Coming Together for a Talent Development Strategy

September 28, 2016 2:38 PM | Laura Chartier (Administrator)

Written by SEWI-ATD Guest Blogger, Amy Krenzke

Talent Development -- what is it, does your organization have it, and how does collaboration drive it? This blog will take a look into the importance of Talent Development and a need for Talent Acquisition, Human Resources, and Learning professionals to all come together in taking action on a Talent Development Strategy.

First, let’s take a look at Talent Development (TD). It is a fairly new term in our modern work world. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) made the big name change back in 2014 from American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) to what it is now.

What was the significance of this change? Well, take it from Tony Bingham, President and CEO of ATD. He announced the need for the change at a special session of the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition:

"You know better than most, your work is so much broader than training alone,” Bingham told the crowd. “Those outside of the profession see it too.” He cited the growing business references to the term “talent development” that describes the breadth of work done by professionals who develop the talent in organizations: their knowledge, skills, and capabilities. (

Speaking to the attendees, Bingham noted, “You take the talents and capabilities of others and develop them to their full potential. As a result, organizations can prosper, and the world does indeed work better.”

As a learning professional, do you agree our role is larger than just training, it is about how to develop people to their full potential?

Let’s consider how to take Talent Development from a buzzword into an actionable strategy.

Talent Development is more than just training! 

The name change of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) was definitely a welcome change for me and hopefully for all of you. It was an expansion of thinking; a change that focused more importance on strengthening talent and the realization that talent development is not simply “training.” Talent Development is a fusion of training, self-driven learning experiences, succession planning, career management, professional development, performance management, and organizational development.

What does this mean to us as learning professionals? 

It means that the combination of these efforts becomes a Talent Development Strategy. Learning & Development professionals are becoming Talent Development professionals, but we can’t do it alone. Nope! It’s a coming together. It can no longer be everyone on their own island; there needs to be serious collaboration between Learning & Development, Talent Acquisition and Human Resource teams. Between these teams, the ultimate goal should be creating a Talent Development Strategy to ensure continual engagement of staff through learning, career (and agile performance) management, cultural alignment, and calibration of talent development goals that meet business needs.

A Talent Development Strategy – What does it look like? 

Great, but what does a Talent Development Strategy really look like for the TD, TA, & HR Professional? Well, as with most things these days we’ll take a look at this through the eyes of the Millennials. As Millennials enter our workforce at the rate of one per minute (or so it seems) priorities are changing on what it takes to engage them. Millennials are more interested in work that has meaning, they want a manager that’s less a boss – more a coach, and they’re more likely to rank learning in their top reasons to join an organization. Let’s think, though, it’s not only Millennials, it’s Gen X and Y, and even Boomers returning to the workforce as contractors. People want more from their work. They want to improve themselves, learn how to do a job better, or share their expertise. In developing a Talent Development Strategy, understanding candidate and employee motivations needs to be considered.

It all starts with attracting the right talent in this first place. This is why we include Talent Acquisition in Talent Development strategic planning. They need to understand how to communicate to candidates the vision of employee development. Human Resources needs to collaborate with Learning & Development to design an engaging on-boarding program to immediately start new hires out on the right foot. Learning & Development needs to create learning experiences, not just training, that drives results, reports metrics and demonstrates ROI for the business. Talent Acquisition can only capture the best talent when they have a conviction behind what they’re selling to candidates. Therefore, there needs to be a collaboration from L&D on how to communicate the why behind their “top-notch learning program”, how it’s put into action and followed-up on with managers throughout an employee’s career. It is a responsibility of all development professions (TA, L&D, and HR) to develop and continually communicate the Talent Development Strategy and tie it back to their people development or talent attraction strategies.

Having a defined Talent Development Strategy will shift your team's mindset to collaboration and convert actions to results more quickly. For example, it can lead to quicker turnaround on recognizing needs. L&D can more easily identify and develop learning for a new skill set, then communicate that back to TA to source for talent with those skills, and HR can develop performance management on that new skill set. Collaboration is key for a Talent Development Strategy to truly deliver for candidates, new hires, employees, and management.

Driving Forward – What’s the Benefit?

The collaboration involved in developing a Talent Development Strategy might be a little messy to start, but once it comes together and teams collaborate, there will be business rewards to reap. There are many metrics that can be improved, so tracking turnover is crucial. From Officevibe Blog, - 

Just think, Statistic #1 above could be next to eliminated if your organization has a Talent Development Strategy that gives clear definition to employees and that cultivates a culture of honest, holistic people development, allowing employees to easily see their career advancement path.

Is it time your organization considered a Talent Development Strategy? Invest in one that encourages collaboration among your TA, TD, and HR teams. This will allow a true focus on learning experiences, career (& agile performance) management, cultural alignment, and calibration of talent development goals and business needs.

Where will your organization go next? 

Think about how you can start bringing your people development teams together to strategically plan a strong Talent Development Strategy guaranteeing your organization meets business needs and goals. Define and communicate a strategy that benefits you - as Talent Development professionals, employees and prospective candidates alike. Remember what ATD President Tony Bingham’s said, “You take the talents and capabilities of others and develop them to their full potential. As a result, organizations can prosper, and the world does indeed work better.” Let’s work better, be more human in the workplace, and bring talent development to its full potential.

About Amy Krenzke 

Amy is a SEWI-ATD member volunteer who chairs the bi-monthly Instructional Design PDN. She evangelizes all things talent development - people, culture, learning, performance, and agility in the modern workplace. She is a curator of learning, a strategist of developing people for the next level, and brings engagement to every moment of her virtual or in-person learning sessions. Amy has an MA degree in Educating Adults from DePaul University, Chicago. She has done significant academic research on using appreciation in the workplace, developing a model, The Appreciation Space Method. Connect with Amy; she can help you brainstorm a path forward to a Talent Development Strategy @ or  

Want More? Here’s what Amy is Reading...


  • September 29, 2016 12:22 PM | Anonymous member
    Excellent post! Collaboration really is key to realizing our full potential - individually and collectively - no matter what level we are at in an organization. Thanks, Amy!
    Link  •  Reply
© sewi-atd
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software