People have been lamenting lately about the lack of available talent, particularly in companies that primarily serve technology companies. I regularly hear things like “there is no-one left to hire” and “we can’t find anyone with the appropriate skill set”. I disagree with both statements.
Most people in the field of technical communications would agree that successful technical writing involves a great deal of collaboration: with subject matter experts (SMEs), project managers, high-level reviewers, and, of course, editors, peer reviewers, graphic artists, and other specialists, depending on the size and scope of the project and team.
But I’d go even further and claim that technical writing is a social endeavor. Particularly in a medium-to-large organization, the skills you’ll be using the most are communication (especially oral and real-time), negotiation, persuasion, and psychology. And perhaps nowhere are these so-called soft skills more critical than when you’re first introduced to the SMEs you’ll be relying on for the bulk of the information in your content.
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend an Association for Talent Development (ATD) chapter meeting in Seattle. ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development, ASTD) is a network of HR professionals, trainers, instructional designers, and many other professionals from training organizations. At this chapter meeting, we were given a lecture on talent management scorecards by a leading author and speaker in the field, Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D. Dr. Schmidt has an impressive resume; her biography reads:
Lynn has 26 years of experience as a talent management and organization development leader in large corporations. Currently, she is a talent management leader at Group Health Cooperative and has responsibility for succession management, leadership development, coaching, leader onboarding, and performance management. Lynn has received her certification in ROI evaluation, served as the chairperson of the ASTD ROI Network Advisory Committee for two years, and was a recipient of the ROI Practitioner of the Year Award.
You might ask, “What does talent management have to do with instructional design?” At face value, maybe not a lot. When it comes to instructional design, I’m more concerned with managing the project (scope, delivery mode, audience, and so on). However, in the past five years, I’ve worked on no fewer than five quality attribute projects that were designed to evaluate an agent’s performance. Without even knowing it, I was creating a scorecard for talent management. After this lecture, I feel more equipped to guide my clients toward scorecards that will get the result that they’re looking for: service excellence.
I want to share the highlights that I took away from the talk and then offer thoughts on how this will impact my design and development of quality programs for support professionals.
Topics: learning and development, ATD, talent management, workforce planning, Lynn Schmidt,, ROI Practitioner of the Year Award, micro scorecards, succession management, engagement and retention, performance management, talent acquisition, ATD Seattle, macro scorecards, scorecards, ASTD ROI Network Advisory Committee, organizational scorecards