What does “professional work environment” mean?
Over the last two weeks, I’ve spent a little time with some new trainees at an accountancy firm. I have met many trainees during my working life – most are graduates, some will have worked for a time, or taken a gap year; fewer are 18 year old school leavers and, just occasionally, there’s a “mature” trainee who has changed careers. Most of them have little experience of working in a “professional” office and, as well as learning all the technical things they need to know for their new job, they have to adjust from school/college life to professional working life. It’s a big adjustment for many new staff and I’m not sure the experienced staff and managers always take account of this.
Look at the senior staff in many technical / professional businesses and they have been through a similar training route to the new trainees. Yet, they often cry “it was different in my day” … and they are right but that’s not an excuse to not help the new staff to settle into working life. Yes, the world of work has changed, chiefly through the huge growth in technology over the last 10-15 years. Most professional qualifications have also changed – not just in the growth of technology-based studies, but the content, the timing, the exam structures and the constantly growing regulations and legal requirements.
The trainees have “grown up” with the technology many of us had to learn on the way and their work expectations are different. For them to succeed at work, we need to help them understand how to work in today’s environment. In addition, the senior staff need to adapt and change and respond to today’s staff needs and expectations and not constantly push staff to fit into a mould which is 20-30 years old. I know what I think needs to happen and what issues are about leadership and management and which are about hand-holding, educating and training the new staff to understand “work”; what do you think is needed in a modern, 21st century work environment?
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