In a world of increasing competition between nations, firms and individuals need for learning is constant. New tools and technologies are created every day and organizational performance results from the capacity to use them fully. As a weak local government will come under fire from taxpayers, a non-competitive firm will go into bankruptcy. Learning and development methods feature prominently in organizational performance.
Learning and development can be considered as one of the main factors of an organization’s success if all the employees without exception have equitable access to requiring the new skills and improving the existing ones.
The benefits of learning and development to organizational performance and for individual stakeholders
It is possible to define organizations as a formation of employees working together under a hierarchical structure for a common purpose. Although referral tasks of workers’ groups differ, all of the employees are to be highly efficient to accomplish it. That is the reason why individuals should have the ability to learn and get training at work to improve their qualifications. Nowadays, learning and development can be considered as one of the key indirect factors of organization’s success (Aragón et al, p. 161). If the employees know exactly how to organize their working process, it makes a positive impact on organizational performance, quality of products and services, customer satisfaction, effective management in a company (Khan et al, p. 64).
It is important to understand that not only senior managers and line managers would benefit from learning new business ideas and concepts, but it is crucial for every employee to know how to use software and other tools thoroughly. As for the workers’ training, internal or external organization’s actors could provide such tuition. It could be an individual having expertise in a particular field teaching his/her colleagues or a professional tutor being paid for his/her specific skills and knowledge. Besides, IT tools are a major asset to learning and training. By video conferencing, an organization located in Des Moines can provide Chinese lessons taught by a Chinese native living in Guangzhou to its employees. In the case of learning and training, what is true for languages is also true for programming, accounting, or finance. Web sites such as OpenClassrooms or Edx are providing complete formation in a particular field (IT) or job such (Web developer). Furthermore, face-to-face seminars, languages lessons, and online resources are the methods aiming to improve individuals’ skills and thus organizational performance.
The role of the range of stakeholders identified in ensuring those benefits are achieved
Undoubtedly, it is stakeholders’ duty to determine the training needs of the individuals being part of an organization. It is possible to descript a stakeholder as a person having a stake in an organization and being involved in it. Evidently, top management refers to stakeholders, but there are also some unobvious issues. It is clear that organizations need to get bottom-up feedbacks to reach organizational performance. However, it becomes possible if only all the employees consider themselves as stakeholders; they should be not only aware of the knowledge they are lacking but also willing to express what are their needs. The definition of their necessities is the first step to the acquirement of the necessary skills for performing their jobs in the best possible manner. An organization for its part ought to define a person in charge of responding to learning and training requests.
As for the benefits of learning and development inside an organization, they can be divided into two groups. The first group aims to achieve a specific purpose (for instance, how to use a particular software recently bought, language training before a business trip abroad) while the second one does not have a clear and urgent goal (for example, how to improve communication, intercultural communication at the workplace). Concerning the first group, its efficiency can be approximately evaluated, as the individuals feel if their skills were improved after completing the training. Apart from this, their supervisors or the employees ranked at higher hierarchical levels can check how much did their performance increase. As for learning and development teachings taught without clear and urgent purpose, they are slightly different, because their usefulness is harder to estimate. Corporate seminars organized around a vaguely defined theme such as “better productivity at work” or “increasing interpersonal communication in the workplace” can be considered as a case in point. It is important to understand that participation and motivation of the employees are necessary, because, without their active involvement, hardly any positive effect will result from such teaching. Nevertheless, an organization holding too many learning sessions could lead to the same undesired result as holding too many meetings, namely a loss of the employees’ motivation.
In the case of learning and development, teachings taught without a clear purpose, the inability of measuring the results lead to negative implications. As Peter Drucker famously wrote it: “What gets measured gets improved” (Shore). Therefore, the efficacity of such methods is difficult to evaluate. If an organization aims to succeed, it should offer adequate training and courses for its employees as well as process and take into consideration feedback from them.
Approaches to evaluating the benefits of learning and development concerning two different contexts
Undeniably, there is no perfect teaching for all individuals as people are all different. Specific training may fit some of them while being useless for others, and it is the reason why evaluating courses is so complicated. Nevertheless, the benefits of learning and development inside an organization do not raise doubts. It is possible to estimate them in two following cases.
It is widely known that although English is the lingua franca of the modern world, it is not the native language of most of the population. Therefore, even if the international employees know how to speak English, they may think in their native languages. It is the reason why an organization working with foreign partners would benefit from providing its employees with foreign languages courses. Indeed, having the workers speak foreign languages can be understood as a factor of organizational performance as they have a better understanding of foreign cultures and international communication. Thus, the risk of intercultural misunderstanding is reduced.
It is hard to deny that people that have happy, satisfying lives are sedulous employees, so more and more top firms focus extensively on their employees’ personal development. For instance, Google encourages its workers to spend time on personal projects during their working hours. It is apparent that this amount of time is limited; however, this case reveals the importance of personal development for organizational performance.
Finally, it might be concluded that learning and development are key to organizational performance. To be considered effective, learning and development methods should be concrete and taught to all individuals requiring it, whatever their position in the organization’s hierarchy. In a world of knowledge, organizations fostering learning are the ones staying ahead.
- Aragón, M. I., Jiménez, D. J., Valle, R. S. “Training and Performance: The Mediating Role of Organizational Learning.” BRQ Business Research Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 3, 2014, pp. 161-73.
- Khan, R. A., Khan, F. A., Khan, M.A. “Impact of Training and Development on Organizational Performance.” Global Journal of Management and Business Research, vol. 11, no. 7, 2011, pp. 63-68.
- Shore, J. “These 10 Peter Drucker Quotes May Change Your World.” Entrepreneur, 2014.