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How Much is Talent Development Really Going to Cost?

team development

How much do talent development services cost?

This, of course, is always one of the first questions a team leader has when starting the research process for talent development services.  Here at Kutsko Consulting, I'd imagine we receive these questions dozens of times a year, likely within the first couple of conversations.

But we get it.  Price matters (along with many other factors). Setting a yearly budget for talent development is wise and we are glad you asked.  It can certainly dictate what services and growth you're able to achieve in the long run.  You need to be able to develop an initial budget and plan for the ongoing costs, no matter what you decide to do about talent development, employee retention, and people engagement.

As you might imagine, though, the problem with answering this question is the fact that each team we work with has so many unique needs to consider that it can be tough to truly know the price to develop and align a team.

Still, I'll do my best here to give you some realistic price ranges as to what most people will spend. (And remember, these services are averages.  They can vary drastically depending on the size of the team, the challenges, the problems we are overcoming, the size of the organization, etc)

How much do Talent Development Services cost?

As a rule of thumb, we often tell our clients to budget $1,000 - $2,000 per employee per year for their growth and development. Talent advisory projects, as they arise, can cost anywhere from $6,000-$120,000. That is such a large range that it almost doesn't mean anything, though. The main drivers are the number of people on your team, the quality and experience of the consultants you are hiring, and the details of the intervention your organization needs. The good news is that the money you invest in hiring, firing, strategic development, and team alignment dramatically increase the impact you have on your mission across multiple bottom lines.

Just Assessments

Occasionally a customer just wants to buy the assessments.

Some team leaders out there want to do everything themselves and perhaps hire someone on their team to develop employees.  

  • For entry-level employees, you should expect to pay at least $100 for a good assessment.
  • For managers and other roles with more authority in your organization, you should expect to pay at least $200. 
  • For the most senior leaders where you want to be sure you get to look at the person from as many angles as possible, some of our assessments can cost more than $500 per assessment. 

Some of the most intense assessments can't be interpreted without a professional, so in addition to the cost of the assessment, you may also want to plan to pay a consultant to interpret the results. Similar to other things you may purchase, like if you remodel your master bathroom or get new tires put on your car, there are costs for the materials, in this case, assessments and there are costs for the labor, in this case, the interpretation and coaching that you will receive from the professional.

Job Benchmarking

In addition to assessing a person, one of the most innovative things you can do with psychometric assessments is to use them to assess an open position (as opposed to a person). By doing this, you actually can create a picture of how the job would describe itself if the job could talk. Creating a benchmark for a job can easily cost $3500 or more per job. The good news is that you can use one benchmark over and over again if the nature of the position is that you have more than one person in it. 


Most of our consulting engagements are custom and are designed to meet the specific needs of specific clients in specific situations. As a rule of thumb, we often tell our clients to budget $1,000 - $2,000 per employee per year for their development. Most of the employees of our clients love what we do so much that they actually express a willingness to make $1,000-$2,000 less per year in order to have us in the mix because it makes them so much more engaged in their work and more productive. The confidence that employees receive from knowing that their bosses are working with a coach to improve their people operations is worth far more to them than a paycheck.

We all know it is expensive to have employees.

When you want to hire a new employee, first you have to find them, then you have to interview them, usually 3-5 times with other people on your existing team, then once you select them you have to train them, pay their salary, benefits, taxes as well as the equipment they need like a phone, computer, and any other expenses they incur as an employee like office supplies and gas mileage.

If you do a Google search for, "cost of turnover" you will see a lot of results. A lot has been written about how expensive it is to redo all of the above steps when it doesn't work out with someone you hire.
The data that is hard to find is:
  • How expensive is it to avoid making the wrong hire?
  • How expensive is it to develop someone who is currently on the team but who isn't pulling their weight or doesn't seem like a good fit? 
The cost of developing your team effectively is far less than an employer will pay to the IRS for taxes and insurance or even a computer and gas mileage. On the other hand, paying thousands of dollars per year for an under-performing, bad fit employee's travel expenses and 401k contributions is just bad math and bad business.
We hope that this gave you an idea of what talent development is really going to cost. High-quality talent development practices can dramatically change morale, your bottom line, employee engagement, and retention of the right people.  We love to grow healthy teams.
We're happy to begin a conversation to understand your team's unique challenges today. 
"Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is the only thing above all others - the ability to get and keep enough of the right people." - Jim Collins, Good to Great

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