Ilene Smith-Bezjian is the dean of the School of Business and Management at Azusa School Pacific University and has more than 30 years of experience as an international business relations expert. She was recognized as an outstanding business leader by the American Marketing Association and has worked with the aerospace, educational and entertainment industries. Her research areas include consumer behavior, integrating service learning into business curricula and transformational scholarship.
Q. How important is it to keep continuing education in the budget for companies in today’s economy?
It is critical for companies to continue educating employees particularly in today’s business environment. Employees become the best source for solving nonprogrammed decisions for companies facing new problems and opportunities created by changing business climates. This is new territory for the organization and employees. Historical data is irrelevant; business turbulence is high domestically and internationally. Solving tomorrow’s problems with today’s information will no longer be a competitive choice.
Q. What type of education should companies focus on in today’s economy?
In this time of uncertainty, seminars and classes in the field of strategy, economic development, organizational behavior and finance would be my top choices. The organization and employees are concerned with issues facing them in the immediate future. Morale becomes an issue spilling over into organizational effectiveness. By looking forward to what could be created in terms of newer or better business practices and more competitive competent workers, a win-win situation is created for both the organization and the employees.
Q. How can a company determine effective training techniques to maximize education dollars?
First, organizations need to assess what outcomes they need to realize from educating and training the employee. Then they need to see if they can offer the programs using their in-house talent or if there is a need to look for an external source. Find who has used the education source in the past and realized successful outcomes. Then determine if the university providing the training is a solid cultural match for the organization. See what type of business relationship you can build with the university for program needs delivered at a reasonable price, in accommodating locations.