Currently, leaders of various organizations send their employees on trainings with the aim to increase the quality of their performance, through giving them additional knowledge and skills, as well as to build informal networks, which may be useful in the professional and personal life. However, sometimes these actions are unsuccessful. There are several reasons for the insufficient level of their success, among which are the lack of appropriate execution skills, the fact that trainings do not provide knowledge necessary for the organization, or the inability of employees to apply the received information. Hence, before sending the workers on trainings, leaders should conduct a thorough examination of the current agency’s needs and determine whether these needs can be fulfilled by the trainings or they can be met only by some other actions such as, for example, the replacement of the staff. This is necessary for the assurance that the trainings and the employees’ development are “integrated into real needs of agencies and of employees” (Dresang, 2008, p.221).
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The Employee Training Programs
The employee development programs are conducted in four steps: the assessment of the participants’ needs, the development of the appropriate curriculum, execution of the trainings and the evaluation of the program. The previous paragraph showed the necessity of the needs’ assessment for the purpose of identification of the “array of training programs and opportunities” (Dresang, 2008, p.222). The assessment of employees can help trainers and managers to understand what their knowledge and skills should be applied more satisfactory at the current positions. The direction of the trainings should be developed very carefully and accurately for the avoidance of negative effects on both the employees and the company. By doing this, many potential negative repercussions such as paying expenses for obtaining unnecessary skills, frustration of employees because of inability to apply learnt information (and related tensions), and leaving of the employees with the mastered skills and knowledge after the completion of trainings can be prevented.
Managers should pay additional attention to the fact that trainings are considered by the employees as rewards for the good performance of their responsibilities. Hence, they can be used as a means of recognition and motivation. Moreover, leaders should bear in mind that “trainings as a reward is most clear when the employee is being groomed for a promotion or new responsibility” (Dresang, 2008, p.223)
Leaders of the criminal justice agencies should remember that there are several types of the training programs: “on-the-job and those held away from the work setting” (Dresang, 2008, p.224). Moreover, programs can address both personal (self-improvement) and professional (career promotion) needs as well as financial goals. Before sending an employee on trainings, directors should take into consideration his professional and personal needs, because they may contradict with the organizational demands. In this case trainings may be unsuccessful. At the same time, both workers and leaders should understand that they can master their professional and personal abilities through these trainings. In addition to this, professionalism can be also improved by working with mentors or through cooperation of newcomers and old employees. The beginners will see the example of the successful and experienced performance of duties, and obtain new contacts and relevant advice. Also, leaders of criminal justice agencies should pay attention to the fact that trainings may be useful for the improvement of the accomplishments of part-time workers and volunteers. Notwithstanding the fact that these employees are not engaged in complicated activities, they still have to understand what is going on and what to do.
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Leaders of governmental agencies of police justice system can promote employees by using several strategies: horizontal (between jurisdictions), vertical (up on the career ladder) and reclassification (improvement of skills, conducting the reclassification, increasing the category and providing higher compensation). At the same time, employees can develop their career by the following methods: improvement of skills and knowledge, changing a position with poor opportunities to a position with better prospects, and moving up the career ladder. Managers of criminal justice agencies should clearly understand that work in these agencies is closely connected with various health risks. Hence, the possibility that an employee can be injured or become disabled is rather high. The executives should understand that workers with disabilities can be transferred to more suitable positions. This strategy will enable the organization to use workers’ professionalism, hold the experienced person in the staff and grant the working place to the person. At the same time, managers of agencies must allow employees to use their right for family and medical leave according to the local or state laws or collective agreements. They should take into consideration the fact that if the employees are laid off or dismissed on the disciplinary grounds, they will face “tearful, depressed people” and in some cases will be obliged to refund some sums of money to them. Usually, the recently hired individuals are laid off more often (Iowa Department of Administrative Services, 2016).
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Managers of criminal justice agencies should comply with laws and regulations, concerning the safety on the workplace, especially, due to the fact that the work in these agencies is closely connected with the high risk of physical harm, as it involves dealing with homicides. These threats can be lowered by doing the following: installing the cameras and good lighting; limiting the access to the working facilities and allowing it only according to an established schedule; dealing with potential violence among employees; providing timely and effective conflict resolution; developing the emergency management plans. The examples of such preventive measures were developed by the federal Department of Labor in 1995 (Dresang, 2008). Managers should also prevent any violence, which may threaten the safety of employees. Agencies must comply with the regulations developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to guarantee a safe working environment. Moreover, the agency should follow the local smoking regulations, which may imply bans for smoking.
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Leaders should prevent and provide timely responses to the cases of sexual and racial harassment on the working places. The additional attention should be paid to the increasing of employees’ awareness about the actions they need to take in cases of such harassment.
Leaders and managers of criminal justice agencies should address all the types of harassment, including so called “quid pro quo” principle, when employee receives benefits in exchange for sexual favors, and hostile working environment (Dresang, 2008, p.245). The last can be prevented on condition that there is a clear understanding of what is considered to be hostile: “hostile should be derived from concerns and sensitivities that the victim might reasonably have” (Dresang, 2008, p.245). This standard was applied in Ellison v. Brady (1991) (Dresang, 2008). It means that the attitude that is considered to be normal to some particular people can be abnormal to the others. The minimization of the possibility of hostile attitudes can be reached through the following actions: development of the written policy that prohibits any harassment; introducing the policy of complaints (they should be made either through the supervisor or the third party); distribution of these policies; fair resolution of any complaints in the ways that “do not further penalize the victim” (Dresang, 2008, p. 246). Romantic relationships on the working place should not be prohibited. However, managers should prevent any related problems, by arranging the work of the couple in such a manner that any authority of one partner over the other will be minimized.
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Managers should address the issue of HIV/AIDS and the wrong understanding concerning the transmission of this illness. It can be achieved through the improvement of the employees’ awareness about the ways of getting infected. Simultaneously, they should keep in mind that any personnel actions against individuals, who have HIV/AIDS, are prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Dresang, 2008). Executives also should realize that individuals, who suffer from this health issue, can have some psychological problems, which may have negative impact on their productivity and increase their irritability. That is why, such individuals may need help of psychological assistants. These assistants also may address psychological problems of employees, who suffer from alcohol and drug abuse, emotional disorders, chronic stresses, family and financial problems. On request of the workers, such treatments may be kept confidential.
Managers can encourage the employees to embrace a healthy lifestyle, promote healthy nutrition and effective risk management. This can be made by increasing their awareness of such techniques through special educative initiatives. These actions will improve employees’ health and their performance of physical activities, required for all representatives of criminal justice system. They will also introduce such benefits as the reduction of expenses on medical treatment, and minimization of deaths.
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Provision of special child care, giving the opportunity to use flexible working schedules and compressed workweeks will allow employees to spend more time with their families. This will lead to the improvement of their performance.