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The temporal zone of development (ZTD) is a concept resulting from the work of the human resources research team, led by Alain NGASSAM of the Neobrain company, on the time it takes an individual to master a skill .

How to define the Time Zone of Development?

In the Littré dictionary, the verb "to master " is defined as "to have a sure knowledge of a thing". To master a skill therefore means to implement a knowledge -to do or to know how to be) with a sure knowledge of the subject, to control the behavior or the course of it.

Illustration of the Temporal Development Zone

Etienne, HR Manager of the Pivoux company, must bring five employees to a high level of function without compromising the requirements of the skills repository.

Some of the company's employees who had already been promoted pointed out that the coaching and training process seemed relatively long, that the learning curve was rough, and that once they were established in the desired position, they were not able to quickly solve some of the complex problems inherent in the new job.

Etienne wonders how to help employees to quickly master skills peripheral (or related) to the job they are doing, in order to give them the means to evolve towards a peripheral job (with the same professional vein as the previous one).

Her colleague Catherine suggests that she start by asking staff to position themselves on the skills highlights. That way, they will become aware of what they already know and what they are capable of doing. Also, Catherine explains that she adds related skills on the job description of the people surveyed, notes the time to master a new skill, as they progress in implementing this skill to successfully complete an activity of a certain level of difficulty. Étienne then feels reinforced in his desire to support employees towards successful professional development by taking into account the time required to master each skill.

‍Why should wepromote the use of the Developmental Time Zone in HR?

  1. Optimize the training specifications: cost, duration, methods
  2. Adjusting HR development strategies according to employees' progress in their development skills.
  3. Improve agility in talent mobility
  4. Involve and empower employees in their professional development process.
  5. Gradually increase the level of requirement as the learning process progresses

The Time Zone of Development is to be included in the choice of objectives, media and categories of skills as demonstrated by this visual of the rise in skills. We dedicate a page to the new opportunities of rise in skills.

Objectives, categories and escalation mechanisms skills
The time zone of development is to be integrated in the different ascents in skills

Development Time Zone and skills Peripherals

Our theory suggests that individuals reach mastery of a new skill more quickly depending on whether they originate from the same rib.

The ZTD corresponds to the possible time for an individual to master a skill at a given moment. It is a realistic "mastery time" zone that draws its legitimacy from thousands of business experiences. This zone is certainly specific to each skill, but it is conceivable that a group of skills also has its own ZTD. The more an individual advances in the ZTD of a skill, the faster he masters all the peripheral or related skills .

Cognitive vein: the connection between two skills. Like the veins of a leaf, the skills intersect and join.
Cognitive nerves: the link between two skills

This therefore encourages learning through the parent skills . The temporal zone of development allows an individual to accelerate the time of mastery of the skills associated with those of his job description and thus his potential to learn faster and more efficiently.  

The interest of this concept is to orient the work of HRM professionals on the one hand, and educational managers on the other, not only according to the achievements and past experiences of an individual, taking into account the functions occupied, but also and more in function of the future, by triggering the development of skills close by more adapted and better oriented learning.

The mastery of these skills parentes goes hand in hand with the development of skills transversal in the company for reasons of versatility of the employees. In times of important transformations, it is beneficial to have resources that can evolve from one role or task to another. Therefore skills are essential to mobility: our article "skills and mobility" will allow you to consider this HR development option in detail.

Impacts of the ZTD on the role of the HR team

HRM professionals are responsible for training and maintaining each individual in a TDZ. When an individual must master a skill whose level is below this zone, that skill is too easy to master and, therefore, he or she does not develop. In the same way, when an individual has to master a skill whose level is beyond a ZTD, this skill is too difficult to master and leads the individual to failure. Therefore, he does not learn, he does not evolve. Taking into account the ZTD of a skill is to facilitate access to penurious jobs.

The progression of individuals is favored by a certain proximity of skills . We can theoretically divide this progression into different stages:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers a skill A rather easy to master without being too easy. Thus, it provides an experience of success to the individual that increases his confidence in his ability to evolve towards a new profession and to master skills of a certain level.
  2. The AI proposes a parent skill (skill B) that requires an increased level of mastery to move towards the target job and to perform one or more new activities (without these being too difficult). These new activities, on the other hand, require a proportional help. 
  3. AI measures the time required to master skill B, until the individual is autonomous in performing an augmented activity. This time incorporates:
    - Explanations about the target activity,
    - Integration of learning processes and error correction strategies related to the new activity,
    - Practice coaching;
  4. The AI evaluates the end of the mastery period of the parent skill (skill B), when the individual no longer expresses a request for help. Thus, individuals validate their level of mastery of the parent skill , the time of mastery of this skill, when they feel they have succeeded in performing the augmented activity autonomously and with increasing ease.
  5. When the augmented activity becomes controllable by the individual, the AI proposes a new skill parent (skill C), more difficult (or not) and increases its assistance offer accordingly (e.g.: customized continuous training, monitoring, coaching, e-learning, etc.). As a result, the ZTD of each skill is marked, allowing a learning curve to be drawn towards activities in peripheral professions, activities that are increasingly open, varied and demanding, and thus opening up new possibilities for professional development and mobility, i.e. unsuspected career opportunities that were previously neither visible nor possible.

Artificial Intelligence and empowerment of path construction

Help is often first a form of heteronomy in the sense that the individual at work is dependent on it to succeed. But if, thanks to the power of AI, this help is brought in a perspective of empowerment, that is to say so that the individual draws up his own learning curve, with regard to his professional evolution project, he will integrate the support of AI by developing his own development strategies so that he will no longer need an external physical help.  

The intervention of AI has therefore a power of empowerment. It brings the necessary help to the development of skills without letting HRM professionals (or local managers) carry out the progression paths for the employees. Moreover, AI contributes to making the autonomy of individuals a consequence of learning. In other words, AI helps individuals to no longer need exclusive external support to build a suitable learning curve and career path.

Are you convinced of the importance of giving employees the keys to building individualized career paths? Find our Guide in the page"How to individualize career plans?"