A World of Strategies

By Jennifer Schramm Jan 1, 2012
December Cover

Companies in the United States, the United Kingdom and India use many of the same talent development and training methods, but there are key differences, new survey results show. The survey was conducted by the London-based Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an organization of HR professionals with more than 135,000 members worldwide, in collaboration with the Society for Human Resource Management and SHRM India.

HR practitioners in these three countries share the common belief that in-house development programs are generally the most effective learning option for employees. The survey found that 37 percent of U.S. HR practitioners and 32 percent of U.K. and Indian practitioners say on-the-job training is the most effective development approach. But U.S. and Indian HR practitioners are less likely than their U.K. counterparts to view coaching by line managers as the most effective method.

The survey results reveal common ideas on how to develop leaders. Respondents in all three countries view coaching by external practitioners and attendance at external events as crucial learning opportunities for potential and current leaders. They also rate internal knowledge sharing events highly.

Differences are apparent, however, in the use of e-learning. U.S. respondents are more likely to anticipate spending time during the next 12 months designing and implementing e-learning programs. The United Kingdom has the highest availability of e-learning tools, but U.S. practitioners are more likely to perceive e-learning to be effective.

It appears that business leaders in all three countries are starting to put greater emphasis on learning and talent development. This may be because employers in some fields such as engineering and high-tech are beginning to experience skills shortages. HR professionals in all three countries say they will be spending most of their time during the next year developing a learning and development strategy. This rates as their highest anticipated priority.

When asked to predict the major changes to training and development in the next two years, practitioners in all three nations said they expect there to be a greater integration of training and talent development with organizational development. Many HR practitioners across the three nations are also gearing up to provide more in-depth metrics and evidence of a strong return on investment of their training and development programs to their organizational leaders. They seem to be growing more aware of the fact that to implement their learning strategies, they will need to prove the strategies' impact.

Looking forward, the availability of talent may be the main driver of training and development trends in each country. If skills shortages become more widespread globally, business leaders are likely to emphasize learning and talent development activities. The planned redeployment of the Institute's survey in 2012, with the addition of data from several new countries, will confirm if and how this trend is unfolding.

The author is manager of the Workplace Trends and Forecasting program at SHRM.

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