Yes, we’ve all heard it before from companies: “Our people are our most important asset.” If that’s the case, expenditure in developing people should be relatively close if not at the top of the investment list. But the sad truth that’s not usually the way it goes. In fact, many organizations make little or no investment in talent management programs. And, if there is occasional spending, it’s typically done on an ad-hoc basis. And that’s simply a big shame because research shows that there is a direct relationship between talent practices and improved financial performance.

For instance, within the financial services industry there is a strong correlation between employee engagement and business growth. According to Deloitte, one major retail bank found that a 5% increase in employee engagement led to 3% increases in customer loyalty and shareholder value. Tower Watson’s three-year study of 41 multinational organizations found that companies with high engagement levels had 2% to 4% improvement in operating margin and net profit margin, whereas those with low engagement showed a decline of about 1.5% to 2%.

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