3 min read

How to Develop World-Class Talent

How to Develop World-Class Talent

What would happen if your organization experienced a slow but steady leak that began to drain away the many skilled and gifted people you depend upon to be successful?

Your response points directly to why Outstanding Talent is one of the eight essential drivers needed to build a Flourishing workplace culture. Get your arms around Outstanding Talent, and you can attract, grow, and actually raise the highly qualified people with the necessary calling, character, competence, chemistry and contribution to achieve your organization’s mission.

Peter Greer, President & CEO of HOPE International, shared how cultivating great people has helped grow a Christ-centered microenterprise development organization from a handful of employees in remote offices into a thriving workplace culture of over 700 full-time employees that today serves communities in sixteen countries.

The Challenge


Peter Greer, HOPE International


“When I became President in 2004, I received a great gift. I call it a mission-first mentality that started with the first person I hired, Jesse Casler. Today, Jesse serves as HOPE’s Chief Operating Officer. Like the others who came on board, Jesse was “all in” and willing to do whatever it took to fulfill the mission.

“This ‘I’m all in’ commitment—together with the right match of skills, talents and Christ-like character—became the centerpiece of our hiring interviews:

  • ‘What about HOPE International resonates in you?’
  • ‘Why do you believe in our mission?’”

Questions like these have helped HOPE to attract, hire, retain, reward, and promote people who make up a healthy workplace culture today.

Yet, it’s specific, strategic well-thought-out initiatives that continue to energize, improve, and sustain their culture.

The Action Steps

  • Internships. Approximately 30 percent of HOPE’s U.S.-based staff came to the organization as interns and fellows. “We take the internship program, developed by our Chief Advancement Officer Chris Horst, as seriously as our ongoing job recruitment,” says Peter.
    “Our HR team looks for things that can’t be trained. If a person has the right attitude, the right aptitude to learn, and the right work ethic—the specifics of the job can be taught.”
  • Honest communication. “Because we care about each other, we don’t want to wait until an exit interview to learn what didn’t go well. So, we decided to create stay interviews. We want to get things out on the table and talk about it. Let’s be sure we’re listening and communicating with our top performers and inviting them to speak into any areas of discontent or potential improvement.”
  • Hiring right the first time. Peter knows that a new hire that doesn’t work out can be costly. “Every member of the hiring committee has veto power to push the pause button and say, ‘For these reasons, I don’t feel right in my gut.’ This is much less painful than having the wrong person in a job role. And we’ve learned not to rush the process. The conclusion should never be, ‘This is the best person we found,’ but rather, ‘This is the best person for this particular role.’”
  • Celebrate: “In his book, The Effective Executive, Peter Drucker writes, ‘You get what you measure” but I’ve heard that you really get what you celebrate. Celebration is vital to building a flourishing culture. We like to celebrate when our people do well and are seen living out HOPE’s culture. Additionally, we created a milestone program to recognize tenure in service.
    • Two-year employees are flown to the Dominican Republic (or another country where HOPE serves) to see, first-hand, how they are helping to make a difference.
    • “Five-year employees receive additional retirement savings funds as we invest in their future
    • “Ten-year employees receive resources through our Dream Fund that helps them to pursue a dream or special interest of theirs.”
  • Rest. Peter admits, “We believe in healthy rhythms of work and rest. At HOPE, workaholism is not a badge of honor, and all work-related emails take a sabbath on Sunday.”

[shareable cite="Peter Greer"]Celebration is vital to building a flourishing culture. We like to celebrate when our people do well.”[/shareable]

The Results

HOPE has created a simple acronym that brings together its mission and its people – called PASSION:


This kind of passion is evident in HOPE’s workplace culture:

“Three years ago, in a tremendously busy season, I broke my ankle playing soccer,” Peter shared. “I was forced to cancel a number of flights for a series of important events.  Within hours, my colleagues stepped in to take my place.

Later, I received a text from a trusted supporter who attended one of the events: ‘Of course you were missed by those of us who have a personal love for you and your family, but it was evident this morning that others can equally do the job.’

My absence and reliance on others shattered the myth of my own importance. It forced me to realize that the ultimate measure of my success, as a leader, is not what happens when I’m present, but rather what happens when I’m not there.

When we think of the long-term mission, we need to think beyond ourselves and eagerly anticipate how others will do the work when we’re not around.

“Healthy organizations refuse to become dependent on one person. If you cannot trust, you cannot delegate. If you cannot delegate, you cannot grow.”

It's Your Turn

Together, with a few colleagues, brainstorm several ways you could celebrate the skills, gifts and contribution of an individual employee, a team or an entire department. What’s the story that needs to be told and treasured throughout your organization?  

Coming Up Next on our Continuing Series

“The Eight Ways to Build a Flourishing Workplace,
“Why Outstanding Talent Really Counts”
Dan Busby, President 
ECFA, (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) 
Winchester, Virginia  

Additional Resources

Discover HOPE International's Resources

Order Peter's Book: Rooting for Rivals

What Most Leaders Don't Know About Outstanding Talent

What Most Leaders Don't Know About Outstanding Talent

How healthy do you want your workplace culture to be? Your answer has a lot to with Outstanding Talent, the fourth of eight factors that make up...

Read More
4 Proven Steps to Hire and Retain the Best Talent Out There

4 Proven Steps to Hire and Retain the Best Talent Out There

Giselle Jenkins, Best Christian Workplaces Institute

Read More
How to Develop a More Stable and Talented Workforce

How to Develop a More Stable and Talented Workforce

On a 1-to-10 scale, how important do you think it is to attract and retain top talent to fulfill the mission of your organization?

Read More