Magazine article Talent Development

The Long View

Magazine article Talent Development

The Long View

Article excerpt

David Vance is former president of Caterpillar University, which he founded in 2001 to ensure the right education, training, and leadership were provided to achieve Caterpillar's corporate goals and efficiently meet learning needs. Prior to that position, Vance was chief economist and head of the Business Intelligence Group at Caterpillar.

Since his retirement in 2007, Vance has consulted with organizations on learning and performance issues. His 2010 title, The Business of Learning: How to Manage Corporate Training to Improve Your Bottom Line, focuses on bringing economic and business rigor to the learning field.

Vance is executive director of the Center for Talent Reporting, a not-for-profit organization established in August 2012 to develop and promote standards for human capital reporting. These standards, called Talent Development Reporting Principles (TDRp), are designed to help leaders manage talent like a business to deliver planned, measurable impact efficiently and efficiently. The vision is that TDRp will be accepted broadly and widely employed as the world-class reporting and management standard for all human capital processes.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE CORPORATE UNIVERSITIES, AND THE LEARNING FUNCTION OVERALL, CHANGED RECENTLY?

During the past 15 years, corporate universities have become more strategic. People are talking a lot more about alignment with the organization's goals, and there's a greater focus on impact and higher level measurement--not simply counting the number of participants or hours in training, but trying to get at the application and impact of learning.

It appears that more learning functions are being led by those like me who did not come from training or HR. More organizations are bringing in people with business experience because I think they want to shake things up a little bit, and a lot of companies want more of a business focus.

Learning also is doing a better job of integrating with other closely aligned talent functions. The scope of the position that acts as head of the function has been growing, and there is a trend toward more of a talent management focus than just a learning focus.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR TAKEAWAYS FROM THE BUSINESS OF LEARNING?

The title of the book indicates that the profession has a lot of opportunity to run learning more like a business. This means that we need to do more upfront work on alignment and early discussions with sponsors, take a step into that uncertain world, and drive a stake in the ground about what they expect the impact and cost of these important initiatives to be. …

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