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Developing a Learning Organizational Culture

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Published: Wed, 07 Mar 2018

ABSTRACT

Employees of an organization that has a mission of enhancing standards of excellence must have knowledge and skills that best suits their work. This then calls for continuous trainings of employees for an organization to better utilize the existing human resources. Training and Development is a major strategy to accomplish this objective. In this perspective there is need for flexibility which is required to respond effectively to the rapidly changing environment, Human Resource training efforts must enable the employees to perform multiple tasks in multiple roles while enhancing a good organizational learning culture. This paper therefore contributes to the debate by analyzing in detail the creation of a learning organizational culture

We also examine the methodologies that enable us to show that even successful organizations do not always implement ‘best practice’ Human Resource Management, and that there is frequently a discrepancy between intention and practice. conclusion at the individual and directorial levels are intricate and often contradictory; we question the extent to which it is possible or meaningful to attempt to measure the interrelationship between Human resources management, at the level of the formal system, and organizational performance, without taking into consideration the role played by the informal organization in the process and implementation of Human resources training.

Introduction

The human resource field takes a clear view of workers, supercilious that almost all wish to contribute to the enterprise productively, and that the main hindrance to their actions are lack of knowledge, insufficient training, and failures of process.

Human resource management is seen as a more inventive aspect of workplace management other than the traditional approach. It results to the managers of an enterprise expressing their goals with specificity in order to be understood and undertaken by the workforce, providing the resources needed for them to successfully accomplish their assignments. As such, Human Resource management techniques, when properly practiced, are expressive of the goals and operating practices of the enterprise overall. Human Resource management is also seen by many to have a key role in continuous trainings of employees.

The employees of an organization that has a mission of enhancing standards of excellence must have knowledge and skills that best suits there work. This then calls for continuous trainings of employees for an organization to better utilize the existing human resources. Training and development is a major strategy to accomplish this objective. In this perspective the flexibility required to respond effectively to the rapidly changing environment, Human Resource training efforts must enable the employees to perform multiple tasks in multiple roles (Adler 1997, p.13)

Development and training

The aim of the development function of human resources maintenance is to ensure that personnel are adequately trained to enable them to be capable to fulfil their goals, as well as to contribute to enhabnced performance and growth with their work . The development of employees can be regarded as a special field of human resource management that includes planned individual learning, education, organization development, career development and training. Training is an efficient method for altering an employee’s behavior to prepare the employee for a job or upgrade the employee’s performance on the job. Development involves the preparation of a person for broader responsibilities and higher-level positions within the company. Preparation and growth can fluctuate from one firm to another, as well as by type or size of service organization (Armstrong 1996, pp. 220 -221). To maximize training effectiveness, it is important to consider how employees learn most effectively. Culture as a factor has a strong impact on training practices in different parts of the world. For example, in the USA, where power distance is small, the interaction between the trainer and employees appears to be equal. The trainer and employees use first names, and the employees therefore feel free to challenge what the trainer says. In another country outside the USA like Malaysia, power distance is large, a trainer receives greater respect from the employee. The trained employees use his/ her surname and title, and he/ she is an expert that students rarely challenge.

Defining a Learning Culture

A learning tradition can be defined as an organization that knows how to learn, with people who freely share what they know and are willing to change based on the acquisition of new knowledge.

Undoubtedly, one of the most significant rudiments of a learning culture are high quality, sound learning programs that are evaluated not only for their effectiveness but also for their potential for really making a difference. That kind of communal appraisal is a self-check on the worth of the program and whether it’s being endorsed and supported.

Organizations that simply make public large catalogs of training courses without consulting their clients or assessing their unique needs exhibit more of a course culture — the more courses, the better — than a learning culture. Instructors that are content only to make public a large e-learning course catalog, and not much more, will be less likely too be seen as business problem-solvers (Galaghan, 1991, p. 43).

An extra suggestion of a high-quality education society is higher-ranking management support — and I’m not just talking about words, but long-term funding. For learning to hold base, senior executives must do extra than just endorse learning; they must embrace it and become users themselves. This will make them good role representation for the rest of the institute.

Good learning traditions involve an savings in good learning depth and evaluation. It’s serious to demonstrate that learning makes a variation and that its benefits are not simply conjecture. Some organizations that are just paying attention on plan and liberation tend to miss out on the front end (needs assessment) and the back end (evaluation), which are very culturally specific.

Good learning traditions go out of classroom and out of the instructional mode to become involved in the workplace. If the staff gets two or three weeks of instruction a year, that’s pretty good. But what is their responsibility for the remaining parts of the weeks? They didn’t stop learning; they’re learning on the job. So the ease by which the workforce contacts information, form communities of performance, and use performance support to learn and improve their performance in the workplace is a sign of a good learning culture.

An additional attribute of an education tradition is how well and how thoroughly we integrate front-line supervisors into our learning strategy. Do they commend whatsoever training the workers call for but not pay any attention to outcomes, or are they integrally involved in developing their people?

Then there’s the whole performance assessment and performance analysis scheme. To what degree is learning truly included and embroidered, and to what extent are employees encouraged in the review process to teach one another and share their knowledge? This is where it becomes very important to review not just whether the employee took the requisite number of hours or the requisite number of courses. That becomes very mechanical. Workers — above all managers — have to be weighed up on their coaching and support for learning. Executives must assume that liveliness comes in large part from learning and growing. They must actually consider about their own “knowledge measure” (their curiosity in, and capacity for, learning new things) and the learning quotient of their employees.

Also, a learning society cannot give confidence to knowledge hoarding, but slightly knowledge sharing. If I know that I’m going to be rated on the known, why would I share information with someone else — which would give them an advantage in the appraisal system, especially with companies that rate on a curve? If I come up with a brilliant idea and share it with everybody, I should get credit for sharing it, even though the idea then would not be to my exclusive benefit. The blueprint of a outcome evaluation scheme has to equal any kind of required rating and ranking with criteria that focuses on knowledge-sharing, learning and teamwork (Arthur 1994, p. 298).

Creating a Learning Organization

A learning organization can be described as one that is able to inspire commitment, and cultivate a culture of discovering and acquiring knowledge and experience for continued growth, development and success. The organizational learning process requires some relatively permanent change in behavior of its workers that results in continuous capability to adapt and change as the market, clients or environmental demands. To tackle these changes requires a strong commitment from management and often a significant shift in organization culture. One of the biggest challenges in moving toward the learning model is convincing and enabling employees to develop new ways of thinking about how things are smartly done. To be a learning organization also demands an open culture where information is shared, interdependence is high, collaboration is the norm, and achievement of the organization mission or vision is pursued with cooperation and open-mindedness ( Hofstede 1991, p. 304).

A commitment to such a challenging level must offer tangible outcomes. The learning organization can also on the other hand have some distinct advantages, the most significant being the ability to respond to major change much more quickly than a more traditional organization. As well, learning organizations are more likely to embrace processes of systematic problem solving, and to focus on creating new ideas and solutions to optimize outcomes, versus the more traditional approach of trial and error or committing to approaches that have worked in the past. A typical learning organization will learn from past experiences and history, but utilize that experience to pursue more enlightened and future-directed outcomes. The plasticity and compliance intrinsic to a learning institution is determined by the rapid and efficient internal transfer of knowledge. The open culture and communication processes that are indicative of a learning organization are the enablers in this internal knowledge transfer. Knowledge sharing encourages motivation and commitment from employees, by encouraging employee involvement in the process of creating and developing a learning culture, and by providing continuous constructive feedback ( Huselid 1995).

The test for most associations is the shift from a long-established to a learning organization. How does one begin the practice of changing organization ethics, comprising organization acquaintances “unlearn” the old ways of doing things, and convincing them to embrace a culture that is committed to change, innovation and continuous improvement? The key is a well thought out strategy that is based on an in-depth understanding of the culture, values, market position, and knowledge base across the organization.

For advanced organizations to successfully develop continuous learning, they should regard the Initial consultation within the senior leadership team to gain an accurate and detailed view of how the organization functions overall; structure, knowledge base, mission, goals, vision, culture and values, and; the rationale for becoming a learning organization. This information is necessary and invaluable when determining the requirement for and viability of a more detailed needs analysis (Stacey 1996, p. 64).

The institutions should also take on a thoroughly need investigation through surveys, focus groups and key stakeholder interviews. It should also undertake a strategic planning and action by senior leaders based upon the in-depth needs analysis. Because contact is serious in organization expansion progression, it is therefore important to ensure all employees are aware of the process, and the targeted outcomes. It is essential to ensure that all employees understand the “learning organization” concept, the rationale and value, implications for employees, implementation process, and targeted outcomes. Through senior leaders, planning, organization and delivery of information workshops would facilitate provision of survey feedback, “educate” employees on the “learning organization” concept, solicit their ideas and concerns and achieve buy-in.

An organization should establish a multi-dimensional management development program, which is essential for the successful implementation of a learning organization culture. The two major dimensions of the program would be: a formal management development process with a consulting focus, to prepare managers for their next promotion level, while strengthening performance in their current position and; a dynamic and substantive coaching program developed for each level of management. Both dimensions of the management development program would be aligned with organization mission, vision and goals, and would include a concerted focus on interpersonal skills development, in the learning organization milieu. An evaluation of developmental initiatives, and particularly the management development/coaching process, is necessary, to ensure that the “learning organization concept” is well entrenched within the organization (Triandis 1995, p. 39).

Becoming a Learning Company

The aptitude of a corporation to learn, not to be rigid, bright and responsive to sustain itself in the given environment is in the modern world being seen as the only way to manage a competitive advantage. Speculative images of the learning company thrive but there is little research focusing on companies who have actually applied the concepts and made them work. The following case study is concerned with describing a company which has attempted to become a learning organization. Prudential UK

The Organization The Company started by giving loans and life insurance to people since 1848. Since then it has become a leading company, as measured by ‘annual premium equivalent’ sales. Their service has also increased to include annuities, pensions, savings and investments. The company has offered financial services to many enterprises such as Jackson National Life, Prudential Corporation Asia and Egg. Prudential company is found in the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia and has employed over 20,000 people, 7,200 of whom are based in the UK and Mumbai. Globally Prudential Company has assets of 234 billion pounds on behalf of 19 million customers, to whom it promises, “In an uncertain world, we make it possible for everyone to enjoy a secure future”.

The Challenge At the start of the decade the company had to accept a period of profound change to cater for the increasing demands of its highly-competitive and tightly-regulated market. In 2002 the company’s leadership team learnt the way it would achieve this in a strategy called the ‘1,000 day plan’, the cornerstone of which was best practice in all people policy and procedures. “We wanted to make sure that we involved our people to transform our business. To do this we harmonised our practices using the People Standard as our benchmark,” says Liane Collins, Human Resources and Learning and Development Operations Consultant. The plan was to provide success and the Standard helped the company to engage its people to succeed. By adopting Andra King from Capital Quality Limited as their external Adviser, the Prudential’s aim was to maximise the potential of its people using a number of different tools such as continuous assessment and recognition. Using these tools they wanted to continue to ensure that their people were at the heart of their business. A further difficulty was to ensure that its workers grasped and applied the brand values to everything they did. “We are focused to delivering the right services,” explains Liane. “We want our clients to know that we can be trusted, helpful and easy to deal with. That’s the experience we want them to have. Honest dialogue is the essence of what we believe in.”

The Solution Among the first things to be done back at the outset of the 1,000 day plan in 2002 was to align learning materials with a Capability Framework, in which the company outlined the skills it needs to thrive. Since then understanding of the framework has leapt from under 40 per cent to over 90 per cent and there is noticeably more connectivity between company strategy and its people. Having established physical Learning Zones across its head offices in the first year of the plan, the second year saw the company bring learning to each desktop through an online learning management system called Learning Space. As well as providing a way to track learning achievements, it gives access to over 4,000 items of learning material. Nearly every employee has now actively used it, and so has helped put them in control of their own learning and development. At the same time highest achievers were offered access to the ‘Pru University’ programme, an internal institution designed to develop a group of key managers and specialists committed to achieving our business goals. This concept was extended the following year to an ‘Alumni’ scheme, allowing those who studied together to work and develop together. A talent management process was also introduced to ensure leaders are properly assessed. “The Pru University is aimed at influential people, ambassadors and drivers of change, irrespective of grade, who can contribute to the development of the organisation and make a real difference to the business,” says Head of Learning and Development Matthew Starks. More recently the company has started to implement best practice in encouraging healthy lifestyles, which research suggests will reduce the burden of self-reported sickness absence. Although it is too early to say what the results have been, the company estimates that it will lead to a five per cent reduction in absence and a ten per cent reduction in cases of stress reported to Occupational Health. It estimates that the return will be £2 for every £1 spent on the project.

The Results Business outcome is usually quantified using performance Indicators (KPIs), an array of measures which come under the headings of ‘cashflow’, ‘customer’, ‘people’, ‘risk and compliance’, ‘profit’, and ‘shareholder’. Absence, employee turnover, and performance remain key human resource measurements that are closely linked to the people indicator. But other variables that are factored include elements drawn from an employee survey and from the Organisation Cultural Index (OCI), a characterisation of a company’s culture. Honest dialogue, simplicity and people – all close to the company’s desired brand values – are consistently the highest scoring values, suggesting the aim of developing understanding of these among employees has been successful. Success s due to developments in its Learning, three-quarters of the people now understand how they can access learning and development opportunities and 88 per cent feel personably accountable for their own development. The vast majority of people – 98 per cent – have also used Learning Space – the online learning management system. A group of initiatives has also delivered benefits. Self assessment by managers revealed that the number now rating their knowledge as ‘good’ has increased from 48 per cent to 92 per cent. Meanwhile an internal audit gave a positive evaluation of the performance review process with 88 per cent of people believing their review meetings to be open, honest and frank. Integrating communications with the strategy has proved an effective approach for Prudential. “There is now a greater connectivity with the strategy from the top and understanding of why things happen and the connections being made,” says Matthew. As a result one of the primary objectives which include, ensuring understanding of the 1,000 day plan among employees – has been achieved. The ‘Living PRU’ survey found that the percentage of people who said they understood their role within the plan increased from 71 per cent in 2004 to 94 per cent the following year. External recognition has come on a number of levels for the company. Among a survey of 7,500 customers, 90 per cent of them said they were satisfied with the service provided. And on a business level, Prudential is also performing extremely well, posting a 33 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in 2005, well above market expectations. The one thousands day reform process come to an end in October 2005 having inspired a period of profound organisational change and improvement in business performance. One of the most dramatic changes came in June 2003, still the first year of the three year programme, when Prudential opened a $10 million customer service centre in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital.

Champion Status To get success is a major endorsement of everything that the company tried to put in place. As Champions, Prudential intended to continue to build on its philosophy of sharing best practice. As well as being involved in forums, the company has worked alongside other organizations, including the Inland Revenue and the Department for Work and Pensions. It shares many of its activities through awards, articles, case studies and benchmarking forums. But, as a Champion the company looks forward to sharing its experience with other employers and showing how involving people in the business is the key to any organization’s success.

A human resource manager is involved in performance of the following tasks Planning He or she ensures that a firm has the right number and mix of people at the right times and places varying from long-range planning for large, stable companies to short-range crisis planning for thousands of small companies employing low-skilled and low-paid workers. (Haksever p217). In this case human resource, managers have to consider all of the laws that protect against discrimination and all of the requirements that employees must meet for the company. Effective planning by a human resource manager clearly brings accurate results that a company wants .in a case of staffing, understaffing result to result to the drop of the industries economies of scale and field of specialization, information, customers and the attained profits, while Overstaffing is extravagant and expensive, if continual, and it is costly to get rid of because of contemporary legislation in respect of joblessness payments, consultation and minimum periods of notice. Significantly, overstaffing reduces the competitive effectiveness of the business. An assessment of current and future needs of the organization has to be evaluated with present and future predicted resources when considering staffing. When proper steps are used in planning, it brings demand and supply into balance. The future demands of a company are influenced by the predictions of the personnel manager, who examine and adjust the simple delivery of the other managerial staff and also recruitments which depends on the following aspects

  1. The predictions of Sales and productivity
  2. Impact of technological change on job needs
  3. Difference in the competence, output, and suppleness of labor as a training result, job study, organizational alteration and new motivations.
  4. Renovation in employment performances by the involvement of subcontractors or organization staffs, hiving off tasks, buying in and substitution.
  5. Deviation, countering fresh legislation, for example payroll taxes, new health and safety requirements
  6. Adjustment in Government policies
  7. Logical staffing demands a plan for varying dates in the future which can then be compared with the crude supply schedules. The associations will then show what ladder must be taken to achieve a balance which involves the further preparation of such enrollment, training, or alteration in labor force operation as this will result to a balance in demand and supply (Claude & Johannes 1999, p.115).

Recruiting A human resource manager is involved in identifying people who could fill positions within the firm and then securing them as applicants. He has to plan a good job picture for the position and a specification of skills and abilities the candidate should have. A potential applicants list is developed from various sources, depending how the human resource manager decides to advertise the job opening. Managers obtain their recruits sources from internal and external sources. Advantages of internal recruiting The members of staff will not have to undergo basic teaching or learning all of the policies of the company. Disadvantages Inbreeding Results to seldom new ideas brought into the company.

Jacuis (1975).An external source for recruiting brings into account the opposite of internal recruiting from outside the company. There are many forms of external recruiting. Some include employment agencies, advertising, Internet recruiting, and word of mouth. He is also involved in the recruitment of employees depending on: An examination of the work to be performed through carefully consideration of the errands to be carried out to establish their essentialities written into a career description so that the applicants know what physical and mental distinctiveness applicants must acquire, what traits and attitudes are attractive and what uniqueness are a certain disadvantage. Where substitution is to take effect, imperative questioning of the need to employ at all should be taken into consideration.

Human resource managers have to search for recruitments in the following areas: 1.Domestic promotion 2.Careers advisors 3.Boards of university appointment 4.Unemployed agencies 5.Advertising Selecting Of Employees After applications have been confirmed, the human resource manager then begins the selection process basing on undoubtedly established criterion for performance of the job. The request form ought to be intended to discover the applicant’s skills and abilities for the job performance. The human resource manager’s choice reason could also be based on testing, interviews, references, and probationary periods of employment. (Simnett 1995, p.56). An effective selection is considered as ‘buying’ an employee (the price being the wage or salary multiplied by probable years of service) hence the human resource manager has to carefully select to minimize and avoid in competencies in the company firms may involve external specialist consultants for selection of their employees Some small organizations exist to catch the attention of staff with high status from existing employers to the recruiting employer.

Training and Development Training is an efficient method for altering an employee’s behavior to prepare the employee for a job or upgrade the employee’s performance on the job. Development involves the preparation of a person for broader responsibilities and higher-level positions within the company. Instruction and progress can differ from one firm to another, as well as by type or size of service organization. (Chaffee 1995, p. 46). Preparation in interviewing and in evaluating candidates is clearly crucial to good recruitment. For the most part the former consists of training interviewers how to draw out the interviewee and the latter how to rate the candidates. For consistency (and as a help to checking that) rating often consists of scoring candidates for experience, knowledge, physical/mental capabilities, intellectual levels, motivation, prospective potential, leadership abilities etc. (according to the needs of the post). Relevance of the normal curve of allocation to scoring gets rid of freak judgments.

Aims of Organization for Setting Reward System

In Human Resource Management, the employee reward policy is intended to align employees with organizational strategy by providing incentives for employees to act in the firm’s interest and perform well over time. Anticipation theory carries a clear significance that workers must sense confident that their effort will affect the rewards they receive. Awareness of equity is therefore crucial in an employee’s judgment to remain and produce valuable work. Equity is a multidimensional construct, embracing external equity (the degree to which a firm pays employees the rate they would find in the external labor market), internal equity (the degree to which a firm differentiates pay between employees on the basis of performance in similar jobs), and individual equity (the degree to which employees are rewarded proportionately to their individual performance).

For the reason that the varying strains of performance on human resources in high- velocity companies, perceptions of equity in its three forms may become confused, as job roles and job interdependence become more varied and flexible. Since employees would expect that as their job changes, so will their rewards, designing reward systems in high-velocity environments presents a major challenge to organizations. In high-velocity environments, a premium is placed on individuals who are able to operate in ambiguous circumstances and who are able to take advantage of loose job descriptions provided by their employers. Organizations in faster-moving surroundings are prepared to pay proportionally higher salaries to individuals who have such skills. We would expect, therefore, that emphasis on individually equitable rewards as a means of recruiting and retaining highly capable employees would be required (Farah 1991, p. 340).

Employee Rewards Policy amended by the Human Resource Management can be classified under three broad headings: performance-contingent rewards, which explicitly reward through performance outputs; job-contingent rewards, where pay is contingent on job classification; and person-contingent rewards, in which pay is dependent on the competencies a person has (Dean & Snell, 1993). Because both output orientation and job categorization may be complex to determine truthfully in high-velocity circumstances, the prospect of person-contingent rewards, which may encourage the values of learning, flexibility, and creativity, would seem to be best suited to fast-changing conditions. In addition, member of staff Reward Policy can be one of the best foundations of control available to a company in its quest to increase organizational performance and effectiveness, yet remain one of the most underutilized and potentially complex tools for driving organizational performance. The significance and difficulty of connecting reward strategies to industrial goals in a systematic manner has been a recurrent argument in the study in this field, as has the importance and difficulty of linking rewards to the longer-term view (Hambrick & Snow, 1989). In recounting the strongest stage of connection the stress has been placed on Lawler’s (1990) description of reward processes which are capable of reinforcing the behaviors crucial to business strategy like long-term versus short-term, customer focus versus financial results.

Utilizing This involves arranging the employees work to make them both productive and motivated. The factors that determine the effectiveness of human resource utilization include: 1.The structure of the work that provide an opportunity for “stretch” performance 2.Contribution in verdicts that have a straight forward effect on the person’s job 3.Open interactions and fair setting up of assignments 4.Competent supervision and organizational flexibility 5.Economic and non-economic rewards that recognize achievement and equity 6.Opportunity for growth

Role of Human Resource Management in Implementing a Learning Organization culture

Human resource management has a strong impact on the organizational culture, it contributes a lot in implementing a learning organization because according to Senge, “the essence of a learning organization is that people are changing, people are developing w


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