Career Development Training – Too Little or Too Much?

Today while checking Google Reader I saw two articles about career development training that caught my eye.

The first article reports the results of a survey sponsored by SkillSoft that finds American companies need to offer more career development training in order to boost job satisfaction. As the article states:

“… a SkillSoft-commissioned survey indicated that eight out of ten employees would have higher job satisfaction levels if they received more on-the-job training.”

Career development is important in organizations not just because it helps with job satisfaction, but also because it enables people to do their job and be more productive. I think most training professionals understand that. The key is that the training has to be relevant to the job and to the employee. I think this particular survey needs to be taken with a large grain of salt considering SkillSoft sponsored it. The article does state SkillSoft is a provider of online courses, but reads like a SkillSoft press release.

Regardless of the source or credibility of the survey, providing career development opportunities for employees is important and should be taken seriously.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is this article about excessive on the job training in Korea. The article tells the story of workers who arrive at work early to complete mandatory online training so they don’t fall behind in meeting training requirements, up to 12 courses a month in one case. The amount of required training has become stress point for employees. I hope someone is looking at the return on investment for such stringent training requirements.

Ideally companies provide something in the middle – the right amount of training for a given job. The training offered to employees should be based on organizational and individual goals. Some level of mandatory training is often required, like sexual harassment or ethics training, but some real employee development courses are needed, especially in technical fields. If the only training offered is the “because our corporate lawyer told us we had to” type of training, then you can probably do more for your employees.

So, take a look at what you offer to employees, or if you’re an employee, look at what’s offered to you. Does it meet organizational goals? Does it meet personal goals? Does it help you keep up with new technologies? Does it help you be more productive? Hopefully the answer to all these questions is “Yes”.