On-the-job learning and training are so common now that employers need to facilitate the process and offer their employees a chance to improve themselves while working, Michael Baas, from PUM Netherlands Senior Experts, said at a workshop on human resource management this week.
Many people graduate in a major that does not really fit them in university so learning on the job is important, Baas said at the event held by the Ho Chi Minh City branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
The expert comes from a non-profit organization which has been advising businesses in developing countries and emerging markets for 37 years.
Learning while working can help employees obtain necessary skills and knowledge to do their job well and get promotions, Baas added.
“I think that 75 percent of people do not come to work exactly what they have studied from in Europe, and a reason for that is that many learn a specific major at university following the wish or expectation of their parents,” he said.
“I think the function of a university is to educate their students to a certain level of intelligence, but not specific skills like how to work in a particular field, as different majors will offer the learner different ways of thinking. For example, those who study physics will think about a problem differently from those studying economics,” he said.
“But when graduates come to work for a firm, besides the intelligence they have obtained from university education, they also have their own talents, like the talent for sales or production, and so an employer should learn how to let the people he recruits use their talents and intelligence for a specific task in the most effective way,” he added.
Employers should also prepare a good job description and hold regular assessments as these are the two basic elements to be factored in choosing the right personnel for a job, the expert said.
A well-written and detailed job description with clear objectives will help those who find that they cannot fit in choose not to apply for that job, he said.
Meanwhile, regular assessments, once or twice annually, will help the employers check if those they hire are the right people for the job, he said.
“In the past, I graduated as a chemistry engineer who should work for a lab. But then I applied for my first job at a local company and I was trained in production, marketing and finance after three years working there,” Baas said.
“My son studied engineering, but now he is working for a telecoms company and is in charge of business development models for his firm,” he added.