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Reader feedback: Invest in human resources

Re: War rages for best new management talent, Volume 11, Number 19, May 16 - May 22, 2005

The article argues that there will be a shortage of qualified managers and leaders in the next five to 10 years. Well let me adjust that a bit, there is already a shortage of these people. Working with consulting and training (not educating) people, I see this every day.

If the problem was only going to occur in the next five to 10 years, why are companies now spending less and less money on their human resources? For me it signals a clear message - that the "leaders" are more interested in making a profit here and now, however little that profit may be, instead of investing and getting a 10-fold profit in the future.

I think one of the aspects that you are overlooking is that although the management might be OK, the leadership is already starting to look worse and worse. When we approach our clients, we typically hear that "our employees already have an education, and don't need anymore". Well, that may be true, but training is training and not, as many people think, education.

Our training programmes strive to locate problems and through soft-skills make the solutions easier, and this is something that is not typical for trainings. Another aspect that many Slovak companies are missing is the customer orientation. However my main concern is that the situation is ending up like a political matter - a typical argument is "let us leave it for the next generation", well guess what, we are the next generation.

I firmly believe that the majority of companies, even the so-called Fortune 500, do not fully understand their responsibility in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility. Companies should give something back to the people, the surroundings, local and national society. This is something that is yet to find its way to Slovakia.

I think it is the responsibility of companies to train and develop its employees, to motivate by personal development. It is true EQ (emotional intelligence) is becoming more and more important, but the simple fact is that companies are not taking on enough responsibility, hence in my eyes the managers are failing.

If the companies do not take responsibility then who will? And if they don't take the responsibility now, then when? I guess when it is too late, and Slovakia will be considered a production country and not a country of research and development.

In my eyes a leader is the one that takes the risks. However, right now I don't see many leaders risking anything.

On a final note, learning is and will always be an on-going process, which must never end. Once the process ends, we are left behind with the rest of the herd.

This is one of the reasons why countries like the USA, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are leading in terms of knowledge and know-how, because the amount of money that companies there invest in internal training and education programmes is enormous.

Slovakia still has to learn how to take risks and start to invest in the human resources it has available.

Martin S Nielsen,
Žilina, Slovakia

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