Workforce Development and Its Stakeholders

The role of government in supporting strategies of skills development in the workforce

Workforce development has been defined in various ways by different scholars. According to Jacobs (2002), “this word has come to be used in the description of a fairly wide range of policies, activities and programs. This includes those vocational education programs as well other public assistance programs”(p.13). The urban Institute however defines it as a system that is used to offer a wide range of training as well as employment services. In addition, this includes assisting employers (Pindus and Koralek, 2001).

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Given the extreme brain drain, that has been taking place in many of the third world nations, it has come to the attention of the local and national governments to prevent this quickly as they possibly can. Otherwise, these nations may lose the best of doctors and other highly trained professionals that they may have. In a seminar by Jim Mccaffery Training Inc (2007), the governments in some countries have gone ahead and given its workers incentives as well as ensuring the public sector is adjusted to make certain that the different sectors have changed for the better. In Ethiopia, for instance, the government has given priority to human resource development among other things (p. 24).

Many local governments the world over are working together with the established vocational schools and community colleges in integrating particular aspects into the already existing education programs or curricula. As the U.S Environmental Protection Agency states(2011) states, the local governments work with as many universities in the U.S as they possibly can in order to integrate “clean energy workforce training” into the community schools’ curricula (p 18).

The different roles played by the trade unions in developing organizations

Trade unions are an integral part of every nation and society. This is because they push to the forefront the interests they uphold especially when it comes to matters to do with trade and more so the employers. Trade unions help in negotiating collective agreements within the workplace. These two parties normally have to come into agreement about the terms and conditions of employment among other matters.

Within these agreements, bargaining units are normally formed which include particular categories of workers. For instance, technicians are placed in their own category while line operatives are put in a different one too (Global Institute 2010, ( n.p).

More so, trade unions help in informing and consulting with the various representatives of a well-known trade union on various matters: such as an organization’s legal duty on pensions among other things. Trade unions help in giving the various options that an organization can take in providing pension schemes not only to the eligible employers but also to the owner or owners of the organization. In most cases, they do not advise the owners to sell off the organization in order for them to have an income in the event of their retirement (Jacobs, 2006, p.330).

Trade unions can also be of fundamental help when it comes to training their members on new skills be it technical or otherwise. This on the other hand is a benefit to the organization given that it will not have to spend its own resources on the training of its employees. It can therefore focus on more contentious areas that need the funds more such as marketing or even research. More so, the new skills learned by the employees of a particular organization may as well increase the employability of the individuals. When it comes to succession planning, there will be more than enough eligible candidates hence making it easy for the organization to take on this process smoothly and fairly.

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Trade unions can also help provide consumer benefits. When an organization gets into an agreement with a trade union, its employees are likely to be a content group given that they will now understand just how its employers care so much about them. Hence productivity just might improve (Judy and D’amico 1997,p. 22).

How can the performance appraisal/management aid the succession planning process?

A good number of employers or rather chief Executive officers have expressed concern recently due to the lack of an eligible candidate to take over the leadership of their companies. They, therefore, assume that there will be no one in the future to continue or even improve the performance of the organization. This is where succession planning becomes very crucial in all organization

The top management can aid the succession process by giving the top management team and exposure to the board. This allows the successors per se to gains some insight from the top management team every now and then. In the process, these meetings help in cooling down any conflicts that may crop up. These conflicts may arise due to the competition from the various candidates to take the leadership of the organizations (Tansley and Stewart, 2006, p 58).

Given that the development of the succession plan is of paramount importance, the organization’s current leaders have to take into account the various issues that may hinder this process. Case in study the Chief Executive Officer’s compensations should not be an issue that really attracts more candidates to the position (Harrison and Weiss 1998). The main motivation should be the success of the organization. The potential candidates and leaders of these organizations should have the desire to foresee the organization reaches its greatest heights and this must include the employees as well.

The difference between top-down and bottom-up succession planning?

The chairman of an organization as well as the Chief Executive Officer has a big role to play in the succession planning process. The right processes should be in place, this being the duty of the chairman to the CEO. On the other hand, the board has to ensure that at every level of the organization, the interests of succession are clearly spelled out. There are different strategies that a company can use in its succession planning one of them being the bottom-up plan.

In this strategy, the employees have to show initiative in seeking the information as well as the knowledge that may be important in improving their skills. This, later on, translates into an improvement in their promotability and in general their mobility within the company (Jacobs, 2002, p 16).

The top-down strategy is whereby the managers of an organization take the imitative of training their employees or doing whatever they possibly can in order to improve their employees’ skills. This can include within the organization training in form of seminars and workshops. This may require the organization to set aside some funds for this training to take place effectively. In general most if not all organizations implement a hybrid of the top-down, bottom up strategies (Kaufman 1998).

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For best results organizations need to implement both. Organizations may be looking for the right candidates to fill up the available vacancies; they, therefore, need to help the employees understand what exactly is required of them especially if it is something they are not used to. Say for instance a career path that diverts from their traditional one ( Pindus and Koraklek 2000).


Global Institute. (2010) Nongovernmental organizations. Web.

Harrison, B and Weiss, M. (1998) Workforce development networks: Community-Based organizations and regional alliances. Thousand Oaks, CA, SAGE Publications.

Jacobs, G. (2006) Business succession planning: a review of the evidence. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. Vol 13, No 3. pp. 326-350.

Jacobs,R. (2002) Understanding workforce development definition , conceptual boundaries and future perspectives. Columbus. Ohio university press.

Jim MCcaffery Training INC. (2007) Planning ,Developing and supporting the Workforce: Human resources for Health action workshop. Accra. Jim Mccaffery Inc.

Judy ,R and D’ Amico, C. (1997) Workforce 2020: Work and workers in the 21st century. Indianapolis: Hudson Institute.

Kaufman,R. (1998). Strategic thinking: A guide to identifying and solving problems. Alexandria, VA: International Society for Performance Improvement.

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Pindus. N. and Koralek, R. (2000) Coordination and integration of the welfare and workforce development systems. Washington DC. The Urban institute.

Tansley, C., Harris, L. and Stewart, J. (2006) Talent management: Understanding the dimensions. Change agenda. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Web.

U.S Environmental Protection Agency. (2011) State and local climate and energy program. Washington DC. U.S environmental agency.

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