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DOING LAB | Write the Talent Development Plan

Employee recruitment and retention are major pain points for nonprofit organizations. We are currently in the midst of a labor shortage, and experts predict it will only get worse in coming years. At the same time, few nonprofits have the resources to raise morale or attract talent with higher salaries, new benefits, or bonuses.

One method to address employee retention and recruitment: a talent development plan that defines core competencies for key positions, and a path to achieve those competencies. The model for these plans was first introduced to GCN by Bridgespan, and we have seen great benefits in nonprofits adopting it, leading us to become huge proponents of the methodology and process.

This Lab is for organizations that do not have an HR department (that is, those without a staffer dedicated full-time to HR, or with a finance staffer doubling as HR), and need strategies to retain their best employees, including direct service staff.

Join this small-cohort “doing” experience, and create your own talent development plan alongside your fellow nonprofits; sharing and peer-to-peer learning will be encouraged.



  • Understand how to define core competencies for key jobs in your organization.
  • Develop five organization-wide competencies and a process for identifying and evaluating those competencies within the organization.
  • Define a career ladder, where appropriate and feasible, to support retention goals.


  • Executive director and/or staff responsible for creating the strategic plan
  • Board chair or another officer
  • All board members willing to commit


ThIs is a hands-on experience, resulting in a finished plan for your organization’s key employees or job functions. We will provide the templates and walk you through the process for creating the talent development plan. Bring a laptop to download the templates and a rundown of planning process.


Mary Bear Hughes specializes in leadership development, HR, executive search, recruitment, and onboarding of new leaders. Mary provides consulting to organizations regarding talent development, and participated in Leading for Impact, Bridgespan’s leadership development project in Atlanta. Mary brings management and executive coaching experience to her work helping organizations understand how to develop and retain their talent, so all involved can remain focused on mission and impact. Mary is an active facilitator and practitioner that will help each team develop their plan, design the implementation process, and understand effective strategies for today’s workforce. Learn more



Program Stats:




1:30 - 4:00 pm


Georgia Center for Nonprofits
Training Room
100 Peachtree Street NW
Atlanta GA 30303

Registration Details

$500 per organization
Includes 2 to 5 representatives from your organization.



Learn more about DOING LABS and explore other opportunities.


Note: This is a Nonprofit Consulting Group program, not a Nonprofit University course, so subscriptions do not apply and this program is not eligible for Wells Fargo Scholarships.