I am often shocked when I come across companies whose most valuable assets are the collective intelligence of their employees; yet, many companies that rely on information security professionals do not offer tuition reimbursement. You know, that’s a head-scratcher to me. I was attending a conference recently where one of the speakers made an eloquent point pertaining to this divergence; and credit goes to the person who explained the concept to him:
Prevailing Opinion: “What if we train them, they get certified and they leave?”
Opposing View Point: “Well, what if we don’t train them, and they stay?”
What side of that coin are YOU on when it comes to those points of views?
And I couldn't agree more @rslade. And if we are doing business in such a way that our employees are only using us as a 'stepping stone' to get to where they REALLY want to work, then we can only look at ourselves as managers of the business. How well are we doing in managing our human resources? Are we the business that people WANT to work for? And if not, WHY?
It's been a issue expressed across the technology field for the last 30 - 40 years. On the one side those who only ever want to hire the exceptionally well qualified (even as independent contractors) versus those who focus on hiring and developing staff. It depend to some degree on the nature of your organisation, as there'll often by short term and project related requirements, but I would have thought such roles were there to flex the workforce only.
Many companies get around the train/don't train through training contracts, requiring staff to stay for a fixed period post training or pay back the cost of training on a tapering basis. Anyone believe that is a reasonable compromise?
Agreed, distrust is corrosive and impacts everyone's morale.
As a manager / supervisor, I should be able to look ANY individual in the eye and render my honest assessment of their work. When you can do that, you'll instill confidence and certainty within your workforce. I find that the more that you can be honest with your employees, the more honest they will be with you as their supervisor and manager.
I think any training program should be upfront about the process. First, when you take the job, are you expected to get some certification, and to not do so will be detrimental? If you do have individuals that are willing to step up and pursue advanced certification, the business needs to decide BEFOREHAND, if that has meaning to the business. It should, or they shouldn't pay for it to start with. If it does have meaning and value, the manager should be prepared as to what steps they will take post certification. Raise? Maybe, not always possible in big companies, additional responsibilities, growth opportunities within the team, or on loan to adjacent teams? It all comes down to a good career management culture within the company. Too many companies have the training policies, certification, advanced degrees, etc. but no culture to back it up.
I call this the supervisor's dilemma. Do you:
1) hire a rock star (or make one through training) and know that they are going to be great at performing the work but because they have skills they can, and probably will, leave before they gain career tenure (or just stay around for a long time); OR
2) do I hire the person I know won't leave for another job for 20 years (or do not train your current staff) but I will have to constantly help them do their job, have to hold their hand, have to force them to have ambition, probably have some HR conversations with them, etc. ?
I always choose #1. Give me the rock star (or make them one). Sure they are going to leave for better opportunities, but truth be told, if I am doing my job as a supervisor, I should be preparing them for better and more challenging assignments/jobs.
So how do you justify spending the money if you know they are going to leave? Get them to document what they do. Get them to train other people. Get them to improve your processes and procedures.
Use that great talent while they are still there and not just ask for a write-up during their 2-week notice.
You also have to create the environment for growth. How do you do that? Here is what I do:
1) Treat them like adults until they prove they need to be treated like a child. I do not micro-manage my employees. I do not clock watch. I created a flexible time arrangement so they can be flexible with their hours instead of using personal time off.
2) Seek out and find training for them. Including the free stuff. Have them complete the free stuff before asking to be sent to a SANS (or other boot camp style) training. Help me as your supervisor prove to management that you have ambition and are willing to do the free stuff so that they feel more comfortable in providing budgetary funds for training.
3) Create an environment for growth. Find out what your employees like to do and see if you can expand your work to fit that.
4) Don't be a jerk. Seriously. Be nice.
@CISOScott : I couldn't agree more... you have said everything I wanted to say, and you've made every point that I wanted to make!