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CTDO Magazine

Are You Grooming Your Successor?

Friday, September 29, 2017

The talent development leader's role is evolving. In fact, 89 percent say that their scope of responsibilities has increased during the past two years. According to Chief Talent Development Officers: Driving Strategy and Performance, a new report from ATD Research and the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), talent leaders also are starting to steer performance management efforts, employee engagement, knowledge management, and talent acquisition and retention, to name a few.

Here's the good news: ATD and i4cp found that four in five organizations (79 percent) have a designated talent development leader or leaders. The bad news is that only 20 percent of organizations have formal succession plans in place for those talent leaders.


Clearly, as talent leaders' roles become greater and the organization becomes more dependent on their work, the need for a succession plan for this position becomes more pertinent, especially to avoid organizational culture deterioration and the loss of institutional knowledge. But where can talent development professionals look to fill their bench with talent?

According to ATD and i4cp, nearly half of survey respondents say their organizations will most likely promote internal talent to replace a talent development leader. Not surprisingly, 85 percent of organizations would look in the talent development or learning function for future leadership candidates. However, with the expansion of responsibilities—from traditional learning and development to more HR-related tasks—70 percent say they would look to the human resources department for new talent.

Once potential leaders are identified, they need to be groomed for the promotion. Eighty-five percent of talent development professionals agree that leadership development is the most critical competency for talent development leaders in coming years. No doubt, strong leadership is needed to manage the changing roles of talent development leaders, particularly as they become a more strategic organizational partner in developing business performance. The study found that other skills organizations need to develop in their talent leaders are coaching, change leadership, business acumen, and a growth mindset.

To be successful in managing your talent development pipeline, the importance of understanding the dynamic and shifting role of talent development leaders cannot be understated. Prioritize learning for current and future talent development leaders to keep pace with their expanding roles and formalize a succession plan for talent development leaders to give your organization a competitive edge.


Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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