The last column focused on welcoming the new employee, cementing the organizational relationship, and allowing the new hire to quickly become a productive member of the
team. Once established, the next step in employee development
is centered on retention by establishing a career path within the
organization. This is a step which is often overlooked, leading
to the perception that the job they were hired for is the only job
possible within the company. In today’s more mobile workforce,
dead-end jobs are not appealing when other alternatives exist.
A strong learning culture within the organization supports
workforce planning to identify the skills needed for the organization to succeed and flourish into the future. Once satisfactory
performance is confirmed, it is important to engage the employee
in discussions in order to uncover their desired career trajectory
and other interests. This engagement is especially important for
millennials, but workers of all generations can benefit.
At one time, only the “rising star” or exceptional employee
was afforded the opportunity for leadership development training
or one-on-one mentoring. This sort of hand selection tends to
alienate other very good employees, causing them to feel deval-ued by the organization. This can easily lead to turnover and the
loss of good and dependable staff members. In addition to the
cost of hiring and training a replacement, there is also a loss of
corporate knowledge held by the exiting employee.
The hires of today are likely to be either Millennials or Gen Xers.
Since learning styles differ for each demographic, a thumbnail
sketch of differences between the generations might be a good
place to start.
Training for Millennials needs to be technology based, collaborative, and hands-on. They have been supported, coached
and mentored by parents and teachers in their formative years.
They tend to like more self-directed learning that can be done on
a handheld device at a time of their choosing.
For Gen Xers, management involvement in career recommendations is the norm. They are more likely to attend a traditionally
structured training program, on or off-site, and want to be able to
use the knowledge soon after the session. It is the more traditional adult learner model, where they are either in training for a
particular job, or remedying a performance issue.
According to one source,1 traditional, structured training programs
need to be replaced with programs focused on creativity, collaboration, and relational learning. This shift opens up the training paradigm to encourage participation, mentoring, creativity, and a team
spirit throughout the organization, not just for the selected few.
To retain good employees, provide a pathway to more
responsibility, more self-fulfillment, more independence, and
more challenge. This can take many forms, including training,
certification, job enrichment, flexible work scheduling, and
additional responsibility. While some of these may fall into the
broader category of personal development, in the long run they
will translate into obvious benefits for the employer, in terms of
organizational loyalty and creativity.
There are many training subjects that benefit all employees
and the organization. Some of these include communication
skills, teambuilding, dealing with difficult people (and situations), regulatory updates, writing skills, problem solving, and
leadership skills. 2
Workforce planning activities can affect the training needs of
employees. Planning for a changing work environment, downsiz-ing, retirements, and other external pressures can also identify
training needs and opportunities.
Another way to challenge staff is to establish teams to
address specific issues within the company. These are limited
duration assignments that provide exposure to other areas of the
company and encourage creative brainstorming to develop solutions to problems or project future directions.
Don’t let the age of the employee govern the options and
opportunities for training. Many more baby-boomers are working into the traditional retirement years, and are driven to excel;
denying training is not only a slap in the face for older workers,
but might open an employer to legal action.
Employees want to feel useful and valued in the workplace.
In order for them to do their best, they need to know the
rules, be comfortable in the job, see a path forward and
identify with the organization. On-going training plays a
large part in cementing the ties that keep the workforce
stable and productive.
The third installment of this series will deal with knowledge
transfer before retirement and succession planning.
• Emelo, R., Preparing High Potentials for Tomorrow, Talent Management
Magazine, Dec. 2011, p. 20
• Retrieved from:
Ann Marie Dinkel, RLATG, has over 30 years of facility and staff
management experience and serves as Adjunct Faculty at the
Delaware Technical Community College and the Drexel MLAS
program. She is a consultant and trainer in Laboratory Animal
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Career focused learning