Winning the Talent War: A Strategic Approach to Attracting, Developing and Retaining the Best People

By Charles Woodruffe | Go to book overview

12
Development: making
the most of people

Some executives in organizations behave as if development should not be needed. Their attitude is that you hire people up and running rather than developing them. It is up to the people themselves to keep up to date. If they become obsolete someone new is found to replace them. Such an approach is clearly the opposite of a strategy of partnership and commitment. It is a naked form of the contingent and disposable attitude to staff. It only bears close scrutiny in the case of hiring people with a track record for the short term.

If a longer-term relationship is wanted, it is bound to involve a commitment by the organization to people's development. Failing to invest in people's ongoing development almost inevitably means that gradually their value will diminish and so they will offer the organization less. For people without experience, the arguments are all the more obvious. If high-potential staff are seen as a strategic response to the future, it is axiomatic that one nurtures them to increase their value and preparation.

The act of development is a key part of implementing the strategy of partnership and commitment to people. A partnership approach to development is well summed up by Ciba, whose management development mission is the 'identification, development and deployment of management potential in line with business objectives and employee aspirations' (Currie, 1998). De Geus (1997) describes how in companies bound by mutual trust, 'individuals understand that in exchange for their effort and commitment, the company will help them develop their potential' (p. 58). He says that 'managers who want to build an organization that can survive many generations pay attention to the development of employees above all other considerations' (p. 57). The objective is to help people develop to ensure their employability within the organization, not outside it. The internal focus of employability seems to be that adopted by Rank Xerox, whose 3D programme — define, decide, develop — is described by Wills (1997). In this programme, staff can obtain the competency list for the job to which they aspire and tailor their development accordingly.

-127-

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Winning the Talent War: A Strategic Approach to Attracting, Developing and Retaining the Best People
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction: Focusing through a Fog ix
  • Part One - Creating a Strategy for Winning Talented People 1
  • 1: Our Changing World 3
  • 2: Dancing Giants 13
  • 3: What About the Knowledge Workers? 25
  • 4: Squaring the Circle 35
  • 5: If the Core is Contingent 47
  • 6: Shreds of Evidence 57
  • 7: Finding a Third Way 65
  • 8: Siren Voices to Short-Termism 83
  • Part Two - Implementing the Strategy of Gaining Commitment by Showing Commitment 93
  • 9: Who Are You Calling Core? 95
  • 10: Roll Up for the Mystery Tour 101
  • 11: Selecting for the Future 111
  • 12: Development 127
  • 13: Showing You Care 141
  • 14: Whatever Turns You On 151
  • 15: Managing Careers for Commitment 161
  • Bibliography 171
  • Index of First Named Authors 185
  • Subject Index 189
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