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Monday, November 15, 2010

How life-long learning applies to talent management

Does your company employ a talent management plan and dedicate resources to workforce-wide learning and development? Perhaps so, but it may not be enough. These days, professional and leadership development are imperatives that cannot be ignored.

Although the market is currently flooded with talent, when you hire new management executives and staff, you need to have the tools and technologies in place that enable rapid assimilation and the ability to drive contribution immediately.

Your organization's commitment to ongoing professional development is as important as new hire orientation and on-the-job learning. However, as your business model changes and your company grows both domestically and internationally, multi-national and cross-cultural development is required to ensure your workforce and organization can effectively compete.

Current economics and budget cutbacks present additional challenges. This is why it is important to hire a talent management and learning and development leader to put an organizational learning plan in place. Virtual technologies are becoming increasingly important. The rapidly evolving distance learning model can save your organization hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of dollars each year in staff time and travel/other expenses.

Case in point: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's (PwC's) Advisory line of service is a significant revenue driver. Since 2004, the bulk of Advisory's formal learning and development efforts were delivered through their Advisory University (AU). Every year, the Advisory practice had allocated a week to enable over 5,000 professionals to immerse themselves and develop critical business skills.

The expense, however, was extraordinary. This week-long, fly-and-stay conference in Orlando cost the firm several million dollars (airfare, lodging, training facilities, etc.).

Four months before their last flagship conference, the firm’s Learning and Development team was tasked with dramatic cost-cutting. In less than 16 weeks they developed a virtual development strategy that utilized virtual classroom tools to reduce costs (e.g., audio conferencing, webcasting, and video conferencing). They created a Virtual Learner Toolkit, maintained a conference feel through a Virtual Knowledge Fair, and raised the quality bar on self-study courses.

In just 120 days, their Learning and Development Team designed, developed, and delivered an event that brought together thousands of learners in hundreds of locations across the U.S., under the umbrella of a virtual AU – and reduced costs by nearly 70%.

Explore lifelong learning – and virtual development – options. Your organization will reap great rewards.

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