Editor’s note: In a previous post, I introduced you to the Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey, which is conducted annually by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The survey is used as a tool to identify factors that influence overall employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace, and it’s results provide insight to employee preferences and highlight key areas for businesses to consider as they develop and enhance initiatives for organizational improvement. The survey assesses 43 aspects of satisfaction and 37 aspects of engagement that are both categorized into eight areas, and I am dedicating a blog entry to each area. For this blog, we are focusing on the area of Career Development.
Career Development–in my opinion–is huge, especially in the dental field. Because the industry is constantly changing with the development of new technology and products, it’s a great idea to offer training and access to professional development courses in order to keep your dental practice hip and up-do-date as far as methods and technology goes. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) mployee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey report, “Informal and formal learning experiences can provide employees with a more comprehensive skill set and reassurance that their employer recognizes their value. Presented with new knowledge and abilities, employees will be better prepared to handle new technologies and innovations and may be able to contribute to enhancing their organization’s systems and procedures.”
More than one-half of those polled for this survey–an amount of 55 percent–reported that opportunities they get to use their skills and abilities at work is a very important contributor to job satisfaction. “Research indicates that HR professionals are worried about the potential mismatch between the skills required to be successful in a role and the skills that job candidates actually possess,” cites the report. “In research addressing the human capital challenges in the coming decade, SHRM found that the leading concerns among HR professionals were developing the next generation of organizational leaders (39%) and managing the loss of key workers and their skill sets due to retirement (35%). Given the anticipated skills gap, career and professional development is particularly important to employees and employers alike.” Therefore, it is beneficial to consider paying for job-specific training opportunities for your employees.
“Job-specific training can help employees develop their talents, empowering them to become more effective and engaged in their roles,” reads the report. “Employees’ expanded knowledge could lead to enhanced organizational processes and increased productivity. Forty-two percent of employees viewed job-specific training as very important to their job satisfaction. Three-fifths (62%) of employees indicated they were satisfied with job-specific training at their organization. Female and Millennial employees reported job-specific training to be more important to their job satisfaction than did male and Baby Boomer employees, respectively.”
When thinking about professional development, it is important to consider your employees’ ages. As noted in the above paragraph, those of younger generations are much more apt to want to continue to expand their knowledge base throughout their lifetime. According to the survey, the number of employees that rank career advancement opportunities as very important to their job satisfaction has risen by almost 20 percentage points in the last eight years, which means that providing professional development and hiring from within can contribute to employee retention as well.
So how does your bottom line contribute to this aspect of employee satisfaction? According to the findings, “35 percent of employees felt that paid training was very important to employee job satisfaction, and 61 percent said they were satisfied with this aspect, an increase of 17 percentage points from 2013. The rise in satisfaction may be a result of organizations returning training to their lists of offered benefits after a period of shrinking budgets during the Great Recession or a tool to retain or recruit talented workers.” My office sets aside a specific amount for each department’s professional development every year when budget planning rolls around. Higher education is also a field that is ever-changing, and my employer realizes that we have to be on the ball when it comes to keeping up.
So what opportunities to you have for continuing education in the dental field? The American Dental Association is a good place to start. According to the ADA’s website, the association provides members with continuing education tailored to their specific needs. “From the day you graduate dental school until the time you sell your practice, we’ll provide cutting-edge, unique education that has an immediate impact on your ability to treat patients, grow your practice and meet state licensure requirements.” The ADA offers online and in-person classes to meet the time scheduling needs of all members. Check out all of the options ADA has to offer, and be sure to check back next time for the next blog of the series: Compensation and Benefits.