"The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences - working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading." This observation was made by researchers at Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, in their 1996 book The Career Architect Development Planner.

Two decades and counting - the 70:20:10 model for learning and development still remains a widely-used framework in the HR scenery.

Ricoh Malaysia, in the business of imaging and industrial products, adopts a 70:20:10 learning framework, whereby 70% of the talent's development plan is on-the-job experience, 20% mentoring and coaching, and 10% training, courses and reading.

"We strongly believe in building internal talent by meeting our employees' career growth aspiration and business objectives," affirms Doris Tham, general manager of human resources at Ricoh Malaysia.

Talent is selected for Ricoh's various training programmes on the basis of record of consistent performance as well as leadership potential in taking up higher roles or responsibilities.

Once selected, the employees undergo assessments for competencies, behavioural and career motive assessments. These assessment reports are used as a reference during career dialogue sessions between the talent, immediate manager and HR business partner.

This input is used for a range of programme for talent across all levels.  One of these is the 12-month leadership development programme for general managers and senior managers, where the modules include material on managing self, others, business, and change. Another 12-month programme is the one for people management development for managers and assistant managers; with engage, empower, evaluate, and enforce as the modules.

A lightly shorter one at eight months is the executive development programme for supervisors and team leads; where modules include personal effectiveness, team effectiveness, effective communication, and effective execution.

All the leadership development programmes include pre and post 360 degree feedback, competencies assessment and personal coaching.

"Besides leadership development programmes, we create an environment for talent to be exposed to projects and assignments to gain hands-on experience, leading to both internal and external learning," Tham adds.

Results of the 70:20:10 model

Having consistently devoted time and effort to the leadership potential-performance matrix in training, Ricoh Malaysia has been successful in grooming internal talent to take up critical positions. More than half (57%) of the management team members have promoted through rank and file.

The direct sales workforce turnover rate has improved from 40% to 25% over the last three consecutive years. In addition, Ricoh’s business growth has been consistently strong over the last decade.

The future human capital needs and learning landscape will change due to rapid and immerse market competition, globalisation and technology advancement.  Rounding up the case study, Tham points out that perhaps in the future, talented employees are no longer viewed as 'assets' of the company but rather as a services enabler or business partner in achieving shared goals.

She concludes aptly: "HR leaders have to acquire new competencies on understanding and creating a shared culture, designing an agile work environment that engages people, and constructing a new model of leadership and career development in tandem with the new wave of transformation."

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