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Walmart training program on employee motivation at ASDA

In today’s highly competitive business market, value and retention of its workers is of significant importance to any organisation. Nowadays, employees expect their companies to provide top quality training that will enable them to perform better at their job. Employee development has become most firms’ focus that seeks competitive advantage. Hence, talent management is one of the most talked about topics when it comes to workforce engagement.

Training not only helps to improve employee performance on a currently held job but also leads to changes in specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, or behaviours. Many people think that training is the way of introducing to new hire, the culture of the organisation.

Training and Development deal with the design and delivery of learning to improve performance within organisations. After hiring the employees, the next step is to determine their training and development needs. Different organisations have different training and development programs in place according to their available resources and requirements. Training and development programs are also important to cope up with the technological changes within the organisation. Today, there is an increasing emphasis on converting organisations to learning organisations and human performance management.

Company training can either be internal or outsourced. With internal training, all departments within the organisation are devoted to conducting both initial and ongoing employee training programmes. On the other hand, some also seek the help of outside consultants to conduct employee training sessions.

The motivation behind employee training differs from company to company. Unfortunately, many companies conduct training simply for appearance sake. The most frequent motivation is to comply with standard regulations rather than to actually enhance employee skills dedicatedly.

Background to project

Rapidly changing needs of the modern organisation are highlighted by the emergence of globalisation and constant internationalisation of firms. In the today’s organisation, knowledge is constantly and rapidly flowing (Guglielmno and Murdick, 191997, 10). Along with the need for initiatives from organisations to conduct and carry out measures that will keep them at par with their contemporaries, a shift towards a learning organisation is slowly becoming a trend. For this reason, the importance attached to training and development has become a crucial element of the modern organisation.

My study will focus on ASDA Company and methods employed by them to train their employees towards fulfilling the organisations strategic goals and objectives. At the same time, keeping employees motivated by the training experience.

Background to organisation

One of the most recognised supermarket chains in the United Kingdom is ASDA. This retail company offers foods, general merchandise products and clothing. Because of the company’s great potentials in the UK market, Wal-Mart, a retail giant in America, made ASDA as its subsidiary in 1999.

Accordingly, ASDA has become the second largest chain in the UK market next with Tesco. Asda is the second largest grocery retailer in the UK (with a 16.6% market share) and the second largest in Scotland.

In addition, the company is Wal-Mart’s largest international subsidiary, which accounts for almost half of the Wal-Mart’s international sales. As of last year, there were 21 Wal-Mart/ASDA Supercentres, 37 ASDA supermarkets which include town centres, 243 ASDA superstores, 10 George clothing stores, five ASDA living stores, and 24 depots or distribution centres. The company has approximately 150,000 employees whom they referred to as colleagues with 60,000 full time employees and 90,000 part time employees.

Furthermore, the ASDA is also involved in property development through its subsidiary business. Being a wholly owned division of Wal-Mart, the company is not required to declare its half-yearly or quarterly earnings. ASDA submits its full accounts every October to Companies House.

Literature Review

Training and development at work

The main aim of this article is to discuss progress and gaps in the scientific training and development literature. The authors of the article Gilad Chen and Richard J. Klimoski suggest three kinds of criteria against scientific progress in Human Resource Management fields that can be evaluated. It analyses some examples from the training and development literature that show progress toward meeting each scientific criterion. Finally, it refers to several gaps in the literature that require further theory development. The authors argue that more multilevel research is needed to better understand how learning is influenced by factors residing at multiple levels of analysis, as well as how learning generalises to influence practically meaningful outcomes at higher organisational levels.

To meet the challenges inherent in 21st-century work careers and organisations, employees are required to continuously update their knowledge, skills, and work habits and organisations to invest highly in the development of their human capital (Ilgen & Pulakos,1999). Despite a steady increase in the amount of organisational research on training and development over the past two decades (Kraiger, 2003; Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001), it is unclear whether the scientific rigor of this research has been adequate. Lack of scientific rigor in research can preclude valid knowledge creation and the accumulation of knowledge, and thus lead to inefficient dispersion of precious human and financial resources, failure to meet employee developmental goals, and loss of advantage in an ever-competitive marketplace and economy.

Accordingly, in this article it considers the current status of the training and development literature relative to its claims to theoretical adequacy. First, they briefly talk about both classic scientific criteria (e.g., Bacharach, 1989; Sutton & Staw, 1995; Whetten, 1989) and the emerging scientific paradigm of multilevel theory (e.g., Kozlowski & Klein, 2000). This allows us to delineate benchmarks against which the training and development literature could be evaluated. Second, we selectively review recent summaries of research findings in the area to document the extent to which the field meets the key criteria that we have identified.

It is important recognise that training and development, like many other human resources management topics, is an applied science. This has several important implications to evaluate the quality of training and development-related theories.

First, training and development theories are likely to borrow heavily from theories developed in more basic sciences, such as cognitive psychology (e.g., learning theories, such as ACT , Anderson, 1983,1995). The purpose that training and development research should meet three core scientific benchmarks, including:

Clarity and justification regarding key constructs, measures, and relationships among them;

Delineation of boundaries conditions and delimitations, including potential generalization and influences that cross settings, populations, and levels of analysis;

Demonstration of practical and applied utility.

Constructs, measures, and relationships

The first scientific criterion is related with the extent to which training and development research has developed cogent theoretical models, in which core constructs are clearly supported, from both conceptual and empirical (measurement) standpoints, and solid rationale is provided in justifying the hypothesized relationships between constructs. This criterion is thus mostly about the construct validity and internal validity of research in the field.

Perhaps in the training and development, the most influential model is Goldstein's (1986, 1991) instructional system design (ISD) model. Goldstein's ISD model suggests that, to be effective, training programs should rationally build up from needs assessment (i.e., assessment of organizational, task and competencies, and personal needs and requirements), to the development of various instructional objectives and strategies, to the implementation and then explicit evaluation of training.

Boundaries conditions and delimitations

The second major scientific criterion consider the extent to which the training and development research generates knowledge that generalizes to different settings, populations and different levels of analysis and as well the extent to which such boundaries impact learning phenomena and training effectiveness. In essence, thus, this criterion is referred with the external validity of the training and development literature as a field.

Quantitative and qualitative reviews of the field (Alliger et al., 1997; Colquitt et al., 2000; Kraiger, 2003; Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001) show that research of training and development has been conducted using a wide variety of samples and in diverse settings (e.g., younger and older adults, employees and managers at various organizational levels, civilian and military organizations, and different countries).

It shows some examples in which researchers explicitly specified and/or tested boundary conditions for generalizations in training research. For instance, work by Maurer and colleagues (Maurer,2001; Maurer, Weiss, & Barbeite, 2003) suggests that older employees discover it particularly challenging to develop new set of knowledge and skills, owing to their own lower learning-related attitudes and motivation and due to stereotypes others in the organization hold about older adults' ability to learn.

Practical and applied utility

The third scientific criterion considers the extent to which the training and development literature has generated useful and practical knowledge, which can advance the effectiveness of work organizations. In particular, this criterion deals with the extent to which the training and development literature has generated knowledge that can advance our understanding of whether and how employee learning and training programs impact important outcomes in work organizations, such as improved job performance and even organizational performance.

Colquitt et al.'s (2000) meta-analysis found the following correlations (averaged across studies and corrected for unreliability) between training outcomes and job performance: first is between declarative knowledge and job performance, second is between skill acquisition and job performance, third is between affective training reactions and job performance, forth one is between post-training self-efficacy and job performance, and fifth one is between training transfer and job performance. Thus, these findings suggest that skill acquisition and transfer are particularly predictive of individual job performance.

Conclusion

In this paper, authors have tried to generate criteria against which scientific progress in the training and development literature could be gauged, and then selectively reviewed the literature against these criteria. Overall, their review suggests that the state of the science in the training and development literature is indeed sound. In particular, theorizing and empirical research has generated a large body of knowledge pertaining to learn antecedents, processes, and outcomes.

Research Objectives

Research objectives include:

To study the effectiveness of training in overall development of workforce.

To look into the impact of training on the workers.

To examine the changes in behavioural pattern due to training.

To measure the differential change due to training.

To study the current method of training given for employees in ASDA

To study the level of understanding of the training on workers.

In particular, the study intends to address the following objectives:

To conduct a quantitative research testing the effectiveness and efficiency implicated by online training scheme posed by the company.

To create a qualitative research relating the general implications of using online training in organisations.

Research Questions

In specifying training objectives it is important to get questions such as:

Is training and development positively significant with employee satisfaction?

How do employees view training and development?

In the employees own views, what are the advantages and disadvantages of training and development?

What are the requirements for proficient job performance?

What are the special characteristics of a job with respect to the organisational structure in which it is performed?

How can the job be engineered, or organised, so that it fits into the general system most effectively?

To what extent is a man being trained not only for skills in an immediate job but also for possible future jobs?

Which equipment is ASDA using for training and development?

Which current training method ASDA is using for its employees?

Do employees prefer being trained or do they prefer finding out things with themselves?

Research Design (Method)

The research in this proposal will be based on qualitative and quantitative method. The qualitative approach enables a flexible and iterative approach, while the quantitative research approach permits specification of dependent and independent variables and permits for longitudinal measures of subsequent performance of the research topic.

In the data collection, choice and design of methods are constantly modified, depending on the ongoing evaluation. This allows investigation of vital new issues and questions as they arise, and allows the investigators to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan.

The survey-questionnaire will also be considered in this proposed research with employees from ASDA as participants. This is to secure primary and secondary data that is needed in the study.

Data Collection and Analysis

Methods of data collection is considered as the crucial stage in gathering all required information from the fundamental in achieving main objectives of the topic.

Primary data collection: Basically the main primary data will be collected from case studies, articles, books, annual reports, journals and internet.

Secondary data collection: Secondary data will be collected through questionnaire, e-mail and interviews.

This method of data analysis is taken as it helps better to understand the correlation in terms of figures and numbers and gives fair idea for level of comparison.

Timescale

September Proposal submission

October – December Literature Review

Jan – March Conduct of Interviews

April Analysis of data collected

May – June Finalise analysis of collected data and

finalise literature review

July Draft copy of the project

August – September Review & submission

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