Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Are we sending them off with the correct skills?

I spent a few minutes this afternoon talking with a graduate student who is leaving on Saturday for a "real" job. He is fortunate to have found a place that is interested in utilizing what he has learned from his library science degree and his certificate in digital libraries. He is very excited and, in this economy, very thankful.

Every year, students graduate from various programs around the world hopefully armed with the correct skills for the professional positions that they want. Luckily, most have been in programs that have been able to teach them the things that they need to know. But what about our employees that are looking for new opportunities? With institutions reacting to their changing financial situation, some employees are finding themselves having to look for new work. Do they have the right skills? Have they been given the opportunity to try new things, learn new tools and techniques, and adopt ideas?

Wait...wait...wait...I can hear you say that, even though those people worked for you, it wasn't your job to make them employable by others. Consider this...What if people came knocking on your door, ready to fill an open position, but lacking the correct skills because their employer didn't do any continuing education?

Did that make you stop and think?

Yes, times are tough, but that doesn't mean that we should stop investing in our employees. Let's make sure that if they have to leave and go someplace else, that we send them off with the skills they will need to be successful. You can do that without spending a lot of money. Give them time to read, time to experiment, or time to attend an online webinar. A small investment of time may be all they need in order to improve their skills and ensure that they are employable.

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