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focus_Do It Yourself In-House Talent Development

Do It Yourself In-House Talent Development

By Steven Rauschkolb

A  recent year-long study by McKinsey & Co. involving 77 companies and nearly 6,000 senior executives indicated that the most important resource needed to achieve and sustain corporate success over the next 20 years will be talent. The dilemma facing most companies is that as the demand for talent goes up, the supply of it will be going down due to the last of the baby boomers retiring, among other factors.

Not all life sciences companies have financial and other resources to hire external experts to create and execute a talent development program. Because identifying and developing top talent is so important to the future of your organization, you might consider developing your own program in-house. It’s a great way to broaden the scope of your department, while proactively solving a critical issue for your organization.

Before you start, there are several important stakeholders that you should engage:

• Start by finding a senior-level executive sponsor, high enough in the organization to help you sell the idea.

• Next, be sure to engage your Human Resources head to ensure that a similar program or initiative does not already exist.

• Once you get the go-ahead to start the planning process, develop a preliminary proposal that carefully lays out the objectives, scope and any potential costs for the program. Run your proposal by your key stakeholders and adjust as needed to ensure that you are covering all of your bases and that you have full alignment and budgeting approved before you begin development.

As you begin to create the program, a good place to start is by benchmarking similar programs through your LTEN network and via the Internet. Pay careful attention to the duration, development modalities and final assessment outputs of other programs. Consider who else should be involved to help facilitate the program and act as assessors. Typically, this should be a team of people made up from mid- to senior-level directors and vice presidents from a cross section on functions (Sales, Human Resources, Learning & Development, etc.).

Consider breaking the development into multiple parts, such as a kick off webinar, a live training session to provide leadership and business acumen training, monthly self-study assignments tied to your leadership or functional competencies followed by webinars to discuss learning and application and potentially an in-house assessment center, where all of the learning comes together.

Regardless of the modalities you choose, remember the 70-20-10 rule to ensure the most effective learning. The best mix includes 70 percent on-the-job learning through challenging assignments, 20 percent coaching or mentoring and 10 percent from coursework and training. T

o achieve this mix, the program should conclude with a strong individual development plan (IDP) for each participant, incorporating in field developmental assignments and ongoing follow-up checkpoints and coaching to ensure the stickiness of all aspects of the program.

While developing an in-house program is not easy, it can be done very cost effectively with careful planning and skillful engagement of key stakeholders and senior leadership. There is no better way to demonstrate your personal leadership and value to your organization than tackling this important challenge.

_____________________________________________________________________ Steven Rauschkolb is senior director, learning & development, for Quintiles. Email Steve at

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