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Young Workers No Longer Get The On-the-Job Training They Need – So They’re Finding It Elsewhere

With companies training people less, the most valuable path to success may be pioneering your own career.

Stephane Kasriel

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There’s an inside joke among execs that goes something like this:

A chief financial officer, looking to save costs on training employees, asks the chief executive officer, “What if we spend money on training and they leave?”

To which the CEO responds, “What if we don’t and they stay?”

Unfortunately, over the last several years, it’s the cost-cutting CFOs who have been winning out way too often.

According to Peter Capelli, director of The Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, companies want workers they don’t have to educate, and his research has found that employers don’t train young workers like they used to.

In 1979, per Capelli, the average young worker received 2.5 weeks of training per year. By 1995, training time fell to just 11 hours.

More recent comparable data has been hard to find, says Capelli, but the Wharton professor says that by 2011 “only a fifth of employees reported receiving on-the-job training from their employers over the past five years.”

Related: Can staff training increase my turnover?

What’s going on here is something that’s often called the tragedy of the commons. Society as a whole is better off if workers are properly trained. Trained workers mean more productive ones, which mean more productive companies and greater overall economic output. However, individual companies are better off if they leave the cost of training to their competitors. More companies these days, it seems, want a free ride.

Of course, the consequences for young professionals are tragic and costly: Traditional jobs aren’t providing them with new skills and therefore aren’t setting them up for success in their careers.

Unsurprisingly, young workers aren’t happy with their employers, so they’re leaving – constantly. Disengaged from their jobs unlike any other generation and seeking new skills, they’re job-hopping. In 2015, according to Gallup, millennials changed jobs three times more often than older generations. Gallup estimates that turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion per year.

More options available

As depressing as those stats can sound, the truth is that recent grads and young workers have more options to learn skills and craft their careers on their own.

Since 2011, when Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, began to gain public attention, their popularity has grown exponentially. Last year, by one estimate, 23 million people signed up to take their first MOOC. All told, since 2011, more than 800 universities have offered over 9,000 courses to 81 million registered users, according to the same report.

Sure, MOOC students want to enrich themselves for enrichment sake but learning work-relevant skills are a key motivation, according to multiple studies.

Going their own way

For many recent graduates, expectations of entering the workforce haven’t matched up with reality; Gallup found that millennials are less “engaged” with their full-time jobs than any generation before them.

But, there are a lot of reasons for hope. Enabled by new technologies, today’s young professionals have more opportunities than ever before to train themselves and be their own bosses. And, it turns out, millennials have already gotten the message: According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2017 report, young workers – unhappy with full-time jobs and aware of the fact that employers won’t train them – are increasingly choosing to go their own ways, becoming their own bosses and training themselves.

The report also found that almost half of millennials (47 percent to be exact) have freelanced over the past 12 months – a participation rate higher than any other generation. And 56 percent of those millennial freelancers have participated in skill-related education within the last six months (versus 35 percent of gen- Xers and 28 percent of baby boomers), according to the survey.

And to be clear, the vast majority of millennial freelancers are doing so because they want to. Sixty-four percent of them say they started freelancing more by choice, not necessity.

Related: How to Build Skills, Loyalty and Profits With Staff Training

The takeaway for hiring managers

This trend means that reaching today’s talented youth is transforming before our own eyes. Put simply, to leverage the skills of many of the most talented, self-driven young workers, businesses increasingly require different hiring strategies.

Many HR departments have taken notice. Half of U.S. companies are using freelancers, according to Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce Report. That’s up 16 percentage points from the same time last year.

For those who haven’t taken notice, as a new graduating class enters the workforce, now’s the perfect time to rethink your hiring strategy — because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on some of the best talent.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

As CEO of Upwork, the largest freelancing website, Kasriel is an expert on the future of work and the rise of flexible, remote teams who believes that people should have location independence and companies should be able to access the best regardless of where it happens to be. Kasriel built and led a distributed team of more than 300 engineers located around the world as Upwork's SVP of Engineering before ascending to be CEO. His book Hire Fast & Build Things details how to use freelancers to power businesses. Kasriel holds an MBA from INSEAD, a Master’s from Stanford in Computer Science and a BS from Ecole Polytechnique in France.

Managing Staff

The Value Of Employee Growth

When you’re running a fresh and shiny new business, how do you ensure your employees feel like they have a place to go?

Chris Ogden

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Investing into the future of an employee is a complex task at the best of times. Well-established organisations battle to manage employee expectations and growth trajectories so what options does a startup have when it is still finding its feet? While having an agile and energetic young company is often enough of a drawcard for talent, you still need to create pathways that are unique to your business and that allow for employees to grow, both personally and professionally.

Step 01: Embrace difference

Recognise that your business is made up of a variety of different roles and that each one offers different employee pathways. You need to find the pathways and roles that suit an employee’s personality and their idea of where they want to grow.

It’s in seeing these differences and embracing them that you are already providing your employees with a voice and showing them that they are heard.

Related: 5 Benefits Of Turning Your Employee Into An Intrapreneur

Step 02: Be inventive

Find a way of creating growth opportunities even with the few roles you have in your business. For example, you could create a methodology that has tiered levels within a specific role. Then a person has opportunity to expand their skills and responsibilities in that role. This would work for roles that are fixed, like an office admin, or for roles that are flexible.

Step 03: Finance and responsibility

Outline how a person can grow financially and show them the additional objectives and responsibilities their role offers. Some people aren’t just about the money, they want more to do and they don’t want to be bored.

Step 04: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

It is essential that you measure people so that you can create opportunity for them. Tell them their KPIs so that they have benchmarks and everyone has expectations. This allows you to let people know when they are or are not doing well.

They can assess their performance properly and there is no risk of people having differing expectations that impact on ability or role. You must openly and honestly review employees and yourself.

Related: 6 Ways To Build Your Business With Employee-Entrepreneurs

Step 05: Encourage mentorship

It’s really worth encouraging people to guide or mentor one another. Some people may stay in your business for years, some only for a few months, but you want to see them all grow. By creating an environment that inspires people to mentor and guide one another, you’re ensuring that every person in your business is given a chance to teach and to learn.

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Managing Staff

Peak Performance: How To Get The Best Out Of Your Business Team

Understand and more importantly apply the following to your business and you too can dramatically improve the experience of your employees and ironically, with that people over profit approach attain profits never seen before.

Dirk Coetsee

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“Sell your cleverness and purchase awe”

Rumi

Under the periphery of Leadership and humanitarian philosophies lies the reality of people not always being understood nor treated well in their workplaces. Albeit that lip service is often paid to a people over profit Leadership style few entrepreneurs or companies bring it to life to its fullest potential.

Those select few leaders whom have had the awesome experience of leading business teams that are inspired, constantly learn new skills and sharpen existing ones, are change adept, with behaviours aligned to the business vision, and solving problems within a ‘family environment’ of mutual trust and respect have indeed ‘sold their cleverness and have purchased awe’.

Understand and more importantly apply the following to your business and you too can dramatically improve the experience of your employees and ironically, with that people over profit approach attain profits never seen before.

Related: Peak Performance: Multiply Personal And Team Business Performance

If it is to be it is up to me

tony-robbins

The author totally agrees with Tony Robbins who states that “Business is 20% technical and 80% psychology”. The state of your business and the performance of your business team is so much dependent upon your state as an entrepreneur, business owner, or investor. Your psychological  state as a tapestry weaved together by your thinking, beliefs and behaviours influences all aspects of the business.

If you demand states of positivity, peak performance, massive and confident actions from your team you yourself better embody those states day in, day out.

Luminaries and leaders such as Jim Kwik (Brain and learning expert) , Tony Robbins (World leading Life coach and Billionaire entrepreneur) , Ed Mylet (Entrepreneur and passionate advocate for peak performance) take control of their lives, days, and states by consciously doing a variety of practises each morning to ensure that they are at optimal levels of performance and state as they approach a new day.

Conscious , focussed, and mindful efforts such as ‘NLP Peak state exercises’, Meditation, Prayer, reading, visualisations, breathing exercises,  and physical exercise can be very impactful with regards to your daily engagements as a leader or entrepreneur.

I love what Ed Mylet has to say about self-confidence and influence:

Self-confidence comes from keeping promises to yourself which equals self-trust’. We all lose self-confidence and self-trust when we keep on promising to ourselves that we will start exercising or stop smoking and we never do. Start keeping promises to yourself as a matter of honour.

‘Influencing is not making others believe but its’ about showing them that you truly believe in what you are saying’.

Inspire instead of motivate

Be future orientated in deed and speech as an Entrepreneur. Hold and treasure an inspiring future Vision in front of your team and ‘sweat and bleed’ alongside them to actualise that vision. ‘First seek to understand and then to be understood’, as the late Leadership expert Stephen Covey said, in relation to your communication style. Most of all love your team and foster a culture of self-improvement, growth and learning.

Tell inspiring and true stories in relation to the vision and team members’ behaviours that are in alignment with your companies’ vision. Motivation is fickle and tied to your will-power which is finite.

Sincerely hold on to an inspiring future vision and defining Purpose which can provide infinite inspiration.

Related: Business Leadership – Learn How To Embrace Change

Entrepreneurs and leaders create environments for team members to thrive in

The ultimate ‘hack’ in relation to performance for entrepreneurs and leaders is to create an environment for their co-team members within which they can thrive, creatively contribute, and feel as part of a family that is actualising an inspiring future vision.

When team members do not feel safe or trusted they spend a lot of time creating safety nets (even sometimes false ones) for themselves as opposed to actually doing their work. Lead by inspiring example and actually do what you say you will do all in alignment with the companies’ vision and values and your team members will trust and follow you.

Personalise their rewards and constantly demonstrate that you care about them as people and value them as highly important contributors to the attainment of the companies cause.

Go forth and lead your team to the peak of your collective performance!

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Managing Staff

5 Things To Do When An Employee’s Performance Deteriorates

It can be confusing and frustrating when a successful employee’s performance takes a nosedive. Intervene effectively using these five steps.

Liz Kislik

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For all kinds of reasons, even longstanding, highly productive employees can experience a performance slump at some point. The Towers Watson Global Workforce study showed that up to 26 percent of workers surveyed said they felt disengaged, and another 17 percent felt detached.

As a founder, you may not always find an obvious way to get someone back on track, but the investment of energy you would need to turn this situation around is still so much less than what would be needed replace and train a new employee.

So, the upshot is that it only makes sense to figure out what’s going on and take action. Ready? These five approaches may help.

1. Ask explicitly if the employee is okay

And find out if there’s anything that you should know about instead of assuming you understand this individual’s current circumstances and reactions. Of course, it will help if you’re already aware of his or her personal situation.

Perhaps the employee is dealing with a new and challenging circumstance that’s distracting. In that case, it can help to share your evidence: “James, I was wondering if everything’s okay. I noticed that you stopped/started doing X, and I figured I’d better check in with you about it.”

At one of my clients’ companies, when a leader touched base with a staffer who had fallen below expectations, the woman explained that her dog had died, and she was grieving. Knowing her boss cared about her helped her refocus on her work.

2. Look for signs of stress and burnout

stress-and-burnout

Burnout costs U.S. businesses as much as $300 billion each year, whether the reason is employees having had to absorb too many changes or the fact that they’ve just been plain old working too hard for too long.

A longtime administrator I knew was being criticised for her negativity, her self-pacing and  her avoidance of anything new. After some analysis, however, it became clear that there was more work than her team could handle. Once her team was staffed up and the new team members were reasonably up to speed, she started to recover her resilience and became more even-keeled.

Related: Why I Stopped Doing Annual Employee Reviews

3. Probe for changes in the employee’s job

Perhaps there are new problems with equipment, resources or information flows; maybe a major customer is giving the employee a hard time, or a manager is behaving differently in some way.

A CEO I work with was concerned about a downturn in an executive’s previously outstanding performance. We discussed how the employee had recently been assigned to lead a new initiative for which he did not have previous experience, although he was the best internal candidate. The CEO agreed that as soon as the new initiative could afford to pay for an experienced executive, the reassigned employee should return to the assignment where his performance had been consistently superior.

4. Describe your expectations for the employee’s performance

employee-performance

And talk about how the business, team or customers are affected when it’s lacking. Although up to 87 percent of employees in one survey reported by Strategy + Business said they wanted opportunities for development, only one-third reported actually receiving feedback to help them improve.

So, make sure you’re concrete and specific about both expectations and impacts. Ask what employees need from you or from others in the organisation to help them get back on track.

I had to give one senior leader excruciatingly detailed feedback, in areas from interpersonal dynamics to personal hygiene. It wasn’t pleasant for either of us, but until he was made aware of exactly what was disturbing to customers, there was no hope for improvement.

Related: How Diversity Drives Board Performance

5. Provide meaningful recognition

Employees in  a survey by the Cicero Group were three times more likely to choose recognition as the single factor most likely to motivate superior performance– over inspiration, autonomy and even pay.

Recognition doesn’t have to be expensive or even time-consuming. One leader I knew started using the daily standup meeting not just to review the progress of the work, but also to mention superior contributions and excellent performances. Not only did preparation for the daily meetings improve, but team members were eager to make contributions that could be noted.

In sum, even excellent performers can lose momentum or be stalled by circumstances from time to time. How to respond as the employer? Intervening early will help you feel optimistic about a positive outcome and give the employee involved the benefit of the doubt so you can demonstrate to staff the confidence you have in them and your willingness to provide support during a tough time.

Just don’t wait to do this: If you wait till you’re fed up with either the person or whatever’s going wrong, you’ll find it much harder to turn the situation around.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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