Canadian Treasurer

July 8, 2013

Survey reveals on-site sessions preferred by workers

TORONTO - School may be out for the summer, but in the best workplaces, the learning doesn't stop. In a new survey from OfficeTeam, a division of Robert Half, more than one-third (39 per cent) of workers identified in-house, instructor-led workshops as the type of professional training they value most. Tuition reimbursement for off-site seminars ranked second, with 32 per cent of the responses; surpassing online courses (15 per cent) and reference books (10 per cent).

Companies appear attuned to workers' desires for in-person training: more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of human resources managers polled said their organization offers this type of instruction. Many firms also provide books or other reference materials (60 per cent) and online courses (69 per cent). In addition, 64 per cent of executives indicated they even subsidize classes taken by employees outside of work, while only 6 per cent said they do not offer any of these training options to staff.

The joint surveys of workers and HR managers were developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specialising in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals, and conducted by an independent research firm. The survey of workers includes responses from 284 Canadian adults, 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments. The manager survey includes interviews with 151 HR managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

Workers were asked, "Which of the following types of training do you value the most?" Their responses:

On-site workshops or brown-bag sessions led by an instructor - 39%

Tuition reimbursement for off-site courses or seminars - 32%

Online courses - 15%

Books or other reference materials - 10%

Other - 4%

HR managers were asked, "Which of the following types of training, if any, does your company offer employees?" Their responses:

On-site workshops or brown-bag sessions led by an instructor - 69%

Books or other reference materials - 60%

Online courses - 69%

Tuition reimbursement for off-site courses or seminars - 64%

None of these - 6%

Multiple responses allowed.

"Professionals need to continually adapt to industry developments and expand their abilities so their job skills remain relevant," said OfficeTeam executive director Robert Hosking. "If their employer does not offer training options, workers should look for outside learning resources."

OfficeTeam offers five tips to help professionals keep their skills current:

1. Assess resources. Find out what types of training opportunities are available within your company and whether tuition reimbursement is offered for external courses. You also should explore low-cost options such as online programs and books.

2. Join professional associations. Industry groups often conduct workshops and educational sessions where members can update their business knowledge and abilities. These events, whether in-person or online, also provide an avenue for networking and sharing ideas with others in your field.

3. Take on new challenges. Talk to your manager about getting involved in projects outside of your normal responsibilities. Volunteer for assignments that stretch your skills.

4. Find a mentor. If your employer doesn't have an in-house mentoring program, look for someone inside or outside your company whose expertise you admire, and ask if he or she will assist you.

5. Help others. Volunteer on committees or for leadership roles at organizations where you can develop skills that not only benefit the group but also are applicable to your job.







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