Recent studies of the attributes desired in employers by new and relatively inexperienced employees suggests a shifting somewhat from the "bread and butter" issues such as salary and benefits to ones that show concern for the development of staff members in general and provide support and encouragement for individual growth and education. Frequently mentioned, as a desirable employer attribute is the firm’s willingness to make an investment in the employee by providing professional development and learning experiences.
What is your staffing firm doing to provide in-house training and continuing education for your staff members? You answer to the following questions may help you assess where you are and where you need to go?
- Do you offer formal, in-house training and staff development experiences for your staff?
- If yes, are those opportunities multilevel---expressing your concern for the development of professional, technical and support staff?
- Do you encourage your staff members to engage in educational experiences (e.g., conferences, seminars, college classes, etc.) away from the workplace?
- If yes, do you support these experiences financially?
- Do you encourage staff development through the reading of professional articles, listening/viewing of training tapes and use of distance learning (e.g., Webinars)?
- If yes, do you help with the cost of those materials and are your staff members encouraged to do this during business hours?
American business in 2008 continues to be caught up in a knowledge explosion, a world changing so rapidly that information and skills acquired as recently as just a couple of years ago have already been taken on “antique” status. This phenomenon is present today and most likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
It has spawned a much larger and broader definition of the expression “continuing education” than originally conceived by those who thought it to be the casual, staying abreast of trends and techniques in order to maintain a level of performance needed for maximum productivity. Today, continuing education of one’s workforce is a business necessity. To stand still is to fall behind. Today’s knowledge and skills will be obsolete tomorrow.
Staffing firms, like the businesses and clients they serve, must allocate a portion of their budget for staff development and education. They must provide time for individuals and teams to participate in continuing education experiences within and/or outside the workplace. Finally, they must provide moral and financial support for their staff member to learn and grow and develop. It is the ultimate win-win scenario. Learning breeds winning!