“A carefully designed career development program can assist organizations in building and maintaining an agile workforce.”
OK, I’ll grant you that it’s never going to replace “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” as a slogan, and as a conversation starter it lacks the emotional impact of a “Four score and seven years ago.”
But if you’re a learning leader, those words should still resonate.
I found that sentence, and many more like it, in a report titled “2003 IT Market Compensation Study,” produced by People3, a division of Gartner Inc. While the report is largely focused, as the title cleverly reveals, on pay practices in the IT ranks, I didn’t have to mine too hard to dig out a bit of gold. Let me share the riches with you:
“While the economy and businesses are struggling to rebound, employees continue to value career advancement and development opportunities as one of the most important retention factors. Employers who miss this unique opportunity to nurture a long-term bond with the employees from their career development perspective will likely lose their key talent when the economy rebounds and the demand for IT talent rises again.”
Now see, that’s an effectively written paragraph, providing in two sentences a look at the past, present and future, and ending with a word of warning that you might want to heed. Talent that’s worth hiring is talent that’s worth developing, and talent that’s worth developing is definitely talent that’s worth retaining. While this report may focus on IT, the advice expands effortlessly to your sales squad, the secretarial pool, middle managers and any other division or department you’re responsible for developing.
I won’t delve too much deeper into the report—you can read the same executive summary I did by visiting People3 online. It also touches on competency models, career paths, learning maps, performance evaluations and metrics, so there’s certainly plenty of interest there.
Speaking of plenty of interest, let me seque from one research topic to another, and this one definitely hits closer to home. We’ve recently launched the Chief Learning Officer magazine Business Intelligence Board, and you’ll see the first fruits of our research harvest in our “Business Intelligence” column. Cushing Anderson, IDC’s chief analyst for the enterprise learning industry, will be authoring these articles for us every other month.
We started the Business Intelligence Board process a short while ago when we invited a cross section of our readers to join the panel. Our goal is to have instant and projectable access to leaders of our industry who can provide us with meaningful information about the issues, trends and challenges that affect our readers. Our Business Intelligence Board members were selected at random from our subscriber base of 25,000 executives such as yourself. On average they work for companies with $2.022 billion in revenue, and each is responsible for nearly 55,000 learners. We are really excited about the information we are gaining. I know you will be eager to compare our findings to your own experiences within your enterprise.
So there you have it, a tale of two research studies. One study tells you companies need to invest in their people, the other proves that’s exactly what’s happening. If you put the conclusions together, you’ll reinforce what you already know—workforce development is big business and a crucial component for today’s most successful enterprises.
Editor in Chief
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