Education: The recruiting edge
August 27, 2007
With northern Nevada’s low unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, it is necessary to provide opportunities that will attract and retain the workforce. Educational opportunities can provide just the edge that your organization will need to remain competitive in this dynamic environment of change. Employers may directly benefit from continuing employee education and see a more productive workforce, better output and a healthy company bottom line. Doing more with less is the status quo of business today, and employers must seek out those employees who have the skills and abilities to drive success in the workplace. The link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction is a strong one and what business can state they can do well with one without the other?
The employee of today experiences an increased workload, downsizing concerns and technological advances. With all of this pressure placed on employees, it is no wonder that some organizations experience excessive turnover. This reduced workforce compels the remaining employees to share a heavier workload, perform responsibilities they do not normally do and work longer hours. Turnover can cost a company up to one and a half times an employee’s first years’ salary. With the additional costs of doing business, employers must differentiate themselves from their competition and attract a workforce that is receptive to these changes. Employees must work consistently to update and increase their skills to keep up with this workplace transformation. Employees must show that they are too valuable so as not to risk being replaced by someone more knowledgeable. The current pace of technology is driving workers to be more flexible and adaptive which places a demand for more education and skills.
Employee and employer benefit immediately from continuing education. Employees that compliment their existing skills with education are able to apply concepts and theories learned within the workplace. Employees will take the critical thinking, written and presentation skills to the workplace to help create better products and services, customer experiences and work environments. With over 90 percent of the job growth coming from the new information and service sector requiring post-secondary education, employers are seeking those with degrees. By 2014 the Department of Labor projects that over 5 million new jobs will come from the healthcare, education, computer and math sciences industry. These 5 million new jobs will require a workforce that is prepared for changes at an unprecedented pace. Employers must start focusing on not only hiring those with educational skills but providing those opportunities to their workforce as well.
By enhancing educational opportunities, companies are not only making an investment in their employees, they are making an investment in their organization. In the competitive marketplace, employers’ two main concerns are reducing turnover and retaining employees. Employees who feel valued and respected by their organization turn their positive energy toward his or her job. A highly skilled employee can increase his or her productivity, enhance a customer relationship and be an innovator to their organization. Investing time and money into the continuing education of your workforce is effectively making an investment in the most valuable asset a company has, its employees. Providing educational opportunities for your employees can also serve as an effective retention tool to reduce employee churn. By fostering the benefit of continuing education, the organization can capitalize on the employee who drives the business, achieves strategic goals and objectives and is the face of the organization to the consumer. As we approach the challenges that impact our organizations, we will need our employees to compliment their valuable work experience with continuing education.
Employees gain new job skills and appreciation of lifelong learning which they can directly relate to their employer. Employees are graduating from institutions as problem solvers, an essential skill highly valued by the employers of today. The balance of work, school and life experience creates a more well rounded, well-adjusted employee capable of dealing with the workplace of today and the future. Employers are seeking problem solvers and critical thinkers who understand and recognize the need to upgrade skills on a consistent basis to maintain pace with the environment of the workplace today. Companies require employees who can manage priorities, multi-task, communicate effectively and lead the organization into the future.
The bottom line is something every organization focuses upon. Northwestern University completed a study that shows a direct link between employee satisfaction and customers’ satisfaction which resulted in increased financial performance. Employers can directly benefit their bottom line by supporting continuing education of their workforce and providing opportunities for those with degrees to update and enhance their skill sets. By fostering an atmosphere of education, you can maintain and enhance the fiscal health of your organization.
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Kathy Gamboa is the lead faculty area chair for undergraduate and business programs at the University of Phoenix, northern Nevada campus. She teaches strategic planning, organizational behavior and project management in both the graduate and undergraduate programs.