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January 2013 Archives

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Are you a student who’s interested in helping out with the 2013 Work & Well-Being conference in Chicago, presented by APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence?

Do you like to network and want to make some great connections? We could use your help, and in exchange, we will waive your conference registration fee so you can attend sessions for free.

As a volunteer, you would be expected to work approximately 5 hours between April 25 & 26th at the Westin O’Hare hotel in Chicago, IL. The work you would be expected to do ranges from handing out name tags, to setting up registration tables, distributing handouts, answering questions from participants about the schedule and sitting in on sessions to make sure they run smoothly. We also have a special session planned for students to present their research, so we hope you will submit a proposal.

You can learn more about the conference, including topics and presenters here.

Please email us with your cell phone number, email address and name of your school if you are interested in volunteering. And if you’re interested in presenting your student research, let us know!

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/--mike-- / CC BY 2.0

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In many organizations of the past, employee development was almost synonymous with face-to-face training that was either mandated or strongly recommended. When employees had options, they usually had to choose from a list of available workshops or training programs, and almost all training was delivered specifically for employees of that organization.

There was little thought paid to the notion of “career” development. Instead, employees either learned technical or soft skills that were needed for their current job, or they participated in generic programs that were designed to improve some general set of skills (such as traditional management training programs).

Little emphasis was paid to an individual employee’s unique strengths and weaknesses. Little attention was paid to the employee’s desired career path. Training and development was often something that happened to employees, not something that employees proactively sought out.

In some respects, at least some of that could change. According to an article on employee development in Chief Learning Officer, the recent recession left many organizations with significantly less money to spend on training activities. This could mean that organizations may become more strategic in terms of how they approach employee training and development.

Unfortunately, 82 percent of training is still delivered in a formal or structured setting, and only 35 percent of organizations are using employee surveys to help identify training initiatives. Hence, most training and development is still a top-down process, meaning that most employees are still receiving the types of training someone else has identified for them rather than being actively involved in the development process.

If organizations are going to successfully navigate the changing dynamics of training and development (especially given the propensity of younger workers to desire increased autonomy and involvement), a shift is going to have to occur. Rather than trying to be the purveyor of all training, perhaps an alternative approach would be to consider training as one tactic that could be utilized in a more comprehensive employee development process. This process would include:

  1. Providing resources to assist employees in identifying their career paths. Some employees want to work their way straight up the ladder, but others might be interested in lateral moves or even staying where they are.
  2. Helping employees understand their strengths and weaknesses in light of their desired career path. Employees are not going to stay on track if their current competencies are misaligned with their desired goals.
  3. Providing a comprehensive set of resources for development. Rather than focusing just on training, learning and development professionals within an organization should be able to suggest a variety of development activities, from training to stretch assignments to certificate programs offered by external vendors and universities.
  4. Making development a part of the culture in the organization. A comprehensive approach to employee development can be effective so long as workers are engaged in the process. Finding ways to emphasize the importance of employee development (for example, some companies make development a part of ongoing performance management systems) and making a focus on development a part of the organization’s culture is essential to its long-term viability.
  5. Recognizing employees who develop themselves. If an organization is going to say that development is important, then workers need to be recognized or rewarded when they take the initiative to develop themselves.
  6. Mandating training that aligns with organizational goals. Though employee-driven development is essential, the organization still has goals it needs to achieve. Training on new internal systems, software, compliance, or other issues may still need to be mandated. However, learning and development professionals should take a long, hard look at what sorts of training is essential to mandate, as well as the best format for delivering that training.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of elements in a comprehensive employee development program. However, the days of management-driven, face-to-face, instructor-led training programs needs to come to an end. They are time-consuming and likely are not the best use of available resources – either for the employee or the organization.

Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/MKucova

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The tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School has many people questioning the safety of their workplaces. In a 2012 Workplace Violence Survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more than one-third (36 percent) of organizations reported that they had, at some point, experienced an incident of workplace violence.

Employers can help by reassuring employees that safety is a top priority and re-evaluating their organizational policies and procedures to ensure they are comprehensive.

Here are a few resources to get started:

Tips from the American Psychological Association on managing your distress and helping children cope after a traumatic event

Workplace violence training resources from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

2013 Violence Prevention Fact Sheet from the National Institute for the Prevention of Workplace Violence

SHRM Toolkit: Dealing with Violence in the Workplace



Other resources from SHRM for members only:

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/melissayoungern / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.