Secondly, development programs may prove enticing enough to potential employees. Therefore, the company can use them in order to attract the desired staff capable of inducing the organization's growth.
Thirdly, if existing employees are trained for different or more complex tasks, these may become eligible for vacant positions or may handle a wider range of activities. In this context, the company saves money by reducing its need to hire.
Another benefit of development consists of rewarding loyal employees who after learning new skills are promoted to higher positions. This also accounts for a company's performance.
Last, but not least, development strategies allow employees to be more independent or, in other words, they give them wings to fly. This autonomy cuts off the supervision costs, thus increasing the company's efficiency, and inherently, performance (http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/careers-job-training/1151-1.html).
Employee training also plays a major part in maintaining a work/life balance. This is essential for the organization's health because the employee burnout phenomenon can decrease productivity or can have other negative consequences like: sickness, lateness, absenteeism as a result of the unusual stress; lower efficiency and morale because of their exaggerate workload; higher turnover rates. Consequently, employees should be helped to handle both work and life commitments through trainings teaching them how to better manage time and priorities or how to recharge batteries after projects or seasons involving an unusual amount of work. In response to the company's concern, an employee may prove unexpectedly grateful and may voluntarily contribute to a future project, essential to the organization's success (http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/employee-development-employee-productivity/1242-1.html).
4. Different strategies for different employees
As De Cieri and Kramar have noticed, employee development traditionally focused on management-level employees and neglected those in lower levels. Most companies used to rave about training managers on major employment laws, leadership, communication skills or tactical management while considering the rest of employees a bulk that will surely respond in a positive way to the new information and techniques acquired by their superiors. Still, the latter wouldn't have what to manage in the absence of employees. Therefore, development must target this category, too.
As Dostoyevsky described the human being as an enigma, and Paulo Coelho stated that "the human nature is too complex to be generalized," development strategies should be tailored according to the employees' profile.
A primary delimitation could be made between Generation X and Generation Y
The former encompasses people who were born between 1964 and 1982 and who may be described as socially-conscientious, "free spirits," adepts of the "clean-cut look" (Hacker, 2006). Generation X's representatives are highly skeptical because of the social convulsions they have assisted to (e.g. their parents' divorce) or the disillusions they have experienced (for instance, unlike older generations which took pride in the man's first walk on the moon, they saw the Challenger blow up). This made them pessimistic and distrustful of their contemporaries' achievements. (http://www.marcusbuckingham.com/press/newPress/articles/trainingdev/trainingdev.php)
Generation Y includes those people who were born in the 80s and who can be depicted as "idealistic, anti-establishment, concerned about stress" and more interested in spare time, enabling them to "go to parties, concerts or hang out with friends," rather than pecuniary rewards (Hacker, 2006).
According to Buckingham, Generation Y was pampered more than its X counterpart because it was highly praised and rewarded for everything it did. This is why they are more optimistic and anxious about being promoted after "six weeks on the job" as they believe they have achieved all the necessary knowledge in order to move forward. This dynamic and positive behavior is the result of the social climate that has impacted their families, and implicitly, their early lives. For instance, if Generation X's parents watched Rosemary's Baby in 1968, a movie about a woman who discovers that her pregnancy is the consequence of a ritual, Generation Y's parents enjoyed movies like Look Who's Talking (1989) in which a sweet child tries to find the perfect husband for his single mother. (http://www.marcusbuckingham.com/press/newPress/articles/trainingdev/trainingdev.php)
After briefly depicting the features of each generation, one can easily infer that different strategies should be used. On one hand, employee development should be presented to generation x as a way of becoming more independent, and of guaranteeing job security. Trainings should focus on authentic and concise examples from other employees' experience. In other words, testimony becomes a key element in order to defeat Generation X's resistance and skepticism. Moreover, managers should practice an open-gate policy by answering all the questions or doubts that the audience might ask or have. Those playing the teacher's role must be excellent professionals and must have an impeccable reputation because Generation X' representatives are bound to pay credit only to persons whose authority is not imposed, but recognized due to their achievements attained through hard work.
On the other hand, Generation Y should be encouraged to positively respond to employee development by stating that trainings are a sure way to promotion and more spare time due to increased efficiency. Proposals regarding trainings should be launched in an informal way rather than an imposed and stiff one. Employees should be invited to debates regarding the utility of courses and should be asked for suggestions. Consequently, individuals will accept trainings more easily because they themselves have been the ones involved in their organization. The respective courses should have a fresh, interactive, or even ludic allure by bringing together young people who face similar problems whose solving may determine them to become friends outside the organizational framework. Thus, the highly-praised need to socialize would be satisfied.
A second distinction that must be made when applying development strategies is the one between Theory X and Theory Y's representatives, described by Douglas McGregor in his book - the Human Side of Enterprise (1960). In his opinion, X men are those "having an inherent dislike of work and avoiding it if they can." They must be permanently supervised, they hate responsibility, but adore security and unambiguous tasks. At the antipode of this group are the Y men who find work as natural as "play and rest." They oppose to punishments, seek responsibility and job satisfaction and display considerable imagination and creativity (http://www.accel-team.com/human_relations/hrels_03_mcgregor.html).In other words, as Robert Frost stated, "the world is full of willing people - some willing to work, other willing to let them." Those allergic to work (almost 5% of a company's personnel) are called "shirkers" by Sirota. They are troublemakers and must be dealt with in a tough way. But according to this author, the most frequent mistake that managers make is that of treating all employees in the same way. This occurs in companies relying on blue-collar workers or back-office operations (e.g. call centers) where all individuals, viewed as "children or criminals," are closely supervised and severely punished for a too long rest break (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1188&CFID=3898075&CFTOKEN=53249968).
Consequently, when addressing to X men, development strategies should be concise, clear, and pragmatic and should be advertised as a way of increasing job security. On the other hand, when addressing to Y men, trainings should stress the possibility to gain higher autonomy and to nurture creative potential. Courses should provide a creative-stimulating environment, where employees are given time to dream, think, explore, play and develop "wild, off-the-wall ideas." Problems must be depicted in a lapidary manner without showing an obsession for details. Courses should also encourage suggestions and team work which can be extremely motivating.
Another issue that must be touched upon when designing development strategies is the age gap. Generally speaking, studies have proved that older employees have a higher reticence to trainings than the young ones. For instance, many of them reject computer trainings as they consider themselves too old to use such machines without which they managed to do their job quite well in the past. At this point, managers should emphasize that using computers means more spare time spent with their families, at home, or traveling around the world. Moreover, they will be capable of understanding the youth's language when referring to it issues. In what trainers are concerned, these should not react in a defensive manner to uncomfortable remarks, should lose the know-it-all attitude and prove to be good listeners rather than good speakers. They must also focus on team work as "teams often transcend age" and be open to the trainees' suggestions or problems (http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/workforce-management/11491-1.html).
But development strategies are not exclusively designed according to the workforce's features. They also mould over several organizational characteristics.
First of all, the type of management exerts a significant influence. Sirota has identified four kinds of organizations: paternalist (which regard workers as children), adversarial (which consider employees to be enemies), transactional (which view employees as ciphers and not as individuals), and partnership (which define their relationship with employees as a mature cooperation between allies) (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1188&CFID=3898075&CFTOKEN=53249968).
For the first type, employee development stresses the lack of knowledge and the need to learn from the more experienced persons. For the second type, employee development becomes a sort of conviction as employees are interested in achieving…