How Talent Development Prepares Workers and Businesses for the Future.
When I heard late last year that The Walt Disney Company was committing to invest $150 million in the future of its more than 80,000 hourly cast members and employees in the U.S., I was intrigued because it affirmed my belief that all businesses, even small businesses like mine, should invest in their talent.
The new Disney Aspire education investment program is a game changer for employees interested in advancing their careers and competitiveness by learning new skills and earning certificates and degrees. This is a smart strategy: preparing a workforce and, in turn, an organization for the future. It’s a big bet — one I hope will pay off in the long run because fostering employee passion through education promotes morale and helps employees realize new capacities for innovation that could result in transitioning into new roles beneficial to the company as well as to themselves. The only fear is that this could also enable employees to pursue future careers outside of the company.
Many business owners, including myself, understand that the advantages of employer-supported workforce talent development initiatives substantially outweigh the potential risks. Developing your talent helps your company not only realize cost savings and improved efficiency, but also can reinforce employee loyalty while simultaneously growing our region’s talent base.
It’s clear that economic pressures, shifting demographics and automation are already moving our workforce toward jobs of the future. Nearly three-quarters of the jobs added since the recession have gone to workers with a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate education. It’s predicted that up to 33 percent of workers may need to switch occupations because of automation. By 2028, there will be 3 million jobs available in skilled trades.
As president and CEO of my company, SIMETRI, I am keenly aware of the limited resources small businesses have for employee training and other programs. As chair of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, I see how small companies struggle with connecting their innovative technologies to partners, talent development and other programs more feasible for larger firms. I, therefore, believe the chamber, among other organizations, should implement programs that help small businesses throughout the region even the playing field in the ability to foster employee development.
Early in my career, I was chosen for a program that mostly senior personnel were invited to attend. That program expanded the scope of what I considered possible and gave me the foundation that allowed me to contribute to my employer’s success. It also enhanced the skillset and confidence necessary to start my own company and create jobs in our region. I often take advantage of the resources in our community to grow our company and our employees, and I also try to sponsor their personal development. I want to invest in my employees because I hope to inspire and arm them with the tools and skills they need to grow personally and professionally to help SIMETRI and our region succeed.
Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Talent development is the key to unlock those new doors. The new paths employees take will prepare our region’s workforce and business climate for the future. Without fulfilled employees possessed of the latest knowledge, businesses will be stuck in the past and the future will simply pass us by. That’s why all businesses, large and small, should make it a priority to invest in their talent.