Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Talent Development Platform - Putting People First in Social Change Organizations

The Talent Development Platform: Putting People First in Social Change Organizations (The Jossey-Bass Nonprofit Guidebook Series) is a new book which provides a framework and detailed methodology including templates that nonprofits, specifically, can use to develop talent. How important is that? Just recently, Robert Half Finance completed a study and asked Finance professionals "When evaluating a new job opportunity, how important is the ability to gain new skills in that role?" 81 % of entry level professionals and 55% of executive level respondents said very important. This is consistent with the findings of a survey of 1100 respondents to a Young Professional Network survey in 2011 cited in this book. In that study only 34% were committed to the nonprofit sector for the long haul, citing limited professional development opportunities as a key factor for leaving the sector.  If we want to attract and retain the best people we must offer them the opportunity to develop their skills and utilize their talents. The Talent Development Platform is the  resource to be able to do this effectively. There isn’t anything else like it on the market.

If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be comprehensive. If I had another it would be strategic. Overall this is a must have resource for Nonprofits that are interested in long term development and succession development of its employees. This topic gets a lot of lip service but often not much more than that in small and mid sized nonprofits.  I worked for a large corporation in my first career and there was formal career development that had many facets – formal training, special assignments, leadership opportunities. Besides the core job there was opportunity and expectation that people were in a continuous improvement motion.

Too often what I have seen in nonprofits, especially small ones, is that lower level employees are engaged 110% in executing their current duties and little attention is paid to the next step for them. The price for this approach is not small. It results in unused talent, undeveloped potential,  employee turnover and worst of all,  unpreparedness when top level positions do become available.

The Talent Development Platform is a comprehensive resource geared for all sizes of social change organizations. The tools are suitable for employees, volunteers and board members. I am particularly interested in this book because of the focus on small organizations. Too often, things that are recommended are not practical for small organizations. This book is chock full of tables, figures and exhibits.  Here is two of my favorite examples.

 The first step is to complete an organizational readiness assessment and a detailed questionnaire is provided to be able to assess you readiness to begin a meaningful talent development program.  Here is a summary of results example.

I particularly like this example of a format used to define organizational goals and objectives and then align them with an individual's development plan.  Note that the development plan has three components - learning on the job, mentoring and formal training.

This book is designed for serious results-driven talent development.  There is no fluff.  If you are serious about this subject, this is a must have book.   The subtitle of this book is “Putting People First in Social Change Organizations” and that is indeed the focus of this work.

It is available on Amazon.  Click below to find it on Amazon.


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