People Succession

People Succession: Lessons from Forward Thinking Executives in Middle-Market Companies


by Carol Bergeron


A provocative read for executives, the board of directors, and people managers in middle-market and aspiring middle-market companies who choose to groom the next generation of leaders while reducing the risk of organizational underperformance due to job vacancies and capabilities’ shortages. Learn more

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Sept 2015: How Top Performing Companies Help Employees Soar

Over the summer I had the pleasure of vacationing in the High Sierra Camps of Yosemite. Had a great time making the loop from one camp site to another each separated by an 8 to 12 mile hike above the tree line on beautiful yet unforgiving granite.

Was it challenging? You bet, with elevations hovering between 6 and 10 thousand feet. We cut out a leg due to a 3,500 foot straight ascent toward the end of the trip. Started to run out of steam. Could have benefited from more conditioning.

Did we have the right equipment? Yes and then some. We had too much stuff which weighed us down. More recent experience would have prompted lighter packing (shifting the weight to some local Sherpas could have helped too). 

Were we adaptable? With temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees during the day and mid 30’s at night had to be (although the wood stove in the tents helped a lot).

Bottom-line is that while we had a wonderful time we could have avoided cutting out a leg (and some of the most picturesque views – we are told) had we been better prepared through conditioning and made smarter equipment choices.

Here is where I link my story to value for you and your organization. Employee engagement, retention and productivity soar when employees are better prepared (conditioning) and have the right tools to get their jobs done. At the heart of employee preparation is learning and development. What is your organization doing in learning and development (L&D)? Here are some fun facts about what top performing organizations are doing in the L&D space that may shape your 2016 budget.


How Top Performing Companies Help Employees Soar 

by Carol Bergeron

While top performing companies spend more money on L&D that others, they do so deliberately and wisely.

Great Place to Work concludes:

  • Creating great places to work helps increase profitability and business success; building a strong company culture and learning and development investments in employees are key components. 
  • Our research shows repeatedly that our 100 Best list, comprised of publicly traded organizations, consistently outperform the S&P 500 by a factor of 3 to 1.


Training Magazine recognized 125 organizations in 2015 that excel at employee L&D:

  • The mean L&D budget among the recognized companies was nearly 6% of payroll.
  • 97% have tuition reimbursement programs.
  • 71% link managers’ compensation to development of their direct reports.
  • Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation (reaction, learning, behavior, results) were most commonly used for evaluating L&D investments followed by: ROI and Balanced Scorecards.


Brandon Hall Research, in a 2014 Learning and Development study (563 organizations), concluded that:

  • L&D investments are increasingly based on business needs rather than learner and content needs. 
  • L&D experts are more frequently working on a learning strategy for the entire organization with C-suite executives rather than operational issues at business unit and functional levels.
  • Leading drivers of L&D investments including performance, competency and results, has shifted the value of L&D from “what you know” to “what you can do”. 
  • Learning delivery methods are broadening to appeal to a multi-generational workforce with increased emphasis on technology-based methods that Millennials find attractive.

Why these shifts? Deliberate L&D alignment where investments support achievement of strategic organizational objectives.

Per Bersin by Deloitte’s Corporate Learning Factbook 2015: The double digit year-over-year increase in L&D budgets, starting in 2011, ranged from 10% to 15%. Why are L&D budgets on the rise? As the labor market gets tighter, recruiting from the external talent pool grows more challenging prompting companies to develop existing employees for their future talent needs.

Now that's cause for pause.

Carol Bergeron of Bergeron Associates helps people and organizations achieve their goals while increasing employee engagement, productivity and retention, preserving mission critical capabilities and building the pipeline of next generation leaders. Through a fresh set of eyes she supplements existing learning and organizational development resources and services. Carol can be reached at 781-376-4071,,