News for the Hospitality Executive
Investing in Your I.T. Employees'
Futures Benefits You
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By Lyle Worthington
One of my personal philosophies is never stop learning. Learning something new means moving forward. It is equally important that the people who work with and for me continue learning and growing as well. It is extremely motivating to work around people who are all investing in, contributing to and believing in what they are doing. Everyone benefits from the positive attitudes, and poor performers stick out like a sore thumb. When a company embraces a learning environment and managers encourage growth and development of top performers, job satisfaction and job performance will go up.
Some companies may worry that employees will demand more money or leave the company for a better opportunity. This is certainly a possibility, but as your employees become more valuable to you, they will be more valuable to others, so if you don’t provide them a path to grow within your company they might seek that path elsewhere. Even if that does happen, you still benefit from their additional knowledge and new ideas while they’re with you, and possibly even after their departure.
In a recent Forrester Research report, “Motivating IT Employees, Part 1,” only 29 percent of I.T. professionals over age 45, and 14 percent under age 45, listed base compensation as a top motivating factor. This report echoes research published over the past 50 years (e.g., Maslow, Herzberg, and more recently, Kovach)* showing that job satisfaction is driven more by intangibles like recognition, development and interesting work than by salary and bonuses. People want to enjoy their work, to be recognized for what they do, to feel they are contributing to the organization and to feel secure in their jobs. Providing and encouraging continued education can help satisfy several motivational factors that employees list as most important. If recognition, interesting work and salary are most important, consider publicly rewarding hard work by helping employees obtain a certification, which makes them eligible for a pay increase and qualifies them to work on a challenging new project.
Of course, an employee could leave at any time, whether you encourage development or not. Consider what happens if an employee leaves feeling that you challenged him, supported and invested in him. He is less likely to leave you in a bad position and more likely to be there for you in the future if needed. On the other hand, if he believes that you purposely held him back his dissatisfaction could become public knowledge, leaving you with other skeptical employees and a bad reputation in addition to a vacant position.
Education opportunities run the gamut expense wise, but many won’t cost a thing. Extensive how-to websites, message boards where complete strangers will walk you through an answer to just about any question you have, and even step-by-step videos on YouTube are all available for free. All you need to do to encourage more self-motivated employees to learn is give them an interesting project, access to the Internet, and specific goals to measure their success. For a relatively small investment, you can also provide books, training materials and possibly first-time exam fees for certifications you feel will be beneficial. Certifications are excellent complements to an employee’s work experience, but more importantly, each successful certification completed gives you the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and praise these achievements in front of his or her peers. At the other end of the spectrum, some companies offer to pay for part or all of bachelors and master’s degrees. It provides job advancement opportunities as motivation for employees while helping to ensure the company can continue to promote from within.
In between the free and full scholarship approaches to training are on and off-site courses. These are also an excellent way to provide targeted training for employees, and the benefits of classroom learning extend beyond just the topics covered. Recently I took advantage of HFTPU, a partnership between Datanamics and HFTP that provides discounted rates on a wide variety of courses to HFTP members. I hadn’t been in a classroom since college, and after so many years of teaching myself at my own pace, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy the structure of a classroom environment. It was surprising how beneficial it was to learn in a dedicated training room, away from home and office distractions, and to interact with others with varying levels of experience. Team work, open discussions, interactive questions and the opportunity to coach others are extremely valuable learning tools that are lost when you study on your own. The social component of a classroom setting provides some advantages over self-study; you aren’t just memorizing information, but practicing how to work as a team and communicate effectively in a group.
All but two of my classmates at HFTPU were from the same company, and they all spoke highly of their company and work environment. They were engaged in the class –not just working to master the material, but also discussing ways to apply what they were learning to their jobs. After hearing numerous examples over the past few years of companies taking advantage of employees, this was very refreshing. It not only supported my philosophy on learning but also reinforced my belief that the best companies to work for are the ones that invest in their employees.
Lyle Worthington, CHTP is the CIO of Horseshoe Bay Resort. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more articles from this author please visit:
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