NCET explores business and technology
By Jodi Herzik
Four decades ago, a new employee likely expected to spend their entire career with the same company. As the years passed, they might rise through the ranks and receive enough on the job training to succeed in their role. Neither employee nor employer gave much thought to continuing an employee’s education.
For this generation, there was a social contract between employers and employees. Loyalty was valued, and it went both ways. Companies rewarded longevity and loyalty and employees put company priorities before their own. It was also industry-standard for companies to offer pensions to attract and retain valuable employees.
Most of us pre-millennials can remember when in the 1980s this allegiance caused many employees to lose their entire pension due to underfunded pension plans or during a company dissolution or merger.
401K programs began to be promoted as a better solution and this allowed companies to be free of pension liabilities. In what became a cost-cutting chain reaction, corporations began pursuing additional ways to reduce costs including wages and benefits. You might recall this is when business and manufacturing began moving their operations outside the USA.
The social contract that had previously existed was broken.
Why does this matter to Reno? Because it’s a job-seekers market and employees no longer have that bond of loyalty that once existed. During the recession when jobs were tough to find, this wasn’t as noticeable, however, if we continue to experience the post-recession job growth, businesses must rethink the role of continuing education in their corporate strategy if they want to retain their employees.
A recent survey conducted by the American Management Association found, “Employee development issues were of top importance for employees and helped to improve retention. By offering educational opportunities, employees are inspired to both serve you better in their current positions while also grooming them as skilled candidates for other positions within the company.”
It is also critical to remember that employees who are satisfied in their jobs and who feel valued by their employers have a greater sense of loyalty and are less likely to actively pursue other job opportunities. Retaining the most valuable employees can also save the company money; replacing an experienced employee costs the company thousands of dollars. Overall increased job satisfaction makes employees more productive and reduces absenteeism.
An external training provider such as UNR Extended Studies or TMCC offer a variety of workforce development courses, or they can work directly with companies to create specialized content. Mentoring and coaching also plays a large part in employee development, providing someone who can give direction and guidance.
There is no doubt that continuing education benefits employers and employees in many ways. Whether it is to retain employees, improve employee promotion options continuing education has many benefits.
Jodi Herzik is the Executive Director Professional Development Programs for the University of Nevada, Reno Division of Extended Studies (www.extendedstudies.unr.edu/) and NCET’s VP of Tech Café.
NCET is a member-supported non-profit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. This column originally appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal.