There has been a shift across the business and learning industries to reflect increased interest in talent management. Case in point, Chief Learning Officer magazine’s sister publication, Workforce Performance Solutions, will be renamed Talent Management beginning with the January 2007 issue. But what does this shift mean for the CLO and the type of learning and development offered in the enterprise? Should learning include a talent management component? If so, should top leaders be the recipients of this specialized learning, or should it extend to all levels of an organization?
The Human Capital Institute (HCI) recently expanded its curriculum to focus more in-depth on talent management, specifically those strategically important issues and best practices regarding human capital.
“Our new program is a much broader and more extensive curriculum,” CLO David C. Forman said. “We have executive briefings for leaders of organizations and enterprises. We have leadership transformational courses, which help people make the transition to thinking about talent management throughout the enterprise. Then we have more specific human capital best practices courses which go into 20 to 25 areas in more depth.”
Some these areas include onboarding, global talent strategies, leadership development programs and referral recruiting. Formerly, HCI covered shades of these topics in its transformational courses but only for 15 to 20 minutes. Forman said each now receives several hours of attention.
This in-depth concentration reflects the amount of new articles, research studies and best practices emerging in talent management, as well as the growing diversity of the corresponding audience.
“It’s such an active, vibrant, growing area of inquiry,” Forman said. “Increasingly, we see boards of directors and chief executive officers being held accountable for the state of their company’s human capital. We see the increasing use of metrics across the enterprise, like engagement levels, depth of pipeline, retention of key individuals and percentage of people who have individualized learning plans. We see more and more organizations really requiring that type of information be made available both externally, as well as internally, to potential investors.
“There’s a very clear relationship between a strong financial performance in an enterprise and its talent management practices — there are a number of studies that have shown the correlation between the two. The word is pretty widely understood now that in this new economy, you have to be good at these things in order to achieve the types of results you want to achieve. Talent is the most sustainable competitive advantage.”
Forman said when evaluating the viability of talent management curriculum development, CLOs might want to consider programs for the entire workforce, not just initiatives focused on development for leaders or senior-level executives.
“Some organizations only think of talent development in terms of who are the future leaders of the organization, and really it’s much, much broader and deeper than that,” Forman said. “The intended audience (for HCI talent management curriculum) is a variety of people. Early on, we saw a lot of people from HR, maybe recruiters attending the courses who wanted to understand how the full talent life cycle functions. But more and more, we see line managers, executives, chief operating officers, entire committees from companies that are interested in talent management across the enterprise attending these sessions. It’s a much higher and much broader audience than we saw even a couple of years ago. Whether you’re leading a team, a department, an organization or a company, these are things that you need to be cognizant of. It’s very important to understand them but also (offer) a lot of practical tools that help people to implement these ideas back in their own companies. There’s a real focus on practical implementation.”