Is training really necessary for administrative professional staff? asks Christy Crump
As an administrative professional, have you ever had to justify your request for professional development training when it appears that other positions are not required to do the same? Have you felt your worth to the company and your team was not valued? Here are a few points you can include the next time you are asked to present a business case for requested training.
Technology advancements, information overload, and lack of training can result in administrative professional staff who are overloaded, overwhelmed, unprepared, and underskilled. These deficiencies lead to wasted time and resources and contribute to complacency. It is vital that employers provide tools necessary to improve performance and increase efficiency and effectiveness, so the business can excel to the next level.
Skills, understanding, knowledge, and experience combine with character, ethics, personality, and creativity to form human capital. While some aspects of human capital come naturally, it is necessary to invest money, time, and effort to retain and grow all the aspects. When an employer invests in human capital, they invest in developing it to produce a better product at a faster rate. As a result, they increase the effectiveness of their team.
Today, employers face an unusual combination of challenges and tensions. They need and expect so much from their administrative staff, yet, due to economic pressures, employers are overwhelmed and lack time, money, and energy to personally focus on the team. Many businesses do not communicate expectations verbally, in writing through clear policies and procedures, or through evaluations and goal setting sessions.
Why do employees allow their surroundings to take control of them rather than take control of their surroundings?
- Employees are unable to keep up with information overload and technology advancements. Due to lack of good organization and time management skills, many employees become overwhelmed and constantly remain buried under a workload avalanche.
- Tension is created by a phenomenon never before experienced in the workforce – generational differences. Employees spanning six decades in age are working together, and the mentality, work ethic, attitude, and product of the I-Gens (2000-present) and Millennials are very different from those of the Veterans, Boomers, and Gen X.
- The I-Gens also bring a lack of communication and customer service skills to the workplace. Their dependence on communicating via technology coupled with less early life work experience result in a generation entering the workforce who must be trained to an extent not necessary when the other generations entered the workforce.
- Employees have difficulty communicating their needs to managers because there is little time invested or comfort in building the employee/manager relationship.
- The emphasis on training has diminished due to lack of time and money.
Training is an investment that enhances human capital. Your office cannot afford to neglect training; it leads to improved performance on the job and increases the bottom line.
However, in order for training to be successful, it must be applicable to each person and position. Training conducted from a “manage up” perspective tends to be more successful. Rather than telling administrative professionals what they should do, they should be guided through a process to set attainable goals, identify steps to reach those goals, recognize behaviors that hinder progress, and overcome fears that cause failure.
This perspective empowers them to learn and grow according to what works well for them while simultaneously recognizing how to better support their supervisors. They invest in the company because they realize their work not only enhances the company and supervisor, but in turn enhances them, their position, their ability to learn, grow, and advance, whether in that company or somewhere else. When an administrative professional works from a “manage up” perspective, the emphasis is taken off “What can the company do for me?” Instead, it is placed on “What can I do, as a team member, to build the company and benefit from that growth?”
Is professional development training really necessary for administrative professional staff? You bet it is!