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Noe et al. viewed training generally as a planed effort by a company to facilitate employees learning of the job-related competencies. These competencies include knowledge, skill, or behaviours that are critical for successful job performance.
Whilst some human resource professionals consider training and development an after recruitment programme, Asare-Bediako (2002) believes that it must be incorporated into orientation programmes for newly recruited staff. According to him, the training and development (T&D) unit should explain to new employees what training and development means and what programmes and facilities are available to employees.Whether training is necessary and, if so, what kind, are issues that need much more systematic and careful analysis. The return on investment in training for an organization will be minimal or nil if training is not based on effective needs identification. Training plans should be based upon job skills requirements and strategic initiatives of the company and the contents should be customized to the specific needs of the company. Leading companies have formed training departments, whose systems and approaches evolved along with their overall quality system the company’s needs. Smaller companies often use outside consultants.
Training can be thought of as helping people to learn:
for the present and future health of the organization
for personal fulfilment within the organization and
in helping the organization to learn, to cope better with its fastest
Goldstein and Gilliam (1990) also outlined six reasons why companies believe that investments in training can help them gain a competitive advantage. These include:
i. Increase employee knowledge
ii. Help ensure that employees have the basic skills to work with new technology
iii. Help employees understand how to work effectively in teams to contribute to service quality
iv. Ensure that the company’s culture emphasizes innovations, creativity and learning
v. Ensure employment security by providing new ways for employees to contribute to the company when their jobs change, their interests change, or their skills become obsolete
vi. Prepare employees to accept and work more effectively with each other and
vii. Prepare employees to accept and work more effectively with each other.
Employees frequently develop a greater sense of self-worth, dignity and well-being as they become more valuable to the firm and to society. Generally they will receive a greater share of the material gains that result from their increased productivity. These factors give them a sense of satisfaction through the achievement of personal and company goals.
The Training Process
The model below traces the steps necessary in the training process:
i. Organizational Objectives
ii. Needs Assessment
iii. Is There a Gap?
iv. Training Objectives
v. Select the Trainees
vi. Select the Training Methods and Mode
vii. Choose a Means of Evaluating
viii. Administer Training
ix. Evaluate the Training .
A business should have a clearly defined strategy and set of objectives that direct and drive all the decisions made especially for training decisions. Firms that plan their training process are more successful than those that do not. Most business owners want to succeed, but do not engage in training designs that promise to improve their chances of success. Why? The five reasons most often identified are:
Time – Small businesses managers find that time demands do not allow them to train employees.
Getting started – Most small business managers have not practiced training employees. The training process is unfamiliar.
Broad expertise – Managers tend to have broad expertise rather than the specialized skills needed for training and development activities.
Lack of trust and openness – Many managers prefer to keep information to themselves. By doing so they keep information from subordinates and others who could be useful in the training and development process.
Scepticism as to the value of the training – Some small business owners believe the future cannot be predicted or controlled and their efforts, therefore, are best centred on current activities i.e., making money today. A well-conceived training program can help your firm succeed. A program structured with the company’s strategy and objectives in mind has a high probability of improving productivity and other goals that are set in the training mission.
For any business, formulating a training strategy requires addressing a series of questions.
â€¢ Who are your customers? Why do they buy from you? Who are your competitors? How do they serve the market? What competitive advantages do they enjoy? What parts of the market have they ignored?
â€¢ What strengths does the company have? What weaknesses?
â€¢ What social trends are emerging that will affect the firm?
The purpose of formulating a training strategy is to answer two relatively simple but vitally important questions: (1) What is our business? and (2) What should our business be? Armed with the answers to these questions and a clear vision of its mission, strategy and objectives, a company can identify its training needs.
Identifying Training Needs
Training needs analysis seeks to answer the questions, who if any, needs training? And what training do they need? The questions may be very simple ones, but getting good answers to these questions constitute one of the most difficult steps in the total training process.
A training need exists when an individual lacks the knowledge or skills required for the execution of an assigned task satisfactorily. The purpose of a training needs identification exercise, therefore is to identify the gap between required and the actual competencies so as to determine the kinds of training that would help bridge the gap .
Two major preconditions for training needs identification are organization and job analysis. Organisational analysis provides information on
i. Organisational vision
ii. Short and long term goals
iii. Future strategies
iv. Methods and technologies and
v. Present and future social, economic, political, and technological environment.
Training needs can be assessed by analyzing three major human resource areas: the organization as a whole, the job characteristics and the needs of the individuals. This analysis will provide answers to the following questions:
â€¢ Where is training needed?
â€¢ What specifically must an employee learn in order to be more productive?
â€¢ Who needs to be trained?
Begin by assessing the current status of the company how it does what it does best and the abilities of your employees to do these tasks. This analysis will provide some benchmarks against which the effectiveness of a training program can be evaluated. Your firm should know where it wants to be in five years from its long-range strategic plan. What you need is a training program to take your firm from here to there. Secondly, consider whether the organization is financially committed to supporting the training efforts. If not, any attempt to develop a solid training program will fail. Next, determine exactly where training is needed. It is foolish to implement a companywide training effort without concentrating resources where they are needed most. An internal audit will help point out areas that may benefit from training. Also, a skills inventory can help determine the skills possessed by the employees in general. This inventory will help the organization determine what skills are available now and what skills are needed for future development. Also, in today’s market-driven economy, you would be remiss not to ask your customers what they like about your business and what areas they think should be improved. In summary, the analysis should focus on the total organization and should tell you (1) where training is needed and (2) where it will work within the organization.
Once you have determined where training is needed, concentrate on the content of the program. Analyze the characteristics of the job based on its description, the written narrative of what the employee actually does. Training based on job descriptions should go into detail about how the job is performed on a task-by-task basis. Actually doing the job will enable you to get a better feel for what is done. Individual employees can be evaluated by comparing their current skill levels or performance to the organization’s performance standards or anticipated needs. Any discrepancies between actual and anticipated skill levels identify a training need.
The goals of the training program should relate directly to the needs determined by the assessment process outlined above. Course objectives should clearly state what behaviour or skill will be changed as a result of the training and should relate to the mission and strategic plan of the company. Goals should include milestones to help take the employee from where he or she is today to where the firm wants him or her in the future. Setting goals helps to evaluate the training program and also to motivate employees. Allowing employees to participate in setting goals increases the probability of success.
Suppose you are designing a training programme for newly hired first line sales managers. Result from the need assessment indicate that they will need training on (i) company policies (ii) handling customer complaints and (iii) motivating sales personnel.
What learning principles will you build into the programme?
What training method would you choose? Explain your choices.
Which training techniques do you recommend for each of the following occupations? Why?
A clerk in an office
An assembly-line worker
An inexperienced supervisor
Designing a training program to support human resources (HR) functions in an organizational setting involves assessing the need, designing the materials to support human resource professionals, developing the training program, implementing the program and evaluating the impact of the program on departmental operational metrics. HR professionals support the company and require skill development to do so. Effective training programs ensure HR professionals can provide employee support in the most cost-effective and consistent manner.
While designing a training programme for newly hired first line sales managers. As we know that the trainees will need training on (i) company policies (ii) handling customer complaints and (iii) motivating sales personnel. But apart from the above said we need to build few more principles in order to make the training more effective.
Principles of training
The following guidelines can help to make training more effective:
The objectives and scope of a training programme should be clearly defined. A comparison of operational requirement and existing human resource skills will help to determine the specific training needs of employees. Operational requirements depends on the performance needed to achieve organizational objectives. A well defined set of performance standards should be created.
A clearly define training policy serves as a guide for designing and implementing training programmes. Such a policy should specify who is responsible for training, what is to be spent in training etc.
Employees tend to be most responsive to training programmes when they feel the need to learn. Therefore, training must be related to the needs and problems of the trainees as well as to their abilities and aptitudes. Information provided in the training material should be meaningful. It should be presented in a sequential manner from the simple to the more complex audio-visual aids should be used to avoid boredom and fatigue of the lecture method.
According to B.F.Skinner’s Behaviour Modification Module when a behaviour is repeatedly rewarded, it becomes a permanent part of one’s personality. Learning is more effective when there is reinforcement in the form of rewards and punishments. Rewards or positive reinforcements are more effective in changing behaviour than punishments or negative reinforcements. Pay raise, promotions and praise should, therefore, reused to rewards trainees who learn and apply the knowledge and skills. Rewards should quickly follow the desired behaviour and performance. Trainees should be encouraged to participate, discuss and discover the desirable patterns of behaviour.
Training material should be properly organized. A complete outline of the whole course should be distributed in advance so that the trainees can prepare themselves before coming to the class. Training material should be prepared by the training section in consultation with line supervisors.
Learning takes time and teaching in segments is better than in one go. Several short sessions spread over a long period, enable the trainee to learn, reinforce and review.
Preparing the instructor
The instructor or trainer is the key figure in a training programme. The trainer should not only be a good teacher but must know the subject and the job also. Good trainers should be developed both from inside and outside the organization.
Trainees should be provided information on how much they have learnt and how well they are doing. Every trainer should know what aspect of his behaviour/performance is not up to par and what he can do to improve it. The feedback should be positive, fast and frequent. Self graded tests and programmed learning can be used to provide feedback.
Practice makes a man perfect. Skills that are practiced often are better learned and less easily forgotten. Therefore, trainees should be allowed continuous practice. Tell and demonstrate knowledge and skills and then let the trainee try it himself.
The methods and the processes of training should be related directly to the needs and objectives of the organization. It should be conducted as far as possible in the actual job environment so as to be meaningful. To be effective, training should be based on the tested principles of learning.
Methods and techniques of training
There are basically two methods on-the-job training and off-the-job training of training we can opt the both these techniques or methods as we can provide the trainees with the on-the-job training in which the trainees learn under the guidance and supervision of the superior or an instructor, or with the off-the-job training in which the trainee learns outside the job and devotes whole time on learning. So the methods and techniques of training are :
The methods employed for training of operatives may be described as under
On-the-job training (OJT)
In this method , the trainee is placed on a regular job and taught the skills necessary to perform it. The trainee learns under the guidance and supervision of the superior or an instructor. The trainee learns by observing and handling the job. Therefore , it is called learning by doing.
Several methods are used to provide on-the-job training, e.g., coaching, committee assignments and job rotation fall under this method. Job instruction training, (JIT) is also a popular form of the job training. JIT is used for imparting or improving motor skills with routine and repetitive operations. While on the job training allows a trainee to learn in the real environment and handled real machines. It is also cost effective as no extra space equipment personnel or other training facilities are required for imparting this training. The employees also learn the procedures and rule and regulations in this training. There are some limitations also in this method. The noise at the real work places makes it difficult for the new employee to concentrate and there is danger that the employee under training might cause damage to equipment or other material.
JIT method provides immediate feedback, permtis quick correction oof errors and provides extra prctice when required. But it needs skilled trainers and preparation in advance.
The main advantage of OJT is that the trainee learns on the actual machine in use and in the real environment of the job. He gets a feel of the actual job. Therefore, he is better motivated to learn and there is no problem of transfer of training skills to the job. Secondly , this method is very economical because no additional space, equipment , personnel , or other facilities are required for training. The trainee produces while he learns. Thirdly , the trainee learns the rules regulations and procedures by observing their day-to-day applications. Fourthly , this the most suitable method for teaching knowledge and skills which can be acquired through personal observation in a relatively short time period. It is widely used for unskilled and semi-skilled jobs , e.g., machinist ,clerical and sales jobs. Fifthly ,line supervisors take an active part in training their subordinates.
Firstly ,it on-the-job training the learner finds it difficult to concentrate due to noise of the actual workplace. Secondly , this method is often haphazard and unorganized. The superior or experienced employee may not be a good trainer. Thirdly , in this method the trainee may cause damage to costly equipment and materials.
On-the-job training is, however, the most widely used and accepted method of training. It is suitable for all levels of employees, workers, supervisors and executives. It is appropriate for teaching knowledge and skills which can be learned in a relatively short period of time and where only a few persons are to be trained on -the-job.
In order to make on-the-job training successful, some conditions must be satisfied:
What and how to teach should be carefully decided.
The instructor should be carefully selected and trained ,and
A definite follow up schedule should be used to judge the results of training.
2. off-the-job training
Under this method ,the trainee learns outside the job and devotes whole time on learning. The main techniques used in off-the-job training are given below :
In this method ,the training centre called the vestibule is set up and actual job conditions are duplicated or simulated in it. Expert trainers are employed to provide training with the help of equipment and machines which are identical with those in use at the workplace.
The main advantage of vestibule training is that trainee can concentrate on learning without disturbance of the workplace noise. Secondly ,the interest and motivations of the trainee are high as the real job conditions are duplicated. Thirdly ,this method is essential in cases where on-the-job training might result in a serious injury ,a costly event or the destruction of valuable equipment and material , e.g., aeronautical industry. Fourthly ,correct method can be taught effectively by the trained instructor who knows how to teach. Fifthly ,it permits the trainee to practice without the fear of being observed and described by the superior / co-worker. Lastly ,it is very difficult method of training a large number of employees of the same kind of work at the same time. This method is useful when it is not advisable to put the burden of training online supervisors and when a special coaching is needed. It is often used to train the clerks, bank tellers, inspectors, inactive operators ,testers ,typists etc.
Vestibule training is the most expensive method because of additional investments in classroom ,equipment and expert trainers. Secondly, the training situations is somewhat artificial and the trainee does not get a feel of a real job. Thirdly, separation of training from the supervisory responsibilities may lead to problems in the organizations.
In this method, theoretical instructions and practical learning are provided to trainees in training institutes. In India ,the Government has established Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) for this purpose. Under the Apprenticeship Act, 1962 employers is specified industries are required to train the prescribed number of persons in ‘designated trades’. The aim is to develop all-round craftsmen. Generally, a stipend is paid during the training period. Thus, it is an “earn when you learn” scheme.
Firstly, the main advantage of this method is that it combines theory and practice. Secondly, the trainee acquire skills which are valuable in the job market. Thirdly, apprenticeship programmes provide skilled workforce to industry.
Apprenticeship training is time-consuming and expensive. Many persons leave the training programme midway as the training period ranges from 1 year to 5 years.
Apprenticeship training is the oldest method of training. It is particularly suitable for scanning crafts and technical traders wherever job proficiency is the result of a relatively long training period. Draughtsman, machinist, printer, toolmaker, pattern designer, mechanic, carpenter, weaver, fitter, jeweller, engraver, electrician, etc are examples of such areas.
Under this method, training is provided in company classrooms or educational institutions. Lectures, case studies, group discussions and audio visuals aids are used to explain knowledge and skill to the trainees. Classroom training is suitable for teaching concepts and problem solving skills. It is also useful for organizations and safety training programmes. Some companies maintain their own training institutions or schools. Special training courses are designed, e.g., management course for foremen, computer course typists etc. Courses in retraining and upgrading may also be conducted. Small firms depend on outside schools and courses.
It is a joint programme of training in which educational institutions and business firms cooperate. Selected candidates carry on regular studies for the prescribed period. They also work in some factory or office to acquire practical knowledge and skills. This method helps to provide a good balance between theory and practice. What it involves a long time period due to slow process. This method of training is used in professional work, e.g, MBBS, CA, ICWA, Company Secretaries etc.
Business firms are increasingly using electronic technology for training E-learning methods include training through CD-ROM, internet and intranet, satellite broadcasts, virtual classrooms and digital collaborations between trainees. Most firms using e-learning invest in a learning management system. This system provides a single log on point for all the e-learning opportunities offered through the company.
Firstly, training can be conducted at remote or international sites, 24/7. Secondly, training is available on demand, when needed or when the work schedule permits. Thirdly, costs for trainers and travel are very limited. Fourthly, new programmes and updates can be delivered worldwide simultaneously. Fifthly, very large numbers of people can receive the training at the same time. Sixthly, learning management system can keep and update records on who commenced or completed which programmes. Lastly, when self-paced, the average time to complete a learning unit is usually considerably less than when the same material is presented using traditional classroom methods.
Training techniques for each of the following occupations
A clerk in an office : apprenticeship training (off-the-job training)
It is the oldest and most commonly used method of training in technical areas and crafts and trades where the skills of the job are learnt over a long period of time. The apprenticeship act 1962 requires the employers in certain industries to train a particular number of persons in specific trades. Apprenticeship helps in maintaining a skilled work force and is a combination of both theory and practical. It also results in high level of loyalty by the employees and increases their chances for growth but it is time consuming and extensive method. Generally, a stipend is paid during the training period.
A welder : on-the-job training
In this method a trainee is placed on the job and then taught the necessary skills to perform his job. Thus in this method the trainee learns by observing and handling the job under the guidance and supervision of instructor or a supervisor. Thus it is also called the learning by doing method. Techniques like coaching, committee assignments and job rotation fall under this method. Job instruction training, (JIT) is also a popular form of the job training. JIT is used for imparting or improving motor skills with routine and repetitive operations. While on the job training allows a trainee to learn in the real environment and handled real machines. It is also cost effective as no extra space equipment personnel or other training facilities are required for imparting this training. The employees also learn the procedures and rule and regulations in this training.
An assembly-line work : apprenticeship training (off-the-job training)
It is the oldest and most commonly used method of training in technical areas and crafts and trades where the skills of the job are learnt over a long period of time. The industrial training institutes (ITI) provide this kind of training in India. The apprenticeship act 1962 requires the employers in certain industries to train a particular number of persons in specific trades. For trades like mechanist, tool makers, carpenters weaver, Jeweller, Engraver, this type of training is very helpful. Apprenticeship helps in maintaining a skilled work force and is a combination of both theory and practical. It also results in high level of loyalty by the employees and increases their chances for growth but it is time consuming and extensive method. Generally, a stipend is paid during the training period.
An inexperienced supervisor : classroom training (off-the-job training)
It is provided in company class rooms or educational institution through lectures audio visual aids, case studies and group discussion. It is very helpful and teaching problems solving skills and new concepts. It is also useful in orientations and safety training programs. For teaching new technologies to software professionals, class room training is often used.
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