ATD Research Topics

ATD Research Reports provide organizations with indispensable information, metrics, survey data, and benchmarks they need for optimal workplace performance. 

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June/July 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
Change Enablement
Change enablement—unlike change management—focuses on individual teams or individuals and examines the methods, skills, and tools necessary to gain acceptance and prepare employees for a transition. The process of change enablement entails monitoring evaluations and reactions and includes training to ensure employees are ready to face impending changes. The research will delve into exactly what change enablement entails and how it is defined, as well as how talent development professionals prepare employees for change in their organizations. Specifically, some key questions are: what programs are in place to support change enablement and resiliency? What are the top challenges to change enablement? Who receives training in change enablement? What are the primary benefits of change enablement?
June/July 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Talent Management: Upskilling and Reskilling
Upskilling and reskilling existing workers are critical talent strategies for many organizations. Some potential benefits are better retention, engagement, and ability to attract workers in a competitive talent market. They can also be a way to fill a pipeline for leadership positions or fill jobs that are challenging to fill with outside talent. Organizations may also use upskilling and reskilling as part of a major change initiative (e.g., a change in product focus, a merger or acquisition, or a global expansion), or as way to make the organization better able to succeed in the face of anticipated market and technology changes. Are these initiatives focusing on certain workers (e.g., workers who are most affected by changes in technology or whose jobs may be eliminated by changes, high-potentials, or certain age groups)? How do talent development professionals identify the skills gaps these initiatives should address? What types of upskilling and reskilling plans are ahead for organizations and what future forces will shape them?
August 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Lifelong Learning, Self-directed Learning, and Accountability
Past ATD research has found that continuous knowledge-seeking by employees leads to better outcomes for both individuals and organizations. But what can organizations (and, in particular, their talent functions) do to encourage lifelong learning behaviors (ongoing, continuous seeking of knowledge?)

Also, how is lifelong learning driven by behaviors such as seeking knowledge outside of the organization or outside of work and self-directed learning? What are the barriers that are preventing employees from exhibiting self-directed learning behaviors and lifelong learning behaviors? Is it a lack of personalized plans, a lack of accountability, a lack of long-term goal setting, a culture issue, a lack of rewards and recognition, a lack of training in where/how to seek out continuous learning opportunities, a lack of preparation by educational institutions, or another factor?

Finally, how has technology changed lifelong learning and self-directed learning? Has technology changed tracking of learning over a lifetime, how learners are held accountable, and how learners access knowledge outside of work?
September 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Sales Coaching
This research report will examine how organizations use sales coaching to develop salespeople, what makes an effective sales coaching approach, the benefits sales coaching provides to both the organization and its sales staff, and the barriers to sales coaching implementation and effectiveness. We will also explore what topics are discussed during sales coaching sessions and the focus of these sessions (e.g., account or territory knowledge, general sales skills), the frequency of sales coaching, and how organizations can successfully develop internal employees (such as sales managers and experienced salespeople) as sales coaches.
September 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
Succession Planning
This research will provide an update to ATD’s popular 2010 research on succession planning in addition to providing new insights. In particular, we are interested in the following questions: who has formal succession plans (and whether this has changed since 2010), what are the top challenges to succession planning, how are candidates identified for succession planning, who is primarily responsible for succession planning, what practices are used to develop candidates for succession planning and which ensure organizational success (e.g., the continuity of key business), what practices are used to prepare the individuals who are leaving and which ensure organizational success, to what extent do organizations seek talent outside for the succession planning pipeline (and where organizations go to seek this talent), which position(s) do organizations’ succession plans address, and how organizations address planned vs. unplanned changes in leadership and key roles. This report will also include actionable, research-driven tips for building succession plans.
December 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
Developing Emerging Talent
It’s important for talent development professionals to understand the development needs of emerging, early-stage, or young professionals (defined as those with less than five years of full-time work experience in any workplace). The key questions of interest are: what skills do these individuals most need training on, what skills do they actually receive training on, and how is development offered (internal/external/tuition reimbursement)? How do these workers prefer to consume and share knowledge, how do they use technologies (for example, social, mobile, etc.) to do so, and how are their preferences different from other groups of workers who entered the workforce before them? The report will also look at the opportunities organizations provide for these individuals to discuss and pursue long-term career paths, and include input from experts in the field (including industry leaders and career development experts).
February 2019
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
2019 State of Sales Training
This research will provide an update to the 2016 State of Sales Training report by benchmarking key indicators, such as the average sales training expenditure per employee. The 2019 State of Sales Training report will also examine the delivery methods most frequently used; this metric will be broken out by sales model (e.g., inside sales, outside sales, channel/partner sales, and hybrid). The report will also look at frequency of sales training, annual sales training expenditure, and the distribution of the sales training budget. The research will include new analyses to identify best practices that are correlated with an organization’s sales success relative to its competitors and the ability of salespeople to reach goals. The report will include practical examples from organizations