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Your Contribution to Your Organization's Bottom Line

Monday, April 1, 2013
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Engagement and retention are huge hot topics and buzzwords in today’s workplace, especially as the economy starts to heat up again. As a training and development professional, how do these two mandates impact your role and your activities each day?

Of course you do your best to engage participants in your learning initiatives. And it’s likely the coaching work you do with managers helps them to better connect with—and retain—the employees who report to them. Beyond these types of activities, though, there is even more that we can do to help our organizations engage and retain their workers. That’s just one of the key findings I looked at in studying emerging workplace trends for the forthcoming book Career Moves (3rd edition), to be published by ASTD Press in September.

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Research and best practices are all pointing to the importance of training and development professionals in making a bottom-line difference for organizations. For example, books like Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go by Beverly Kaye and Julie Giulioni focus on the value of helping employees continue to develop professionally. Other books and articles note that Gen Y (and Gen Z, as well, in the not-too-distant future) want—and expect—opportunities to be challenged at work and keep their skill set sharp. They also thrive on feedback and meaningful recognition. At the same time, older workers would rather stay with their current companies than look elsewhere. But they don’t want to be considered “short-timers” whose opinions or skills are undervalued. Organizations need their wisdom, yet fewer companies, according to much of the research, take the time to engage Boomer workers in challenging and meaningful ways.

How about you? What are you doing inside your organization to contribute to engagement and retention of key employees? Let us know what ideas you have and what new initiatives you’re implementing. Also, share how you are taking a seat at the table and contributing to your organization’s strategy and decision-making for hanging on to valued workers in the days ahead. We would love to hear from you – email us at careerdevelopment@astd.org.

About the Author
Caitlin Williams, PhD, is an expert in navigating the workplace with grit and grace and co-author of Career Moves: Be Strategic About Your Future (ASTD Press 2013). An atypical career development professional, through her consulting, speaking, and writing, she evangelizes the opportunities for experienced professionals to continue to pursue meaningful work that keeps their performance high, their anxiety low, and their lives moving in the direction that works for them. Witnessing the disheartening effects of the “working worried,” she offers these committed workers specific tools and strategies for flourishing in a always uncertain workplace. Whether experienced professionals are exploring new career paths or pursuing excellence in already chosen careers, she acts as their chief supporter and sounding board. Caitlin is also an organization’s key advisor, guiding leadership in identifying and leveraging employee strengths and critical skill sets and helping them build healthy, productive and innovative workplaces. In her work, Caitlin uses the leading-edge tools of personal branding, appreciative inquiry, personal story, and preferred futuring. These techniques powerfully shift her clients and audiences’ perspective from one that is limited to a history-focused and static view of themselves to one that leverages current strengths and focuses on future possibilities.
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