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Trends in Employee Engagement

After a student graduates from college or grad school they are usually feeling well prepared for the workforce, and ready to accomplish any career goals they may have.  All of the learning is thought to be behind the graduate.  On the other hand graduates who want to remain competitive will continue to learn throughout the rest of their career.

That is one of the reasons why an increasing number of companies today, are investing in professional development training for their employees.

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Many professionals must stay abreast of new discoveries and techniques.  In the past mostly doctors, nurses, teachers and social workers, took part in professional development training.  It was, and still is called “in-service” training.  In-service training classes are instructional, and they are used to introduce new techniques.  The in-service training classes usually have one or two instructors, speaking to about 15 – 25 professional participants.  For some professionals these in-service trainings might mean updating a license or recertification.  While for others it might mean learning about new government regulations.

As technological advances were made in the early 1990’s employers from various business sectors began developing training programs to keep their employees up to date with the changes.  For example when computers became mainstream many employers wanted their employees to learn how to conduct business using computers.  Some employers allowed the manufacturers to come in house to train their employees.

Today we see that professional development training is a growing trend.  Professionals from various backgrounds are taking part in training in the workplace, from IT technicians to customer service representatives.  According to the journal article New Demands and New Opportunities for Professional Continuing Education: A Mission in Flux, “In 1996 $60 Billion was spent, on providing formal education to fifty nine million people in the United States.  The majority of them were professionals and middle and upper management” (14).

According to The Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Human Resource Management, “….training is defined as the systematic acquisition of skills, rules, concepts, or attitudes that result in improved performance in the work environment…Training represents a positive hope for persons first entering the world of work or those individuals changing their work environment” (352).   Professional development training, when designed well can offer individuals the opportunity to stay abreast of changes in the workplace; it also gives them the chance to be promoted to higher positions.

The Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Human Resource Management alsosays, “The primary reason for sending managers to management education and training programs were to broaden the individual, and to provide knowledge and skills such as job-specific and state-of-the-art knowledge” (352).

The U.S. economy is affected by things that exist now that didn’t exist ten years ago.  Technology has introduced more business opportunities as well as economic ups and downs.  These factors along with achievements in the fields of technology and science have increased the need for professional development training.

Another reason for this sudden boom in professional development training is businesses all over the U.S. are under pressure to integrate their workforce.  Equal opportunity employment laws have forced employers to diversify their workers.  In turn, employers need savvy ways to deal with race politics, issues of inclusion, gender issues and so much more.

These complex issues are just some of the reasons why an increasing number of employers are signing their employees up for Professional development training and Employee Engagement.

The trends in professional development affect everyone whether you’re a professional, you plan to be a professional or if you plan to use the services of a professional.  If professionals don’t take part in professional development training then the services they offer eventually will become unnecessary.  Take for example an Information Technology technician.  Whenever Microsoft develops a new program or software, IT technicians must make themselves familiar with the new program or software.  They must be able to troubleshoot, find problems, and solve them, quickly.  If you are a business owner and your computers crash, you want a technician who is aware of all the new features of the program not one who says “That software came out after I graduated so I can’t help you.”

Graduating from college doesn’t mean that the learning stops.  College students and graduates in the 21st century should be prepared.  Employers expect you to continue learning while you work.

Tara Fenwick said it best when she said “In work environments of rapid change where people must transform their practices, people often learn to “shape shift”: they literally learn to perform different selves and knowledge’s in different environments, while learning to establish some coherent identity to anchor themselves or even market themselves”(22).

Learn about Employee Engagement  on our website http://www.stantonadams.com

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