The Importance Of Worker Training Commerce Essay


According to W. G. Horner (1998), the definition of training expands from training directly related to the performance of official duties to any training that improves individual and organizational performance and assists an agency in accomplishing its mission and performance goals.

Whilst, Olaniyan and Ojo (2008) stated that training is a systematic development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes required by workers to perform adequately on a given task or job. It can take place in a number of ways, on the job or off the job; within organization or outside organization. They also postulated that the process of training and development is a continuous one. The need to perform one's job efficiently and the need to know how to lead others are sufficient reasons for training and development. The desire to meet organizational objectives of higher productivity makes it absolutely compulsory to have training of employees in the organization (Olaniyan and Ojo, 2008).

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In the point of view of Tim Lowder, he defines that training is a learning process that involves the acquisition of knowledge, skills, concepts, and rules, which contribute to the changing of attitudes and behaviors of employees in order to enhance their performance. Training involves the teaching of key leadership skills and techniques in order to maximize performance of employees and create excellent leaders in the organization.

On the other hand, Dwyer (2008) defines that worker training is an adult education or "andragogy". The theoretical development and research in adult education can be traced to Dewey's writings in the early 1900s, followed by Knowles (1980) and Lindeman (1926). As Knowles says, "andragogy" is "the art and science of helping adults learn". Besides that, Knowles' (1980) writings on education also provided guidelines for practitioner for the nature of adult learning.

1.2 The Purpose and Importance of Training

Based on Avril and Magnini's research (2007), the purpose of training is to avoid high turnover. These authors claim that some of the workers might resign when no training is provided. The reason is it would be hard for workers to improve without training. High turnover can be expensive for the organizations to bear. They have to bear both direct costs and indirect costs.

Besides the purpose of training mentioned above, Olaniyan and Ojo (2008) also found that training can enhance and enrich the individual's capacity to contribute optimally to the development of the organization. Training provides employees with the skills, knowledge and aptitudes necessary to undertake required job efficiently. It also develops the workers so that efficiency can be increased by reducing spoilt work, misuse of machines and physical risks.

It is also important to have training for workers because technological and structural changes render jobs and skills antiquated at such a rate that the slow renewal of the labour force through the entry of young qualified workers might not suffice to satisfy the demand for new qualifications, thereby increasing the risk of skill shortages that may depress employment in a global economy (Martin and Grubb, 2001 and Layard, 2004).

Apart from that, people with low qualifications face higher unemployment prospects in countries where they can price themselves into jobs, which results in a higher risk of being persistently in low pay and often in poverty. Policies for initial education and adult training can, therefore, be seen as complementary to making-work-pay policies and job-search assistance as regards to "minimizing the number of people who do not attain and maintain the skills required to command earnings that bring them above the poverty threshold" (OCED, 1999, p.12).

Another purpose of training for employees by using adult education principles is individuals would learn "when their perception of reality is not in harmony with experience" (Mezirow, 1977, 1981). For an instance, when a person faces a dilemma and crisis such as divorce, promotion, relocation and loss of job, he or she would "experience this disharmony" and be more ready to learn. Moreover, adult education principle also emphasizes on the ability of the employee to self-actualize during the process of learning (Rogers, 1969).

Last but not least, the purpose of training for workers is to avoid activities, interventions or relationships that may bring others harm. Since certain aspects of human services may involve risk of harm or discomfort to practitioners (e.g., working with violent clients), simulated training and development activities may also present a risk to training and development participants. Every effort should be made to ensure the physical and emotional safety and security of all participants.

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In short, training and development of employees is important and necessary for an organization, as Olaniyan and Ojo (2008) mentioned, "The need for improved productivity in organization has become universally accepted and it depends on efficient and effective training. It has further become necessary in view of advancement in modern world to invest in training."


1.3.1 Organizational factors enhancing learning and employability

Although learning and the development of competencies are inevitably individual processes (Baitsch, 1998; B.V.D Heijden, J. B. M. Klink, E.Meijs, 2009), they are strongly linked to the organizational climate and to social learning processes, which provide ample opportunities for management in working organizations to facilitate the development of workers' further career potential. Recently, more attention has been paid to the issue of how organizations differ according to the conditions and climate encouraging learning.

While most studies focus upon informal learning of specific groups of workers holding similar positions in the organization, Ashton (2004) applied an approach in which all categories of employees within a single organization were involved. This allowed him to gain more in-depth information on how organizational structures shape informal learning. Ashton's findings demonstrated significant differences between employees depending upon their job. For some groups of employees, he found evidence for learning in breadth and in depth, while for others; learning appeared to be shallow and fragmented. Access to and availability of relevant information, opportunities to learn and to apply learned skills, availability of support and feedback of managers and co-workers, respectively, seemed to be important conditions that influenced both possibilities and content of informal learning experiences.

Skule's (2004) research also added new insights to the impact of organizational factors on primarily informal learning. His work concerned the identification of factors most conducive to learning at work in different sectors, and revealed that organizational size and sector were important predictors for the proportion of learning intensive jobs. Large organizations with over 250 employees offered higher levels of learning intensive jobs. As regards to sector, it appeared that oil industry, banking, insurance and commercial services had relatively high levels of learning intensive jobs, while retail, hotels and restaurants appeared to have lower levels of these. Moreover, Skule (2004) found that access to learning-intensive jobs appear to depend on prior education, with higher levels of education being more often associated with jobs with a rich reservoir of various learning possibilities.

Analogously, those who are well equipped in terms of formal education continue to enjoy better learning opportunities at work. This mechanism is often referred to as the 'Mathew Principle':'. . . to those that already had, shall be given' (McCracken &Winterton, 2006, pp. 56-58). The acquisition of competencies in the workplace strongly depends upon the learning climate of a company or, in a smaller sense, a department (Olbert-Bock, 2002). Autonomy as regards to work processes, communication, co-operative structures, attitudes of and support by superiors, as well as time for learning, are essential factors influencing learning climate, as has been shown in many studies (e.g. Bergmann et al.,2000; Jenewein et al., 2002).

Improving the amount of learning in the workplace is essential as it is, in many occasions, the only place to broaden one's knowledge and skills' base. In general, vocational education systems neither provide nor prepare workers for a continuing vocational development. Therefore, an increased emphasis on maintaining the currency of vocational practice throughout working life has risen, and in many countries, lifelong learning policies have been developed (Billett, 2002). Spieß et al. (2002), in their longitudinal investigation, compared the learning climate in five companies, by asking both employees and superiors to assess the factors that supported or hindered learning on the job. In those companies portraying the highest employee satisfaction with the learning climate, one offered jobs with tasks which were relevant for learning, and the superiors supported participation and partial autonomy of the employees.

1.3.2 (In) formal learning in the workplace

Until the beginning of the last decade, learning was usually equated with formal classroom-based training (B.V.D Heijden, J. B. M. Klink, E.Meijs, 2009). Though the effect of formal training on employee's performance is sometimes doubtful because of the lack of sufficient transfer to the workplace (see, for example, the work of Baldwin & Ford, 1988; B.V.D Heijden, J. B. M. Klink, E.Meijs, 2009), formal training remains an important strategy for organizations to ensure their employees' competencies.

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Moreover, an important advantage of formal learning lies in the fact that it can be formally demonstrated, and used as a human resource measure predicting workers' employability. Informal learning has always been valuable for maintaining and/or increasing employees' performance, but since the 1990s, its importance increased further as it became clear that most learning does not occur in formal learning situations, but mainly informally, both in and outside the workplace (Marsick, 2006; B.V.D Heijden, J. B. M. Klink, E.Meijs, 2009). A Canadian survey conducted by Livingstone and Eichler (2005) showed that 82 per cent of the respondents were involved in some form of job-related informal learning, with an average of 6 h weekly. Similar findings were reported in a study among Dutch employees (Borghans et al., 2006; B.V.D Heijden, J. B. M. Klink, E.Meijs, 2009).

Apart from outcomes as regards to the time dedicated to informal learning, Borghans and associates reported the unique contribution of informal learning to job-relevant competencies. A similar outcome has been reported by other researchers as well. For example, Lave and Wenger (1991) examined the acquisition of tacit knowledge, which is embedded in the work, and that only can be mastered by active participation in the workplace itself.

How can informal learning be defined? Informal learning includes incidental learning,

For instance, learning that occurs as a by-product of some other activity, and which occurs, even though employees are not always conscious of it, and which is not always intentionally searched for. Marsick and Volpe (1999) proposed a conceptualization that has been acknowledged by many scholars. They interpreted the concept by pointing to six characteristics: (1) integrated with work and daily routine; (2) triggered by an internal or external jolt; (3) not highly conscious; (4) often haphazard and influenced by change;(5) an inductive process of reflection and action; and (6) linked to the learning by others.

How can informal learning be encouraged? Although much informal learning happens spontaneously and sometimes even unconsciously for the learners themselves, creating appropriate workplace conditions could increase the amount, quality and outcomes of informal learning.

2. Training Methods and Research Conducted on Them

First and foremost, one of the training methods for worker is real-time training. Based on Mendenhall and Stahl (2000), real-time training can be defined as practice in which an employee turns to various sources for information and advice as new situations surfaced. Real-time training is commonly use on the expatriate (foreign worker). The first source of real-time training is internet chat rooms. A basic Internet search will reveal information that is helpful for the workers to complete their job (Magnini, 2009). The chat rooms allow people to post about their problem, concern or question which can be responded by other people with advice and suggestions. Many of the chat rooms are created by people with intent of exchanging knowledge with other people. Using this source, information can be obtained from individuals all around the globe (Lee et al., 2006).

Another source of real-time training is repatriates. According to Danies et al. (2007), the definition of repatriation is the return of an expatriate to his or her own country. When expatriates are send back to work at their own country, they would be repatriates that possess great blend of cultural knowledge regarding both the home and host culture (Magnini, 2009). With the cultural knowledge they gain, they would be a highly valuable business resource. Besides that, current expatriates are also one of the sources of real-time training. Since expatriate is working at a foreign country, they can turn to other current expatriates as a source of real-time training (Magnini, 2009). Research conducted by O'Reilly (1982) found that although the main advantage of information from non-human source is convenience, the main advantage of information from human source is information quality which should be better.

The next source of real-time training is local nationals. Cateora and Graham (2007) defined local nationals as people living in their home country. Expatriates can seek help from local nationals for culture advice when they face problems (Magnini, 2009). The bond strength of both local nationals and expatriates can be enhanced if they communicate well.

The last source of real-time training is CD-Rom products. Currently, there are many CD-Rom products on the market that are intended to aid business professionals (Magnini, 2009). CD-Rom products can be categorized as real-time training devices because most of them possess interactive capabilities where queries can be made and information can be retrieved when needed. Adam (2002) mentioned that with advancement of current computer technology, the customization and interactivity of these training devices are increasing.

According to survey done by Magnini (2009), of all the sources of real-time training, local nationals score the highest rate of effectiveness which is 7.7 out of 9 and it's also the most commonly use source of real-time training. This may be because the local nationals understand the job better and able to provide more accurate information. After all, the local nationals have the experience. As long as the cultural diversity between the local nationals and the expatriate can be overcome and they can trust each other, local nationals as source of real-time training would be effective.

Magnini(2009) also had done a survey and found out that,the less effective source of real-time training is Internet chat rooms. The rate of effectiveness of Internet chat rooms is 5 out of 9. One of the reasons why Internet chat rooms are viewed to be less effective is information credibility. Since you would not know the people you are chatting with, the credibility of the information is low. Other than that, a posting in virtual community may go unanswered for hours or days which would be a problem for people who need immediate feedback.

Apart from real-time training, another author, Escardibul. J.O, Xavier. L.E. (2010) also found out that training involving a combination of training and actual work. There are two types of activities that involve theoretical training and practical experience within companies: contracts for training and the working/training programs indicated in the previous section.

In contracts for training, which have been in existence since the 1980s, time dedicated to training cannot be less than 15 per cent of total working hours and must be outside the workplace. Theoretical education and working can be in alternation or simultaneous. Participants must be between 16 and 21 years old (the upper limit is not always compulsory), and usually the contract is between 6 months and 2 years. Participants receive a salary based on the collective agreement, but it must not be less than the minimum wage applied to their time dedicated to work. Firms can fund the cost of theoretical education through the credit system, but in that case financial resources are linked to the employment promotion fund of the Social Security Treasury and not drawn from the training levy. " ( Escardibul. J.O, Xavier. L.E. ,2010).

The next training method for workers would be "Support and supplemental training activities" ( Escardibul. J.O, Xavier. L.E. ,2010).These activities mainly concern research and innovation initiatives aimed at improving training and circulating information about the training system as well as to help individuals to secure training, accreditation of competences, and employment

On the other hand, Cranton (1989) claimed that by applying adult education principles into training methods, there are four methods for workers to learn which are instructor-centered, interactive, individualized, and experiential.

Cranton (1989) stated that instructor-centered training methods are useful in building foundation for the adults who are still dependent, nervous and inexperienced regarding their duties. Some elements of instructor-centered learning are questions, demonstrations and lectures.

Another method described by Cranton (1989) is interactive training method. This method concentrates on the communication process among trainees as well as between learners and mentors. Some examples of this kind of training are team projects, discussion groups and peer teaching.

The third method suggested by Cranton (1989) is individualized method. It is based on the assumption that individuals would learn at different rate and speed. Based on Cranton (1989), participants would be required to give immediate feedback to their trainers in order for their learning process to be facilitated. The most common individualized method, according to Cranton, is "modular and computerized instruction", which is highly-recommended for "lower level cognitive learning".

Last but not least, the final method that proposed by Cranton (1989) is utilizing experiential method. It is defined by the researcher as a kind of learning that "takes place in situations where the participant is actually involved in performing tasks or learning by doing". The writings of Dewey (1916, 1938) have its theoretical foundation. Some methods that have this kind of concept are "role playing, simulations and games", which are rather similar to real situations but are done in a safe environment. (Cranton, 1989)

2.1 Pros and Cons

According to Olaniyan and Ojo (2008), the advantages of training for worker is training can reduces the work of the manager in terms of close supervision. It also improves the drive, initiative and quality of work of the workers thus assist them to be more committed to achieving the goals and objectives of the organization and this has the tendency of enhancing effectiveness among workers within the organization. Besides reduces the work of the manager, all this method also can increase productivity of the organization, and the workers able to use correctly new equipments.

Besides that, another advantages of training is trainers can get engaged in the training process rather than simply directing it (Dwyer, 2008). The researcher is confident that the benefits that managers could gain from using these principles greatly outweigh its pitfalls. He added that "the core of the training craft is the art or science of finding the right solutions and understanding them fully". Dwyer (2008) also explained that employees benefits through taking responsibility for, and becoming involved in, their own development and the literature indicates this is the most effective way for employees to learn. Dwyer (2008) concluded that adult education principles have all the right elements that enable the learning process to be very rewarding for both the managers and trainees.

Bishop (1997) also pointed out that most job training give an advantage to workers who participate in it. This is particularly the case for worker-provided training, especially training that builds on the existing skills of its recipients and that has the clear goal of improving workplace performance. The evidence is quite clear that workers who receive training from their bosses are rewarded with higher pay, greater likelihood of promotion, and more job security. In addition, some training programs that appear to lead to successful outcomes often earn this distinction by "creaming." That is, providers of training programs can accomplish deceptively higher placement rates and wage returns by only admitting relatively advantaged labor market participants and excluding the "hard to employ" (LaLonde, 1995).

Last but not least, workers and employers are not the only parties who stand to benefit from job training. Supporters of training routinely point to the benefits that accrue to a broader public as spillovers from skills gained or improved through training. Indeed, it is virtually certain that any given community or economic development plan will make at least a small, if somewhat mandatory and formal, bow towards "training" as a means of improving community well-being.

Thus far, we know that training generate a lot of advantages for us. However, just like a knife which is just a tool that can cut or kill, training for workers have its cons as well.

Gilad Chen and Richard J. Klimoski (2007) claimed that although training is wasting company's money since training is usually carry out within few months to 1 year only. Yet, the number of hours of training received by each worker in some company is merely 24 hours. This type of training might cast doubt on how much a marginal improvement in training can affect or enhance worker's skill.

While, Olaniyan and Ojo (2008) also pointed that experience is more important than training. The worker with no experience had the difficulty to make the emergencies decision. Even after extensive training, emergency responders are likely to be confronted with unexpected challenges due to unforeseen situational demands. In such conditions, responders often must adapt and improvise behaviors under conditions of high pressure and considerable personal risk.

Dwyer (2004) found that adults usually prefer to be treated like their age instead of being instructed as if they children. They are generally self-directed learners who have their own objectives and life experiences. Thus, they prefer to "explore activities and discover methodologies for accomplishing tasks that relate to them"(Dwyer, 2004). Dwyer added that adults have fixed preferences in working styles, such as working alone or in teams. Therefore, adults may be uneasy and anxious in new learning situations.

Lastly, Dwyer (2004) also mentioned another disadvantage with the development and training of workers is the educational settings that are perceived as negative and threatening places for the workers. According to Knowles (1980), "one role of the adult educator as a facilitator of independent self-directed learning", and the facilitator should not be regarded as experts or teachers. In order to create a positive learning environment, facilitators should respect the "values, opinions and thoughts" of the adult learners. (Dwyer, 2004) Adults who have a positive mindset would be more likely to be better learners.

2.2 Problems occur due to lack of training

One of the problems that would occur from lack of training is occupational accidents. World Health Organization (WHO) defined occupational accidents as "an unplanned event, which mostly results in personal injuries, the machines' and equipments' taking the knock or the ceasing of production for some time." According to Sari (2009), occupational accidents may occur when employees are using a machine or they are not trained for or while they're working at a job for which they're not trained.

Another problem that would occur from lack of training is occupational illnesses. Sari (2009) mentioned that occupational illnesses are the physical and spiritual defects the worker is exposed to as a result of working overtime with respect to the quality and the execution of work, while working in the employer's command and receiving his/her instructions. According to Ozcan et al. (2007), if employees do not use the appropriate action techniques while doing jobs that require them to bend down, reach forth, push and pull tools, it becomes very easy for them to catch illnesses of bone and skeleton system. Employees should be trained about occupational bone and skeleton illnesses, risk factors, early symptoms, treatment, mechanics of using the body in the right way and ergonomics in order to prevent this illness or seek early treatment.

Apart from that, Martin and Grubb (2001) and Layard (2004) also mentioned that workers not receiving training or lack of training are most likely to enter non-employment because their productivity has fallen below their wage. Layard (2004) said that, for those people who find it more difficult to price themselves into jobs, training provide attaining and maintaining the competences required to match productivity and wages, therefore helping and sustaining their employment prospect.

On the other hand, Olaniyan and Ojo, (2008) also pointed that workers who fall short of training will be lack of knowledge and skills that they required in their jobs or duties. The authors also list some of the categories of training that can overcome this problem. There are basic clerical skills training, computer skills training, management development training, supervisory training, and trades training can effectively solve this problem (Olaniyan & Ojo, 2008). The more details to tackle this problem by using those skills will be explained later.

In fact, lack of training not only cause problem to employees but also employers. Based on Scott (2003), Chakraborty (2004), Thow Yick, (2004) and Sharma and Talwar (2005), lack of training will lead the emergence of dark leadership and crisis within an organization. As a result, the leader's negative characteristics, attributes and behaviors emerge over time. The behaviors and characteristics of dark leadership emerge over time and often lie dormant over many years.

2.2 Ways to tackle the problems

First of all, workers employed by high-performing establishment, for instance, those belonging to more innovative organization and those workers who need to use machine to implement their daily job, longer durations and more training needs to provided by company to those workers, which is at least 6 months to 2 years for them instead of just few hours or 1 day training (Sari,2004 and Gilad Chen &Richard J. Klimoski,2007 ).

Regarding the problem or disadvantages which is probability of emergencies in a daily occurrence mentioned by Olaniyan and Ojo(2008) above, they have given a solution to solve by using the conventional instructional systems design (ISD) model of training. This model of training specifies that training should be focused on ''what is to be learned'' and ''real-world performance'' - what behaviors the trainees must exhibit in the work environment. They said once these required behaviors have been identified, the KSAs (knowledge, skill, attitude) needed to achieve improved behavior on the job must be defined. Finally, a training program must be designed to impart those KSAs.

Furthermore, Olaniyan and Ojo(2008) also explain about an underlying assumption of the ISD model is that the KSAs learned in training will be used on the job soon after training. In this way, the new skills can be nurtured in the job environment. Instructional design principles have been developed to enhance training transfer to the job. Moreover, training evaluation in this model highlight the importance of determining how well trainees are performing on the job as a key indicator of training success.

To improve a worker's knowledge and skills, Olaniyan and Ojo, (2008) are further explanation to the basic clerical and computer skills training, which basic clerical skills training is offered through various media to provide employees a comprehensive training program that concentrates on skills required at all clerical levels, while computer skills training is offered through various media to provide employees with computer desktop application skills from beginner to advanced levels.

3. Training Programs in Malaysia

4. Opinion and Conclusion