The staff needs to be continually strengthened and enhanced by career and professional development. Individual staff members, at all levels, are expected to commit to lifelong learning, as ongoing training is needed to meet the rapidly changing challenges of the University. “Knowledge and skills of employees are to be constantly developed in order to be in line with changes, information flow, and new technologies.”
Liberty University is a school where there is challenging discussions among faculty and staff that sparks interesting feedback. It is a school where excellence in teaching and learning is emphasized. The three approaches to individual staff development are fragmented, formalized and focused. A lot of organizations are in the fragmented phase. They may offer training classes but it is not mandatory and most produce little to no benefits. In addition, most see these classes as a waste of time and resources. “The focus here is on training (a discontinuous process) rather than development (a continuous process).”
There seems to be a great deal of the fragmented approach in government jobs, such as county employees. If you take a look at such organizations you will find that there are classes offered but few take them unless they are forced to. For instance, they offer advanced skill courses for workers who want to gain knowledge and improve their use of the computer. Unfortunately, most just want to do what has to be done to get their work completed as fast as possible with as little effort as necessary. They remain resistant to change.
The second approach is the formalized approach. It is more systematic and while training takes place regularly, there is little freedom to choose what training class you would like to take, it is already chosen for you. This type of approach recognizes the need for training but does not give any attention to what the individual wants or would benefit from. The formalized approach emphasizes organizational strategies or goals and “even though there may be a large investment in training (perhaps with a large training centre and staff), training is still not the organization’s blood-stream.”
Seriously, there are many people who do not want or care to advance themselves, even if there is no expense to them. The third approach, and most desired of the three, is the focused approach. This is the approach that has the most tangible benefits and therefore the most effective. Under this approach training and development become a part of the learning process.
It is linked to the individual goals or personal development as well as the organizational strategy. Employees are encouraged to think out of the box where training is promoted, supported and encouraged by managers. It is the focused approach that encourages risk taking and empowers individuals to be the best they can be.