Employers who are reluctant to train their staff for fear of making them more attractive to other firms are missing the point, according to a recent study by the Roffey Park Management Institute.
In fact the reverse is true: employers are more likely to lose staff if they ignore employees’ training needs. In The Future of Careers report, author Linda Holbeche argues that the traditional career is in decline.
Holbeche says the breakdown of traditional career paths has led to staff trusting their employers less. `The belief that organisations will look after the interests of their staff has been eroded. Employee/organisational relationships are becoming more transactional and organisations are becoming aware that the rules of the game are changing,’ she says.
She said two groups were particularly at risk in the new status quo: managers with a generalist role, who are steadily being replaced with specialist knowledge staff, and middle-aged employees who have stayed loyal to their company and lose out to younger colleagues.
She added: `Only those who have a capacity for continuous learning are likely to thrive as one of the key aspects of the old psychological contract – the notion of job security – has been challenged by the downsizings of the 1980s and 1990s.’
Holbeche urges employers to provide staff with challenging development opportunities and flexible rewards, and seek honest and realistic feedback through appraisals. And she stressed that employees remain unhappy at the lack of career progression available to them. The study found 98% of people surveyed said they had been working on their `employability’.
She says: `Employees still want job security and clear progression routes, but on the whole they are not looking for mobility.’
Holbeche says: `What they want is support in making lateral moves possible. Top management are generally seen as unconcerned about careers, except with respect to their own succession.’
The findings are based on questionnaires, focus groups and case studies carried out between 1998 and mid-2000.
Helen Rowe writes for Personnel Today
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