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HRM Summative Assignment
For the purpose of the question this assignment will look specifically at training and development (T&D) and its relevance to the professional service firm KPMG.
Training and development are part of the Human Resource development (HRD) process. HRD is a process for developing and unleashing human expertise through organisational development and personnel training and development for the purpose of improving performance (Swanson, 1995). More specifically, Training is the procedure by which the skills, aptitudes and abilities of employees to carry out particular jobs are imparted (Jucius, 1975).Â The process is fundamentally one of learning in which employees can increase the effectiveness of their performance in the workplace, therefore increasing the chances of a company to reach their objectives at the most cost effective way possible. Development refers to the prospects of learning that are intended in order to help the employee grow. It does not necessarily relate to skill-orientated activities as the development processes can provide new attitudes and general knowledge.
KPMG is a successful network of globally professionalcompanies offering Tax, Advisory and Auditing services, in taking revenue of $22.7 billion in 2008. They have 135,000 professionals working in 146 countries worldwide, in order to deliver value to the customer. KPMG work in a competitive environment, being one of the four strong accounting firms (See Appendix 1) they have to constantly strive to improve with executive vice chair Jack Taylor stating that 'everything we have is based on starting with the core philosophy on building knowledge by building a training and development program that is the best of the big four'. According to the website 'Sustaining and enhancing the quality of this professional workforce is KPMG's primary objective. Wherever we operate we want our firms to be no less than the professional employers of choice' . With this objective and a competitive environment with the need to differentiate, it is clear that training and development is vital for the success of the company as their reputation is built upon a good standard of service which requires a good local knowledge, sufficient insight into certain industries and also high professional capabilities.
The recent global recession has been a critical period for KPMG as they are highly involved in servicing the financial sector, which was especially affected by the crisis. They will have had to fulfil their services to their clients in order for them to get through the difficult financial period. For a company such as KPMG this means increased workload and pressure on them to respond rapidly and react suitably to keep up the loyalty from clients. However, KPMG have a flexile and adaptable training strategy with their managers and training department integrating together, within the short space of a few days being able to create a resolution by providing a programme for employees to learn. With specific reference to the recession, this contained tactics to deal with the financial situation and develop their understanding of the regulatory, technical and industry standards in order to efficiently deal with their clients.
Looking at the Leitch Review (2006) it has become apparent that training and development needs to be considered at a strategic level. According to McCracken and Wallace (2000) a strategy driven approach contains nine characteristics (See Appendix 2). KPMG provide training and development through a strategy-driven approach in which they incorporate technical expertise in each of the services they provide: auditing, advisory and tax methods and education is provided into global business ethics and the development of leadership. This is all included in their business model which is all about creating knowledge within their employees. Appendix 2 (Fombrun et al., 1984) shows how training and development fits in with a strategic HRM approach. It is apparent that their training and development is continuous in order to reach a good level of performance, with the learning for their employees being never-ending. Due to the variation of different information incoming to the business it is vital that training and development occurs on a daily or weekly basis rather than yearly. KPMG's efficient ways of focusing relentlessly on gathering and analysing data for every aspect of their business ensures that their T&D is inline with the companies overall business strategy therefore allowing this frequent training to be more focused and efficient.
According to BusinessWeek in 2009, after a three part survey, with 'training' making up the third part, KPMG was deemed as the 4th best company in the world to launch a career at. Looking at an interview of Eric (See Appendix 3), a senior manager at KPMG, it is clear that the attractions of joining the firm are mainly down to their 'practical training and development programs'. Many graduates launch their careers at KPMG. From the minute they join they are supported through various training and development schemes. It is intimidating joining a large firm, but from the beginning KPMG make graduates feel integrated and constantly make sure their knowledge is being developed. This is done through a specifically designed support network which includes mentoring with a recently qualified trainee. Mentoring can be one of the most powerful development approaches available to individuals and organisations (Clutterbuck, 1998). It is a developmental relationship between two individuals, the mentor and a protégé. In which the mentor provides a variety of career-related and psycho-social functions for the protégé (Kram, 1985). Its benefits include enhancing learning outcomes and organisational commitment (Lankau & Scandura, 2002; Donaldson, Ensher et al., 2000).
Also in this support network the new employees receive coaching. Coaching aims to enhance the performance and learning ability of others.Â It involves providing feedback, but it also uses other techniques such as motivation, effective questioning and consciously matching your management style to the employee's readiness to undertake a particular task.Â It is based on helping the employee to help her/himself through dynamic interaction, not relying on a one-way glow of telling and instructing (Landsberg, 1997). This is done by a performance manager who takes full responsibility in the development of employees by setting objectives, monitoring performance and helping the employee learn from problems. A counselling partner is also assigned in order to guarantee that employees are developing to their full potential by monitoring their progress in the long-term. This links with the 7th characteristic of McCracken and Wallace's (2000) strategy driven approach to T&D that trainers do not only have an expanded role, including facilitation and acting as organizational change consultants, but also lead as well as facilitate change. It is clear that training and development within the company is not only important for making employees more knowledgeable but is also for attracting the best new employees from around the globe because of the high reputation of their T&D system.
KPMG don't only concentrate their T&D on new employees at the business. They make employees at all levels learn and understand the strategic goals of the company and the role they are going to play in achieve these for KPMG.Â The company have a program called the 'Chairman's 25', where every so often, 25 highly performing employees are chosen to undertake the program. This helps these employees to further develop their knowledge through a multifaceted leadership development approach eventually taking on key senior roles in the firm
To conclude, training and development increases productivity but comes at a cost. It needs to take into account the organisations objectives and strategy and identify the skills and competencies required now and in the future. The key challenges faced by training and development include achieving strategic integration, building a learning culture, promoting workplace learning, and developing managerial and leadership capability. For KPMG, the benefits they receive from their T&D clearly outweigh the costs, with a clear causal link between their T&D and the increasing performance of the organisation. They have created one of the strongest learning and development schemes on a global level. This can be seen by their training methods that are directly intended at creating a top class service to their clients, through their blend of coaching and mentoring, technical training, skill building programs and industry insights, the have been furthered to Number 2 on the global Training Top 125 list. Joining KPMG at any level is beneficial because of their T&D programs occur at all levels and the opportunities are endless for their employees, from graduates to more senior members.
- Swanson, R. (1995) "Human resource development: performance is the key" Human Resource Development QuarterlyÂ vol 7 (3), 203-207
- Harrison, R. & Kessels, J. (2004) Human Resource Development in a Knowledge Economy Hampshire: Palgrave.
- Jucius, M. Personnel Management, Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1975, pg 225.
- McCracken, M. and Wallace, M. (2000) Towards a redefinition of strategic HRD. Journal of European Industrial Training pg 281-90
- Fombrun, C. Tichy, N. & Devanna, M. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management New York: Wiley
- Group Esc Toulouse (2002) Conference on life long learning for a knowledge based society.Â France: Toulouse Business School
- Clutterbuck, D. (1998), Learning Alliances: tapping into talent, London: Institute of Personnel & Development.
- Kram, K.E., & Isabella, L.A. (1985). Mentoring Alternatives: The role of peer relationships in career development. Academy of Management Journal, 28(1), 110-132.
- Landsberg, M, (1997) Tao of Coaching: Boost Your Effectiveness at Work by Inspiring and Developing Those Around You,
Appendix 1 - 4 Big accounting firms comparison.
Firm Revenues Employees Fiscal Year PWC $26.2n 163,000 2009 Deloitte $26.1bn 169,000 2009 Ernst Young $21.4bn 144,144 2009 KPMG $20.11BN 135,000 2009
Appendix 2 -HRD as part of a strategic HRM approach
Appendix 3 - 9 characteristics of strategic HR approach
- HRD shapes the organisation's mission and goals as well as having a role in strategy implementation
- Top management are leaders rather than supporters us of HRD.
- Senior management (not just HRD professionals) are involved in environmental scanning in relation to HRD
- HRD strategies, policies and plans are developed, which relate to both present and the future direction of the organisation and the top management team is involved in this
- Line manages our not only committed and involved in HRD but involved as strategic partners
- There is strategic integration with other aspects of HRM
- Trainers not only have an expanded role, including facilitation and acting as organizational change consultants, but also lead as well as facilitate change
- HRD professionals have a role in influencing the organisational culture
- There is an emphasis on future oriented cost effectiveness and results in terms of evaluation of HRD activity.
Appendix 4 - Interview with senior manager Eric off KPMG site
What attracted you to KPMG?
I joined as a graduate. Among what were the 'Big Six' organizations at that time, I chose KPMG because of the friendly environment, well-structured and practical training and development programs, and the member firms' strong client base.
How have professional qualifications, training, mentoring or coaching helped your career?
The training I received has helped me to get the required professional qualifications quickly and to acquire both the 'hard' and 'soft' skills needed for my daily work. The mentoring and coaching I received has given me practical guidance on work matters. Thus, I always encourage my team and myself to spend more time on training, mentoring and coaching junior staff, so that each member within the team and the team as a whole can grow faster.
I have found the training provided at KPMG in China is varied and very high quality. For graduates this includes the exam assistance program, followed by technical Audit training (what we called 'hard' skills), but also management and communication skills (what we call 'soft' skills).
 Swanson, R. (1995) "Human resource development: performance is the key" Human Resource Development Quarterly vol 7 (3), 203-207
 Jucius, M. Personnel Management, Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1975, pg 225.
 McCracken, M. and Wallace, M. (2000) Towards a redefinition of strategic HRD. Journal of European Industrial Training pg 281-90
 Fombrun, C. Tichy, N. & Devanna, M. (1984) Strategic Human Resource Management New York: Wiley
Group Esc Toulouse (2002) Conference on life long learning for a knowledge based society.Â France: Toulouse Business School
 Clutterbuck, D. (1998), Learning Alliances: tapping into talent, London: Institute of Personnel & Development.
 Kram, K.E., & Isabella, L.A. (1985). Mentoring Alternatives: The role of peer relationships in career development. Academy of Management Journal, 28(1), 110-132.