The reason for this report is to investigate and evaluate a topic appropriate to human resources within an organisation. The subject of this report will be Learning, Training and Development. This is a very important section of human resources as it deals with bettering the performance of individuals and groups within a particular field in an organisation. This is essential for the growth and survival of any company.
The sources used to obtain the information in this report are: the class notes; Unit 5 Human Resource Management, first hand experience of human resource management in the company I work for and information found on reputable websites and in articles from journals about human resources.
The human resources topic I chose to examine and report about is Learning, Training and Development. There is a definite need for training and development in every kind of organisation. Without training, staff may be technically qualified for their position, due to a degree or certificate, but they would not be able to put this knowledge into practise without being shown how that particular organisation does things. It is also extremely important to stop employees getting bored with their positions, after doing a certain job for a long time employees may decide to further their career and look elsewhere for a more stimulating job which would cause their present company to lose out on good employees and possibly lose these employees to the competition.
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As there is so much global competition and technological advancement today, training and development is crucial for organisations to stay on top of their markets. Knowledge and skill can be taught to employees from many sources, for example, a specialist in a particular aspect of that company's business can be brought in to teach employees more about that subject, the employees can then be examined on what they have learned, if they do not pass the exam they may be asked to repeat it until they do pass and are appropriately trained in that subject.
Education is usually a formal, accredited programme of study that usually involves examinations and awards. It focuses on jobs that a person may have in the future.
Training is the planned acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities, related to a specific role or job and its purpose is to improve skills and abilities that will improve the persons work performance.
Learning is the process through which individuals assimilate new knowledge and skills that results in relatively permanent behavioural change. These can be conscious or unconscious, formal or informal behavioural changes meaning the employee could be just learning as they go along not necessarily realising they are picking up information and skills. On the other hand they may have a specific training session with somebody in a higher position to them or somebody who has been allocated the task of training and teaching new employees.
Development is future orientated. It is concerned with growth of the individual. It refers to the acquisition of skills and abilities required for the future roles in the organisation. It is tied to career development and determining management potential and personal development.
Human resource development is a strategic organisational approach to managing Learning, Training and Development. It refers to learning at individual, group and organisational levels.
Learning organisation is a participative learning system that means there is emphasis on exchange of information and openness to self- criticism. It promotes continuous development and improvement.
Organisational learning is concerned with acquiring knowledge, understanding, skills and values in order to be able to adapt to an environment. The individual must be firstly willing to learn, if they are not willing they will not make progress and take in the new knowledge. There is also a responsibility on the person doing the training to motivate the trainee. They must show them there is a purpose to what they are learning and show them how it will benefit themselves and the company. The learning also needs to be reinforced and put into practise or it will be forgotten. The learner may also be asked to give feedback on how effective they feel the material was, this can be helpful with further training of employees. Human resources development is regarded as central to business policy meaning that individual and organisational learning is a very important business activity.
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A training plan is the first step in the process learning, training and development. It involves assessing the needs of the organisation and how it plans to develop employee's skills so they meet these needs. Then the objectives must be defined and training methods developed employees must then be selected for the training and the training conducted. There should be feedback at each stage of the process, this shows if the training is being successful and useful and lets the training be rethought if it is not thought to be working.
Job Security- this behavioural theory is concerned with making an employee aware that if the tasks given to them are carried out effectively and properly that their jobs will be secure and that they will not be let go from the company or organisation. This is an extremely effective theory in today's economic climate as jobs are scarce and the prospect of job loss is something a lot of people face. Therefore giving an employee job security is a great way of motivating them to give their best performance.
Goal Setting- is to do with motivating staff by setting them goals or by them setting themselves goals. This is a useful way of motivation as it gives the individuals short term goals- tasks to carryout that can be done immediately, medium term goals- goals to carryout that may take a few weeks or months to complete and long term goals- these may take months to a year to complete and they would concern where management sees the company in the future. Studies have shown that people respond well to tasks and goals set out for them to complete, they feel a sense of achievement when a target is reached or a task is fully accomplished (Randall S and Susan E J, 1999).
Internal Promotion- this is a step further than job security as it promises higher pay in return for tasks being completed the way in which the company wants. Money is a great motivator, not only will the individual feel a sense of accomplishment on completing tasks well but they will also be awarded a higher paid position. This may keep employees from leaving and working for the competition and also ensures the company is in a position to compete in its field. They then know they are working towards something and do not feel their hard work is going unrecognised.
Individualised Reward Systems- this idea is that employees are given incentives to meet targets; these incentives may be things like staff nights out, holidays away or things like televisions or games consoles. These rewards are to make the employee feel their hard work is being noted. The rewards may even in some cases just be a simple thank you.
The company I work for is Zara, this is a clothes store owned by the organisation Inditex. When an employee first begins working for Zara they begin as either a sales assistant or as a cashier. There are three sections to Zara stores; these are Ladieswear, Menswear and Kidswear. Each section has it's own managers, sales assistants and cashiers. There is also a general/store manager. All staff begins their training immediately on the first day they start.
Cashiers have a lot to learn, as the tills used in one Zara store are the exact same as the tills used in all Zara stores all over the world and things are done in a strict way where things are checked and double checked as to avoid discrepancies. They are first introduced to the basics of putting through a sale on the till using both cash and cards, they are trained with real customers and not in a pretend scenario. The next step is refunds once again with cash and with cards. There is a head cashier in every store who trains the new cashiers. He or she has a sheet to go through with the new cashier showing what should be learned and when over the new cashier's first fourteen days of work.
Sales assistants do not work on the tills at all; they are floor staff. They must learn all about the garments on the shop floor, know roughly where all items are and be able to advise customers making purchases. They are trained by the managers of that particular section and by senior sales assistants. They must be fully trained in the products delivered into the store and how to put them out onto the shop floor in a way that makes them look presentable and appealing. The most basic of what they first learn is simply to fold the clothes on the shop floor in the correct way.
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Recently Zara decided to run a competition in each of its stores in Ireland in which all of the staff had their picture taken and placed on a board in the staff room. On this chart each employee was awarded a star for completing different tasks like making sure their department was closed perfectly at the end of the day. After about four weeks the employee from each department with the most stars on their chart was interviewed on why they would like to win. An overall winner was then chosen from each store. The prize they won was to spend the day with a regional manager of their choice, to see what their day-to-day job entails. Each winner was then put into a draw to be the overall winner in Ireland and to win a trip to London. This was an incentive and it gave the employees an opportunity to put their learned skills into practise. This motivated employees to put in their best efforts.
When an employee in Zara decides they want to move up higher and train to become a manager there are a few steps they first must follow. If this employee is a cashier they must become a sales assistant and learn a lot more about the shop floor and about the garments than they would have known as a cashier. They must also be given a full-time 37.5-hour contract if they have not already got one. They are then given some more responsibility and learn about ordering and managing deliveries and transfers to different stores. The step is to go for an interview with regional managers to see if they are progressing enough. The employee is sent on training days in a bigger store where they learn management skills. There may be more than one of these interviews before the employee may become a 'responsible'. This is a kind of assistant manager role. Notices of job vacancies within Zara and Inditex are posted for the staff to see in the canteen and staff rooms. Employees who have already begun to embark on further training are the ones most likely to avail of these positions.
Zara also does training courses for staff that are already in management roles so the learning, training and development is never over. This way they can maintain they are always able to compete with other retailers.
Zara also do an appraisal system in which employees are interviewed by the store manager and their own department manager. This lets the manager know what stage the employee is at with their training and development and what they feel they still need to learn.
Employees are also made aware of the store target everyday. This lets them know how they are selling that day in comparison to that day the previous year.
They also pay staff commission, which is a percentage of what the store takes in everyday that the employee works. This helps to motivate as, the more you sell, the more you get paid!
To conclude, training and development is a key aspect of human resource management. There are many ways in which employees are trained including, education, training, learning and development. These methods include training for the present time and for the future. Feedback is important to let the manger know if their training is being successful or not and allows them to improve it if needed.
Behavioural theory looks at what gets employees motivated. These include things like setting goals, promotion, job security and incentives. Motivation is the key to performance improvement.
Zara has a very effective way of training staff. Sales assistants are trained quickly whereas cashiers learn more over a longer period of time. This is because they have more to learn, as they are responsible for handling all of the cash for the store. Managers are still constantly training and developing their skills too and receiving higher salaries rewards them.
I would recommend that Zara train cashiers a bit more quickly than they do at present as sometimes in the first few months cashiers can feel they are in over their heads and will never know everything they need to. I think the checklist sheet, which all of the Zara stores use is a good idea as it means all cashiers are being taught the same things in the same way and there is no variation in they way one employee does something compared to another.
The way the organisation trains staff within their working shift hours and does not bring them in for training out of hours is something that they do well. It means that the new employee can be trained in real life situations, which in my opinion, is a far greater way of learning than being taught the theory of a situation without actually witnessing it happening first hand.
The only time staff are brought in for training out of working hours is for health and safety training and this is because all staff need to be present at the one time and the empty shop floor space is needed to demonstrate things such as lifting boxes correctly. Staff are kept in for a short amount of time and are paid for this training and therefore do not mind having to do it out of shop hours.
As I have not gone for any managerial training I cannot comment from first hand experience on this training.