JOB READINESS : EMPLOYEE NEEDS AND EMPLOYMENT ENVIRONMENT
Perceptions of readiness are based on a framework of organizational needs that have been influenced significantly in recent years by changes in the competitive environment, in technology, and in theories of managerial best practices. Intense competition has forced organizations to become more customer focused, with greater emphasis on understanding and quickly satisfying customer needs and on responding rapidly to changing customer preferences. Employees at low levels of the organization are often expected to perform across a range of roles and responsibilities and must take initiative and use judgment in determining how to best satisfy customer needs and keep their team running smoothly. Whether responding to customer needs, competitor activities, or rapidly changing technology, the organizational imperatives are clear: speed, agility, and adaptability are crucial. Employer perceptions of employee readiness are influenced by a dynamic interplay among evolving organizational needs. To function effectively in the twenty-first century workplace, employees need greater ability in the basics such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. Employers expect employees to have the interpersonal skills necessary to communicate, solve problems, coordinate activities, and resolve conflict. Employees also need to possess the ability to self-manage, take initiative, and engage in self-directed learning. Moreover, employers want employees who are ethical and flexible.