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Developing Internal Staff Skills 75 10.1 Workforce Challenges. Programs related to "Developing Internal Staff Skills" are typically designed to address challenges associated with providing employees with the appropriate training and on-the-job experiences necessary for professional growth and development. These challenges should be carefully considered before selecting the program that would best fit the needs of your agency. For example, these are common challenges agencies face: Speed of Technology. Organizations are challenged with keeping up with technology and constantly updating information posted online to keep it current and attract more potential applicants. Specifically, finding individuals who know certain software or can operate a certain new piece of machinery is a challenge. Once hired, it is only a matter of time until this individual's knowledge becomes obsolete because the technology has changed again. Changes in Policy and Technology. Focus group participants suggested organizations feel pressure to comply with new environmentally friendly policies to maintain a positive reputation and comply with governmental initiatives. Some of these policies significantly influence the way many tasks are performed. Employees who are asked to change the method by which they perform their job may consider looking for opportunities outside of the organization, where they can continue to perform their tasks as they have done in the past. In addition to policy changes, the increased use of technology in the workplace (such as computers, laptops, and PDAs) has caused older workers in some organizations to consider retirement because they often find new technologies to be a source of work-related frustration. Organizations may fail to adequately train these individuals on the new technology, which prevents these individuals from effectively performing their jobs. The rapid adoption of technology without proper training causes some employees to think about looking for opportunities outside of the organization where their ability to contribute is not dependent on their ability to adapt to the latest technology. The Cost of Training. Participants indicated that the cost of training had been a major challenge for their organizations. Typically, organizations are faced with providing first-rate training on an extremely limited budget. Participants indicated that it is particularly difficult to obtain funds to develop employees in executive and management roles because the senior employees are expected to "hit the ground running" once hired. Difficulty Providing Sufficient Quality Training. If a particular in-demand training, certification, course, or degree is either offered or financed by a competing organization, it may strongly influence an employee's decision to leave their current employer. Participants often discussed a great deal of variation in the type and quantity of training courses that are available to employees and managers. Participants whose organizations fall on the low end of the leadership training spectrum indicated that their organizations allocate most of the training money to technical training, rather than leadership training. On the other end of the spectrum, one participant indicated that his organization offers a course to help employees understand the role of a manager and whether being a particular manager will be the best fit for the employee. Organizations are also challenged with determining the right amount and variety of training courses needed to address the variety of functional areas represented by managers. At times, there is not enough money in a budget to provide a training course that is in need. In addition, participants mentioned struggling to find the most effective trainer to lead these programs. As a result, some of the organizations indicated that they have moved away from training consultants and have adopted a policy of using incumbents to lead training even though finding incumbents with good communications skills can be a challenge.