Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2011 - (Page 13)

TECHNICAL TRAINING | WENDY COMBS AND BETTINA DAVIS TECHNICAL EXPERTS NEED TO KNOW THERE ARE OPTIONS. TALENT MANAGEMENT & TECHNICAL TRAINING T alent management has emerged as a focus area for almost every HR function: staffing, organization development, compensation, business partnering and technical training. Everyone is trying to define what it means and their role in and relationship to it. The reality is that talent management is a relatively new concept, and the wealth of definitions lead to opportunities and challenges for technical training. If talent management is dissected into its four basic processes—recruiting, performance management, training and succession planning—then those can be explained. The result is a call to action for technical training to play a larger role in talent management. In the recruiting process, candidates’ education, certifications and work experience are meticulously screened for technical skills. Similarly, employees’ technical skills are evaluated along with other skills, contributions to the company and values during the performance management process, covering the first two steps. However, in most companies there does not appear to be as robust a process around the remaining two phases—training and succession planning. Training often only includes leadership and soft skills training. Technical training, despite its focus on developing employees’ technical expertise needed for a company’s next breakthrough, is rarely part of a comprehensive talent management offering. The fact that technical training can be very specialized, resulting in the need for very specific offerings for smaller groups of employees is often cited as the prohibiting factor. The succession planning process is not unlike training in that it is often focused on leadership and management rather than technical positions. Most organizations start at C-level positions with a focus on broad leadership skills required to lead a business unit and do not go any deeper. The need for succession planning within a specific technical or functional area, where the organization has to make sure employees are prepared to move up into a functional or general leadership role, is often ignored. Training organizations need to insert themselves more into the talent management process to ensure that proper focus is placed on building and maintaining employees’ skills. Technical experts need to know there are options and should not feel forced into a managerial career path to remain successful. Increased budgeting for technical training, leveraging e-learning and an active dialogue with senior management and other HR functions, are critical. Although the role technical training will play will vary by company, now is the time to ensure it does not miss this opportunity to play a more significant role in all phases. Wendy Combs and Bettina Davis are the co-authors of “Demystifying Technical Training: Partnership, Strategy and Execution” by Wiley Pfeiffer Publishers. Wendy is a senior practitioner with a strong track record of building and developing global technical training teams. Bettina is an accomplished executive with domestic and international experience directing and overseeing comprehensive human resources, training, and organization development functions and programs. E-mail Wendy and Bettina. 13 TrainingIndustry Quarterly, Winter 2011 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2011

Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2011
Element K
From Where I Sit: Your 2011 Action Plan
Table of Contents
Ad Index
Training Industry Top 20
At the Editor's Desk: Becoming Enablers
Raytheon Professional Services
Performance & Productivity: The Power of Conversations
Learning Technologies: Paving Cow Paths for Dinosaurs?
Technical Training: Talent Management & Technical Training
Partnering for Performance Conference
Learning 2020: Thinking about the Future of Learning
Cornerstone On Demand
Cover Report: Proving Training's Value: Linking Training to Business Outcomes
The Training Associates
Tactics Feature: 7 Solutions for Workforce Training
Harvard Business Publishing
Strategies Feature: Onboarding: A Driving Force for Employee Engagement
Hemsley Fraser
Solutions Feature: Making Informal Learning Real
Training Industry Quarterly
CaseBook: Habitat for Humanity: Training Under Construction
Tracking Trends: The Big Shift
Closing Arguments: Focusing on the Future
Delta College Corporate Services

Training Industry Quarterly - Winter 2011