, cross-training, shadowing, and mentorship programs. The idea behind talent development is that it should empower your team members to achieve their goals.

Tech teams use talent development strategies as opportunities to identify the individuals who are most driven to succeed and to foster employee development. Even if someone isn’t the most skilled person on your team, when they’re driven to develop new skills, supporting their goals can help you cultivate future industry leaders from within your team.

Talent Development vs. Talent Management

While similar, talent development and talent management have nuanced differences.  

Talent management looks at your organization on a macro level. It focuses on the broad picture of the skills within your organization and those needed to develop. Talent management often focuses on hiring better talent and training individuals to perform specific skills lacking within the organization. For this reason, talent management could also be referred to as workforce planning.

Talent development, on the other hand, takes a more micro approach. It focuses on helping the individuals within a team meet their full potential and achieve their personal and professional goals in a way that also supports the organization.

Talent management generally falls on the shoulders of CEOs and human resources teams, while talent development largely falls to team leaders and managers.

6 Talent Development Strategies to Support Dev Teams

You need an intentional talent development plan to get the most out of your team, helping each developer progress their skills, enhance their knowledge bases, and achieve their goals. Here are six actionable strategies to help you develop talent on your team.

1. Improve Your Onboarding Process

The first opportunity for talent development happens when new hires interact with your team for the first time. Once you’ve sourced talent and chosen the right people for the job, you’re responsible for onboarding and training. How you tackle that responsibility can set the tone for the rest of the time they spend on your team.

Start by clearly defining what you want that new hire to be in charge of. Visualize what their development workflow should look like and what tasks you expect them to handle daily.

Once you’ve identified your needs from the team member, assess their current skills and determine where they shine. Partner new developers with more senior developers to train on new skills and processes. Note where your new hires naturally thrive and where they may struggle. Strengths in one area may pave the way for future upskilling, while weaker areas may shed light on opportunities for growth.

2. Discuss Motivation and Drive

The next strategy for developing your team is to get to know each member individually. Find out what motivates and drives them. This knowledge can help you support your developers down the road.

For example, one developer may be driven by a thirst for knowledge. Motivating them might look like signing them up for a new conference, offering to let them take the lead on a bigger project, or setting them up with a mentoring program.

Another employee may be driven by job security and work/life balance. Motivating this employee to thrive in the workplace may look more like offering flexible hours or more PTO.

You can help both of these types of employees develop their skills. However, their career paths will look different, and the way you support those career paths should be tailored to their needs. This requires you to have candid discussions with each team member about what they want from their careers and what they envision for their futures within your organization.

3. Outline Career Goals

Once you know your team’s strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, you’re well-positioned to help them develop sensible career goals.

Not everyone on your team wants to be the lead developer one day — and that’s okay. Identify the right candidates for upper management positions and help them develop goals for growing both their technical and soft skills so they can pursue them with your company. This type of succession planning benefits your team on a micro level and your organization on a macro level. You can use it to leverage support from upper management when needed.

But it’s not just those who are looking to become managers that benefit; other members of your team can develop career goals that are just as valuable. The key is to use what motivates them to nurture goals that make sense. For example, employees motivated by work-life balance and flexibility may want to work toward a remote or hybrid position. Their goals might include mastering collaboration software or learning to shore up existing software to prevent software entropy — tasks that could one day be tackled remotely.

4. Stay Abreast of Software Development Workshops

It’s not always enough to develop your teams in-house. Professional workshops and conferences allow your developers to receive expert advice from other people in the industry.

Stay aware of upcoming software development opportunities. When you can, send team members who are most likely to benefit from the topics being discussed.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t always mean sending your best front-end developer to a front-end development workshop. If you have up-and-coming talent interested in the topic, sending them to an appropriate event shows your support of their pursuits while helping them develop the real-world skills they need.

5. Focus on Mentorship Opportunities

Experienced developers who have already mastered specific skills are great at helping other, more junior employees develop them.

Mentorship programs benefit both mentors and mentees. Junior developers in mentorship programs can learn new competencies, receive industry advice, and determine a career trajectory based on the advice they receive.

Meanwhile, mentors may become invested in their mentee’s career growth, which can lead to improved engagement. Mentoring junior developers also gives more senior developers leadership experience, which they can use to bolster their careers, too.

6. Include DEI Initiatives

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI) on your software development teams means bringing a multitude of voices and experiences to the table. Research shows that diversity leads to more creativity and innovation and can improve an organization's financial success.

When developing talent, focusing on DEI allows you to flesh out your team and improve overall success. Promoting a DEI-focused company culture also helps your team build communication and collaboration skills to advance their careers.

Benefits of Talent Development Programs

Talent development programs meet your team members where they are and then help you lead them down their chosen career paths. It can be incredibly rewarding to see a junior software developer grow by leaps and bounds over the course of just a few years on your team.

In addition to the satisfaction you get when you see your developers succeed, talent development programs have several significant benefits. Developing your team in a targeted way can have a meaningful impact on your products, customer relations, and development team culture.

Improve Software Quality

One of the most obvious benefits of talent development is that it helps fill skill gaps. As you support developers in acquiring new skills and proficiencies, you also fill your team with increasingly competent talent.

Doing this while fostering a growth mindset can also improve employee engagement and commitment. The result of these gains is measurably enhanced software.

Reduce Technical Debt

When developers have the skills to produce clean, error-free code, they no longer need to rely on shortcuts to meet deadlines. As a result, they take on less technical debt. This means that by investing in upskilling your team, you can spend less time correcting code and patching software in the future.

Prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders

When hiring members for your development team, it’s easy to focus on whether they have the technical know-how to accomplish jobs. But for individuals to advance in their careers, they also need a variety of soft skills, including interpersonal communication, data analysis presentation, and leadership skills.

Focusing on talent development means that a person on your team with technical proficiency can become a leader who can succeed in your organization. This level of nurturing helps future-proof your organization by ensuring that there are always highly qualified candidates when senior-level job vacancies become available.

Challenges in Developing Talent on Tech Teams

Without a clear talent development strategy in place, tech teams can stagnate. Developers may not feel supported in their roles, leading to decreased employee engagement, apathy in the workplace, and presenteeism. Long-term neglect of people's development can also lower employee retention.

Unfortunately, there are challenges when integrating a talent development program, especially if developing talent isn’t already part of your company culture. Development teams often work under tight deadlines, and software developers may be judged on their productivity. Depending on how your development team is structured, you may or may not be able to change that trend.

If there’s a major deadline coming up or your team isn’t meeting critical metrics, you may be hard-pressed to convince your supervisors that it’s a good time to reskill your team or send them out to an industry event for a learning opportunity.

The best way to combat this is to get buy-in from upper management early on. Focusing on proactive talent planning can help you outline a roadmap for talent development initiatives.

Define Your Talent Development Strategy With Revelo

Talent development involves several processes, from nurturing hidden talents to mentoring young developers. But it starts with hiring the right people to do the job.

Revelo matches businesses with time-zone-aligned developers. Each of our candidates is rigorously vetted for technical skills, soft skills, and English proficiency. Onboarding through Revelo is easy. We help with payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance, offering support through the developer’s tenure with your company to maximize engagement and retention.

Recruiting new talent through Revelo has two benefits regarding talent development. The first is that it allows you to address current skill gaps, giving you the breathing room to develop existing talent on your team. Secondly, it ensures candidates have a great foundation in technical and soft skills, connecting you with strong team members for future development. 

Contact Revelo and start hiring talent today.

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