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The Perception of the Influence of Training on Job Satisfaction

The ‘information age’ has sparked a revolution in the way that employees think and see themselves in relation to their jobs, lifestyle and quality of life. The days where a person was defined by his work has shifted, especially in those positions where one’s skill sets are the basis for one’s profession or avocation.

The importance of how one feels, sees and thinks about his job have ramifications for not only the individual himself, but disco-workers, family, friends and of course the company they work for. And quality of life means that individuals are highly concerned with how and what they feel about themselves overall. Hoch child (1997) discovered that for many people their work takes priority over their home life as that is where they tend to develop friendships, a sense of accomplishment, a source of meaning and in many cases relaxation.

Stoltenberg (2001) as well as Hoch child (1997) noted that long working hours and the demands of the workplace tends to cause some people to want to spend more time at work, thus creating a reduction in the time spent at home. In some instances this preference for work is as a result of not wanting to be at home to deal with the domestic pressures of children, relatives, and allied concerns. These views however cannot be postulated as universal as Jacobs, et all (2001) as well as Biel by (1998) found no evidence of a cultural shift whereby work was replacing the home and or family in terms of “…relative satisfaction…”

The preceding opposite spectrum views seem to lend credence to a middle of the road approach whereby satisfaction with the varied aspects of one’s life is the central issue, followed by family and work in closer almost equal order. Rather than skew the equation of work versus home or family, which could have the effect of influencing correlations, this middle of the road approach seems to represent the safest avenue in view of the lack of a discernable evidence to the contrary.

Keeping things in perspective, the assumption in correlating job satisfaction is that the individual’s home life is relatively stable as well as happy. The importance of job satisfaction works inflator of both the employee(s) as well as employer(s) in that there is an exchange of value for money. The employer / employee relationship is based upon, in general terms, the employer providing the means (meaning facilities, structure(s), organization(s), payroll, etc. ) and the employee providing the expertise.

This symbiotic relationship exists to benefit both and thus it is in the employer’s best interests to provide working environment that compensates as well as fosters a positive spirit of accomplishment. Assuming these aspects are in order, we would like to examine the perception as well as influence of training as a component of job satisfaction set in the environment of small timid-sized financial service businesses in China.

In order to achieve this end, several theories shall be utilized to establish the rationale for the survey utilizing known sources as the basis. If human needs, wants and desires differed dramatically from each other depending upon locale, one would first have to understand these difference and then construct the appropriate survey, making such task costly as well as time consuming. Fortunately, such is not the case.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The underlying nature of civilization is “…a communal understanding…” of various people who either choose or are somehow caused to live within a group. The very core of human existence is the need to survive, and the banding of humans serves to meet this need. Depending upon the point in time one selects, civilization can further be defined as the “…advanced state of intellectual, cultural, and material development…” which is usually measured by the evolution of“…arts and sciences…” as well as the keeping of records, literature and complex social and political foundations and institutions. The relative degree(s) of safety afforded by civilization permits humans to ascend to a consistent series of higher values on all planes, education, arts, sciences, social and moral.

As a result of the foregoing their expectations, goals, dreams and aspirations also rise. Human behaviour, in general terms, is a “…collection of activities performed by…” that is “…influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, …persuasion and…” other factors. The preceding is linked to the “…acceptability…” of that behaviour within the norms of social and other political factors inherent in their particular civilization (country). The foregoing creates a general populace mind set on broad issues and thus expectations that are attainable within said civilization.

Civilization permits individuals to pursue varied peaceful means to choose the occupation(s) which they determine offers them the best chance at achieving the objectives and goals they have set for themselves. In its truest sense, most would prefer to either be wealthy or own a business than to work for a company. However since this cannot be the case, the majority of individuals seek employment within various firms where they perform under a variety of titles (such as broker, vice president, HR Manager, trainer, financial analyst, etc.), for differing scales of compensation.

A constant within the working environment is that they are all trading their individual levels of expertise for scales of pay as well as the potential for future advancement and increasing levels of compensation. The company’s contribution to this synergy is to provide a working environment that stimulates, encourages, plans and prepares its personnel for their current as well as future positions through support and training. The preceding factors represent a constant which shall be utilized as the foundation for examining not only job satisfaction, but also how employees perceive training and its influence in this genre.

The concept of job satisfaction also entails the varied personal as well as organizational factors which each person brings with them as a result of their own individual goals, objectives, wants, needs, desires and other factors. The preceding forms the basis for an individual’s motivation. Motivation plays an important part in the job satisfaction equation, as does providing a sense of support, potentials for advancement, increased skill sets and a commitment by the company in the success of its staff.

Communicating the preceding entails that the company utilizes a corporate culture that fosters the development of morale, ergonomic working conditions, and support mechanisms which benefits employees as they are the principle assets of the company. Job satisfaction among employees represents “…the sum of all negative and positive aspects…” concerning a person’s perception of:
- wage and advancement possibilities,
- the net effects of their physical as well as emotional working conditions,
- how authority is administered,
- degree(s) of success achieved and the compensation and or promotional rewards obtained,
- the social as well as cultural underpinnings,
- interpersonal work relationships
- how they view their individual responsibilities and work functions

The manner in which a company establishes its concern for the wellbeing, success and future of its employees contributes to heightening how they feel, think and view not only their positions, but the company as well as themselves. And the initial impression start with the company, from their first day on the job. The manner in which the company handles its most valued asset via communications, notices, changes in policy, training (both formal as well as informal) and other areas is the image that employees form of it as well as management.

And this direct affects morale, work performance, quality of work and other factors. A responsive as well as interactive corporate culture seeks two way communication with its employees. This fosters the idea that it considers their opinions as well as recommendations, which should bethe case. This type of environment helps to engender higher work performance, concentration and commitment as they see the company committed to them as well.

The influence of training on employees perception of job satisfaction takes in these broad considerations despite the defined nature of the subject matter, the perception of training and its influence on job satisfaction. Since it, training, is a specific area, one must be able to determine the other aspects, influences and issues at work which employees factor into job satisfaction, and more importantly, why!

1.1 Components of Job Satisfaction

As the underlying component in the examination of how training helps to influence one’s perception of job satisfaction, an understanding of the varied factors within this concept needs to be explored. When one is satisfied with their job (as well as the prospects for the future in relation to same), one performs better, makes less mistakes in the conduct of their work, and they mentally seek ways to improve on how they work.

We as individuals are a complex mixture of various desires, goals, wishes and dreams and as such the weight which ones applies to the varied components that affect job satisfaction may differ, but the elements themselves are there. One of the most respected explanations of job satisfaction is commonly attributed to Herzberg (1968) whose “Two Factor Theory (Motivation –Hygiene)” was conceived from a study that tested the concept that people “…have two sets of needs…” :

1. The need as animals to avoid pain
2. the need has humans to grow psychologically

The interviews conducted by Herzberg utilized a series of interviews that posed the following questions:
1. Positive feedback concerning their job:
This series of questions asked about how individuals felt about their jobs as well as their performance on the job based upon this feeling. Other questions such as whether or not their feelings influenced or impacted upon their working as well as interpersonal relationships where also included.
2. Negative feedback concerning their job:
The reverse side of the issue was explored in this series of questions that explored negative feelings.

From the preceding it was found that the factors which made individuals happy or unhappy with the job stemmed from two differing themes. These were identified as the five factors that are “…strong determiners of job satisfaction…”:
1. Achievement
2. Recognition
3. The Work
4. Responsibility
5. Advancement

Herzberg found that ‘the work, responsibility and advancement’ are the most important aspects that result in formulating “…lasting changes of attitude.” The study uncovered that there are six “…determinants of job dissatisfaction…”:

1. Company policy
2. Administrative policies
3. Supervision
4. Salary
5. Interpersonal relations
6. Working conditions

From the preceding Herzberg concluded that in terms of job satisfaction, which are motivators, the core elements had to do with employee relationships concerning their job along with job content. When individuals are dissatisfied the core of this condition was primarily as a result of the working environment or context of the job. In further examining the variables of job satisfaction /dissatisfaction Herzberg found that there were two dimensions regarding job attitudes at the psychological level concerning need structure. These are:
1. The need to avoid unpleasantness,
2. and a parallel need for personal growth

Herzberg postulates that motivation is a result of one’s personal growth and is “…based on a need to grow…” . The preceding means that individuals find their satisfaction in work that is both challenging as well as interesting and thus when one does work that they consider significant this leads to individuals finding satisfaction in that work. In other words, people are motivated to perform their jobs when they “… perceive it to be significant…” In broadening the field of context with regard to job satisfaction, Herzberg takes the position that society’s larger and more influential institutions have the responsibility to lead the way in exploring and implementing measures that provide a means for growth and the well-being of its employees.

As a result of the influence and effect of business institutions on individuals, the larger of these entities must provide leadership in both exploring and implementing new and successful techniques that provide for individual growth as well as self-actualization.

Maslow’s (1954) “Hierarchy of Needs” came about from his study of such exceptional people as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams and other mentally stabile individuals as the basis for his observations rather than the more popular, at the time, schools of thought of Freud and B.F. Skinner. Sigmund Freud (1967) believed that the motivations of animals and humans are basically the same.

We postulated that although we are supposed to be rational we do not act that way as a result of strong emotions which over ride our rational selves. Maslow’s position is that these factors are true, but that as a result of a “…hierarchy of needs…” he states that the needs of humans are motivated by needs which are not satisfied. In conjunction with this, lower needs must first be satisfied before the higher ones. The following defines the ‘hierarchy:

1. Physiological

As human beings we all have ‘physiological’ needs which include our need for water, oxygen, salt, calcium and other mineral and vitamins. As a ‘need’ diminishes our needs creates a specific hunger to satisfy said need from items or things which we have utilized in the past. These ‘needs’ also include the avoidance of pain, the need to rest, eliminate bodily wastes, etc.

Once these ‘needs’ are either eliminated or satisfied, then we are free to think of other things. There is little correlation with job satisfaction at this level. Salary enables an individual to cope with some of these basic needs by providing the physical circumstances, such as a place to sleep, being able to buy food, etc. Depending upon one’s ability to climb the needs levels, then this basic income aspect then takes on additional importance and then factors into job satisfaction issues.

2. Safety

This second layer in the ‘hierarchy’ comes into play when the first set of ‘needs’ (physiological) are basically taken care of. This means that one seeks safe circumstances along with stability and protection. Blockages at this level include being married to an abusive husband or a dysfunctional family which skews an individual into a loop of fear, anger, violence and other aspects which accompany such conditions thus blocking the person from satisfy this need and thus moving on to the next need level.

It has been found that the lack of safety needs, in many cases, motivates individuals to become religious as it provides the comfort of a secure and safe world after death. In many individuals, this need level causes some people to seek order, structure and some limits. In terms of one’s work, this would include things such as job security, some insurance, a retirement plan and other such aspects/areas. Safety enables individuals to find relative level of comfort.

3. Love

When the preceding ‘need’ areas have been either satisfied or are under a semblance of control, individuals seek the comfort of other individuals through friendships, children, relationships and in some cases a sense of community. These things are manifested through a desire to marry, be part of a community, church, gang, club and represents part of what we look for in terms of career. The sense of belonging and acceptance are also part of this need as human beings are by nature social.

4. Esteem

As the fourth level in the hierarchy, individuals look for self-esteem which helps them to feel good about themselves in relationship to others, as well as what they either think or believe they need for themselves. Maslow stated that there are two versions of this manifestation, a lower as well as higher need for esteem. The lower needs entail getting respect from others, status, fame, recognition, reputation, appreciation and in some cases dominance. The higher form entails one’s need for self-respect and such feelings as confidence, mastery, competence, independence, achievement, and freedom. In the higher form of self-esteem the attainment of self-respect is harder to lose as one is not seeking this from others.

The negative side consists of low esteem as well as inferiority complexes. Maslow agreed with Adler’s (1998) findings that the preceding are at the roots of most of the human race’s psychological problems. The four levels covered thus far (physiological, safety, love, self-esteem) are what Maslow terms “deficit needs (or, D-needs). This is defined as those things which one does not have enough of, therefore one has a deficit, and thus one feels the need.

Once one has all one needs then one feels nothing as it is obtained and it therefore ceases to be motivating. Maslow describes this as homeostasis. This(homeostasis), operates in pretty much the same fashion as a furnace thermostat switching heat or cold on as the pre-set temperature calls for. Maslow states that the human body operates on much the same principle, when it (the body), does not have enough of a certain substance it creates a hunger for it, and when it has obtained enough, the hunger stops.

Maslow extends this principle (homeostasis), to include need factors such as safety, belonging as well as esteem. He describes the preceding as basically being survival needs and that love and esteem are needed to maintain one’s health and these needs are built into each of us on a genetic level in much the same way that instincts are.

The importance and delicacy of one’s esteem is a prime consideration that successful companies carefully consider and factor into their Human Resources as well as divisional, department and other levels or groups that describe operating groups. There are the basic workplace appearance, colours, fixtures and allied visual factors utilized to provide employees with a sense of pride that they work for such an organization.

Then there is the internal workplace environment. This is where a company can implement and foster increased employee productivity through the application of a number of principles and programs designed to bolster employee morale, confidence, commitment and a heightened sense of work involvement. The commitment by the company engenders a like response, in general, by most employees when they see that the company cares about them, then they begin to care more and more about the company, a simple human response, yet one that is often overlooked.

5. Self - Actualization

This last phase constitutes a different underlying set of principles than the preceding sections. Maslow refers to this as growth motivation (which is the opposite of deficit motivation), ‘being needs (or B-needs). The preceding needs do not entail balance or the principle of homeostasis as self-actualization needs tend to become stronger as we take care of them.

Self-actualization needs consist of our continuing desire to fulfil our potential to be all we can. This means that one wants to become the fullest and most complete ‘you’ that is possible. Attainment of self-actualization starts with seeing that one’s lower needs are first fulfilled, as much as possible. Unless these lower needs such as;

a. concern about food for survival,
b. being safe,
c. being isolated and unloved,
d. low sense of self-esteem,

for example, are met one is unable to devote themselves to filling one’s potential. Given the preceding fives (5) series of Maslow’s theories, one can understand why he estimated that just two present(2%) of world’s population is self-actualizing!

To further understand what Maslow means when discussing self-actualization, one needs to look at and understand what is meant. Maslow identifies some prominent historical individuals that he indicates meet the standard of self-actualization. He lists these people as:
- Abraham Lincoln,
- Jane Adams,
- Albert Einstein,
- Thomas Jefferson,
- Benedict Spinoza,
- Albert Schweitzer,
- Aldous Huxley,
- William James,
- Eleanor Roosevelt,

As well as twelve additional people (unnamed). From an examination of these individual’s lives, speeches, writings, acts and deeds he developed a list of qualities which seemed to indicate the characteristics of these individuals. Maslow discovered that they were all ‘self-cantered’. This means that they were able to distinguish the fake and dishonest from that which is real as well as genuine. He also found that they were / are also ‘problem-cantered’, which means that they saw life’s problems as demanding solutions rather than personal troubles.

In addition to the preceding, Maslow found that these people also had/have ‘different perception of means and ends”. The preceding means that they saw that the ends do not always justify the means, as well as the possibility that the means could very well be the ends in themselves. They further saw that the means (referred to as the journey), was actually more important, in the scheme of things, than the end.

The importance of understanding and examining self-actualizers is in context with the varied components that comprise the way individual look at, see themselves and the hidden motivational and other attributes which a company must understand in order to formulate an environment that encourages, fosters, supports and creates job satisfaction.

Chapter 2 – Correlations

The preceding section has examined the components of job satisfaction from Herzberg to Maslow. This was done to provide a clear understanding of the varied aspects which comprise the basic human need, want, desire and dream structure. The understanding of these factors is extremely important in constructing a survey which permits one to examine employee attitudes concerning their perception of training as part of job satisfaction. One of the more important facets of this idea is ‘stimulation’.

Good companies, managers, supervisors, department heads and trainers stimulate individuals to want to learn, contribute, participate and like the work they are performing. All this translates into a higher and better quality of work as a result of satisfied employees. And while various companies and institutions may be known for their products, goods and or services, the factors that brings these areas to fruition are people. The preceding is true as its individuals who weld auto seams, compute mutual funds variables, investigate cures, fly planes, prepare restaurant meals and the like. It all begins and ends with people!

The preceding clearly indicates that the recruitment and retention of qualified and skilled employees represents one of a corporations most important tasks. The Y Generation (individuals who were born after1981), represent a completely new type of employee. These individuals are electronically savvy, in either operation or knowledge of as a result of the Internet – digital phones, gadgets and a higher standard of living in terms of information and freedoms.

This means that the old standards in terms of job satisfaction need upgrading, modification and revision to fit the new demands of today’s generation. In a survey by SHRM Research (2004) the respondents were asked to comment on 16aspects which are thought to contribute to overall job satisfaction. The survey utilized Likers’ five-point scale which rates replies where ‘1’ indicates ‘very important’ and ‘5’ represents ‘very unimportant’.

The survey was comprised of three areas, 1. career development, 2.relationship with management, 3. compensation and benefits, with and ‘other’ category. The 16 aspects were:

A. Career Development
1. opportunities for career advancement within the company,
2. opportunities for career development through learning as well as professional growth,
3. job security,
4. job specific training that focuses upon individual jobs

B. Relationship With Management
1. management and employee communication,
2. the ability of employees to exercise autonomy and independence in decision making,
3. management recognition of employee job performance through direct feedback, incentives and rewards,
4. employee relationship with their supervisor

C. Compensation and Benefits
1. rating of the company’s benefit package (medical, 401K, dental, etc.)
2. rating of the company’s compensation policies (salary, bonuses)
3. the ability of employees to strike a balance between work and life

D. Other
1. rating the feeling of safety with regard to the work environment
2. the importance or meaningfulness of their job in relationship to how it contributes to society as a whole
3. the company’s overall corporate culture, which entails its industry reputation, values, work conditions, work ethic, etc.)
4. one’s relationship with their fellow employees
5. rating the interest quotient of the work in terms of it being challenging, exciting, etc.)

The preceding replies were spread across 461 HR professionals and 604employees an area where HR professionals and employees were in close agreement was the importance of opportunities for career advancement in the organization. HR professionals responded with a 43% score on the issue that career advancement was ‘very important’, and 52% of employees responded in the same manner.

In terms of an ‘important ‘rating for this question, HR professionals responded at a 51% rate as compared to 36% for employees. This indicates that HR professional tend to be aware and understand the significance of this issue(importance of opportunities for career advancement in the organization) however, HR professionals have not grasped that this issue is viewed as more important by employees then they realized as evidenced by the above. The following summarizes the remaining survey findings;

1. Question – Importance of opportunities for career development through learning and professional growth?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 48% Employees 51%
2. Question – Importance of opportunities for career development through learning and professional growth?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 46% Employees 40%
3. Question – Importance of opportunities for career development through learning and professional growth?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 6% Employees 7%
4. Question – Importance of opportunities for career development through learning and professional growth?
Rating – Unimportant
5. Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

The preceding indicates that employees again perceive that this area is more important to them than do HR professionals. This further strengthens the conclusion indicated under the question ‘importance of opportunities for career advancement in the organization’ where Professionals responded with a 43% score on this issue that career advancement was ‘very important’, and 52% of employees responded in the same manner.

6. Question – Job security?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 59% Employees 65%
7. Question – Job security?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 37% Employees 30%
8. Question – Job security?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 4% Employees 3%
9. Question – Job security?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 1%

This question again indicates that there is a closeness of views with respect to this issue, however once again HR professional sunder-rated the significance of this area versus the responses by employees.

10. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 34% Employees 34%
11. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 58% Employees 51%
12. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 7% Employees 12%
13. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

As in the previous responses, employees placed more significance on this issue as being ‘very important’ than did HR professionals showing that their perceptions are behind the views of personnel.

14. Question – Importance of job specific training?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 34% Employees 34%
15. Question – Importance of job specific training?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 58% Employees 51%
16. Question – Importance of job specific training?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals % Employees %
17. Question – Importance of job specific training?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals % Employees %

HR professionals saw this aspect in much the same light as do employees.

18. Question – Importance of communication between employees and management?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 77% Employees 62%
19. Question – Importance of communication between employees and management?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 21% Employees 34%
20. Question – Importance of communication between employees and management?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 2% Employees 3%
21. Question – Importance of communication between employees and management?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 0%

Even though employees rated this higher in their need category (very important), HR professionals are mindful of the significance of this issue.

22. Question – Importance of employee autonomy and independence?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 24% Employees 46%
23. Question – Importance of employee autonomy and independence?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 67% Employees 48%
24. Question – Importance of employee autonomy and independence?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 7% Employees 6%
25. Question – Importance of employee autonomy and independence?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 0%

As with some preceding questions HR professionals scale of what is important from their perspective differs from the prevailing employee responses.

26. Question – Importance of management recognition of employee job performance?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 62% Employees 49%
27. Question – Importance of management recognition of employee job performance?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 36% Employees 44%
28. Question – Importance of management recognition of employee job performance?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 2% Employees 5%
29. Question – Importance of management recognition of employee job performance?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 1%

The employee responses in this area seem slightly different than one would expect. It would seem that employees would want management recognition, however the nature of management tends to distance itself from employees as they do not get to interact with them. As such it is possible that employees see the recognition of more immediate supervisors as important and that management recognition will take care of itself after that.

30. Question – Importance of relationship with supervisor?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 61% Employees 49%
31. Question – Importance of relationship with supervisor?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 35% Employees 43%
32. Question – Importance of relationship with supervisor?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 4% Employees 6%
33. Question – Importance of relationship with supervisor?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 1%

Once again, employees rated this area in much the same manner as they did with management recognition, with HR professionals seeing this in the same manner as the previous (management recognition) question.

34. Question – Importance of benefits?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 53% Employees 64%
35. Question – Importance of benefits?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 43% Employees 32%
36. Question – Importance of benefits?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 4% Employees 3%
37. Question – Importance of benefits?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 0%

As would seemingly be the case, employees place a high level of importance on benefits, whereas the HR view is less concerning, probably as a result of costs.

38. Question – Importance of compensation / Pay?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 54% Employees 59%
39. Question – Importance of compensation / Pay?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 44% Employees 36%
40. Question – Importance of compensation / Pay?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 2% Employees 3%
41. Question – Importance of compensation / Pay?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 1%

As would be expected, under the ‘very important’ category, employees felt stronger on this issue than HR professionals.

42. Question – Importance of employee flexibility to balance work / life issues?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 46% Employees 62%
43. Question – Importance of employee flexibility to balance work / life issues?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 46% Employees 30%
44. Question – Importance of employee flexibility to balance work / life issues?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 7% Employees 7%
45. Question – Importance of employee flexibility to balance work / life issues?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

46. Question – Importance of feeling safe in the work environment?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 30% Employees 36%
47. Question – Importance of feeling safe in the work environment?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 55% Employees 46%
48. Question – Importance of feeling safe in the work environment?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 15% Employees 15%
49. Question – Importance of feeling safe in the work environment?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

Employees placed a slightly higher importance on this issue versus the HR department.

50. Question – Importance of meaningfulness of job?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 18% Employees 29%
51. Question – Importance of meaningfulness of job?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 52% Employees 47%
52. Question – Importance of meaningfulness of job?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 27% Employees 20%
53. Question – Importance of meaningfulness of job?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 3% Employees 2%

Under the ‘very important’ scale employees thought this issue was more important than HR, however, the low percentile number indicates that the second response under ‘important’ more accurately reflects that both employees and HR see this issue in basically the same light.

54. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 33% Employees 40%
55. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 56% Employees 49%
56. 56. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 10% Employees 9%
57. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

The question invoked responses through to the ‘neither important nor unimportant’ range and indicates a relatively even view on the part ofboth employees and the HR department when ‘very important’ and ‘important’ are viewed overall rather than separately.

58. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 33% Employees 40%
59. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 56% Employees 49%
60. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 10% Employees 9%
61. Question – Importance of overall corporate culture?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

The responses on this area, taking into account the first two question rating categories, is relatively equal in the view of employees and the HR department.

62. Question – Importance of relationships with co-workers?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 29% Employees 23%
63. Question – Importance of relationships with co-workers?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 63% Employees 61%
64. Question – Importance of relationships with co-workers?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 8% Employees 14%
65. Question – Importance of relationships with co-workers?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 1%

Employees and the HR department saw this issue in relatively the same light.

66. Question – Importance of the work itself?
Rating – Very Importance
Response – HR Professionals 34% Employees 50%
67. Question – Importance of the work itself?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 57% Employees 45%
68. Question – Importance of the work itself?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 10% Employees 4%
69. Question – Importance of the work itself?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 0% Employees 0%

Employees saw this issue as more important than did the HR professional.

The preceding examination of the SHRM Research Job Satisfaction Series Survey Report was undertaken to provide a broad perspective on the variables that comprise both employees as well as the company’s view (HR professionals) of the preceding. This information points out, on a broad scale, that HR Departments / Professionals are close to the views of employees on most aspects as indicated in the survey.

The 16points were deemed indicative of qualified job satisfaction question areas. And while the survey included only one question on ‘How important is job specific training to employees’ the significance of the other questions in terms of formulating a better understanding of employee and HR views on varying points can be seen in the following summary;

1. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Very Important
Response – HR Professionals 34% Employees 34%
2. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Important
Response – HR Professionals 58% Employees 51%
3. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Neither important nor important
Response – HR Professionals 7% Employees 12%
4. Question – How important is job specific training to employees?
Rating – Unimportant
Response – HR Professionals 1% Employees 1%

As in the previous responses, employees placed more significance on this issue as being ‘very important’ than did HR professionals showing that their perceptions are behind the views of personnel. This question is somewhat clouded, for the purposes of this discussion, by the blurry nature of the topic area – training. In reality, some sort of training, notification, modification or similar occurrence is in process each day in any company as new financial regulations are either enacted or considered, as well as any number of other aspects.

A software program upgrade is another such example as are new forms, a modification in work flow, etc. As these are subtle yet consistent factors, employees tend to view these informal or small formal training segments as discussions and or conversational areas and thus when the broader context of on or off site training is mentioned, unless they are motivated to seek another position their view is ‘I am trained’.

The following summarizes the five (5) most important areas by employees as well as HR professionals:

A. Five Top Areas Rated as “Very Important” by Employees
1. Job Security – 65%
2. Benefits – 64%
3. Communication between employees and management – 62%
4. Employee flexibility to balance life and work issues – 62%
5. Compensation – 59%

The preceding conforms to Maslow’s hierarchy theory in that the psychological, safety, love and esteem needs are the most important. The preceding correlate this.

B. Five Top Areas Rated as “Very Important” by HR Professionals
1. Communication between employees and management – 77%
2. Recognition by management – 62%
3. Relationship with immediate supervisor – 61%
4. Job Security – 59%
5. Compensation – 54%

HR views are impacted by a variety of considerations which might cause variances from the employee population as a whole. Managing people entails cost, both in payroll as well as benefit packages and allied programs. Thus a HR professional’s view must balance the ‘want ‘of employee circumstances against the affordability or cost of same. With this equation looming as part of a HR professionals consideration even their own personal views might shift or deviate from the general employee population even on those questions where cost does not represent a concern.

Looking at all of the survey questions with respect to the responses by employees further defines the respondent groups;

A. ‘Very Important’ Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employees
1. Job Security – 65%
2. Benefits – 64%
3. Communication between employees and management – 62%
4. Employee flexibility to balance life and work issues – 62%
5. Compensation – 59%
6. Career advancement opportunities within the organization – 52%
7. Career development opportunities – 51%
8. The work itself – 50%
9. Recognition by management – 49%
10. Relationship with immediate supervisor 49%
11. Employee autonomy and independence to make decisions 46%
12. Overall corporate culture – 40%
13. Feeling safe in work environment – 36%
14. Job specific training focused on the employee’s job – 34%
15. Meaningfulness of job – 29%
16. Relationship with co-workers – 23%

As the replies to the preceding survey were conducted in the United States the view and responses illustrated here have been utilized to indicate the variables comprising job satisfaction and thus the task for professionals in devising programs and structures that address contemporary employee concerns. When this data is compared against Herzberg’s (1998) ‘two factor theory’ which shows that satisfaction consists of a sense of achievement, recognition, responsibility, nature of work, personal growth and advancement, training ranks at number 14of 16 identifiers.

This means that when compared against other factors, employees ranked training at the bottom of their priority list. And while the survey was conducted in the United States Maslow’s hierarchy of the needs of human beings indicates that the most salient ones(needs), must be satisfied before lesser ones in order to achieve this end (satisfaction).

It is believed that the rank of this function in the satisfaction hierarchy means that the positioning of training as an important consideration by employees follows a number of other issues. The preceding does not mean to say that this correlation diminishes its(training) importance, it does indicate that company’s must raise employee interest in the benefits of training to distinguish it as an effort in their best interests.

Training As a Tool in Achieving Job Satisfaction

Taken in the context of small sized financial firms in China, essentially the training of employees starts the moment a company hires anyone. In this contact they are usually provided with materials on the company such as a personnel manual and or other paperwork. The orientation process is anew employee’s first glimpse with how the company works, its personnel policies and other such information.

At that moment individuals in almost every sized firm are introduced to how the company organizes and approaches this aspect. It can inform them of basically what to expecting the future, potentially some overview of their area or department and or other areas as determined by the company’s HR staff. The way in which a firm handles the indoctrination process generally sets the impression of what a new hire can expect from succeeding training programs.

In fact, almost regardless of one’s position, training programs are a part of every employees life, from the HR department staff, on through seminars and other such events for executives (even though these might be products of outside firms and or conventions). Each new hire, regardless of prior expertise and or qualifications, needs varying amounts of training in procedures, forms, computer programs, and other areas.

The preceding is usually conducted within the confines of one’s actual working environment one a one to one or small group basis whereby employees already familiar with the nuances of the position guide the new hire through various procedural processes. These ‘informal’ (in the sense that they are not usually formally structured)training programs represent the means via which the majority of training is done throughout almost all companies.

As a result of the foregoing, training is seen as a part of the normal working process as it is on-going for established employees as well as a result of new software programs updates that need to be understood, or new forms, procedures and the like which are consistently being modified, amended or changed in an ever continuing process.

As a result, formalized training, be it on or off site represents a group, class or other form of the indicated on-going training each employee receives as a result of updates and changes. As the process Isa part of the work function, distinguishing formal training from the almost daily process seems difficult as employees might tend to think of it all as a part of the on-going process. Even training for specialized positions falls under this broad context. Kullberg androgens (2000) seemingly have arrived at the same conclusion as they indicated that the investment in training for firms in Norway has been linked to increases in job satisfaction.

As we have seen, ‘job satisfaction’ represents a broad cross section of aspects, with varied financial considerations such as benefit packages, compensation, advancement and related issues representing areas which are foremost inmost employee’s minds. When areas such as career advancement, job security and other areas with more defined spheres of association are included, placing a significance on what is essentially a component of one’s normal work environment, the lines become blurred.

The preceding distinction is critical in placing the context of how employees perceive how training influences job satisfaction. Row den’s(2003) quantitative study measuring workplace learning and job satisfaction for small businesses in the United States also seems to bear out the preceding. His statistical analysis revealed that informal learning accounts for 19 present of overall job satisfaction and that just 9 present is as a result of a formal process. The preceding overall contextual views were considered in formulating the Training Survey Questionnaire that shall be reviewed under section four (4)Research Methodology.

Chapter 3 – Literature Review

The perception by employees of the influence of training on job satisfaction regarding small to mid-sized firms in China is specialized study requiring the consideration of a broad range of factors. One of the most important aspects was the development of an understanding of what motivates most individuals, as well as the priority of their needs.

While it is understood that each of us indifferent as a result of our backgrounds, education, peer groups another factors that influence our thinking, there are also distinct commonalities. Historically all civilizations developed from the same needs of safety, communal bonding and the desire for a more comfortable existence. This is true regardless of geographical location.

Maslow (1954) provided the insight that confirms the universality of human wants, needs and desires, thus providing a proven foundation from which to proceed. His ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ sets forth the key needs common in all human beings:

- Physiological
- Safety
- Love
- Esteem
- And Self-Actualization

The preceding was conceived through his studies of people whereby a succession of needs were identified which are part of our genetic survival code. This ‘hierarchy’ is motivated by unsatisfied needs which start with such basics as food and shelter and then move on to higher ones. Maslow found that the higher needs cannot be satisfied unless the lower ones are as these will continue to surface thus taking one’s time to rectify thereby preventing one from being able to address or even be aware of the other higher needs that follow.

A simple example is provided by looking at cultures whereby the gathering enough food for that day’s meal consumes most of their waking time. This reoccurring need must be satisfied before other needs come into play. If the amount of time needed to perform this aspect does not reduce, the society is stuck in a non-development loop and it does not progress thus creating stagnation. To attain progress, one’s methods must change and evolve to keep pace with developments or exceed them.

As the preceding is a universal phenomenon, it provided a foundational understanding to determine that needs in China will approximate needs in France, Colombia, the United States and other locales, and that this being the case, a foundation existed for developing a means to explore the findings of respondents. The preceding also meant that the foundational validity based upon Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would allow such a questionnaire to be developed.

Maslow’s identification of the physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization levels also helps to explain the findings found in the SHRM Research (2004) ‘Job Satisfaction Series Survey Report. This three (3) part survey of 16 questions covered career development, relationships with management and compensation and benefits. When one views the summary computational of this survey utilizing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the responses take on additional clarity in terms of being able to almost predict that these questions would be answered in the fashion they were.

The number 1 survey reply in terms of its rating on the five point Liker’s scale was predictably ‘Job Security’. Maslow identified that basic human needs must be satisfied before human being can move onto higher levels and this reply bears this out, as it was the number one reply in terms of percentage. In the same view, ‘benefits’ came in as the second highest question response at 64%in the ‘very important’ category. When one looks at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and then the responses from the SHRM survey, the reliance on Maslow as a critical component in understanding the question becomes apparent:

A. SHRM Survey
‘Very Important’ Aspects of Job Satisfaction by Employees
1. Job Security – 65%
2. Benefits – 64%
3. Communication between employees and management – 62%
4. Employee flexibility to balance life and work issues – 62%
5. Compensation – 59%
6. Career advancement opportunities within the organization – 52%
7. Career development opportunities – 51%
8. The work itself – 50%
9. Recognition by management – 49%
10. Relationship with immediate supervisor 49%
11. Employee autonomy and independence to make decisions 46%
12. Overall corporate culture – 40%
13. Feeling safe in work environment – 36%
14. Job specific training focused on the employee’s job – 34%
15. Meaningfulness of job – 29%
16. Relationship with co-workers – 23%

B. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
1. Physiological
2. Safety
3. Love
4. Esteem
5. Self-Actualization

The preceding are repeated below;

1. Physiological

Maslow’s hierarchy defines key aspects of human behaviour as well as why that behaviour occurs. His defining our physiological needs for foods, shelter and comfort diminish as these needs are satisfied thus enabling higher level needs to come into play. Our other natural needs consist of the avoidance of pain, getting rest, and other natural basic bodily functions. At this level, compensation represents a need which satisfies these areas and thus provides us with the ability to seek higher needs. Thus singular or combinations of salary, security, and allied financial aspects fit the satisfaction of most of these needs.

2. Safety

Are food, shelter, comfort and bodily functions comes the need to feel safe and secure. In terms of job satisfaction areas this could take in a number of aspects. The satisfaction of basic physiological needs opens the door for these higher needs. This category represents where we are also looking for stability as well as protection. Circumstances that block these needs are those posed by the threats or unusual circumstances represented by others. Job satisfaction categories that this level represents fall under such aspects as job security, things like a retirement plan, IRA and other longer term financial / safety aspects. Comfort requires safety for it to take full effect, and thus this category opens the doorway for love, the third need.

3. Love

Next on the need satisfaction level is ‘love’. This represents our interactions with our family, relatives, friends, children, co-workers and the like. In some ways these represent small intertwined communities of our personal relationships which overlap with others forming communities, towns and cities. This category also includes the desire for someone to become married, raise a family, become part of a community, and in general our social side.

This represents the softer side of our make-up and allows us to develop the creative, literary and artistic sides of our nature which forms the foundation for civilized society. It permits us to forms bonds witch-workers and neighbours and also causes us to follow rules and regulations. In a business environment it is at the core of our desire to perform job functions and other tasks seeking to do them right. Andes is also the case with any positive side, the negative side holds equally true.

4. Esteem

As a building block off of the preceding categories, esteem enables us to feel good about ourselves in relationship to our interactions with family, friends, associates and co-workers. The root of esteem, be it self or otherwise, is that one must develop a set of beliefs which stand up to the dictates of contemporary society. Maslow stated that there are two versions of esteem. One is a lower version which most individual adopt as family, early growth experiences another influences helped to meld their vision of whom and what they are. Higher self-esteem is the understanding that one must work on these attributes consistently and let them evolve. Lower self-esteem means that one looks to others for such important things as status, fame, recognition, appreciation as well as in some cases dominance. The higher form entails our need for self-respect, which means that we formulate our own esteem and do not need reinforcement from others. Other attributes of this higher level include personal achievement, freedom, confidence, mastery, competence and independence.

The recounting of these extremely important conditions explains the replies garnered Thus, the lower rating of ‘job specific training focused on the employee’s job – 34%’ at number 14 is in keeping with its diminished importance in the hierarchy.

Herzberg’s ‘Two Factor Theory (Motivation – Hygiene) emanated from the concept that people have two sets of needs, and these are that:

1. The need as animals to avoid pain
2. the need has humans to grow psychologically

These fundamental aspects where then utilized to formulate a series of questions which asked employees to reveal how they felt about their jobs as well as other factors such as 1). their performance, 2). and whether these feelings influenced or impacted on their working and or interpersonal relationships. The positive as well as negative feedback resulted in the finding that there are ‘five’ factors that are strong indicators of job satisfaction, and these are:

1. Achievement
2. Recognition
3. The Work
4. Responsibility
5. Advancement

Among the preceding five factors, Herzberg was able to determine that work, responsibility and advancement are the most important areas which formulate lasting changes of attitude. His work uncovered that there are six determinants of job dissatisfaction as well, and these are;

1. Company policy
2. Administrative policies
3. Supervision
4. Salary
5. Interpersonal relations
6. Working conditions

The preceding two sources provided that all-important foundational understandings to be able to not only construct a survey question, button understand the results using these two areas (Maslow – Herzberg)

Other literature sources such as Jacobs, McNamara and Row den helped to support minor, yet important points in either background or foundational confirmations with respect to the two major determinants of Maslow and Herzberg.

Chapter 4 – Research Methodology

The overall understanding of what constitutes job satisfaction and the variables of motivation, and various considerations were necessary steps in formulating an approach to how the influence of training impacts job satisfaction. By devoting the focus of the respondents squarely on this specific aspect, rather than blur it in a maze of job satisfaction issues, one is able to explore the impact of this area more directly.

Questions were designed to delve into the areas of on and off site training as well as determine employee thinking on the issue in general. The qualifying question which needed to be addressed in order to proceed with other inquiries “Do you think your company should offer ‘On (Off)-the-job Training?’ is critical in that negative response provides insight as to the relevance of this area in an employee’s frame of reference.

Based upon the research and studies conducted for this segment, the concept of training is blurred by the day to day informal as well as formal learning, modification and learning process that takes place not only in small sized financial firms in China, but basically for almost any firm.

The quantitative study method was employed in the design of the questionnaire which focuses on the financial services industry segment targeting small to mid-sized firm with up to 200 employees. The white-collar nature of the work functions performed in this industry demands level of professionalism whereby employees are in competition for client funds. A high level of individual work proficiency is thus demanded.

This means that in this sector (financial services), training is an important variable that impacts bottom line performance. Row den’s(1995) qualitative study on workplace learning in a similar business environment, small to mid –sized manufacturing firms in the United States, provides the basis for utilizing this methodology.

The Questionnaire design focused on formulating simple direct questions to provide a clear frame of reference for respondents. As the nature of the survey is based on if any sort of training programs are in place, either on or off site, this qualifier might reduce the size of the response field as smaller firms might not have the administrative capacity to have such programs (On or Off site training)in place.

The following is the Survey Questionnaire:

Please answer the questions indicated in the Survey using the selection methods indicated

Part 1

A. Please indicate your gender:
_____ Male _____ Female

B. Please indicate your age
_____ Age

C. Please indicate check the appropriate box regarding education
___ High School ___ College Degree ___ Master’s Degree ___ Doctorate

D. Please indicate any specialized degrees
¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬ ______________________________________________________________

E. How many people are employed in your company (Please select the closest number)?
___ 100 ___ 120 ___ 140 ___ 160 ___ 180 ___ 200

Part 2

A. On-the-job Training
1. Do you think your company should offer ‘On-the-job Training’? (Please indicate your answer by checking one of the following):
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

2. Do you think that “on-the-job Training” helps to improve the quality of your work performance?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

3. Do you think that “on-the-job Training” helps to improve the quality of work performance in general?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

4. Do you think that your company should offer ‘on-the-job Training’ for your task or specialty?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

5. If your company does offer ‘on-the-job Training’ for your task or specialty, do you think it has helped you perform and understand your work better?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

6. If your company does offer ‘on-the-job Training’ for your task or specialty, do you think that this ‘Training’ has helped to make you more satisfied with the work you do?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

7. Do you think ‘on-the-job Training’ sessions accomplish their objective of informing and communicating how to improve one’s work performance?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

8. Do you think that ‘on-the-job Training’ could be improved?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

9. What of the following factors do you think would help to improve the quality and impact of ‘on-the-job Training’?

a. Shorter session lengths
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

b. Better designed course format
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

c. Better course delivery in terms of presentation and the flow of information
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

d. ‘on-the-job Training’ courses that provide the right information to help employees perform and understand their jobs better?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

e. That ‘on-the-job Training’ courses should also include follow-up training by supervisors or other personnel on a regular basis?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

B. Off-the-job Training
1. Do you think your company should offer ‘off-the-job Training”?(Please indicate your answer by checking one of the following):
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

2. Do you think that “on-the-job Training” helps to improve the quality of your work performance?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

3. Do you think that “on-the-job Training” helps to improve the quality of work performance in general?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

4. Do you think that your company should offer ‘off-the-job Training” for your task or specialty?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

5. If your company does offer ‘off-the-job Training” for your task or specialty, do you think it has helped you perform and understand your work better?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

6. If your company does offer ‘off-the-job Training” for your task or specialty, do you think that this ‘Training’ has helped to make you more satisfied with the work you do?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

7. Do you think ‘off-the-job Training” sessions accomplish their objective of informing and communicating how to improve one’s work performance?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

8. Do you think that ‘off-the-job Training” could be improved?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

9. What of the following factors do you think would help to improve the quality and impact of ‘off-the-job Training”?
a. Shorter session lengths
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

b. Better designed course format
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

c. Better course delivery in terms of presentation and the flow of information
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

d. That ‘off-the-job Training” courses should also include follow-up training by supervisors or other personnel on a regular basis?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

C. Job Satisfaction
1. Please answer the following questions:
a. I am satisfied with my job?:
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

b. I am not satisfied with my job?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

c. I am moderately satisfied with my job?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

d. I am over qualified for my job?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

e. I am under qualified for my job?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

f. More ‘Training’ would help me to perform my job better?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

g. More ‘Training’ would help my co-workers perform their jobs better?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

2. I think more training and communication would help to improve my satisfaction with my job?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

3. I think that more training would help the company improve morale and job performance?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

4. I think that a carefully designed and administered training (either on-the-job or off-the job), helps both the company and its personnel?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

5. I would like to see improvements in my company’s approach to training?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

The preceding survey form was designed to elicit responses based upon the context of the study ‘The Perception of the Influence of Training on Job Satisfaction - A Study in Small to Mid-sized Financial Service Business in China’ within the confinements of small sized financial firms with less than 200 employees. Part 1 gathers limited information on the respondents demographic and educational background as well as how many employees are in the firm. Sections 2 and 3 explore ‘On’ as well as ‘Off’ the job training at their respective companies.

The obvious question asked at the beginning of both sections is ‘if their company offers either On the job or Off the job training, a necessary qualifier. If the answer to both questions is a negative, then the sampling for that firm would be worthless. The questions concerning both ‘On the job and Off the job training’ seek to make a determination of what the respondent really thought through the use of easy to understand language. Their views represent the core of the survey and as such their opinions must be extracted.

The question as to if the respondents think that on or off the job training helps to improve the quality of their work performance provides an insight as to if they have personalized the experience of their on or off the job training experience by asking if it ‘improved the quality of their work performance’. Financial service firms perform specialized tasks whereby competitive factors can cause rapid changes in how things are done.

The question asking if they thought their company should offer ‘On or Off the job training’ for their task or specialty was asked to distinguish those respondents whose firms do not offer this opportunity. The logical follow up to this question asks “…If your company does offer ‘off-the-job Training” for your task or specialty, do you think it has helped you perform and understand your work better?”

Asking respondents directly about if they derived any benefits from training sessions for their task or specialty provides feed back on their impressions. This question was included in the questionnaire as well as asking if On – Off the job Training sessions accomplish their objective of informing and communicating how to improve upon one’s work performance. The preceding question explores the effectiveness of these programs and what respondents think. This leads directly to inquiring as to specifics on training programs, such as;

What of the following factors do you think would help to improve the quality and impact of ‘off-the-job Training”?
a. Shorter session lengths
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

b. Better designed course format
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

c. Better course delivery in terms of presentation and the flow of information
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

d. That ‘off-the-job Training” courses should also include follow-up training by supervisors or other personnel on a regular basis?
________ ________ ________ ________ ________
disagree disagree neutral agree agree
strongly somewhat somewhat strongly

The array of questions offered under this survey were constructed to beclear, understandable and glean information on respondent feelings as well as thoughts on various aspects of On and Off the job training. By constructing a short length, just 8 pages of questions, respondents are not intimidated by an excess of questions to cause a reluctance to answer them by actually reading. This approach was undertaken to eliminate respondents from glossing over questions due to excessive length or unclear meanings.

The construction of the questionnaire is more a function of approach, understanding and consideration for the participants. And while there is no statement to this effect, respondents can tell by the wording, flow and question sequence when survey is easy to fill out. It involves an understanding of logical question progression. Meaning that you first open the big door through broad statement question, and then you spread out to other questions that logically follow this train of thought.

Chapter 5 – Conclusions and Recommendations

Understanding the perception by employees of the influence of training on job satisfaction regarding small to mid-sized firms in China represents an important area for the management of these types of firms in not only understanding how their employees think, but why. One of the keys to the achievement of a successful business is to hire, train and retain the best people.

The daily demands of the pressure environment of financial services means that the company as well as its employees are in a constant state and condition of change. This could be the result of new financial opportunities, competitive inroads, new legislation or any number of reasons causing or resulting in an adjustment in the manner and way things are done.

But more importantly, the perception of training as a component of job satisfaction diminishes due to its inclusion in day to day work functions. The instructions conducted between members of the same department or team on the new software specifications and operating methods represents a type of informal training that is constantly evolving. In employee terms it is an accepted part of their normal work routine, thus it is not really noticed or considered.

This subtle nuance means that the perception of additional on site or off site training entails something special. If one has mastered their position, then training, unless it introduces some new concept, procedure or structure would basically be discounted in terms of importance. And the availability of specialized training suggested one is seeking a new position and thus is upgrading their skills.

The context of a small sized financial firm of between 25 through to 200 people does not necessarily lend itself to this kind of structural diversity in that the number of potential attendees would be small. This would seem to indicate that a smaller, structured departmental training or one on one guidance would be more appropriate and yield better result. It might not be the ideal method, however small firms must utilize more creative techniques in order to stay competitive.

The broad base of considerations in conducting either an on-site or off-site training program means that a company must devote HR as well as monetary resources to not only implement this type of activity, but also to upgrade, modify and keep in contemporary. The practicality of this as a solution in firms numbering between 25 through 200 people seems unlikely as the number of potential attendees would not justify the effort. Small firms usually do not have the additional spill over coverage for personnel who are in training, and when the number of potential attendees are considered devoting a trainer and space for something that could be conducted on the departmental floor or area makes fiscal sense.

The preceding has examined the problems, understandings and considerations that are a part of any HR function, and particularly in this case training as it applies to employees. Smaller firms must be more creative in how they utilize their limited resources, as well as how employee time is spend. The luxury of specialized on-site or off-site training for a field of employees in the 25 through 200 range does not seem to represent a feasible course of action, unless the entire firm or almost the entire firm is attending. And that is of course an impossibility.

The practical methodology points to individualized or small group instruction within the departmental working context as both a time and cost saving measure, as well as one that is basically part of the existing working environment. In the context of the sample firm employee size constraints of up to 200 the cost considerations in relationship to the limited staff numbers causes the degree of difficulty to rise.

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