Back in the days of the Industrial Revolution, just about anyone could be quickly trained to perform most of the routine tasks relating to production in a manufacturing economy. Here in the 21st century, however, there is a requirement for greater cognitive skills and specialized training. As a result, many employers implement some form training and development program to ensure they always have a pipeline of talent at all career levels.
Types of Programs
There are a variety of programs employers can implement to develop talent at the most junior levels. Internships, co-operative education terms, summer student programs, and practicums offer young people, mostly students, the opportunity to augment their formal education with real-world, practical training. After graduation, some companies offer new graduate programs to coach and train those who may be entering their chosen profession for the first time. Other types of internal development programs may include rotations through different business units and leadership development initiatives to support the growth of future business leaders.
These types of programs help to insulate against labour shortages, contributing to the population of workers who possess unique operating knowledge and required work skills for a specific organization. Students and new graduates can also take on some of the important-but-menial tasks required by the company, freeing up more senior employees for higher level work that requires their level of experience. Senior employees also benefit from the opportunity to serve as mentors, sharing their knowledge with their junior colleagues.
The decision to implement an employee development program depends on both time constraints and financial considerations. In order to be successful, these types of programs require senior employees who have the time to serve as trainer/coach/mentor to younger employees. For this reason, these programs are often successful when there are recurring tasks junior employees can eventually take on independently, and/or project-based assignments where a senior employee can provide direction and ongoing support, but the junior employee has some ability to carry out parts of the work without direct supervision. Financial considerations will also come into play, as companies evaluate whether to “build” versus “buy” the talent they require.
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