Introduction and Overview of the Company
Etisalat is a multinational corporation operating in at fifteen countries in Asia, Middle East, and Africa. The company was named the 12th largest provider of mobile networks globally with a customer base of approximately one-hundred and fifty million. In the United Arab Emirates, the company is the most influential in the telecommunications sector since it is charged with the role of monitoring and overseeing the growth of the entire sector through licensing and regulation. At its inception in 1976, the company was referred to as Emirates Telecommunications Corporation where traded as a joint stock between the Aeradio International Limited and a few Emiratis.
At this time, the British investors held over 80% of company shares until 1983 when the government of UAE took over ownership and restructured its management. Currently, the government owns at least 60% of the company whereas members of the public own the rest. The main role of the company is to provide network services in the country, as well as link the network services between the UAE and other countries globally. In 1991, the government issued a directive under the Federal Law no. 1 giving the company enormous powers to transact any telecommunication business between other parties and the country. Additionally, the company would be the only licensed company to import and manufacture telecommunication equipments in the country.
Unfortunately, the government’s directive was seen as a plot to finish other telecommunications companies in the country because it was given the power to license and regulate the entire sector. The vision of the company is, “to be the leading and most admired emerging markets telecom group.” Its mission entails, “providing the best in class total customer experience for retail and business, deliver attractive returns to shareholders while investing in the company’s long-turn future, and support economic development and job creation through ICT and socially responsible behavior.” The strategic pillars are service offering, excellence, portfolio, unity, consumer experience, and valuing the culture of people.
The company has an approximated forty-thousand workers who are directly employed in various branches of the company, but close to two-million people benefit from the regular work of supplying or distributing products belonging to the company. Just like any other company of its size, Etisalat has five major departments that specialize in carrying different functions. The chief executive is the overall manager and his role is to make formal appointments of managers to the five departments.
However, the board has to agree to the suitability of the candidate to serve in any of the senior management positions. The departments include production, marketing and sales, finance, human resources, and information technology. The role of production is simply to concert inputs into outputs by following the established stages of production. The human resources select the best individuals, train them, and oversee their welfare. The marketing department is divided into sales, research and department, and promotion, each with a specific role to play. Finance department is in charge of handling expenditures and revenues.
Training and Development Issues Faced by Etisalat Corporation
Etisalat Corporation is one of the global companies that have a well-established training and development departments. Due to the nature of the market and the emergence of various technologies in the telecommunication sector, the company made an effort to set up the entire academy that would be charged with the role of developing the talents and equipping employees with the knowledge that would satisfy the needs of customers.
The company values its staff, as it believes it believes they are the greatest investment. Therefore, their flamboyance, enthusiasm, experiences and maturity furnishes them with knowledge to take on the challenges of wide-ranging consumer needs. The successes of the company for the past two decades are directly attributable to the strength of employees. The training and development department ensures that each employee is equipped with adequate knowledge to serve the organization in the best way possible.
For instance, the academy trains engineers, accountants, business managers, administrators, and customer care experts by collaborating with the well-known institutions globally. Each member of staff is made to understand that his or her contributions are important in the organization, irrespective of the position held and the task assigned. Through this, workers feel proud working for this organization, as they are aware that they are team members. Employees are dedicated towards goal realization and customer satisfaction.
The company offers various training programs to employees, depending on the departments in which they serve and time availability. For instance, the company established the college of engineering in 1989 in Sharjah with the sole purpose of offering special programs. The company sought assistance from the UK based university where employees undergo the initial two-year program leading to the award of the biotechnology diploma in telecommunication engineering. The employee has an option of pursuing the honors degree upon successful completion of the diploma.
However, the organization assesses the market demands and establishes whether employees should undergo further training. The training center is situated in the UAE, but employees in various branches globally are allowed to take the programs. Members of staff, as well as other important clients, such as suppliers operating in the GCC region are free to apply for the course because the knowledge acquired will go a long way in benefiting the organization. Employees in Africa and other parts of Asia are always encouraged to apply for short courses such as digital switching, data communication, network planning, and optical fiber technology.
Apart from offering direct training to organizational employees, the training academy provides consultancy services to company branches that seem to be struggling in attaining the intended goal and objective. The academy arranges to meet with branch officials, especially the heads of human resource departments to discuss the ways in which career development and training of employees could be perfected. The academy is fitted with excellent facilities, including an exclusive leisure and sports compound, well-furnished classes, a residence that offers luxurious accommodation, and a top-class laboratory. At the facility, a duplicate of the real network that the company operates exist fully fitted with replica services, portable phone system, a wire TV, and an earth station for practical training.
The human resource department has designed five types of training programs meant to prepare employees of Etisalat to tackle the existing and emerging challenges. Literacy training is meant to help employees wishing to work with the organization, but they do not understand the language in performing their daily duties. The United Arab Emirates is a country that speaks Arabic, but this does not mean employees from different regions cannot apply for positions in the company.
In fact, the company from time to time falls short of highly professional workers who have special skills and knowledge on product design hence the department is well equipped to ensure that such workers do not face challenges interacting with locals. Currently, several employees are recruited from Europe, China, and Japan because of their expertise. Interpersonal skills training program is offered to all employees upon successful recruitment and selection because it enables communication and peaceful coexistence. The organization has a strong organizational culture that appreciates diversity and innovation hence equipping employees with interpersonal skills, such as oral communication, writing, and social interaction is critical.
The program is supposed to reduce conflicts and help employees exchange positive communication. Since the company operates in the technology industry, offering training programs related to the same is important. Therefore, anyone working in the company to be aware of handling computer software and hardware, as it enables members to perform under high standards, develop self-confidence, and perform additional functions other the ones assigned at recruitment.
Each employee, especially those joining the company, is taken through problem-solving classes to help them in analyzing events and responding appropriately. Under the program, workers are better placed to identify problems, analyze them, assess the available solutions, apply, and monitor the results. The course plays a role in avert disasters, providing ingenious solutions to the various problems in the company, and finally joint problem solving whenever a disaster strikes. The final training program is on diversity and sensitivity to other people’s needs and wishes.
While the training programs introduced in the company are beneficial, many problems are faced when implementing these programs. The areas in which any employee should train are restricted to the ones that benefit the company in the short-term only, something that does not fulfill the interests of both the employer and the employee. The tailoring the training programs to achieve the goals of the organization denies the worker the chance to acquire generic and broader skills. Based on this, a number of employees in the company are unable to utilize their skills and knowledge to energize the firm to get out the problems it faces from time to time.
In other words, creativity and innovation is never harnessed effectively under the new structure aimed at equipping employees with specific knowledge in their areas of specialization. Recently, the company announced that it intends to retire at least three-hundred senior managers in order to cut down on the costs. Taking employees for academically oriented training is costly and strains the financial resources of the department. Any time workers are enrolled in a program, the sales of the company drop because various departments run short of human resources needed in performing various functions. In other words, the training programs tend to disrupt the work schedule, as the company is always ill prepared to fill the positions of officers undertaking further training.
Whenever any training program is announced, the company faces a serious problem pertaining to the selection criteria because each worker wants to be chosen. The top management has tried over time to solve this problem by introducing a robust selection criterion, but it has not worked as expected. Consequently, employees who are not selected lose morale and are highly dissatisfied with the way the company handles the entire training program. This amounts to low productivity whereby workers develop a negative mood towards the organization.
For some performing workers, they decide to leave the organization meaning the program results in employee turnover if not handled with care. At times, the organization decides to postpone or cancel the programs to prevent conflicts. Once an employee undergoes the program successfully, chances that he or she will remain in the organization are minimal. The organization tries to solve this problem by entering into contracts with all employees in need of further training, but it is unfortunate that not all such contracts are legally enforceable.
Currently, the company is trying to address the issue of employee turnover, loyalty, and cutting the costs on training. The company cannot afford to do away with training of employees because of the benefits it brings. For instance, a trained employee is easy to handle meaning close supervision is not needed because he or she understand what is expected of him or her. The organization has been able to boost productivity and innovation through the various training programs, as any worker with sufficient training is likely to adapt to the new technologies and theories related to the work environment.
The company has to work extremely hard to retain the best talent having spent its resources to bring out the best out of average workers. Currently, the organization is preparing a new contract form that will require the employee to serve the company for a specified time upon completion of certain levels of training. Another way of ensuring an employee remains in the organization after training is setting up a reward program to see into the welfare of trained workers, such as increasing their packages and providing better working conditions.
Many workers are always interested in serving the organization that trained them, but they are forced to quit because of low pay and unfavorable working conditions. In order to cut the costs on training, the company is focusing on introducing educational programs in the academy, which will be open to other members of the public. The recruiting process will give graduates from the academy the priority whenever positions fall vacant.
Solutions Implemented to rectify the problem
The issues facing the training and development department at Etisalat Corporation are not yet solved, but plans are underway to deal with the challenge of employee turnover, loyalty, and the rising costs of the programs. It is already identified that workers are reluctant to leave the organization after successful completion of training modules, but certain issues force them to do so. The department is in talks with the top executives to introduce a motivation program that will be based on both monetary and non-monetary rewards.
Upon graduating from the academy, an employee will move to the next rank based on the company hierarchy even though he or she would be encouraged to continue performing the same responsibilities. Promotion is an effective reward system that improves the self-esteem of the worker, as well as boosting his or her financial position. Loyalty is one of the things that are hardly achieved, but the company is planning to come up with a program that will see each trained worker access facilities, such as mortgage with the help of the organization.
Maslow observed that people are always after self-actualization meaning they want to live a comfortable life. Therefore, setting up a program that will see each worker earn a good salary and attain a good name in the organization is expected to force employees to remain in the firm for long. Finally, cost sharing will safeguard the interests of the company in the sense that workers wishing to attain high degrees will have to pay for the services at the academy, even though the company will subsidize the services and issue soft loans to facilitate the entire process.
Recommendations for Organizational Development
- Before the company thinks of inviting applications from interested employees to join the academy, it should design a specific program aimed at helping those who want to learn. It is established that any adult learns in an easily predicable way. The training programs are meant to improve the performance of employees, but the management has to convince them to believe the same. For many workers, they rarely admit that their performance is weak. Therefore, it is the role of the organization to identify its employees’ weakness and move on to help them improve. The organization makes several mistakes of choosing people who are never interested in pursuing any course touching on their fields. Workers should be allowed to choose what really matters in their professions.
- Harmful mindsets are known to affect workers while undergoing training hence the organization has to identify these mindsets to ensure what is taught improves the performance of workers. In many cases, workers attend training sessions, but their aim is to gain fame and benefit from promotion instead of working hard to improve the departments in which they serve in the organization. The same process applied in establishing the skill gaps in the organization should be employed in identifying the negative mind-sets
- Relevant leaders, whether informal or formal, should be involved in designing and implementing the training programs right from the time of selection. This will ensure that the lessons taught stick at the end of the training. Leaders play a critical role in ensuring any organizational goal is achieved. In many organizations, leaders will simply be informed of the company decision to train particular workers, but the process of selection was not discussed with them. As such, they will influence workers to resist the program, even though they might approve it in front of their seniors to safeguard the job.
- At the place of work, skills acquired in the course of training should be reinforced because workers are always reluctant to accept the new ways of doing things. The company should not expect an employee to figure out on how the new skill is applied in improving the performance.
- The management has to ensure the new skills are applied by measuring the performance of each trained employee. This would entail coming up with evaluation or assessment tools, as it would help in designing future programs.
- Finally, the impact of the program must be measured, something that Etisalat has never bothered to do. Many organizations do not bother to conduct a serious research to establish whether the program has any effect on the human resources, sales, and the financial position of the company. Upon completion of training, trainees are simply asked whether they liked the program, which is considered a way of measuring its impacts. Unfortunately, this alone is not enough to determine whether the program has the potential of improving the performance of the company.