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material tracks with old beliefs and practices. (2) Staff development must
be inspirational and must create motivation to change. (3) Staff develop-
ment must be experiential and allow workers to practice new skills until
they achieve mastery. A worker's fears and anxieties about change should
be dealt with. Instruction must take into consideration the worker's per-
spective of practice. All workers, regardless of their stage of professional
development, must be engaged in the learning else the group dynamic
changes from one of excitement for new knowledge to resistance and
cynicism. There must be long-range planning, sufficient funding, and a
desire on the part of the organization to implement change for specific
objective reasons. Those reasons might include new research evidence of
the effectiveness of a new approach, a changing client culture, new treat-
ment issues, diminishing numbers of qualified staff, reliance on short-
term treatment, and others realistic reasons for providing funding for
education and change.
Schramm (2005) notes that severe labor shortages in the human ser-
vices will produce a need to retrain the existing labor pool in more effi-
cient and effective approaches to practice with client groups. She reports
a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
showing that finding ways to tap existing talent through new forms of
employee development will be critical in addressing skills shortages that
may develop, and she writes, “The survey exposes a large disconnect
between the number of women and minorities in management roles and
the number in executive positions. This may indicate that current
approaches to employee development are not working at an optimal level
for a large and growing-proportion of the workforce” (p. 144). Because
supervisors are primarily responsible for staff development, greater
emphasis needs to be placed on the ways workers learn (learning curves)
so that staff development not only leads to being able to perform jobs
better but encourages growth and, ultimately, promotion.
Because computers offer so many varied ways of presenting material,
many staff development programs have gone from formal presentations to
giving workers DVDs to view in their spare time (or time made available
by the supervisor). This can also be done online using a website. The
benefit of staff development done online is that workers can review mate-
rial that may not be clear, and the style of learning best suited to the
worker can be included on the DVD. While some learners respond well
to formal lectures without audiovisual assistance, others don't and may
need more time to achieve mastery of the material. It's also a very good
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