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Development and Training Paper
Because of globalization and multinational organizations, human resource management in many firms understand the importance of its employees to possess skills and knowledge necessary to help an organization stay competitive in today's market. What was once considered extravagant in cost by management, development and training of workers has become one of the best assets of an organization. The value of development and training for any firm can equate to the employee applying his or her knowledge in exceeding any previous performance level that gains management's approval (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart & Wright, 2007). Our human resource management team at Wal-Mart has recognized a concern with the employees who necessitate the changing process to implement a training program, what issue brought about the need for training, what type of training medium, how to implement the training, and how to assess if the training was a success. First our team will establish the intent of why the training program is needed.
“A variety of conditions may prompt an organization to conduct a needs assessment, management may observe that some employees lack basic skills or are performing poorly” (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2007, p. 210). This not only applies to the floor employee at Wal-Mart, but to the management levels at all organizations. In the Wal-Mart organization, assistant managers are in direct control of the department managers. Because of the span of control each assistant manager has, varied departments within the store require the assistant managers to become familiar with all operations to be able to direct the specific department managers. Training must be provided to the assistant manager level so each individual is keenly aware of the processes in each specific department. Without this training, the business strategy can be in jeopardy and profits could suffer.
In the Wal-Mart organization, the assistant managers are assigned to specific areas of the store. For example, one assistant manager is assigned to meat, on to dairy, one to frozen foods, one to bakery, and one to produce areas of the store. A department manager is then assigned to each of the specific areas. By ensuring the assistant manager is fully trained and understands the inner workings of each of these areas are essential to proper operations. Training needs to be specific and assistant managers should be held accountable for understanding all aspects of each of these specific areas of the store.
Several ways are available to make sure that all Wal-Mart's assistant managers are fully trained in the area they are over. Mainly this could happen from promoting within, since most of the time department managers later move on to become Assistant Managers. Wal-Mart could also create a specific program for all assistant managers to go into to help them learn the area that they will be over.
When Wal-Mart associates are promoted to department managers, they usually begin from a cashier or associate position. When associates do become department managers, they tend to assist department managers in other areas of the store. This help includes price changes, MODs, inventory management, and claims. Supporting other departments allows the department manager to learn more about the store. Assistant managers who are promoted from within the store have more knowledge of the operations than one hired off the street.
For Wal-Mart human resource managers to invest into a program to train all new assistant managers in certain areas would be very beneficial. A one week program is all one person would need to learn the basics of each area. With human resource management having a hand in producing the program, the program would be taken seriously and the assistant managers would learn a great deal more. Basic things that could be taught to assistant managers would consist of SWAS reports, COMAC reports, Seasonal Profile analysis, how to manage in-stock items and out of stock items, and POS forecasts for that specific area of the store (8th and Walton, 2009).
Training for Wal-Mart employees is an important aspect, however, to meet the training requirements the appropriate training medium is desired. Training can be developed and implemented from internal sources or external sources. For Wal-Mart to determine the best suited development medium organizational analysis as to what are the training goals, what are they to accomplish and what content of training is needed should be conducted. Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, and Wright state that:
This is a process for determining the appropriateness of training by evaluating the characteristics of the organization. The organization analysis looks at training needs in light of the organization's strategy, resources available for training, and management's support for training activities (2007, pg. 159).
Wal-Mart has learned that the right training mediums are crucial in providing the appropriate training focus for the various levels throughout the store. Since Wal-Mart's inception, internal training mediums have been its main avenue of training evolving into “Wal-Mart University.”
Over the years Wal Mart University has been providing training programs for domestic Wal-Mart stores, however, in 2005 new training programs have been rewritten. Spitzer of All Business explains, “His [Wal-Mart Training executive] new team set about analyzing the company's training needs, creating new learning platforms and courses and installing tracking systems to provide feedback on everything from class participation to customer satisfaction.” (Spiezer, 2006, pg. 2) As of today Wal-Mart training is still provided internally. Wal-Mart's operation process is duplicated in every store making it uniformed throughout the U.S. and as a result Wal-Mart's training will continue to be internal. Although Wal-Mart revamped their training system no mention of how the new internal training medium will be applied. Regardless, the internal process still suits Wal-Mart best simply due to uniformity and non-technical levels of Wal-Mart floor operations. The basic structure in most Wal-Mart stores covers store managers, assistant managers, department managers and associates. However, most assistant managers lack knowledge or experience of the departments they manage. This indicates upper and lower managers may be insufficiently trained as well. As previously mentioned internal training is best suited, yet training should be in the form of cross training, coordination training and action learning. Store managers must ensure time is allotted for this crucial training either by Wal-Mart training guidelines or store manager initiatives.
The training orientation that one receives when he or she is hired on to Wal-Mart is processing documentation for taxes, watching some introductory videos of the company, and receiving a tour of the store. The new employee is then setup with the department and people he or she will be working with to receive on the job training. The managers do not seek any follow-up as to how the employee is performing, unless any mishaps occur.
Training should be exactly that, training. On the job training is the best training an employee can receive, but there needs to be some follow up from the manager as to how the employee is performing. An employee should not be self directed until he or she is familiar enough with the job to do it without supervision. Working as a cashier is one job an employee needs specialized training and assistance to become proficient. Now some people will not catch on in the same time frame as other people, so they may need to be left alone after a certain period to get the hang of it or maybe be relocated to a different department that might better suit them. To be honest, cashiering is one of the few entry level jobs at Wal-mart that one would need specialized training. The other jobs in Wal-Mart do not require advanced skills. Now when one is promoted into management, I do not think one should be on his or her own until enough training takes place to interact with the employees with a good attitude.
When it comes to training, the quality and attributes of the coach or mentor makes all the difference. If one is proficient and detail oriented person conducting the training, the employee will develop and perform his or her job better. If the person training does not possess the skills and aptitude of the job, then the employee will not learn proper procedures and not be affective at his or her job. One must remember that training has two parts, those who conduct the training, and those who are being trained. The employee must be able to learn and research things for themselves.
Training can have an enormous impact on the overall strategy of a company. To be able to determine whether or not the training provided has been successful takes measurements to verify any development in the employee's aptitude of learning the tasks needed to perform his or her job. As stated earlier in our paper, and mentioned by Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, and Wright, transfer of training is a measurable means by which an employee can be observed regarding whether or not they can apply what he or she learned, and by inquiring with the worker if he or she is currently performing the tasks trained for, the repetitiveness of the job, and how many duties does the employee find complicated and demanding (2007). Our team has proven that the assistant managers need more training to develop skills and knowledge for the departments he or she supervises. Another form of measurement is using the evaluation to improve training methods and materials. Since managers are not ensuring assistant managers receive proper mentoring or coaching, then the issue must be addressed in the training of the managers at Wal-Mart University.
Wal-Mart understands the significance of having a trained staff of employees and managers whose purpose is aligned with the company strategy. Our human resource management team has shown that creating the training from the experiences of the assistant managers can be more affective than any textbook learning; going over processes and procedures as a group can provide a means of questions and feedback; putting a training method into action through on the job training has been found to be very effective; and training through the assessment of value allows for any enhancements in the training program. While our team has identified the need for development and training changes for the assistant managers, and managers at Wal-Mart that would advantageous to the associates, the issue should be revisited within three to six months to make certain that the success of the training methods has improved store operations.
Noe, R.A., Hollenbeck, J.R., Gerhart, B., Wright, P.M. (2007). Fundamentals of human resource management (2nd. Ed.). [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Retrieved August 4, 2009, from University of Phoenix, MGT431 Human Resource Management.
Spiezer, I., (2006), Wal-Mart training goes into wholesale overhaul, All Business a DBA
Company, Publication: Workforce Management, Retrieved August 23, 2009, from
8th and Walton. (2009). Perishable goods replenishment & inventory management 201 (using inforem). Retrieved on August 24th, 2009, from http://www.8thandwalton.com/courses/perishable-goods-replenishment-and-inventory-management-201-using-inforem/