Employees with different backgrounds, learning styles, and goals work in the customer support department, as shown by a description of their performance. The employees’ main objectives are to develop professional qualities for Jerome, Jerry, Sarah, and Carlos, as well as get the role of team lead for Frank and Allyson. However, Jin and Arick have no career goals and only want quiet and interesting jobs.
Sarah’s primary need is to train her immediate responsibilities and deepen her knowledge about the product and the company since she does not have enough information about its internal activities. Thus, Sarah’s objective is to improve customer service by more informed answers by 20% as well as general knowledge about the company and the product by 50 %. Carlos also needs to improve his area’s knowledge and train communication and customer service skills because he received negative feedback from the customer. Jerome’s primary gap is a lack of confidence and communication skills to advocate his opinion; thus, he needs to train in this area. Jin’s primary challenge is to communicate with all customers qualitatively, so she has to develop her customer service skills. Jerry also needs to develop customer service skills because he makes mistakes in verbal communication with them. Consequently, the objective for Jerome, Jin, Carlos, and Jerry is to improve customer service by 30%.
Arick needs to improve their time-management skills because his central gap is inefficient work. Frank also needs to improve their time-management and managerial skills, since he wastes time by chatting with clients, but he wants to be a team leader. Thus, Arick and Frank’s objective is to increase efficiency by 20%. Allyson requires training in HR and leadership skills to gain a team leader’s role, and she does not have gaps in her work. Hence, the objective for Allyson and Frank is to complete training on leadership. All the goals should be achieved within three months. At the same time, as in the case of Lucier (2008, p.485), employees did not have standard requirements for the number and duration of calls and other tasks, which allowed them to waste work time. Thus, there is a need to define these norms. Besides, all employees need team-building and personal communication to help them trust each other, share and discuss ideas, and cooperate for their implementation.
Nevertheless, most employees have different learning styles that cannot be covered by one training. For example, Sarah, Jerry, and Frank can master new knowledge on their own or in a group, and they only need to be supervised, while Carlos and Jerome require a personal approach. However, Dalto (2017, p.25) notes that even though adults’ learning styles are different, they should be trained due to common principles. Some of them are goal and task-oriented education, respect for trainees, different levels of their experience, lifetime usefulness of new knowledge, and recognition of each participant’s needs (Dalto, 2017, p.25). Besides, employees have different learning styles regarding perception; for example, Sarah and Jerry have a visual learning style because they better operate written information. However, it is challenging to identify other employees’ learning styles because there is not enough information on this matter. Therefore, the employee development program must be varied in forms and topics.
Training and Development
Specific needs demonstrate that employees need several different types of training. Firstly, all employees will benefit from training in customer service and responding to different situations, which refers to skills training (Portolese, 2015). This training is necessary because Jerome and Jerry have verbal communication problems, Carlos received negative feedback from the client, Jin can be rude, and Frank is too chatty. Only Sarah and Arick can miss this training because they do not have problems in this area. The best way for delivering information is a combination of lectures, in which employees recall basic communication rules, and role-plays to work through the basic situations and problematic cases (Martin, Kolomitro, and Lam, 2014, p. 17). Learning or reminding the ground rules should improve the performance.
In addition, employees need a short time-management course to avoid problems after increased workloads, especially Arick and Frank. Lectures followed by self-study and the use of computer applications can be the most effective way to implement training. In this way, employees will be trained in basic time management techniques, and an application for self-monitoring of performing tasks will help them master the skills. For both purposes, external training from an experienced specialist is most suitable, since he or she can consider all factors that influence each member’s time-management skills and the team in general and can teach employees the required skills to serve customers. Hiring external specialists needs additional cost, but it should not bring a serious loss for the budget, since they are short-term and one-time.
At the same time, Sarah and Carlos’ should receive a development program from more experienced internal specialists as they need knowledge about the company and its product. Thus, they need quality training from their colleagues; therefore, mentoring is the most effective method for delivering training (Portolese, 2015; Martin, Kolomitro, and Lam, 2014, p. 17). For example, Allyson can provide such assistance because she performs her duties well and can practice her skills as a leader and mentor; however, she needs to consider these employees’ different gaps and needs.
Furthermore, the external specialist should provide leadership training with Allyson and Frank or combine them with staff from other departments who also need such a development program. Such training should take into account many factors, such as the size of the team, the learning styles of Allyson and Frank, and future workload. The training methods should include case studies, role plays, and lectures, since they are most appropriate and will help employees consider and participate in cases requiring leadership skills (Martin, Kolomitro, and Lam, 2014, p. 17). Besides, the staff lacks a sense of community, so Jay has to organize team-building or team training for his department because he is aware of his employees’ personal qualities. In addition, employees should be encouraged to get together for informal meetings during lunch or after work to enhance the team spirit. Training for Allyson and Frank and team-building need costs; however, if the team-buildings budget depends on the generosity of the company, the cost of training is determined by an external specialist. Anyway, these costs are useful and bring profit to the company in the future.
The two-factor theory can explain the approach to employee motivation. According to this theory, hygiene factors are necessary for employees’ work, and motivators inspire them to be highly productive (Bauer et al., 2016). Since hygiene factors such as wages and working hours seem to satisfy all employees, they stay at their jobs. For example, Jin and Arich have enough to work, but they have no other motivators to be more diligent. At the same time, other employees are driven by the desire for recognition, achievement, and growth, so they have reasons to develop (Bauer et al., 2016). These factors should be at the core of their motivation, and Jin can be inspired by interesting tasks, while Arick can be interested in salary changes or other hygiene factors. At the same time, the transactional type of leadership will be most appropriate in this case. This approach allows employees to take responsibility, but rewards or punishments of the leader are a way for them to control and recognize their merits (Hoch et al., 2018, p. 506). Thus, this leadership and management style is most appropriate for this team.
The best method for measuring employee progress is to recapture their characteristics and performance every month. However, persistence assessment should be aimed at both qualitative and quantitative characteristics. For example, the current document describes that Jeremy is afraid to speak up his ideas and communicate with clients in the event of a conflict. Consequently, a second analysis should show whether Jeremy was able to overcome these problems, and for example, present a good idea to the team. Feedback from employees will be collected by using a questionnaire with open and closed questions. For example, an employee will rate the benefits of the training for him or her on a scale from 0 to 10, as well as comment on his progress and wishes for improvement. This method of collecting information is partially biased, since the employee may be concerned about their progress rather than the training’s effectiveness in general. However, quantitative performance indicators more clearly reflect progress, which should be mentioned to employees, as well as the purpose of the survey.
Performance must be quantified by some parameters, for example, the number of calls or emails, to see if the team can handle the higher workload. Several positive feedbacks can evaluate the improvement of customer service. This feedbacks can be collected by automated service rating programs or through reviews on the company’s website. These different criteria are the most appropriate since they are objective and correspond to different goals individually.
If the development plan does not produce results, the shortcomings and wishes of employees will be revised, as well as the motivation system. For example, if Arick is not motivated by rewards, they can be replaced with punishments for failure to complete tasks or poor communication with clients. Thus, quantitative parameters and communication with employees will help evaluate their development progress and adjust the plan if necessary.
Bauer, T. et al. (2016) Principles of management. Boston: FlatWorld
Dalto, J. (2017) ‘Developing learner-centric safety training’, Professional Safety, 62(5), pp. 24–25. Web.
Hoch, J. E. et al. (2018) ‘Do ethical, authentic, and servant leadership explain variance above and beyond transformational leadership? A meta-analysis’, Journal of Management, 44(2), pp. 501–529. doi: 10.1177/0149206316665461
Lucier, K. (2008) ‘A consultative training program: collateral effect of a needs assessment’, Communication Education, 57(4), pp. 482–489. doi: 10.1080/03634520802094305
Martin, B. O., Kolomitro, K. and Lam, T. C. M. (2014) ‘Training methods: a review and analysis’, Human Resource Development Review, 13(1), pp. 11–35. doi: 10.1177/1534484313497947
Portolese, L. (2015) Human resource management. Boston: FlatWorld.