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Finding Your Forte

A new solution to total career management.

By Madeline Laurano
Career development is one of the most overlooked and underserved areas of talent management. Yet, in today’s highly competitive market, organizations that continuously empower their employees with the tools they need to succeed are better able to drive business outcomes. Additionally, a well-executed career development strategy serves as the foundation for integrated talent management—linking various talent processes in a way that strengthens employee engagement, improves retention, and increases overall productivity.
Despite these benefits, few organizations understand how to design and implement a powerful career development strategy. Most managers lack the competencies to develop employees, most employees lack the resources needed to guide their career path, and most technology providers lack the capabilities to deliver results.
Fortunately, there is hope. Korn Ferry, with Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company, is one provider redefining career development through both content and technology. With the upcoming launch of its Forte product, Korn Ferry and Futurestep are combining 20 years of proven research and experience with an engaging technology platform to deliver a robust career development solution. Originally intended for the iPad, Forte is now designed to support any device through its cloud-based architecture.
Unlike many other career development solutions, Forte is actionable—providing insight and guidance on how employees and managers can enhance their current skills and develop skills needed for the future. It brings to life Korn Ferry’s FYI for Your Improvement, an educational tool used around the world by organizations of all sizes, thus enabling employees to see where they are today and where they need to be in the future. The goal of Forte is to make career development so engaging that employees and managers use the system on an ongoing basis.
Forte comprises four major workflows, all designed to help employees become more successful in their current and/or future roles. These workflows include: achieving excellence, moving to the next job level, moving to a new job, and getting back on track. Each workflow allows employees to select competencies, view examples of behaviors and activities to build those competencies, create an action plan, and gain feedback from managers on improvement areas. Managers also have access to resources that will improve critical skills, such as encouraging employees, providing feedback, and improving development.
Says Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of Futurestep: “Development is a lifelong process for employees, and a proven commitment to development can help employers attract top talent. Both employers and employees have been challenged by how best to tackle the issue, and a gap emerged for a truly integrated system that can work for both parties. The creation of Forte allows employers to disseminate what ‘great’ looks like and provides a robust set of development activities to allow employees to grow. Ultimately it develops people for a career, not just a job.”
Many traditional providers have failed to deliver an interactive tool for career development, while many startups entering the market lack deep domain expertise. As organizations look to better engage employees, Korn Ferry is well positioned to become the market leader in this space. Below are a few key differentiators:

• Experience. Based on the Lominger framework, Forte offers a proven methodology and an innovative platform for career development.

• Engagement. The content is both engaging and interactive for both managers and employees. It is not a tool that requires limited training or support. It is intuitive enough to be used by employees at every job level. It is not a tool that requires industrial and organizational psychologists to decipher.

• Innovation. Every company in today’s competitive environment is looking for a way to differentiate itself and provide greater innovation. The Forte technology brings the consumerization of technology to the enterprise, while staying device-agnostic to support the different needs of users.

• Global. As organizations look to expand their global footprint, Forte’s scalability and customizable platform make it a good fit for international organizations, as well as large organizations that want to make adjustments to career development.
• Future enhancements. Users can expect several enhancements over the next year including 360-degree feedback and peer-to-peer review.
For organizations looking to engage employees and improve organizational performance, career development solutions such as Forte will help them achieve competitive advantage. Career development also provides a strong foundation for integrated talent management. As the workplace continues to evolve and development opportunities change, Forte’s flexibility will allow organizations to respond to issues such as virtual work environments, workforce demographics and the emergence of a contingent workforce.
Madeline Laurano is Aberdeen Group’s research director for talent acquisition solutions. She can be reached at

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