We recognise the value of talent retention in people processes; after all, a business is only as good as its staff. But, according to our recent talent survey, many organisations are failing to implement proper strategies.

We recently surveyed over 200 talent management professionals to understand what organisations are currently doing with their talent. We uncovered that, for the first time, the main reason reported for staff turnover is a lack of career development (63% of respondents), followed by salary issues (51%). The third most common reason was cited as limited learning and development opportunities within the company.

While the results are not encouraging, they’re hardly a shock. It’s been known for some time that HR teams are in a situation where they’re required to do more for less and this has been reflected in our results. We found that the three top priorities for HR teams this year were improving efficiency (72%), improving business procedures (65%) and cutting costs (63%).  Rather worryingly, it appears that that this streamlining of business is directly affecting the development of future leaders, with 28% reporting that their organisations haven’t even identified the leadership/executive behaviours and skills needed to support their strategic objectives.  Those businesses who are investing in developing talent are doing so at the top of organisations (42%) and in graduate levels (43%), but there is much less of a focus at the middle management (just 27%) and high potential (33%) levels.

With a shift in priorities for many businesses it’s perhaps unsurprising that their focus on internal development has weakened. Organisations need to think long and hard about the kind of environment they’re building. If they continue to focus on streamlining their business at the expense of talent growth then the same companies could face a talent shortage in the future. It’s vital for organisations to continue the development of staff and to work harder to retain these professionals or they run the risk of losing top industry talent to a competitor.

We’re all aware that times have been tough as the impact of the recession hits home, but as business prospects continue to grow, now is not the time for HR teams to forget about internal development. Developing the right professionals for future leadership roles is, quite simply, a long-term cost saving measure.

Your organisation has already invested a substantial amount of both time and money into training and developing these professionals so it makes sound business sense to continue investing in them in the future to utilise their full potential. Going into 2014, then, it would be great to see the results of our survey shift, and more organisations addressing staff retention issues.

Do you feel businesses aren’t focusing on talent development enough? Let us know by commenting below