Recently, researchers at Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting) polled nearly 500 senior executives about what they need to recruit and retain workers in the current economic turndown. The study, titled “The High Performance Workforce: Separating the Digital Economy’s Winners from Losers,” found that companies can improve both retention rates and employee performance by making it easier for workers to find new opportunities within an organization and by developing the skills and knowledge of all employees, regardless of their position in the company.

According to the study, “Executives in more than half of the companies surveyed cited ‘training and development’ as one of their top initiatives to improve human performance, but only 25 percent of the companies reported making any changes in their employee career growth and development programs. The changes they did make tended to be one-time, quick fixes for an isolated problem, rather than developing and implementing proactive and integrated strategies for attracting and retaining talent.”
What type of professional development program does your firm have in place? Was it a benefit that helped lure you into the organization? Could a better PDP lure you away from your current firm? Join our discussion or send us an e-mail about your experience.
The challenge to develop and retain talent
In the January 2000 issue of Consulting Magazine, author Michael Durr asserted that professional development programs (PDPs) are “key to retaining and attracting talent and to ensuring high-quality client services. The result is that training is being given a greater emphasis in consulting-firm strategy than in the past.”

In the same article, Sue Reardon, former executive vice president for strategic education for Whittman-Hart, Inc.—now chief learning officer for global professional services firm marchFIRST—estimated that consultants who once had two or three years before a change in technology made their skills obsolete now have 18 months or less.

Do you feel your firm helps you keep your skills up-to-date? How heavily does a PDP factor into your decision to join an organization? Join our discussion and tell us what you think.