How development strategies help companies retain the best talent


How development strategies help companies retain the best talent

Finding and retaining premier talent in today’s fast-paced, shifting marketplace is undoubtedly a top priority for all successful organizations. Managers are faced with the daunting task of recruiting quality leaders and providing continual opportunities for those leaders to develop their skills and lead more effectively. However, these needs and the number of leaders seeking training in a given organization often are greater than the capacity of the human resource department.  

As a solution to these challenges, organizations throughout the Miami Valley are investing in development programs that help their companies train, grow, and ultimately retain leadership, from supervisors to the top executive-level leaders, at the University of Dayton Center for Leadership (UDCL).  

One of the best ways for an organization to hire and retain stellar talent is to ensure that the senior leadership is being challenged by new ideas and continuing to learn from others. Investing time and resources for them to grow and develop is also a way to attract and keep the people who report to them.  

Accordingly, UDCL offers a series of one-day Executive Development Programs that address topics most essential to senior leaders. Taught by nationally renowned business school professors and top global thought leaders, senior leaders network and learn from each other, while they hone their skills in areas like team management, company engagement, cross-cultural communication, and of course, effective and impactful leadership.  

Another retention best practice is to invest in the future and potential of a leader. UDCL offers an Emerging Leader Program built from this premise. A year-long development program for high-potential leaders, the Emerging Leader Program brings together high-performing future executives with experienced management professionals across all industries and provides them with a broad-based training on critical leadership skills, including communication, coaching and collaboration; and in business skills such as finance, operations and strategy. 

Susan Colby, director of human resources at biopharmaceutical company Alkermes in Wilmington, says that this program has been essential in developing their future leaders. “It provides a comprehensive, 360-degree assessment of each leader’s strengths and identifies opportunities for growth, and then helps them develop a plan to improve in those areas,” she said. “Simultaneously, these leaders apply their new skills to improve our business, adding even more value to the company and broadening the individuals’ skill set.”  

While training current and future executive leadership is important in building the top tier of an organization, another best practice is to spend time developing those who lead teams and guide projects every day. Thus, a third program UDCL offers is the Supervisor Leadership Program

Troy-based ITW Food Equipment Group recently utilized this program as a way to facilitate healthy structural change and invest in their day-to-day team leaders. “We had changes with our organizational structure,” said Doniece Gatliff, division human resources director for the Warewash Business Division. “A couple of our engineers, who took on new management roles, had never supervised teams in our group, so we sent them to this program. We believe the program provides tools that enhance their leadership skills.” 

Gatliff says that, aside from a smart investment by her company, the employees see their participation in these programs as an investment in them personally. 

Alkermes also finds these programs immediately improve the leadership skills of their team and project leaders. This strategy is vital to their business success and employee culture. “One of the primary ways we have benefited by utilizing UDCL is through developing the leadership skills of our supervisors,” Colby said.  

ITW agrees that UDCL’s proactive nature focuses on their specific company needs. “They are very good at helping identify the programs to develop our employees individually and our division at large,” said Gatliff. “If I have a need for training an employee, they are always willing to sit down with me, plan a course of action, and commit to finding a solution, even if that solution doesn’t always involve using their resources.”  

Accordingly, a recent leadership consultant and sought-after speaker was so impactful that UDCL arranged for her to go and teach on-site at Alkermes, when they wanted to expand this particular program’s reach within their organization. “Their dedication to our company’s growth was certainly evident that day,” Colby said. This type of personalized session also shows leaders and employees that their company is investing thoughtful resources into their success, an important element of best retention practices.  

Gatliff went on to say, “They listen to our needs and made recommendations that work perfectly for us. It’s hard to find that kind of enthusiasm and commitment anywhere else when it comes to meeting the client’s training and development needs.” 

For more information about UD Center for Leadership, visit, or you can call 937-229-3115.

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