With the turning of the calendar to 2023, many talent development leaders are anticipating how the next 12 months might unfold, perhaps full of new hope and a little apprehension, too.
Most are well aware of the economic outlook for 2023, as the US economy is likely to stall further according to JPMorgan Chase. This slowdown extends globally, and the International Monetary Fund reports inflation rates are higher than they’ve been in several decades. The Economist explains how worldwide turmoil due to “shocks in geopolitics, energy, and economics” have collided to contribute to a looming global recession.
TD leaders are no strangers to the effects of an economic downturn on their function; as these cycles come and go, so does the anticipation of budget cuts. And often, that business-wide tightening of the belt inordinately squeezes resources from learning and development.
But might things be different this time around? Perhaps TD leaders don’t have to rally their teams to prove the value of learning to the business like they’re accustomed to in a difficult economy. Maybe workplace trends and shifts from the past three years have set a new context for talent development—one where learning, skills development, and career progression are no longer nice-to-haves but must-haves for organizations to remain competitive. Will businesses choose to continue investing in talent, even during a sluggish economy?
Tamar Elkeles, senior advisor at East Wind Advisors, believes that talent development is more valued by C-suite leaders, and even boards, than ever before. “I think it’s an evolution about what’s important,” Elkeles says in the most recent episode of ATD’s Talent Development Leader podcast. “Profit is important to an organization, revenue is important to an organization, the financials are important, but what’s behind that are the people. You can’t perform your business if half the talent walks out the door, or you don’t have a quality leadership team. You’re not going to make your revenue numbers if you don’t have people who are engaged.”
Perhaps there’s something to the corporate awakening to the undeniable impact of talent on businesses. Fast Company reported in December that 2022 was the year HR problems became business problems, as organizations finally understood that taking care of their people was nonnegotiable. The line between work and home has been indefinitely blurred by the pandemic, and employees are showing up as who they were all along—real people, with real opinions, desires, and challenges.
How will talent development leaders show up for their people in 2023?
Last fall, research firm Workplace Intelligence, in partnership with Amazon, commissioned a blind survey of 3,000 US employees from various industries to learn how companies can better engage employees in the current economy. The study showed that future skills development is critical to talent as they consider their career growth in the months ahead.
In fact, 78 percent of respondents expressed concern with their lack of skills, 71 percent were worried they have insufficient education to advance their career, and 70 percent felt unprepared for the future of work. Employees attributed their drive for development to factors including work-life balance and flexibility, meaning and purpose, and the ability to give back to future generations.
This year, you can stand confidently in your role as employee engager, people developer, and career advancer. Even with challenges ahead, talent development will be in high demand as employers and employees alike are depending on learning to prepare them for the future. Walk into 2023 with the knowledge that you hold the keys to your organization’s competitive advantage. Find assurance in the fact that you can empower your people to prioritize their well-being and bolster their careers. Talent development leaders, this is your year to shine.
And ATD is helping you do just that. For years you have trusted ATD to develop your team; now ATD is elevating its content, communities, and capabilities to develop you. Talent Development Leader is ATD’s brand for your professional development, providing content that fosters and promotes your thought leadership; community that progresses with your career; and capabilities backed by ATD’s Capability Model that keep you on the leading edge of the field.
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