6 Planning Next Steps: Where Do You Go From Here? – Starting a Talent Development Program


Planning Next Steps: Where Do You Go From Here?


In This Chapter

• What to do next if you are successful (or not)

• Ensuring that the talent development program continues

• Expanding to the next level: topics, tools, and methods to consider

• The organization of the future

• Your future in talent development

You may not have even started your talent development program yet, and here’s a chapter about what to do next! Yes, you will be busy starting the program, but you will also have ideas about what you want to do next time, what you’d like to do better, or what you wish you had thought about earlier. Capture them. I like to carry note cards to jot down ideas for books that I intend to write. For projects like implementing a talent development program, I keep ideas in a folder on my phone or in a small notebook that I’ll title something fun like “Genius Talent Development Program Ideas” or “Master Plan for Talent Development Program.” I like using notebooks because I can take them into meetings with talent development advisory groups and quickly find data or ideas I want to share.

So, while it may be frustrating to continue thinking about what could have been, it is also the first step of ongoing planning, and where you go from here.

What to Do Next if You Are Successful (or Not)

No matter where you are in relation to the implementation phase, there will always be room for improvement. Take time to step back and view where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow. Focus your attention where it will have the most influence.

Most talent development efforts start out focusing on individual development that helps the organization achieve its strategic imperative. However, if you are also working toward making long-lasting gains in individual performance, and meaningful improvements in organizational learning, you probably still have a number of challenges.

In her book, Learning for the Long Run, Holly Burkett (2017) presents a model of sustainability for learning organizations that can be useful during the implementation of a talent development program. Very simplified, here are Holly’s stages:

• Stage 1: Recognition, where the key question is, “How do we prove value?”

• Stage 2: Resistance, where the key question is, “How do we deliver value?”

• Stage 3: Renewal, where the key question is, “How do we add value?”

• Stage 4: Refinement, where the key question is, “How do we create value?”


Learning for the Long Run, by Holly Burkett, is about establishing a learning organization, a topic we covered in previous chapters. Chapter 2 is the star of the book, introducing Holly’s sustainability model.

This book presents questions that are similar to Holly’s. The discussions you have with your leaders focus on proving and delivering value. When we came to evaluation in chapter 5, you were searching for how you added value. In that chapter (as well as some positioning and prodding in the first two chapters), I challenged you to lead the development efforts in your organization—not just as a talent development leader, but from an organizational perspective.


The “Sustainability Stages Checklist” can help you think about the actions Learning for the Long Run suggests you take to help you move through each stage.

Peter Drucker said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” So whether your talent development is wildly successful the first time or it is a dismal failure, you still need to take stock of where you are and make a commitment to take action to get to where you want to be next.

Ensuring the Talent Development Program Continues

You may be wondering what it takes to make your talent development program sustainable. Organizations are dynamic entities; therefore, an annual review process helps ensure the program grows and changes with the organization to meet its needs. The results of the evaluation process keep you focused on the right development efforts and tell the bottom-line story about the value of the initiative. Even if the evaluations show positive results, the talent development program will still require maintenance. And even if you are a one-person department, there are still steps you can take to ensure that your talent development program continues to be successful.

Create a Governing Body

You can create a talent development board, talent development advisory council, or employee development committee to help you make decisions about content, learning experiences, evaluation, budget, and other topics. The board can be made up of senior-level employees from other departments across the organization. You will do most of the work, but they can serve as a sounding board, marketing adviser, and a connection to the strategy. They can also recommend improvements to the talent development program, and keep the lines of communication open to the business departments.


A “Sample Talent Development Board Charter” is located at the end of this chapter.


The worksheet “Exploring a Talent Development Board” will help you consider the details for forming a governing body. It is located at the end of this chapter.

Keep Senior Leaders Involved

To sustain the program, it is essential to keep your senior leaders involved. It’s been proven over and over again: for any organizational effort to be successful, leaders must be involved. The rest of the organization will be watching and will take their involvement as a stamp of approval. Send out an email written by the senior leadership team, have them introduce new elements of the program, and ask them to speak about the talent development program. Ask them to serve as mentors and coaches, support cross-department developmental activities, or lead the way for developing direct reports. They will be viewed as the models for the rest of the organization.

Schedule Annual Updates

You will most likely hold reviews throughout the year, but make sure to dedicate time to review the talent development program at least annually with your governing body and/or senior leaders to make decisions about the future. What would be on the agenda? Changes to strategies, evaluation results, changes to learning experiences, budget updates, new efforts and designs, operational discussions, goals, trends and opportunities in learning, or other aspects of talent development that are important to your organization. The annual update is a perfect time to review what you accomplished and recount your successes, as well as look ahead to making improvements and what to introduce next.

Continue a Constant Flow of Communications and Marketing

Until it can hold its own, find ways to keep the talent development program in front of all employees. The communication plan you developed in chapter 4 is a good place to start. Keep communications flowing and the program visible throughout the organization. Tap into your leadership to be a part of the communication efforts.


A simplified “Communication Plan Template” is located at the end of this chapter.

Develop Continued Accountability

Build the talent development program into other efforts, connect it to events, and ensure that the organization’s strategic documents reflect the initiative and its importance to the organization. Do what you say you will do. Keep promises. Admit mistakes. Improve continuously. Listen to your customers. Budget wisely. Stay focused on what is best for the organization and employees.

Expanding to the Next Level: Topics, Tools, and Methods to Consider

As talent development professionals and learning leaders, we have an obligation to stay ahead of the ever-changing landscape we call work and learning. Each year Deloitte University Press conducts research around human capital trends and publishes a human capital trends report. The 2017 report opened by stating that it “reflects seismic changes in the world of business. This new era … has fundamentally transformed business, the broader economy, and society” (Schwartz et al. 2017).


Download a copy of the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report at http://bit.ly/2jkso2H.

“Seismic.” That’s huge! Colossal! Titanic-like! Are you ready? Let’s look at some of the near-term topics, tools, and methods that should be on your radar now, if not already in your working toolbox.

Topics and Content

So much to learn. So little time. Your needs assessment will tell you what content your organization needs now and in the future. However, you should also be aware of general changes in topics that researchers see on the horizon. I have the good fortune to work with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). And although its focus is on leadership, I have always found its research to be a few steps ahead of everyone else. Its research is worldwide, and the studies usually include in excess of 10,000 participants. I am pretty confident in the results.

A recent study by CCL asked about the skills most needed to ensure career success. The five top critical skills were being a quick study, managing change, learning agility, fostering interpersonal relationships, and collaborating (Scisco, Biech, Hallenbeck 2017).

Beyond skills that ensure career success, CCL found that the four core topics that are always critical are communication, critical thinking, influence, and self-awareness. The addition of any of these topics would most likely make a difference in any organization.

Based on other research, I’d rate learning agility and collaboration as key topics to consider in this decade. And you might consider a little stress management. We are overwhelmed by data and inundated by information. Check the sidebar for some recent data about two of your favorite sites.

Data Overload

If you are feeling overwhelmed by content, data overload may be part of the reason. Data are being created faster than we can curate or consume it! Consider these examples.


• There are more than 35 million articles in 288 languages

• The site logs 200 clicks per second

• This totals more than half a billion clicks per month

• 12,000 pages are created daily


• There are more than 1 billion users

• Hundreds of millions of hours are watched daily

• 300 hours of video is uploaded every minute

• Half of all YouTube videos are viewed on mobile devices


• We spend 13 hours per week on email

• This adds up to more than three months per year

Tools and Methods

You already know that today’s learners are overwhelmed, distracted, and impatient. Where and how they learn is critical, and they want to learn from everyone: peers, managers, and experts. The good news is that today’s learners are accepting responsibility for their own progress. They want to learn on their own terms and in their preferred space.

Your typical learner may be sitting in an airport with time to spare. She has a few minutes and turns to her smartphone to learn the latest highlights of the new effort your organization just rolled out. Will she find it? It’s important that you are tapping into the tools and methods that work in your organization.

Learners want content they can download on their mobile devices. It needs to be short, on-demand, and curated so they can find it. They prefer social interaction or content that is continuous and integrated with their work, so think about how you can put their learning where the work is. We discussed the importance of supervisors developing people. That’s the first part. The second part is determining how you can help learners be self-sufficient with both physical and electronic tools. Encourage learners to learn from their peers, and allow them to make the decisions about the best time to learn something new and perhaps even how much of it. Jane Hart writes about establishing a learning concierge service, for example, that would be like a “learning help desk” to provide personal advice to individuals on how they can address their own development needs (Hart 2015).

Given what we know about learners, what tools and methods might you review and consider for your talent development program in year two? Jane Hart develops a list of the top 100 tools for workplace learning every year. It is worth your time to look at her list to determine if some of the tools might be helpful to your talent development program. In the meantime, review the ones that are listed in the next few pages.


Download a copy of Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning at http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/top100-wpl.

Action Learning

“Action learning is a dynamic process for solving organizational problems, advancing individual skills, building teams, and developing leaders,” says Bea Carson (2016), author of ATD’s TD at Work issue on the subject. The elements of action learning include a team of four to eight individuals who are committed to learning, an action learning coach, a problem that needs a solution, and a process for resolving the problem that encourages questioning and good listening skills. Finally, the group is committed to taking action to resolve the problem. This is a good technique to consider if your organization needs to solve problems and benefits would be gained from working in cross-functional teams.


“Breakthrough Solutions With Action Learning” is an ATD TD at Work issue that explains how you can use action learning.


This learning solution accommodates today’s learners who want information in bite-sized pieces, fast and on demand, and specific to their needs. You should use microlearning if the skills or knowledge require repetition, can be chunked into small tasks, work in a digital format, and are practical and actionable. Your learners need to be motivated to learn, and you need to be able to support digital learning assets such as infographics, videos, or digital job aids. I contend that a job aid is the original microlearning tool.


“Sometimes All You Need Is a Job Aid” is a job aid to create a job aid. You’ll find it at the end of this chapter.


Gaming is an excellent learning tool, but one you may want to hold off on until your talent development program is more established. The high cost is usually the number one worry. Still most people rate serious games as being an effective tool for learning. Pay attention to how you will measure effectiveness.


“Gamification is a bizarre word. What does it mean? Why does it matter? How can it be related to serious learning? These are questions I find myself discussing with my students and clients all the time. The only people I don’t have to explain it to are my kids. They get it. They got it. They are part of it.”

—Karl Kapp, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction

Blended Learning

Understanding the nuances of blended learning is critical. Blended learning is not like a cafeteria, where you take one of this and one of that. You will want to consider which learning technique is the best match for your circumstances and for the topic. I highly recommend another book in this series, by Jennifer Hofmann, who looks at blended learning solutions to determine how you can be effective and efficient, and save resources.


Jennifer Hofmann’s book in the What Works in Talent Development series, Blended Learning, will guide you through all that you need to know about the topic.

Learning Community of Practice

You won’t want to wait too long before helping form a learning community in your organization. Learning communities (or communities of practice) help solve organizational problems and in many cases boost productivity. However, even more valuable is that they allow members to expand their professional knowledge. They can exist online or offline.

Here are several early steps you can take to start a learning community:

Establish the purpose. Make sure you know what you are trying to accomplish before you put the word out. If you’re starting a talent development program, it might be focused on how to ensure that everyone has access to what they need to develop.

Design carefully. Put thought into the design. A charter is helpful because it lists the strategy, how communication will occur, what norms will be followed, who will be involved, who will serve as the moderator, and other important details. This ensures that everyone knows what is expected.

Allow input. A learning community should be voluntary. Even though you want a clear plan or infrastructure to organize better, you still need to ask participants for input and be ready to change when a better idea arises.

Introduce everyone. Plan a meeting where everyone can begin discussing their ideas and goals for the group. The initial meeting, whether online or in person, should allow plenty of time for everyone to get to know one another.

Schedule regular meetings. Left on its own—especially during the initial stages—the learning community will be overcome by events. Scheduled meetings help members plan, and remind them of the effort. Monthly meetings help get the community of practice off the ground; switch to meeting once every two months to sustain the momentum as the group matures.

Plan for collaboration. It should feel easy! Encourage an atmosphere of partnership and allow time for reflective discussions.

Communicate. Use social media or online forums to communicate and provide a virtual home for your community. These platforms make working together easy, quick, and convenient. Publish a collaboration website to engage with learners.

Expect limited participation. Don’t be disappointed if you have only 10 percent participation. Like most organizations or groups to which you belong, most people watch and wait. It does not mean that they are not getting value; they are. Recognize the reality.


Free is good! Use what you have. If you are worried that creating a learning community will be too difficult or too expensive, think of what you already have available. Many groups start with free tools, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, until they can create their own website. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Tapping into the collective knowledge and skills of the total workforce builds camaraderie and increases knowledge of employees. It also increases the sense of belonging to something worthwhile. Be sure to use the checklist at the end of this chapter as a reminder of key principles for designing a learning community.


The “Checklist of Design Principles for Learning Communities” can help you begin designing your learning community of practice. It offers 11 suggestions, along with questions to help you assess your effort.

The Organization of the Future

Dare we think about the organization of the future? Executives who responded to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report identified building the organization of the future as the most important challenge for 2017. Sixty percent of the respondents rated this issue as very important; almost 90 percent rated it as important or very important (Schwartz et al. 2017). This signals a shift, and agility plays a central role in making the change.

What does this shift mean? In the past, organizations were designed to be efficient and effective with predictable patterns. However, this design is not aptly suited to the unpredictability and disruptions facing organizations today—they need to be designed for speed, agility, and adaptability. This means shifting away from hierarchical teams to a more flexible model of small team networks. Innovation is the battle cry. Teams are formed and disbanded quickly depending upon the organization’s need. And we know all organizations need to up their innovation game.


The 10 Types of Innovation model will help you demystify innovation by offering a proven framework. A free app is available for you to download through the iTunes Store at http://apple.co/1IGSVsJ. The app also includes more than 100 innovation tactics.

What’s your role in all this? As trusted adviser to your senior leadership team, you need to keep them informed of what’s happening in other organizations. Help them embrace the speed of change by showing them the advantages of continuous feedback-based performance systems. Engage executives, managers, and employees as learning champions. Work with IT to integrate technology for more blended and social learning solutions. Make recommendations about the kind of development employees require so they can support future changes in your organization.

For example, as AI systems, robotics, and cognitive tools improve, almost every job is being reinvented, creating an “augmented workforce.” This rapidly growing trend is causing organizations to reconsider job design and how work is organized. In the Global Human Capital Trends report, 41 percent of companies reported full implementation or significant progress toward adopting cognitive and AI technologies within their workforce. Another 34 percent said they are currently holding pilot programs. However, only 17 percent reported they were ready to manage and develop a workforce with people, robots, and AI working side by side (Schwartz et al. 2017). Is this a possibility? The January 2016 issue of TD published a Gartner infographic predicting that by 2018, 3 million workers around the world will be supervised by a nonhuman boss and 45 percent of the fastest-growing companies will have fewer employees than smart machines. Do you have a clear role in this? Yes, you do. Figure out how you can lead this effort.

The Workplace Is Changing

Talent development programs need to consider the dramatic changes occurring in the workplace. Keep some of these commonly discussed changes in mind.

Freelance is here to stay.

Expect a 50 percent contingent workforce by 2020.

An organization’s reputation is critical.

75 percent of job applicants will accept a lower salary to work for a reputable firm.

AI will rock the job market.

Expect 50 percent of all jobs to be completed by robots in the next decade.

Analytics will be key.

While 78 percent of companies claim they need analytics, more than 50 percent are not ready.

An information explosion is draining the workforce.

Organizations need to find a solution.


Every industry and every job in the workforce will change. Here are a few examples. Imagine that:

• You require knee surgery. Your surgeon tells you he will not touch you during surgery, which will instead be completed by a robot using GPS coordinates.

• You have had a very long day and are now driving home. Your “attention-powered” car senses that you are sleepy and not paying attention. It takes over driving from you and slows down.

• You have a sick infant whose temperature requires constant monitoring. Your doctor applies a thermometer to his forehead that is no wider than a human hair.

• You’ve heard of 3-D printing, but 4-D printing is in the works too. And have you heard of bio printing? It’s the ability to go inside your body and print new blood vessels or lung parts.

• Harvard researchers use a noninvasive brain technique so that one researcher’s thoughts control the hands of another researcher.

• Imagine a fully interactive holographic room where you call up your learners around the world for a hands-on training session.

All of these not only are possible, but have been demonstrated today.

New Organizational Rules

What aspects of the organization of the future will affect you and talent development the most? Here’s one big change. Currently, people become leaders based on promotion. It is likely that in the future they will become leaders by developing followers and growing in influence and authority. We see this today with what we call “informal” leaders. A second expected change is that advancement will occur based on many assignments, diverse experiences, and multifunctional leadership assignments. A third change is the elimination of fear of failure to grow, and instead fostering a culture of abundance and the importance of risk taking and innovation.

Think about those three changes. What does that mean for the plans you have for your talent development program? What will you need to change? How far away from the organization of the future is your organization?

The Future of Talent Development

Our organizations face an incredible number of pressures, and we must be prepared to lead the way to support them. Many of us consider ourselves trainers. The title talent development professional indicates the broader role for us, and it is required to lead the way. Where there are new challenges, there is a need for new knowledge and skills—for us and for our employees.

Our role has changed, and it did not wait for us to name or define it. Effective training and development may provide a solid foundation for helping our organizations overcome the challenges and pressures they face, but there is so much more. We are asked to take on more responsibilities and to find new ways to relieve the pressure our organizations face. We are a part of the fabric that makes up our organizations, and we touch everything, so it is no wonder our roles and responsibilities have expanded.

How many of these new roles do you anticipate building into your talent development program?

• Onboarding new employees?

• Leading change initiatives?

• Coaching managers to take on a developmental role?

• Establishing mentoring programs?

• Leading informal and social learning initiatives?

• Providing internal consulting?

• Conducting team building initiatives?

• Advising the C-suite?

You are expected to take on all tasks as a talent development professional and leader. Do you have the organizational awareness to do so?


Learn more about how to increase your organizational understanding by reading the chapter “Building Your Business Acumen,” by Kevin Cope, in ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training & Development. Cope provides seven steps for building business acumen: committing time, talking with key managers, being proactive, making outside contacts, finding a mentor, influencing management, and increasing your value.

Are You Meeting Expectations Today?

Think about the workplace of today and consider the employees entering the workforce. Do your talent development plans meet the requirements of your organization? Do your plans meet the expectations of the learners who are entering the workforce in your organization? Review these expectations to decide whether your talent development plans are meeting these expectations.

• Learner expectations:

Designing in microbursts?

Simplifying work?

Incorporating cognitive science?

Using short, on-demand videos for learning?

Implementing m-learning?

• Organizational expectations:

Aligning a MOOC strategy to your organizational strategy?

Curating content?

Providing C-suite solutions?

Accommodating the development and other needs of the nontraditional workforce?

Redesigning the managers’ and supervisors’ skill sets?

Tapping into the less expensive systems to capture, create, and publish content?

Focusing on how we learn?

Are You Prepared to Address Learning of the Future?

Imagine a situation where:

• The classroom goes to the learner.

• We each have personally curated content in our hands.

• All learning is individually customized.

• Learning is lifelong focused and connected.

• Learning occurs in an augmented reality.

• Interaction occurs in holographic rooms.

Or maybe one day we’ll be able to use Star Trek’s Holodeck and Transporter.

The future holds exciting opportunities for how employees will develop as well as the skills they will need. I know what you’re probably thinking: You are just starting a talent development program for your company, and I am already asking you to think about the changes! It’s true. You are probably OK doing what you are doing now, but you may need to re-engineer your talent development function sooner than you think! Your organization needs you to be more innovative than ever to help it move into the future.

There are many new things you can or should do. You also need to be a good role model for all those around you. If you’ve been leading a talent development program for a while, you are probably doing many “things.” The challenge is to identify which of those things you can stop doing. Stopping something you don’t need is just as important as starting something new that you do need.

The End Is the Beginning

No matter where you are in the implementation of your talent development program, you are probably filled with ideas and eager to get started. You’ve reached the end of the book, but it is only the beginning of the exciting things you have ahead of you. And although this chapter addresses the importance of making improvements, it’s also meant to prepare you for future planning.

Today you need to focus your attention where it will have the most impact for your learners and your organization. Use the questions here to think about the future, the skills you will need, where you will find experts who can mentor you, and what excites you the most about your organization’s talent development future.

Questions to Explore

• How can you capture ideas about improvements that you want to make to the talent development program?

• How will you ensure that the talent development program is sustainable now and in the future?

• What will you do to ensure sustainment of the talent development program?

• If you plan to have a talent development advisory board, who should be on it? Why?

• How do you intend to keep your senior leaders involved?

• Which tool or method will you implement next? Why?

• Where can you gather preliminary data about the acceptance of new tools or programs in your organization?

• Starting a community of practice early can be beneficial. What are the advantages to your organization? What roadblocks might you hit?

• What excites you about the organization of the future?

• What frightens you about the organization of the future?

• What skills and knowledge do you need to develop, refine, or enhance to stay ahead of what is happening in your organization and your industry?

• How will you develop these skills? Who has the expertise? When will you set time aside to learn?

• How’s your quitting quotient? That is, how easy is it for you to stop offering services or end a program to make room for new actions?


Tools for Support

Sustainability Stages Checklist

Use this checklist to consider essential actions you can take to move through each stage.

Key Actions for Each Stage What Will You Do to Address This Stage?
Stage 1: Recognition, the key question is, “How do we prove value?”
Align learning and business strategies  
Engage leadership support  
Link learning to performance  
Establish a measurement framework  
Stage 2: Resistance, the key question is, “How do we deliver value?”
Educate and advocate  
Build capabilities  
Deploy well  
Develop partnerships  
Show how learning and performance solutions solve real problems  
Stage 3: Renewal, the key question is, “How do we add value?”
Communicate relentlessly  
Stabilize infrastructure  
Strengthen alliances  
Measure what matters  
Incorporate continuous improvement mechanisms  
Stage 4: Refinement, the key question is, “How do we create value?”
Foster change resilience and agility  
Embrace innovation mindsets and practices  
Continually reflect, review, and refine  

Adapted with permission from Burkett (2017).

Forming a Talent Development Board

If you are considering creating a governance body to help you make decisions or advise you about the talent development program, this worksheet can provide some guidance.

Feature Options and Thoughts Organizational Preference
Name Talent development board, talent development advisory council, or employee development committee  
Purpose Make decisions, provide input, make suggestions, give advice, or more of a working group  
Topics Content, learning experiences, evaluation, budget  
Number of Members Recommend 5 to 7; mostly depends on how many departments need representation  
Representation High-profile departments, HR  
Meeting Frequency Once a month for an hour  
Benefit Go-to team when a decision needs to be made or issues arise  
Drawbacks One more thing to do, too many ideas, time investment  
Leader Talent development manager or circulating every 6 months  
Meeting Attendance Send a substitute or not, mandatory attendance  
Membership Term 1 to 2 years  
Selection Process Appointed, volunteer, recommendation by immediate supervisor or manager  
Selection Criteria Level in the organization, leader, informal leader  
Employee Representation Members beyond those who have supervisory responsibilities  
Other Locations Foreign countries, other domestic locations  
Unique Needs Shift employee representation, union representation  

Sample Talent Development Board Charter

A charter is a good way to ensure there are no questions about the purpose of the board. Use this sample to get you started.

Talent Management Board Charter

Background: The CEO’s direction on January 25, 2017, provides for the development of an organizational human capital strategy and an implementation plan to include:

• An assessment of workforce requirements and characteristics for future needs

• Identification of human capital strategies with supporting goals, priorities, and performance measures aligned to the mission, goals, and objectives

• Processes to:

Integrate human capital strategy into the budget and strategic plans.

Address skills gaps, recruitment, development, sustainment, and succession planning for an agile, high-performing, innovative, and committed workforce.

Ensure leadership accountability and continuous process improvement.

The organization’s human capital strategic and implementation plans have begun. A major organizational change such as this requires a guiding coalition to:

• Anchor new approaches deep in the culture.

• Address questions and related issues.

• Eliminate key obstacles preventing the organization from moving forward.

• Keep the organization abreast of human capital efforts.

Purpose: The talent management board operates in an advisory capacity to the CEO and provides leadership accountability to processes that support the evolving human capital design. The board’s work may include, but is not limited to the following:

• Monitor competencies relevant to the organization’s future success.

• Review career development strategies, such as using 360-degree tools, developing an organization academy of learning, using IDPs, or improving new employee orientation.

• Review candidates for academic studies and fellowships, special management and executive development programs, and long-term development.

• Make recommendations for issues that affect the workforce, such as the best use of science fellows and interns, implementing regulations, or identifying future talent needs.

• Address organization-wide issues, such as diversity needs, succession planning, the mentoring process, and the competency management system.

• Align recruitment and retention strategies with workforce planning to enhance each strategy and close critical position and competency gaps.

• Make sure that the human capital strategy is aligned with the organization’s strategy.

• Review and recommend annual human capital budgets.

The board shall utilize the combined acumen of interdepartment teams to identify, analyze, and resolve board issues.

Membership: Members include two S&T department heads (to be rotated biannually among all S&T departments), the vice president of business operations, the comptroller, and one ad hoc member recommended by the executive team. The director of talent management shall facilitate the meetings. The director of HR shall serve as the board’s executive secretary.

Schedule and Deliverables: The board will meet monthly and deliver an annual State of the Human Capital Strategy report to the CEO.

Communication Plan Template

Use this basic tool to develop your communication plan.

Design Principles for Learning Communities

This tool outlines the key principles for designing a learning community. In addition, it includes a few questions to help you assess whether your strategies are supporting the principles.

1. Deliver measurable business results.

What are the key business drivers?

What is the desired impact on business goals and objectives?

How will you gather data (qualitative and quantitative), analyze it, and report it?

What organizational systems help sustain learning? What organizational systems are inconsistent with this?

Is knowledge demand-driven and does it focus on value-added areas?

2. Integrate learning into day-to-day work.

Where is the majority of learning time spent (in the classroom or on the job)?

Have you provided tools and techniques that are practical and useful?

Have you created a process to gather feedback and results?

What processes are in place to support knowledge generation?

Will the learning occur in a meaningful context, and is it integrated with actual work?

3. Support a long-term focus.

Do you promote double- and multiloop learning?

Have you provided enough information to all stakeholders to help them take the long-term view?

Have you encouraged stakeholders to tolerate a certain amount of uncertainty and ambiguity?

Does the learning program promote a sufficient level of exploration (rather than prescribe a certain approach)?

Is your design flexible? Are there iterative steps for review? Is the process open ended (not event focused)?

4. Increase choices rather than pursue one (right) way.

Do your programs expand thinking?

Are members challenged to make choices to arrive at better decisions?

Are you resisting prescriptions for success?

Are you including thought leaders from a variety of areas?

Does the learning encourage and accommodate a diversity of approaches and styles?

5. Allow feedback to drive enhancements.

Is your design flexible enough to quickly allow for changes and improvements?

Is the process becoming more efficient and effective every time?

Can you quickly assess where improvements are needed (in both the product and the process)?

Is everyone involved encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions?

Do you acknowledge that hindsight is better than foresight?

6. Design programs so that they are easily maintained.

Are you leveraging technology to facilitate learning and maintenance?

Is energy fed into the program on a regular basis to provide growth and renewal?

Is maintenance an ongoing and iterative part of the process (not an event)?

Is technology used to share updates with everyone? Are new versions of the materials easily accessible?

7. Learn from the process, not just the product.

Did everyone involved learn something from this experience?

Did the learning extend beyond those directly involved?

Can you gain insights from the way you learned, in addition to the content you learned?

What tools for reflection have you used?

Have you created a network of peers, facilitators, and mentors?

8. Include a variety of learning experiences.

Are you allowing for a diversity of styles and preferences in terms of how people learn, think, and communicate?

How will you achieve a balance of media, activities, and so forth to support the process?

9. Ensure learning is inclusive, not exclusive.

Will this program serve all regions, services, and groups? If yes, are all regions, services, and groups included from the beginning?

Is there a sense of shared success and shared risk among the various stakeholders and constituents?

What vehicle or process is in place to ensure inclusion and promote collaboration?

What work practices will sustain inclusion?

10. Promote mindful learning.

What elements of the program support mindful learning?

Will the learning occur in a context that is similar to the work context?

Does the learning contain examples, cases, activities, and discussions that link directly to the work environment?

How can learning opportunities be built into organization-wide practices?

What occurs outside the classroom to ensure that the learning is context based?

11. Consider culture and values.

Does the community promote healthy dialogue around the culture and values of individuals, teams, and the organization?

Have you considered both implicit and explicit culture and values?

Is there sufficient “tension” to indicate that you are continuously challenging learners?

Are there opportunities to reflect on and re-evaluate your values in connection with your current and future challenges?

12. Seek ownership through partnership.

Does everyone understand and accept the shared risks and shared successes?

Do you constantly look for ways to build and rejuvenate a sense of ownership?

Is there an acceptable level of trust and respect among all the people involved?

Are issues and agreements made explicit?

Do you have processes in place to freely share information and obtain input from everyone?

Used with permission from Voosen and Conneely (2002).

Sometimes All You Need Is a Job Aid

Use a job aid when the task is performed infrequently and self-correction is possible. A job aid can produce immediate and accurate performance, as well as predictable results. This list of job aids shows the wide variety available.

Type of Job Aid Description When It Might Be Used
Reminder Prompt with simple instructions, such as actions for using a tool safely Simplest version, used as a cue to do or not do something
Match An example or model, such as a picture of how something should look When a visual is available to demonstrate accuracy
Decision Tree A list of factors to consider before making a decision, such as considerations for health eligibility When many factors are based on criteria or issues; may have different starting points
Checklist A list, sometimes in sequence, such as the list of supplies required for a workshop Reminder of tasks to complete, but not necessarily in order
Template or Form A preset format that limits how something is created When standardization is important or to save time
Step-by-Step Sequenced performance, such as how to set an alarm system or use ADDIE When a series of steps are followed in order
Flowchart Shows the sequence in diagram format, such as some instructional design processes or the HPI model When a visual road map is useful or decisions must be made
Decision Table or Tree Content that can be placed in rows and columns for quick reference When an if-then format is required
Worksheet Shows the final product as an example to model When an example of a format or calculation is useful
Reference Source Provides final decision authority, such as a dictionary When a source is required to confirm or identify information
Script Wording to follow for specific instances, such as handling an irate customer For human interaction to lead to a positive result
Troubleshooting Diagram Graphic that helps diagnose and select the right option When multiple possibilities exist for complex problems
Mnemonic Verbal, image, rhyme, or acronym to help remember, such as SMART objectives Often used in conjunction with other job aids
Mistake Proofing or Poka Yoke Japanese in origin, adopted by lean manufacturing, modifies equipment or tools to reduce or eliminate errors When automation or color coding prevents mistakes before they occur

Adapted with permission from Willmore (2006).

References and Additional Resources

ATD (Association for Talent Development). 2016. “Technology: The Good, the Bad, and How We’ll Work in the Future.” Infographic. TD, January, 17.

Biech, E. 2015. Training Is the Answer: Making Learning and Development Work in China. Fairfax, VA: Trainers Publishing House.

Burkett, H. 2017. Learning for the Long Run: 7 Practices for Sustaining a Resilient Learning Organization. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Carson, B. 2016. “Breakthrough Solutions with Action Learning.” TD at Work. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Cope, K. 2014. “Building Your Business Acumen.” Chapter 43 in ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development, edited by E. Biech. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Hart, J. 2015. Modern Workplace Learning: A Resource Book for L&D. Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies.

Hofmann, J. 2018. Blended Learning. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Johansen, B. 2012. Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World, 2nd ed. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Kapp, K. 2012. The Gamification of Learning and Instruction. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Margol, E. 2017. “Microlearning to Boost the Employee Experience.” TD at Work. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Pasmore, B., and S. Taylor. 2017. “Core Competencies Remain Critical to Success.” Workforce, January 19. www.workforce.com/2017/01/19/core-competencies-remain-critical-success.

Petrie, N. 2014. Future Trends in Leadership Development. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Petrie, N. 2015. The How-To of Vertical Leadership Development—Part 2. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Ruderman, M.N., C. Clerkin, and C. Connolly. 2014. Leadership Development Beyond Competencies: Moving to a Holistic Approach. Center for Creative Leadership Whitepaper. www.ccl.org/articles/white-papers/leadership-development-beyond-competencies-moving-to-a-holistic-approach.

Schwartz, J., L. Collins, H. Stockton, D. Wagner, B. Walsh. 2017. Rewriting the Rules for the Digital Age: 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends. Westlake, TX: Deloitte University Press.

Scisco, P., E. Biech, and G. Hallenbeck. 2017. Compass: Your Guide for Leadership Development and Coaching. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership.

Smith, A. 2016. “10 Tools for Organizational Development.” TD at Work. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

Voosen, D., and P. Conneely. 2002. “Building Learning Communities.” Infoline. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.

Willmore, J. 2006. Job Aids Basics. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.