2014 looks like it will be a year of business recovery and growth. This will create new opportunities for businesses, but with these opportunities will come challenges, especially in the area of talent management, because we cannot manage growth without leadership and talent development.
As expected, businesses are investing more into employee learning and development, with training budgets increasing 15 percent, on average, according to a recent report by Deloitte. In mature organizations, this investment is not just short-term training—it involves identifying capability gaps both today and forecasting into the future, and building up a supply chain of skills to prepare the organization for long-term growth.
The largest share of the L&D budget went to leadership development, with 35 percent being spent on developing leaders at all levels—from first-line supervisors to executives. Leadership has always been important, but has become an even bigger issue as the world economy recovers and many firms plan to expand globally. Many companies today are struggling to improve their leadership skills; more than 60 percent of all companies explain that leadership gaps are their top business challenge.
Another key trend is the increase in organizations that have recognized the need for and begun creating integrated talent management systems. Such systems include elements that used to function in isolation, such as: recruiting, high potential assessment, internal certification, career planning, training, mentoring, coaching, feedback, internal mobility, leadership development, succession planning and performance management. There are many benefits from building such an integrated system, but one of the main drivers is that as the war for talent gets hotter, organizations need to create an environment that challenges, rewards and retains key employees.
According to the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession, there is a direct correlation between effective talent management and better project performance. Research shows that high-performing project organizations are more than twice as likely as their low-performing counterparts to align talent management to organization strategy—a significant competitive advantage. In the following table we see an example of an aligned and integrated project management talent management system in action. And the business result is clear: strategic initiatives in these high performing organizations were up to 25% more successful.
Thinking about learning has shifted from “spot training” to the creation and management of a long-term supply chain of skills. Technical, managerial, and professional skills gaps take years to fill. According to one global plant engineering firm, a high performing project manager can take ten years to develop. What this means is that the L&D team has to partner with the business strategy team and sales team to identify capability gaps today and far into the future—and then build a skills supply chain now to prevent shortfalls in the future.
More organizations are recognizing the need to invest in continuous learning and are building “informal learning” channels. This is a continuation of the 70-20-10 phenomenon. Companies are leveraging such methods as social networking, job aids, mobile learning solutions, communities of practice, as well as setting up mentoring programs, and teaching mangers how to provide high quality performance and career coaching and feedback.
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