Daniel Goodwin

Smart workforce, brighter future, and recognising talent

I was extremely pleased last week when the new direction for the Local Government Association’s National Graduate Development Programme was set out in A brighter future . The email arrived in my in-box when I was still thinking about the previous weekend’s #LocalGovCampNW meet, the tangible enthusiasm of those attending, and their real wish to make a difference to the sector. I also had the pleasure of my regular all-staff briefings and an informal coffee session with a group of staff during the week. All three made me reflect that the NGDP refresh is much needed and that there is a further need to consider recognition of the skills of more established employees.

In a previous post, Graduates, I set out what I believe to be key criteria for the national scheme, which are broadly as follows:

  • responding to employers’ needs
  • ensuring an appreciation of political issues and approaches
  • understanding the perspectives of the private, voluntary and public sectors
  • promoting independent thinking and providing robust analytical challenge
  • developing an understanding of context
  • securing employability by developing relevant skill sets
  • fostering lifelong learning and support networks between participants
  • providing sufficient throughput to ensure critical mass
  • maintaining efficiency and a positive impact on the sector
  • affordable for organisations and individuals, with clear cost/ benefit appraisals

The new scheme looks set to be able to address many of the above and demand the support of councils across the country. We need to ensure that it can be a way of capturing the some of the energies of innovation that the sector’s people possess directing it at the challenges that we have as a sector and as individual organisations. As I mentioned in Change capacity and spark, few of us have to look far to find bright people doing interesting things and hopefully we can use the scheme to develop this in the next wave of employees coming through.

However I have a remaining question, which is what we can do to better recognise the achievements and abilities of existing staff, such as those I met last week, and encourage them to learn and develop to achieve recognised high standards. This links into thoughts on talent management, arising from reading this Ashridge paper Developing future leaders: The contribution of Talent Management which suggests that:

Talent management systems may yet have the potential to provide a rigour in defining business critical skills for an organisation, behaviours required now and in the future, and enable focused development for different talent segments.

Some of the professions within the sector have very clear schemes for continuing professional development, but this is far more incremental than what I have in mind, and the more general strengths of leadership, operations management, customer service and innovation have no formal focus. However I am keen to find and embed an effective way to identify and develop people who are already well into their careers and allowing them to blossom in perhaps unforeseen ways. Can we develop a simple system of talent recognition and assessment, which will help us to identify, develop and deploy existing ability and enthusiasm in the workforce in as exciting a way as the NGDP could work for new arrivals?

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This entry was posted on February 12, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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