Topic: Complete the career planning exercise on pg. 235 of your textbook.
Complete the career planning exercise on pg. 235 of your textbook. D2L made me set a time limit so I set it for 4 hours. That should be plenty of time to finish this exercise completely and correctly.
Chapter 11 Lecture Notes—Employee Training and Development
Typically managers offer training opportunities using the following approaches:
Smorgasboard—offering a broad array in hope that almost everyone will get some benefit.
Bandwagon—Offer courses that are being offered in other organizations.
Crisis—respond to an immediate need (think sexual harassment).
Excursion—do not head in any direction, but seem interesting.
Most often, someone comes to the organization with a “great” set of training sessions and tries to convince the manager that they are needed, even when the manager hasn’t assessed the need to such training prior to the visitor coming.
What should happen is that training and employee development must be integrated into the real needs of agencies and employees.
The systematic approach to training described by the text follow these steps:
Basically, training should be based on what the organization or employees need, not what some particular training officer or consultant has to offer or is interested in. For example, as new technologies develop, succession planning can show which employees will need specific technological courses they will need to take in order to keep up with the advances.
Additionally, performance evaluations can show which employees need more training. Sometimes training is a better motivator than discipline for poor performing employees.
Four basic questions help determine whether training is needed:
1. Is the problem one of lack of skills, knowledge, or ability? IF the answer is yes, then training could be a remedy.
2. Do the employees have the preparation and the intelligence and/or skills required for the training program? If not, then little would be accomplished.
3. Will the organization be receptive to the skills or approaches that participants can bring back from the training?
4. Is the perceived problem better resolved through a transfer of personnel, through reorganization, or other approaches?
Training can also fill other, not as obvious, needs. For example, conferences, seminars, etc, can help employees form networks which can help development. Employees often value training programs as rewards. Especially, if they involve travel, hotel stays, and some form of compensation.
Basically the take-home here is that training should flow in a natural way from the needs assessment. In other words, the methods used to train should be appropriate for the type of training needed. One type of training is “on-the-job” programs utilizing the demands and resources of daily work, and things like internships where an individual is placed in a temporary position so as to learn and observe. Off-the-job programs also include conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.
The first task is to select the participants. This should have already been done through the needs assessment. Additionally, training should be focused around the right instructors. This may be difficult sometimes due to things like schedule conflicts or financial considerations. The most common way for indentifying good instructors has been informal networks between managers. One final note here, it’s important to make sure that the selection process for employees is fair.
The most common approach to evaluate the usefulness of a training program is probably the most useless, the questionnaire. Generally, these result in positive evaluations and do a poor job measuring how training actually results in better productivity, etc. A better evaluation would do the following:
1. Identify what was learned.
2. Identify what changes in job behavior resulted.
3. Identify what happened to agency performance (impacts on costs, outputs, and goal accomplishment).
Each of these requires a different methodological approach.
Mentors can provide on-the-job training. For example, junior faculty here at MSU are assigned a senior faculty member as a mentor. How effective these can be depends largely on how much time is spent between mentor and mentoree. Additionally, there are some problems associated with mentoring.
1. There is often confusion about the role of the mentor. Sometimes, they are more valued for the personal rather than professional relationship.
2. Also, assignment is a problem. Sometimes the matches just aren’t good ones. The mentor needs to want to serve and devote time to meeting with the mentoree.
This emphasizes the employee over the organization. In this way we look at how organizations can satisfy employee needs instead of how employees meet the needs of organizations.
Suffice to say, that governments generally do not provide career counseling or career development for their employees. Typically we see employees experience upward mobility for the first five years in an organization and then they plateau. This leads to an expectation that isn’t met later in the career.
The most common way for government employees to advance is through reclassification. Basically it works this way: an employee is doing a particular job at a particular rate of pay. However, the employee and the supervisor feel that the requirements of that job have become more than what was originally classified for that job. In other words, perhaps the employee, because they are a good employee, has been asked by the supervisor to do more difficult and complex job duties than when they were first hired. If that’s the case, then the position may be reclassified as a higher position with a higher pay. This is NOT grade creep. Grade creep is when this same process occurs but the employee is still doing the same, less complex, less difficult job they were originally hired to do.
Some important strategies that can be used to advance career development are:
Crossing: moving from one job category or career ladder to another when opportunities for advancement are limited in the first category, but not limited in the second.
Bridge Positions: positions specifically created to allow employees to move from one threshold to another with a career ladder. In other words, these might be positions to train an employee in the duties of a higher position.
There are other issues as well. For example, providing for employees with disabilities, family and medical leave, and layoffs.
Many of these are dictated by law and others through collective bargaining agreements. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, for example, requires employers to grant leave requests from employees who have health or family needs. In 1997, Clinton expanded this to include child’s school activities and accommodating elderly relatives to medical visits. Additionally, the law allows up to six weeks maternity leave, and six week of leave for other personal medical needs. Additionally, some states and institutions allow for even more time. My wife was afforded up to 12 weeks maternity leave from her position as a teacher.
A common rule for determining layoffs is “last hired, first fired.” However, this is not always the case. For example, Michigan schools facing budget problems have been forced to lay off more senior teachers because they are required to pay these teachers more than junior teachers. In some specific cases, school districts will not hire a teacher who has a masters degree because the district is required to pay that teacher more than one without. Obviously this is a detriment to the educational environment, but it helps districts make the payroll.
Always, organizations facing layoffs encourage employees close to retirement age to seek early retirement. Sometimes they are offered full retirement benefits, other times they are offered compensatory packages that are not full benefits, but better than nothing.
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