February 2020
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TD Magazine

To Be Capable

Friday, January 31, 2020

The Association for Talent Development's new Talent Development Capability Model debuted in full force earlier this year and is the focus of this month's issue of TD magazine. Replacing ATD's 2013 Competency Model, the Capability Model "defines the standard of excellence and helps lead the profession," Morgean Hirt writes in the cover story. Hirt, the director of ATD Credentialing, adds: "This new standard for the field will help prepare TD professionals for the future of work by broadening the scope of knowledge and skills that will make them effective."

The resulting 23 capabilities are based on extensive research ATD conducted, a process it has followed in developing previous competency models. In addition to the themes that surfaced from the study, what also stood out was the number of survey respondents—the largest for an ATD competency study.


ATD received more than 3,000 usable responses from nearly 5,500 people who started the survey. A usable response is a person who responded to at least 56 percent of the questions and did not rate every statement as the same level of importance. The 2019 survey respondents represent more than double the number of respondents to the previous competency survey.

The diversity of respondents—with regard to career level, education, years of experience in the industry, and geographic location—is also notable. For example:

  • Fifty-four percent work in a large organization (501 to 50,000 employees).
  • Twenty-three percent are based outside the US—providing the largest set of global data for a competency survey.
  • More than half have advanced degrees (graduate degree or above).
  • Forty-one percent have more than 15 years of experience.
  • About one-fourth have five years or less of experience.
  • Nearly 500 work in the C-suite—more than double the number from the previous survey.

I highlight those figures to illustrate the range of the data ATD used to evaluate and determine the key capabilities that TD professionals should know and be able to do—it wasn't done in a vacuum. Now, go on and delve into those capabilities.

About the Author

Vanessa St. Gerard is editor-in-chief of TD magazine.

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