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Understanding Workforce Development And Its Impact On Your Business
Category: Leadership, People & HR, Tips

Workforce development is a holistic, people-oriented approach to developing talent in a business or community.
Workforce development is a holistic, people-oriented approach to developing talent in a business or community.

In the current economy, finding a job that suits your skills and provides growth opportunities is rare. More and more companies want their entry-level applicants to have mid-level experience. This can become frustrating for job seekers just starting out and looking to hone their skills. 

This is where workforce development software, such as Exponent Case Management, can help.  

What is workforce development?

Workforce development is a holistic people-oriented approach to developing talent in a business or community. This often involves a change in attitude, work culture, and the overall social climate of a company to build their employees’ talents and skills, thereby creating a highly skilled and well-adjusted workforce. 

This is an essential step to developing or expanding a business. Workforce development focuses on each individual and their skillset, building tools to help them hone their skills, learn new ones along the way, and ultimately help their employer’s business grow.

How does it work?

An antiquated belief about training employees was: if you provide training and development to your employees, they will leave and apply what they learned from you elsewhere. For the most part, this is not actually the reality. Instead, the more employees are trained and their development is put into better focus, the more employees want to stay. 

This is because workforce development arms workers with the skills to do their jobs better. It focuses on the skills their job requires and the skills the worker already possesses—making that job easier and more rewarding. It also opens the door for  career growth. 

Research has proven that an empowered workforce encourages retention. This is because employees are shown that they matter, that their contributions are essential, and that their company cares about their future. In addition, career, skill, and personal growth are significant among the younger members of the workforce who value their mental health and professional development. 

Workforce development versus workforce training

Aren’t companies already developing their employees’ skills anyway? Isn’t that what training is? Yes and no. 

Workforce training is mandatory training focusing on a job’s skill set. For example: suppose a marine engineer is employed by a cargo ship. They need continuous training to stay current in the field and to ensure they’re legally allowed to perform their duties. For most companies, that is par for the course.

Workforce development doesn’t just focus on the skills needed to complete your job. It focuses on developing other aspects of your professional life that will broaden career growth opportunities. This is voluntary and is mainly based on the employee’s talent and interests. For example, workforce development can include leadership training for those who want to become managers or leaders someday. It can also include developing new skills like training the trainer programs, public speaking, business writing, or problem-solving. 

How does it benefit your company?

Apart from having a very well-equipped workforce at your disposal, what other benefits are there to applying workforce development strategies in the workplace?

Workforce development increases productivity

You might think: all the voluntary training and extracurriculars of a fully-developed workforce would take time away from their actual work. However, the contrary is true! All the additional skills employees learn that don’t directly relate to their jobs are very useful. Business writing can help your employees compose better emails and proposals. Public speaking can help develop confidence in your team members when they present their ideas or report on their projects. These skills, albeit not precisely job related, can make them much more efficient workers.

Workforce development improves retention

Challenged, developed, and engaged employees are happy employees who will remain loyal to your company—not just because they can see avenues for their career growth but also because their talents and skills are being developed and proving useful for them and the company. This gives them the feeling of being an essential part of the company, not just another faceless, nameless drone.

You know that your employees have the right skills for their jobs

You have a competent workforce, meaning fewer errors, more innovation, and better running teams. Also, because their training is holistic and not just job-based, they are better equipped mentally and emotionally when dealing with the day-to-day challenges and unexpected changes that work sometimes brings.

Proactive problem-solving has become the norm

A competent workforce can foresee potential problems before they become actual problems. They can then find solutions to potential issues and streamline workflows to improve their output. 

Workforce development creates a harmonious workplace

Since workforce development also focuses on the work culture and interpersonal relationships, this could result in employees having better relationships with their teams and other employees. This makes for a healthy and uplifting work culture. 


Workforce development is an essential part of business development. Improving not just technical skills but also the overall culture and individual talents and nurturing your employees’ interests can go a long way in retaining top talent, improving your bottom line, and growing your business.

Need help implementing a workforce development strategy for your business?

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