Have you ever had that uncomfortable, awkward conversation with people, complaining how their bosses don’t like them, therefore don’t get any training, or don’t care about their professional development? I encountered a couple of them the past weeks, and decided to write this piece. Well, I had to ask – is getting on/off the job training a right or a matter of good relations with the supervisors? What’s liking got to do with it? And more!
I took my questions to Dawit Arega, a Human Resources and Organizational Development Expert. Our conversation over coffee revealed some good pointers for the readers of our blog, and social media sites – as this is the platform for learning and exchange.
Enough has been said regarding training and development in the past. The current trend moves into learning development. The claim is that, most people used to invest their time and energy on workshops. But now, the focus is on learning by doing is that 80% of the time, people learn by doing, 10% of the time through observing others do their job, while the remaining 10% through outside trainings. On the job training can be in the form of coaching (where a senior person coaches the new comer, to get the best out of her/him, by asking questions and guidance) or in the form of mentoring focusing on the skilling up of the new comer, through follow up as well as job shadowing, by allowing the new colleague sit next to the more experienced colleague, to get more information and get acquainted with the work of the organization.
The Issue of mind reading
As much as very many people desire, and aspire to be sent to trainings, or get as much help as they could get from their experienced colleagues, therefore making them spend less time on trying to learn everything by themselves, in turn less productivity/delivery of assigned tasks with longer learning curves, they tend to expect their superiors read their minds and provide it all. The complainers I mentioned earlier talk of the uneasiness there is, that comes with reveling that they need help.
Many people don’t talk about their weakness and ask for help, in fear of being considered a failure. There is also a concern on how the employer would take it. These came from the fact that in most cases soft skills are not considered as skills, for the return in productivity is very far to be seen. Therefore, much is actually left unsaid, where by it facilitates the reduction in satisfaction from the employee’s side, resulting in less productivity and delivery, ending up with unsatisfied employer.
It is also true; employers have a fear that they are making the staff members more marketable, that they may leave to another employer. So they deny the opportunity to train and develop the skills of their staff members, instead of looking for other ways to retain the employee. This is just because the idea and understanding of skills development haven’t evolved and reached the stage it is expected to reach in the country.
Secondly, there is no system in place, to make the employees active in demanding and the employers prompt in responding to the training needs that may arise in an organization. There are also few extremes. Some international organizations with the system linked with performance management system encourages and forces the employees to come up with learning development objectives. On the other hand, there are many employees who don’t accept training invitations as well, as if they feel they are considered weak. There are organizations with a properly set out learning development system, where it doesn’t get the buy-in from the staff. Where as there are so many employees, who want to strive more to get training and learning, with no backing from the employers. That is where there is a big gap, and HR professionals, and others need to actively engage to enlighten the both sides, so that they both will benefit from this.
Negotiating beyond salary
I have had some opportunities of sitting in interview tables, and asking the apparent question called “salary and other expectations”. It ends, for the majority of the times, with “I don’t have any expectation” or “based on your scale”, which is not a good enough to be called negotiation, especially considering the fact that, it determines the near or unforeseeable future of ones career path. Job seekers only focus on securing the jobs. They don’t see how that job would impact their career prospect. In some cases, as much as salary negotiation is a big component of the whole discussion during job interviews, or subsequent recruitment processes, it is also important for job seekers to realize by joining an organization, their career future is being affected beyond the financial benefits. One should also ask how one could personally grow, and how she/he will benefit professionally should be taken into consideration. Especially those who are freshly graduated and aspiring to establish themselves in the job market, focus on the development of skills is very vital. Awareness therefore is very important on how to negotiate as they enter the job market, for them to be concerned, and also be far sighted, in a bit to support their future plan.
Because, as said now and again by the HR experts, it is the responsibility of organizations to provide trainings, cultivate the skills of their staff members (New and old alike) and the right of the staff members to request and acquire their training and learning development needs. Therefore, whether when joining new organizations, or for the reasons of career aspiration and promotional goals, during transition or change in job element, or whenever the employee feels that is time to become more productive in the job they are doing – stating out the gaps and when one needs training is very imperative.
It will be beneficial for the employer, to avail training that is specifically linked with the job, it will ensure value for money for the investment it put forward in the outcomes of the job being done.
Therefore, Looking at it from both sides – it is a win-win situation, and too arbitrary to consider it a charity, or a matter of being liked by superiors, but rather, it is employees right, and employers responsibility.