DNA Decoded: Progressive Employers Optimise Talent to Reach Their Full Potential. Do You?

In an increasingly competitive hiring landscape, employers need to invest in their workers’ potential to attract the best talent. Here’s how to.

26 Sep 2022 Articles Performance management Best practices

Talent Optimisation

Would you train your employees for another job? Upskilling your employees will benefit your company, but some bosses are afraid they are grooming talent for a rival. Does this make you hesitant to send employees for training?

Business leaders must recognise the intrinsic value in ensuring their talents thrive and how they can optimise employees’ potential. Not providing training does mean that organisations do not reap the collective benefits of a highly trained and motivated workforce.

Employees do view training opportunities and the investment in their development as an important retention point. In fact, less than optimal training led more than 40% of Singapore workers to quit their jobs in 20191.  

Progressive employers recognise that when they invest in their employees to realise their full potential, their organisations too will gain. 

This is why talent optimisation is identified as one of the building blocks to develop the DNA of a progressive employer in a study commissioned by TAFEP. 

These employers enable their employees to fulfil their potential and safeguard their employability by investing resources and providing fair opportunities to facilitate skills development. 

Here’s what organisations can do to optimise talent:

Identify and plug skills gaps

Organisations need to allocate sufficient HR budget to implement relevant development programmes that is based on a skills gap analysis – a map of skills each employee has and what gaps need to be covered. 

This will enable employees to recognise the skills they lack, and the upskilling required to stay relevant at work and develop their career. 

Besides having specific training for employees, HR and managers also ought to encourage employees to seek self-directed learning, so as to upgrade their skills based on their professional or personal needs – and not just what the organisation needs.

Insurance company John Hancock, for instance, gives employees two afternoons of paid time each month to participate at its online self-service learning centre, called the Pursuit Learning Hub2Here, employees are empowered to pick and choose from a variety of personal and professional courses that interest them. 

Inspire employees to stretch their potential

Encourage employees to uncover any hidden talents and capabilities by providing them opportunities to try new things and step out of their comfort zone. 

To do this, managers will need to connect with employees about their development, and find out what their career aspirations are so they can support team members to reach their potential and career goals. 

For employees who are willing and capable, allow them to take on stretch assignments such as new projects, tasks or even roles to enhance their skills and expertise when the opportunity arises. 

Promote lifelong employment

Besides promoting lifelong employability through plugging the skills gaps and stretching the potential of talents, organisations could also design relevant programmes to ensure employees can remain employable for as long as one desires to be part of the workforce. 

This could mean redesigning jobs and offering flexible work arrangements while emphasising that learning never stops, or removing the retirement age cap entirely to enable older employees to extend their careers if they wish, giving them time to continue working and acquire new skills. 

While optimising talent empowers employees to improve their competencies, it will also create a sustainable talent pipeline as existing employees are able to fill talent gaps.

Employers who do so offer employees a meaningful career, as they now have the ability to contribute to the organisations’ success with their skills. This, in turn, will enable companies to strive and position themselves for long-term success. 

To learn more about how to optimise your talents, download TAFEP’s Beyond 20/20: DNA of Progressive Employers.


This article on talent optimisation is the fourth instalment in the five-part series on the building blocks to develop the DNA of a progressive employer. Look out for the last instalment! 

View part one of the series on collaborative networks for tips to build trust and encourage collaboration and teamwork within teams and across departments.
View part two of the series on employee voice for tips to create work environments with a listening culture for employees to voice their views safely.
View part three of the series on continuous evolution for tips to develop a culture of continuous evolution and to bring employees along the change journey.


1 Lim, J. (2019, Jun 19). More than 40% of Singapore workers quit job due to lack of skills training: Survey. Today. Accessed online: https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/more-40-singapore-workers-quit-job-due-lack-skills-training-survey.

2 Vroman, S. R. and Danko, T. (2022, Jan 18).  How to Build a Successful Upskilling Program. Harvard Business Review. Accessed online: https://hbr.org/2022/01/how-to-build-a-successful-upskilling-program.