On-the-Job Training New Stress Factor
By Jane Han
Thirty-six-year-old Kim Hae-rin, who works for a local semiconductor company, hurries to work before the morning rush hour of the subway. She's not behind at work nor does she have a morning meeting, but Kim says she has to be in by 7 a.m. sharp.
``I'm behind in two online training courses,'' she said, complaining that her employer requires workers to take up to 12 courses per month. ``This has become another stress factor.''
Like Kim, the majority of employees at the country's top 50 companies deal with similar on-the-job education pressures.
According to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) released Tuesday, 92 percent of employers said they have to take systemized training programs.
The business lobby group explained that more major firms are stressing the value of career development because they realize that their people must keep up with the competition.
Training most often includes development in language, management skills, technical understanding and social responsibility, said Kim Chang-hwan, a curriculum planner of Tekville, a local e-Learning program supplier for companies including POSCO, Korean Air and the Bank of Korea.
He said that online programs are considered an ideal solution for employers because of time saving and cost reduction.
``Not only is it more expensive to bring in outside instructors, but employees also have to make time during their working hours to attend sessions,'' he said.
Although the Internet is a convenient solution for most, bigger companies still seek professional instructors who can provide more customized training.
Business consultancy Image21 says a growing number of banks are subscribing to its services, which takes bankers into the mindset of rich people. And companies like LG, KT and Samsung are known to have hired experts to speak about ``fun management.''
``Even small- and medium-sized firms, which may not have the financial capability, try to devote part of the budget to career development these days,'' said Kim Min-chul, a researcher at KCCI. ``They realize it's an investment that will take them a long way.''
The results from the training are also used to evaluate employees.
Kim, the semiconductor company worker, said this puts more pressure on the workers to learn, and many become overly concerned with the score than about actually learning something.
The business group's survey showed that Korean companies invest a similar amount on employee's career development compared to top U.S. firms, which contradicts the common belief that domestic firms ignore workers' advancement.