#MentoringMonth: Why HR Needs to Invest in Lifelong Growth

By Ian GoverJanuary 30, 2015

This post was originally written by Ian Gover, Co-Founder of Everwise, and published in The B Team’s “New Ways of Working Report”. Co-founded by  and , The B Team’s mission is to catalyse a better way of doing business for the wellbeing of people and the planet.

Our raison d’être at Everwise is to help employees connect to the people and insights that will help them develop at every stage of their career.

We spend most days and nights thinking about talent development and designing solutions to help organizations like, eBay, Genentech, Twitter, HP, VISA, and many others do a better job of developing their people.

The Value of Talent Development

From an investment perspective alone it is clear that organizations understand the value of investing in their people.

  • The average direct expenditure on L&D per employee has increased more than 50% since 2001.
  • L&D investment as a percentage of revenue doubled over the 5 year period between 2006 to 2011.
  • In 2012 total L&D spend in the US came in somewhere around $150B.


We know that when it is done right Talent Development has the potential to increase bench strength, drive greater productivity and competence, unlock innovation and accelerate business growth. But there are a number of questions regarding the effectiveness of the solutions we have put in place to date.

  • Are the investments building the capabilities that our organizations need?
  • Are employees getting the blend of development resources that they require for effective learning?
  • Are the development solutions driving the outcomes required by the business?

Unfortunately for far too many organizations – the answers to each of these questions is a resounding “not really”. Year over year, cross-industry reports from organizations like Corporate Executive Board, Bersin by Deloitte, The Boston Consulting Group point to sub-optimal outcomes for most learning and development programs. So there is clearly a disconnect.

We do not believe that this is from lack of effort or focus on behalf of the folks driving L&D efforts… Rather the approach, programs, tools, and technologies that we have in place today were designed for a very different time, for a very different workforce, and for a very different set of requirements… We’ve simply outgrown our old shoes…

The Strategies

So what is a conscientious People Leader to do?

  • Divesting is not an option for any organization that wants to remain relevant and competitive.
  • And we can all agree it is not about throwing more money at the issue, even if we had it to spend.

Progressive Talent Development Organizations are using a series of strategies that are helping them optimize their talent development solutions and drive positive learning outcomes.

We have distilled these emerging strategies down into four key components of a Continual Development Architecture.

  1. Using workforce science and talent analytics to assess requirements and drive realtime development decisions for individuals, teams and organizations;
  2. Leveraging simple and elegant technology to instrument and guide continual development experiences throughout the entire year;
  3. Mass-customizing content and resources from inside / outside the organization to support a variety of learning styles, interests, capability, and specific development needs; and,
  4. Putting real people back into the development equation to support, encourage, and motivate employees throughout their learning journey.

Taken together these four components make up the foundation of a Continual Development Architecture and indeed inform the direction that leading organizations are taking around the world to develop their people and maximize learning outcomes.


Ian Gover

Ian Gover

Co-Founder at Everwise

About the Author

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