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Accelerating Talent Development through Experiences

The new era of on-the-job learning


Business challenges and Talent implications
As many companies recover from the economic downturn and once again strive to meet growth targets and goals, they face business challenges directly linked to talent recruitment, retention and development including increased competition for technical expertise in a shrinking talent pool. Many of these challenges, however, can be solved by impactful and efficient talent development strategies. As part of these new strategies, companies should develop new talent capabilities which allow for faster, more flexible responses to changes in business goals, job functions and the marketplace as a whole.

Accelerated talent development can help to solve many of the challenges companies face today as well as fulfill employee professional development needs. A recent Deloitte study illustrated a growing desire among employees for career progress, professional development and tailored talent strategies.1 Well-established talent development structures can allow companies to keep up with and anticipate, future business demands. Unfortunately, though few companies consider their talent development programs to be up to par, many do not address talent development needs until there is a crisis. Therefore, in order to proactively fulfill employee needs while accelerating talent development companies should consider implementing a learning program consisting of clear learner expectations followed by education, exposure and experiences.2

Traditionally, formal training has been the focus of 90 percent of talent development strategies even though these programs account for only 10 percent of actual employee learning and skill development.3 Despite potential challenges with implementing on-the-job (OTJ) learning, measuring on-demand learning and aligning learning with precise job competencies; learning organizations may benefit from leveraging existing experiences into educational opportunities.

Using data and testimonies gathered from extensive interviews with six external and five Deloitte Chief Learning Officers (CLOs), this paper highlights the necessities, opportunities and challenges associated with incorporating effective OTJ learning into existing talent development strategies.

Defining learning from experiences
Traditionally, learning organizations have defined OTJ learning as a combination of rotational programs and controlled apprenticeship/technical experiences; however, today’s emerging technology solutions, paired with rapidly increasing demands for improved talent and learning opportunities, has encouraged companies to shift their mindset from traditional OTJ learning programs to employee driven OTJ learning.4 As employees are learning from their coworkers and through on-demand learning opportunities, companies have the opportunity to shift from their original approach of formal OTJ learning programs by channeling day-to-day experiences which their employees encounter on a regular basis. In other words, OTJ learning should move from only being defined as a formalized structured program to a concept which also includes individualized on-going experiences, exposure and expectations.

To adapt to this new approach companies should:

  • Implement structures that promote learning from experiences
  • Provide on-demand content, generated by users and companies, examples include micro learning opportunities such as videos, job aids and social collaboration sites
  • Create capabilities for learning reflection
  • Use development conversations to plan the desired experiences that can lead to development opportunities

Read more about Accelerating talent development through experiences.

1 Deloitte (“Future-Proof Your Organization Through Next-In-Class Learning” pg. 3),2011 
2 Deloitte Consulting Study (Breshears, Jamie and Josefin Atack: “Interviews with Broad-Spectrum CLOs”), 2012
3 Deloitte, “Future-Proof…”, 2011.
4 Deloitte Consulting Study, 2012.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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