Percentage of eligible employees participating in development programs.


Development program participants / End of period headcount . Eligible for development programs * 100


Development Program Saturation Rate measures the percentage of employees involved in development programs. Attention may be focused on flagship programs such as the Australia and New Zealand School of Government masters programs in public administration or specific skill development programs such as supervisory skills, policy skills or writing skills.

Programs may involve acquiring multifunctional skills through rotations, participating in mentoring or networking, or other developmental activities. This measure provides an organisation with a report of how extensively the eligible workforce participates in such programs.

Theoretically, all employees would benefit from developmental focus. Such programs can provide personalised management focus and can help to prepare the future leaders of the organisation.

Development programs can also help engage and retain high-potential employees at risk for turnover. However, few organisations have the resources to place all employees in formal programs; limiting access to developmental programs can be more cost effective.

Additionally, limiting access to some extent may reinforce the desirability of the programs and the nature of development programs as a reward for strong performance or high potential.

Thus, an organisation should evaluate its saturation results in light of organisational resources and the use of development programs as a tool for all employees or for only high-potential employees.

Data Sourcing

Organisations might capture development program data within a performance management, learning management or succession management database. Otherwise, this information may be tracked manually by supervisors or by HR in a development program database.


Organisations are likely to analyse these data across the particular populations for which it desires development program participation, using dimensions such as management designation (e.g. Team Leader, Manager, Director), pay grade, high­ potential designation, organisation tenure, position tenure, number of direct reports, performance rating, organisational unit or location.

To monitor the diversity of future leaders, organisations might also analyse this measure by gender, ethnic background and age. Additionally, organisations may break down this measure by type of development program to understand which programs are the most popular throughout the organisation.


Development Program Saturation Rate speaks to the level of enrolment in such programs but not their adequacy, their depth or the extent to which they succeed in retaining and/or furthering the career of employees.


Employers may base targets for this measure on the organisational resources available for developmental programs, the nature of the programs employed and the extent to which the organisation wishes to create exclusivity around the programs.

Targets relative to a benchmark group will be less accurate for direct comparison because of the vast differences in development programs across organisations, though benchmark data could be informative on the talent management practices of talent competitors and industry peers.