2017 Iowa Trends in Talent Development Survey Reinforces Value of Talent Development



ATW Training Solutions recently released the results of its 11th annual Iowa Trends in Talent Development Survey. The survey, conducted in partnership with New Horizons Computer Learning Center, the Iowa Association for Talent Development (ATD), and the Iowa Chapter of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) was conducted between August 14 and September 1, 2017. The survey was completed by 118 respondents who represented a variety of Iowa industries, companies, and organizations.



Talent Development Investment

Responses indicate that budgets for talent development,  the focus on growing high-performing employees that help organizations meet strategic and operational goals and objectives, will remain the same or increase in the coming year. Nearly 30% of survey participants said that their budget will increase to acknowledge the importance of hiring, training and retaining the talent in their organizations. 

Training Focus Areas

Each year we seek to understand which training topics will be central to organizations in the coming year. This year, three topics (coaching skills, leadership for emerging leaders, and new employee orientation) tied for the top spot. The top five topics include:

  1. Coaching skills. Coaching skills continues to be a key initiative for many organizations.
  2. Leadership for emerging leaders. The distinction of “emerging” leaders is an important focus as many organizations continue to focus on succession planning and development of future leaders.
  3. New employee orientation. The onboard of employees including how to get employees up to speed faster is important in a market where the labor force is limited.
  4. Change management. Not a single organization is not facing some kind of change. Many are looking to provide skills on how to proactively deal with the issue instead of just reacting. 
  5. Team leader skills. Specific “team” leader skills appears for the first time in the top five. This may indicate an increased focus on fostering a team culture in organizations.

Training Delivery Methods

Instructor-led classroom instruction remains the preferred delivery method of respondents. However, online training delivery is a key component of organizational talent development methodology. 69% of respondents now indicate they will be using some sort of online delivery mechanism for their talent development efforts. 

The increased focus of using online courses may be having an impact on having individuals attend external conferences as seen by a 17% drop in the use of this methodology. Other issues may also be impacting the decreased attendance at external conferences like budgets, less conferences being held locally, etc. but does make fiscal sense to have individuals learning from their work areas instead of paying travel expenses to attend conferences. 

Key Challenges in the Talent Development Area

Respondents answered the question, “What are the most significant challenges to implementing your talent development strategies?” Three themes are present which are consistent with our findings over the last five years.

  • Financial issues (cost of training, budget approval and funding) was the top challenge mentioned.
  • Time constraints (time to develop information, convert content from classroom to online, deliver, employee time away from job, competing priorities) came in a close second.
  • Leadership support continues to be a challenge mentioned. Gaining leadership buy-in and approval to allocate resources, both time and money continues to be a challenge.

Full Survey Results Available

Full survey results are available on the ATW Training Solutions website, www.atwtraining.com.  ATW’s goal is to help unleash human potential in organizations. For specific comments on the survey or observations for the purpose of print or online news articles, contact ATW at 515-727-0731.


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