Building Workforce Strength
Creating Value through Workforce and Career Development
by Ron Elsdon, Editor
June 2010, 234pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37926-0
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37927-7
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As the saying goes, a company’s greatest resource is its people. When managers really believe that and work to develop organizational capabilities, productivity, sales, and profits can rise dramatically.

This book explores the perspectives of experienced practitioners, sharing ideas about building and sustaining organizational strength through workforce development practices and systems.

In an environment where information, service, and knowledge are primary sources of value creation, workforce strength is central to securing prosperity. Written by practitioners for practitioners, Building Workforce Strength: Creating Value through Workforce and Career Development bridges the disciplines of organization and individual development, showing those charged with organizational progress why workforce strength is a key component of prosperity—and how it can be achieved.

This hands-on volume is organized in three sections that establish a foundation for workforce and career development, explore implementation in organizations, and examine the process’s implications for working with individuals. Showcasing workforce and career development practices and systems for both represented and nonrepresented populations, it provides a framework, techniques, and examples that will guide approaches to building workforce strength. Applications of workforce and career development principles in a variety of sectors, such as healthcare and high technology, offer tangible examples of these principles in practice.


  • Contributions from 16 experienced practitioners of workforce and career development
  • Multiple examples of practical applications of workforce and career development initiatives from major industry sectors, such as healthcare and high technology
  • Two lengthy case studies, including one on Kaiser Permanente
  • 19 quantitative and qualitative figures
  • An extensive reference list from the workforce and career development fields
Ron Elsdon, PhD, is president of Elsdon, Inc., and specializes in career and workforce development, providing organizational consulting and individual career counseling and coaching. His published works include Praeger's Affiliation in the Workplace: Value Creation in the New Organization. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University.


"Brings valuable new insights by tying workforce and career development together in a comprehensive way for practitioners at all levels in organizations."—Audrey Southard, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Follett Higher Education group

"Genuine workforce strength can be cultivated in the rich soil of organizational structures and approaches aimed at supporting people as they learn and grow. This book offers us inspirational examples of organizations that dared to plow the soil of workforce and career development and reaped a rich harvest as a result."—Dr. Pearl Sims, Faculty, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

"Captures the essence of how cutting edge, forward thinking organizations can build workforce strength while adjusting to a changing world of work."—Patricia (Pat) DeMasters
Director, Career Services
University of California, Haas School of Business

"Studies by Elsdon, Inc. have shown people self-assessing that they operate at only about 60% of their potential. How to secure the remaining 40% is the subject of this book and the authors offer a compelling framework, complete with practical examples. This book will help all those seeking to increase market performance and employee affiliation and satisfaction."—Jurgen Auerbach, Executive Board Member, Pronatec AG, and former CFO, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

"Everyone interested in improving healthcare delivery and maximizing the opportunity for healthcare workers to contribute their ideas and energy to the process should read this book. It includes invaluable insights gained from the joint labor management work with SEIU and other unions at Kaiser Permanente. I highly recommend it to both union and health industry leaders."—Deborah King, Executive Director, 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds

“Whether driven by policy changes or market pressures, health care in the United States is not sustainable in its current configuration, given its cost and level of performance. But changing health care in this country is a mammoth undertaking the scale and scope of which has never been attempted. The key to such a consideration is thinking differently about the health care workforce and how it might be valued, structured, employed and rewarded differently. This book, with its broad perspective on employment across all sectors, provides useful insight to how the changes might build on successful practices throughout the economy. It offers essential wisdom to anyone brave enough to take up the challenge of changing the health care workspace.”—Edward O’Neil, Professor and Director, Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco

"Building Workforce Strength provides many important principles and proven examples from thoughtful practitioners about building workforce strength at the organizational and individual level. It is a blueprint for successfully engaging and developing employees in ever-changing times."—Dorothy M. Moser, V.P., Human Resources, Easter Seals, INC.

"The capability to build workforce strength is essential to the current and future success of all health organizations. This book could not be more timely or important. It offers practical and powerful tools and insights that health leaders can use to build the workforce they need to meet their priority goals."—Jeffrey S. Oxendine, Dean, Public Health Practice, UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Co-Director, California Health Workforce Alliance, Co-director California Health Professions Consortium

"Building Workforce Strength articulates a vision of the organization as a dynamic network of relationships at the individual and community level, with the creation of shared value at the core. Of equal importance, it provides the practical tools to help translate that vision into a reality."—Kevin Barnett, Dr.P.H., Senior Investigator, Public Health Institute; Co-Director, California Health Workforce Alliance

"We believe that effective workforce development is a crucial element in the transformation of health care. This book provides both practical guidelines and real-life examples to support organizational progress."—Barbara A. Grimm, SVP, Office of Labor Management Partnership, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
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