The main focus of this paper is to assess whether planning for HR leads to the accomplishment of tangible results in an organization. This assessment was done through four main hypotheses: “planning for training leads to the accomplishment of training goals”, “planning for training causes companies to identify the right employees for training,”, “planning for training has a positive effect on training schedules”, “planning for training leads to the use of the right training methods”.
These hypotheses were tested through a combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses in case study research. In the quantitative research, company reports and test results were analyzed for fifteen trainees. The research also examined company training goals. Afterward, a qualitative analysis of trainees, line supervisors, and trainers was done through open-ended interviews. Two of the research hypotheses were nullified and two were confirmed. It was found that planning for training does lead to goal accomplishment and identification of the right employees for training. However, no association was found between planning for training and training schedules or the use of the right teaching methods. Trainees were dissatisfied with training schedules and teaching methods; however, trainers and supervisors thought that training goals were accomplished and the right employees were selected. Since two research hypotheses were confirmed and the quantitative results supported them, then the main research objective of assessing whether planning for HR leads to the accomplishment of tangible results was answered in the affirmative.
It was recommended that the company revises its training strategy to improve the trainer’s teaching methods. It should sensitize workers about the importance of soft skills, establish mentorship programs to help new trainees in the application of skills, and should also increase the number of classes to accord employees greater flexibility.
HR planning covers a series of activities that include training. The focus of this paper will be to determine whether human resource planning leads to tangible results in the area of training.
Aspects of Human resource planning
HR planning encompasses major activities that include: staffing, compensation, training and development, and retention. All organizations need to plan their staffing needs. This means first attracting and then recruiting the right staff. When companies plan for their staffing needs, they need to think about opportunities for the advancement of employees and the type of benefits that they can offer them. During the HR planning process, companies must include these elements so as to succeed in staffing. In older companies, the HR planning process of staffing will include the creation of new openings through reorganization. For new ones, companies will plan on workforce increases and allocations.
Training and development are vital elements of the human resource planning process. Companies need to plan on how they can improve their workforce environments. In this process, organizations need to think about ways in which they can develop either general skills or work-related skills. The major aim in planning for training is to maintain the skills and flexibility of an organization’s workforce. Sometimes this can be done through career consultation or through retraining. Either way, administrators must plan on the way forward.
Employees tend to look for opportunities in other companies regardless of their current circumstances. However, firms can increase their rates of retention by planning for this aspect. They can dwell on rewards, work-life balance, benefits, and recognition. Once these aspects are considered, then it is likely that few attrition rates will be reported. Sometimes disruptions can occur when employees are disgruntled by their companies’ policies. Therefore, managers must plan for issues such as flexibility, job security, or other human relations policies.
Compensation is a vital part of a human resource planning process because it allows several firms to control their workforce-related costs. It also motivates employees, boosts retention, and enhances job satisfaction. However, for a company to achieve all these results, it needs to balance its cost-related concerns with its employee’s needs. These issues can only be covered well through a thorough planning process.
How to plan for training
Prior to having a training program, one must carry out systematic research on the situation within one’s company. This can be achieved through information gathering in specific areas. The first step in planning for training is to determine the kind of training that is required. In this process, one must know the company goals as well as the job descriptions that are covered. This should also be linked to any complaints that were made by the employees. Some of these issues may include overtime irregularities, discrimination, harassment, and compensation. In this process of needs identification, one must take the time to incorporate all legal and safety requirements mandated by the law. Secondly, one must identify the right employees to be trained. It is not enough to simply identify the problems in the institution; one must determine the right individuals for training.
Some training may be departmental in nature while others may merely focus on individual needs. Alternatively, other forms may depend on the development goals of the worker. Thirdly, the company must know and understand its audience in training. Sometimes the background of the employees may have profound effects on training outcomes’. Issues concerning the relationship of the employee to trainers, the familiarity of the employee with the material, and the employee’s level of responsibility must all be taken into account. One must know the demographics of the group, its educational level as well as its expectations and attitudes as these will affect training outcomes. Lastly, a company must make a detailed blueprint for training. It needs to outline the whole training program by having specific and quantifiable objectives. The company must list all the employees who will be trained and the areas that they will learn about. The blueprint also needs to incorporate a training schedule in which session dates for the program will be included. The blueprint should also make room for eventualities as each program may experience some technical difficulties.
Objectives of training
Tone objective training is to contribute to the improvement of employee morale. It allows individuals to experience job satisfaction. It also accords them job security when they possess the right skills needed to stay in an organization. Job satisfaction is mostly achieved through the ability of an employee to contribute positively and effectively towards his company. Well-trained workers tend to report less absenteeism and attrition because they are confident in their abilities. Therefore, one of the major objectives of the training is to boost employee morale.
Companies need training in order to reduce administrative levels, so this can be another objective. A well-trained worker is well acquainted with his tasks and does not require as much supervision as an untrained one. Therefore, a firm can minimize effort and time wastage because fewer supervisors will be required. Such a company will be leaner and more efficient in carrying out its mandate. Businesses can train their staff members in order to cut down on bureaucracy or supervisory roles.
A firm may also do training in order to increase productivity. Employees who have undergone this process tend to be more efficient. They improve performance both qualitatively and quantitatively. This will result in less wastage of resources like money and time. Furthermore, many of them can carry out their jobs in an error-free manner. This means that they will report fewer accidents and less wastage.
Identification of the right members for training
In order to identify the right individuals for training, one must first start with the company’s policies. Some organizations have clearly outlined the subjects or areas that employees need to learn about and the job groups that require this knowledge. This should be the starting point, and then one must look at employee records. A company may have experienced a series of discrimination and harassment lawsuits; therefore, such scenarios may indicate that affected employees require training in that area. Performance reviews may also shed some light on skills deficiencies in the firm. Machine or procedural deficiencies can also show declines in performance and thus identify the employees who need improvement. Sometimes these types of assessments can be done informally by discussing performance issues with supervisors. Safety violations or instances of accidents could also show that employees require safety training.
One may also use research to identify the right employees for training. This can be done through focus groups, informal interviews with personnel, or even through observations. A manager may ask employees and managers what they feel they are lacking in their jobs and whether they think they should undergo training.
Designing learning programs
When designing a learning program, one must think about the aims and the limits of the training.program; these should be laid out. Additionally, one must have a visual idea of how the training program will be carried out. All participants need to know what they would like to achieve and why that information is necessary. The timescales for the program should be well known in the design. Systems for measuring the resources and outcomes of the activities should be well known. One must also incorporate the preferred modes of communication and feedback. Sometimes these may encapsulate emails, phones, and other technologies. The expectations of the trainer and the trainees must be clearly outlined. One must have a way of clarifying the style, method, and content to be used in the process.
Background and Objectives
The overall objective of this research is “To determine the effect of implementing an HR planning process for training at Microsoft Gulf Plc.” The company chosen for analysis already has a sound HR planning strategy in place. It will be critical to assess whether this company is achieving any tangible results from the planning of training programs. Therefore, the research will reveal both the positive and negative outcomes of HR planning for training. This overall objective will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
- To assess whether planning for training leads to the accomplishment of training goals at Microsoft Gulf. Some organizations may wish to increase productivity, sales revenues, or other similar objectives. Planning for training is supposed to allow companies to set definite goals that will cause the company to meet training needs (Freeman 1993). This research will find out whether this is true.
- To determine whether planning for training causes the organization to identify the right employees for training at Microsoft Gulf. In the planning process, a company needs to perform a needs analysis to identify the employees who need training in a particular area. This case study will provide crucial insights into the real outcomes of the planning process.
- To investigate the effect of training planning on training schedules at Microsoft Gulf. HR personnel or parties in charge of training are supposed to plan for training by setting specific dates for sessions. This research will investigate whether the planning process led to better scheduling or worse scheduling. Were the classes too far apart that employees forgot the first lessons? Or were they placed too close to cause information overload?
- To investigate whether planning for training leads to the application of the right method of training for trainees at Microsoft Gulf.
Each training process possesses certain methods and materials that must be applied to the right audiences. The research will analyze whether the planning processes created greater flexibility in training or whether it applied the right teaching style for trainees.
All the above specific objectives were derived from the fact that training is done to accomplish certain goals. HR planning is supposed to facilitate or enhance the achievement of those objectives. It is necessary to know if these two parameters are affecting each other. In other words, is the company reaping the rewards of their HR planning efforts or not?
The overall project outcome is to “Establish whether HR planning for training leads to effective training processes at Microsoft Gulf Plc”. Other specific project outcomes include: For Microsoft Gulf Plc to
- Establish clarity of goal setting during training.
- Establish the effectiveness of training targets about how challenging but achievable they are.
- Verify that the right employees are identified for training.
- Show whether schedules are too far from each other thus leading to memory loss of earlier lessons.
- Show whether schedules are too close together to lead to information overload
- Ascertain that training reaches all categories of learners.
- Clarify the factors that lead to the success or failure of the training program.
For Microsoft Gulf Plc:
- Does planning for training lead to goal accomplishment in training?
- Can planning for training lead to the identification of the right employees for training?
- What effect does planning for training have on training schedules?
- Does planning for training alter the teaching methods?
How the literature was collected
Literature was collected through the internet. Search terms were initially general and after getting some specific information, they were narrowed down to direct topics. The first journals covered training in general. They explained why training fails or why certain organizations do not train at all. This selection was then narrowed down to those papers that talked about Human resource planning for training. Some of them covered the reasons for failure while other prescribed working formulas. Later on, a search for training and its effectiveness was done. The articles selected were the ones that talked about the impact, effect, effectiveness, or consequence of training. A general pattern was observed among them and only a few from each category were selected; it was not possible to include or obtain all of them in the literature review.
For example, the ones that examined the macroscopic effects of training had numerous examples but only a few that focused on the productive effects and employment levels were selected. Alternatively, the ones that focused on case studies of specific organizations were also narrowed down to one or two instances. The critiqued literature was selected based on the trends that were prevalent in all of them. For example, when the paper depended on theoretical information alone, then it was randomly picked as evidence of this trend. Other papers that were also featured in the literature review talked about different approaches to evaluating training. These papers would support the critiques made concerning the methodological approaches of similar papers. For instance, one article criticized the use of employee perceptions as the only source for assessment of training. Another one talked about the challenges of conducting macroscopic research on subjective information. All this information was put together in an attempt to cover only the most prominent approaches in the field.
Several types of research in the area of training as a part of Human Resource planning focus on training-needs assessments. They often entail case studies of particular firms or certain industrial sectors. One example was the research carried out by Abdullah (2009). He wanted to investigate how effectively companies carry out a training needs analysis. To narrow down his focus to a reasonable sample size, he decided to focus only on manufacturing companies in Malaysia. In this analysis, the author measured the proportion of firms that carry out needs analysis, and then he dissected the nature of approaches used to assess these needs. In his investigation, the researcher found that participating Malaysian firms use observational methods to do a needs-analysis.
Therefore, training needs analyses were absent in those companies regardless of the nature of their sizes. These findings have serious implications for personnel in other firms as they illustrate that the effectiveness of training is greatly undermined when people pay little attention to employee and organizational needs. It is likely that such firms will report minimal positive effects after employee training. Alok (2006) echoes the same sentiments. He found that when firms do not carry out a needs assessment of their employee’s training needs; in other words, if they do not plan for training, then chances are that the employees will underperform.
If training is limited to the newcomers who are only enlightened about a company’s organizational structure, processes, and procedures, mission, and vision, then chances are that the older employees will feel dissatisfied. This again will result in low outcomes. From the above-mentioned articles, it can be stated that one of the effects of poor or no training planning is low productivity and morale. However, these two papers focused on the negative aspect of HR planning in training. Their concern was on the lack of training. This dissertation will attempt to seal that gap by focusing on a company that plans its training. It will not investigate whether several firms implement this aspect or not; emphasis will be on a firm that is respected for its training planning. What the dissertation will study are the training outcomes of such a process in the participating firm. Other researchers such as Tooksoon and Mudor (2011) found that poor human resource management practices, such as the lack of job training, leads to poor job satisfaction and high employee turnover.
Most HR planning researches on training are based on Western countries, which have the resources and the capabilities needed to carry out effective training. However, resource constraints in other parts of the world may be severely constrained by the lack of such resources. It is, therefore, insightful to perform an analysis of planning for training in non – Western countries such as the United Arab Emirates. As such, one can say that there is a gap in current literature because most of it is inclined towards the western world (Noe 2005). This research will attempt to fill that gap by focusing on a multinational in the United Arab Emirates.
It is a common practice for most firms to take their training needs casually. This is often characterized by a haphazard approach to the entire process. Hill (2004) explains that several companies use such a method because they do not have the right experts to carry out the job. Planning for training and its needs is a complex task that not every member of staff can do. Furthermore, some companies think of planning for training as a burden to them. They, therefore, wait for emergencies to implement a needs-analysis. This is a classic case of prioritizing short term needs over long term objectives. Many organizations tend to fall short because of failing to look at the big picture (Hansen 2003).
Other articles identify high employee turnover as a major challenge that prevents companies from doing training planning. It is understandable for firms to adopt a short – time perspective when their employees rarely stay long enough to develop. Alternatively, poor training planning may come from certain structural issues prevalent within an organization. Such firms may not have the right human resource policies or plans needed to carry out training and development. They may not have allocated a specific department to carry on with tasks. These explanations are indicative of another point of focus in HR planning-for-training literature; a diagnosis of the causes of poor training planning. This dissertation will not focus on causes; instead, the major issue will be on a diagnosis of the effects of training planning.
Other pieces of literature are highly prescriptive. They mostly dwell on ideal scenarios for effective training. One such piece is by Hash and Wilson (2003) who explain that one must effectively communicate a training plan. Thereafter, one must establish a strategy for delivering awareness of the material. One must then assess the implementation of the training program through established feedback and evaluation techniques. Ongoing improvement in training needs can be imperative in causing success. While the latter study is vital in providing guidelines for training planning, it does not offer insights on the effectiveness of this planning program. This research will attempt to do that through a case study of Microsoft Gulf Plc.
In other papers, authors have focused on the value of evaluating training. DHS (2009) carried out an evaluation of its evaluation process and realized that most of the training outcomes in the institution were not used for any purposes. The research team realized that most departments evaluate training through the use of participant satisfaction ratings. Others focused on measuring the actual activities that the administrators planned on changing through training. It was found that the value of assessing training is to create benchmarks. Companies can identify what works and what does not work for them early enough. This paper was quite insightful in showing the importance of training, but it did not center on specific components of training programs in the department. This dissertation will bridge that gap by zeroing -in on specific components of training. This can be used as benchmarks for better performance in the future.
Several types of research have also focused on a specific analysis of the effect of planning for training. However, several gaps still exist even in these pieces of literature. Some of the papers focus on theoretical aspects of planning for human resource planning. Kraiger et al (2004) did a highly theoretical analysis on the evaluation of training. They researched models that facilitate the effectiveness of training. These authors focused on secondary literature alone to come up with their findings. They wanted to establish the most effective models that companies can use on training evaluation to align their training with their business goals.
Therefore, they provided a link between organizational performance and training success. Their subject matter was the overall effect of training rather than the effect of planning for training. Therefore, the paper may be applied in the general field of Human resource management but not human resource planning. This research will fill the gap by adding practical elements to the area of Human resource planning for training. However, because the research objectives are based on HR theory, then the paper will provide greater insight by merging theory with practice. It should be noted that the case study method is superior in this subject because of several reasons. First, it will facilitate the completeness of observation (Zonabend, 1992). The method considers the views of the actors in the case and thus offers very rich insights into the field of HR planning. (Yin, 1994)
Most researches in the field tend to dwell on the issue of training and its outcomes. Very few of them study the relationship between planning for training and the effects on training itself. This means that they tend to select random organizations. It does not matter to them whether a certain organization plans for training or not. Therefore, few of these papers have relevance in the HR planning discipline. This dissertation will attempt to seal that gap by selecting a firm that is reputed for its HR planning process and then assess whether that planning process had an impact on the training process. This is the reason why performance evaluations will not be done. Other studies have already measured performance after training. The problem with performance measures is that so many other factors can affect performance outcomes as it is not directly related to training. However, when one analyses closely associated parameters such as training schedules, employee selection, and training goals, then one minimizes the effects of these confounding factors. One can know the effect of planning for training as the parameters to be assessed are all derived from the components that were initially planned on (Stavou-Costea, 2005).
Other researches on training effectiveness dwell on a myriad of cases on training but the disadvantage here is that certain factors may be company-specific. A case study approach would narrow down the area of focus. It would eliminate the need to generalize effects on entire industries or economies since every enterprise has its dynamics. For instance, Manu (2004) carried out a study on successful models of training in Ghanaian firms. He first identified various training models used by firms, their needs assessment, and then made recommendations on the best approach. This analysis presumed that all the training issues identified were prevalent in all organizations in Ghana, yet this was not true. The author also presumed that all the theoretical models would be suitable for the business culture in Ghanaian firms.
Additionally, it was presumed that the problems discussed would be recognizable by all firms in Ghana. These assumptions are not true, and they reflect the challenge of using more than one enterprise to assess the effectiveness of HR planning. Sometimes the business culture, the training problems, and the theoretical models are business-specific. Consequently, this research will eliminate such assumptions by focusing on one enterprise, i.e. Microsoft Gulf. The same approach was used by Hassan (2010) who researched the impact of training on various demographic groups (gender, age group, and designations). He specifically focused on the effect of training on employee performance. The 70 subjects were selected from a myriad of organizations in Islamabad. This researcher did not consider the possibility that creating organizational factors may have confounded the effectiveness of training.
Perhaps a larger problem manifested in the latter research, along with the others identified before, is the fact that subjects were all employees or trainees. Several types of research tend to focus on employee perceptions as the only method used to analyze the effect of training. This research will still use the opinions of employees but will also combine it with other aspects such as managerial opinions and trainers’ perspectives on training schedules and goal accomplishment. This will neutralize the deficiencies that occur when employee perceptions are the only source of information. Self-reported behavior in any situation tends to be highly biased. Participants may worry about the implications of their responses and may alter them. In this regard, it will be necessary to adopt another approach towards the collection of information. Each research objective will be met by focusing on another group that is not directly involved in the issue. For instance, when analyzing whether planning for training contributed to the identification of the right teaching methods, employees will be expected to respond because they are not doing the teaching.
Dunn and Thomas (1985) identified this problem as far back as the eighties. They criticized most researches that attempt to evaluate the effect of training based on trainees’ opinions of training. This trend still goes on today. Most researchers assume that if the trainees like the program then it must be successful. Little information is available on substantive elements of training. This research will assess the effects through a myriad of sources.
Lechner and Melly (2007) researched the influence of job training programs on earning capacities. They wanted to know how training changes human capital. The analysis was done for the period between 1957 and 1997 in Germany. The authors relied upon a literature review on the earning capacities of individuals after training. It was found that training did improve earning capacities. The authors used employment databases, training participation data as well as benefit payments databases. They attempted to find the relationship between all these parameters and came to their conclusion. The problem with such an analysis is that it is based on a huge assumption; that training is the only factor that alters the employability of individuals.
Additionally, it has a historical approach that may not be applicable today. Another similar research that manifests the same flaws was one conducted by Dearden et al (2005). They wanted to establish the impact of training on worker’s productivity. This was also a quantitative analysis that was based on British panel data. They found that training increases the productivity of workers by 0.6 percentage points. However, aggregation problems often arise during such industry-level analyses. Furthermore, the authors assumed that they knew the number of trained personnel within the chosen industry, yet this is not true. Such research illustrates the problems that one faces when choosing to analyze the impact of training on a macro level, hence the reason why this dissertation will focus on a microanalysis. It will minimize the need for using coefficients and other estimates that may alter the accuracy of one’s results. Therefore, this research will focus on a current company so that the findings can be relevant today.
Rosti and Shipper (1999) carried out an analysis of the impact of training on organizational development through the 360 feedback program. Theirs was a quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of training. However, the authors were only interested in the effect on the manager’s skills. They did not widen their scope to cover other types of employees. Therefore, this dissertation will focus on the quantitative effects of planning for training on an entire organization. While some researchers may narrow down the focus of their study on a particular institution, they still tend to discuss subjects that are too contracted. As in the above example, Rosti and Shipper (1999) only wanted to reveal the overall outcome of training on top-level employees, so little was still unknown about lower-level employees. The focus shifted from training in general to training among seniors in organizations.
In terms of all the gaps witnessed, this research’s main contribution to literature will be its ability to assess the effectiveness of planning for training and not merely conducting training. The discipline of HR planning will benefit tremendously from these efforts. The above objective will be achieved by focusing only on planning-related results. This will minimize the confounding factors that may interfere with an analysis of the general impact of training. Additionally, this dissertation will utilize more than one type of source, i.e. employees, for data collection. Consequently, it will overcome the biases that emanate from self-reporting. This paper will also surpass the problems of macro-level research on the effect of training. Although many authors prefer doing industry-wide or country-wide analysis, they often have to contend with the theoretical deficiencies in their secondary sources. Through a case study approach, this paper will provide a real and first-hand account of the subject matter. Unlike previous authors who disregard the importance of the players, this paper will acknowledge and study the effect of the actors involved in the training program.
The main theory that will guide this research is Kirkpatrick’s learning evaluation model. Since the main concern in the dissertation is to analyze whether planning for training affects training outcomes, then an assessment of the training process needs to be done. In this model, it is assumed that the evaluation of the learning process can be done through four basic levels: the student’s reactions, learning, behavior, and results. The following is a diagrammatic representation of these levels.
In gauging the student’s reaction, one must understand what the trainee felt about training. Thereafter, one must measure learning through knowledge increments. Behaviour is assessed through capability improvement while results are analyzed through effects on the business. In this research, it is assumed that goal accomplishment, identification of the right employees for training, training schedules and learning styles are all reflective of this learning process. When studying the reaction of the trainees as outlined in Kirkpatrick’s model, one analysis the level of enjoyment of the session, its relevance, the level of comfort in training, participation, and the practicability of the information.
In this dissertation, the perceived employee experience of the time schedules, as well as their experience on the teaching method, will be the main point of emphasis. Therefore, for this particular research, employee perceptions of on-time schedules and learning styles will provide insights on their reaction towards the training process. Learning evaluation in the model is done through an analysis of the increases in the knowledge that occurred among the participants. As one evaluates this aspect, one must know whether the trainee fully grasped what he or she was taught. In this particular research, the aspect of goal accomplishment will be reflective of learning. Trainers in Microsoft Gulf ought to give feedback on employee’s learning.
This should be reflected in the form of a test. The third level that Donald Kirkpatrick discusses in his model is behavior evaluation. He explains that for training to be effective, trainees must be able to apply what they learned in their jobs (Shipper & Neck, 1990). Line managers are particularly useful in bringing out this element; however, their observations need to have been done after a relatively long time. This dissertation will cover that component through an assessment of goal accomplishment after training as well as the selection of the right employees for training. Lastly, Kirkpatrick affirms that one must assess the results. This means the effect that the training had on the business. One must look at the percentages, revenue increases, volumes, attrition, or other quantifiable information. In the dissertation, it will be possible to ascertain whether the concept of training gaol accomplishment was achieved through quantitative information. The conceptual framework can be represented as follows.
Research Plan and Methodology
The research paradigm that governs this paper is the positivist or deductive philosophy. Here, one assumes that the social and physical world exists independent of its agents and that one must attempt to discover that truth through precise measures. The research is also deductive because it starts with a theoretical assumption and then proceeds to confirm the theory. In other words, it starts with a theory, then a hypothesis, and eventually an observation. The final step is confirmation of the theory. In this dissertation, it is assumed that the theoretical premise for conducting this research is that human resource planning affects training outcomes. The hypothesis is that planning for training enhances the training process. The observation will be carried out through the case study method and the findings will either nullify or confirm this theoretical assumption. Therefore, the major concern in this paper will be to empirically test theories. As an observer, it will be assumed that the researcher is detached from the subject matter under analysis.
The first step involved in the research design is defining the research questions. The research questions are: Does planning for training lead to goal accomplishment in training?, Can planning for training lead to the identification of the right employees for training?, What effect does planning for training have on training schedules? Does planning for training alter the teaching methods?. Stake (1995) explains that good research questions must be clear, intriguing, socially important, and scientifically relevant. These questions are scientifically relevant because they address an aspect of human resource planning that has not been effectively researched. Additionally, the research questions are socially important because they directly affect business stakeholders.
The next step in the research process is to hypothesize the research questions and the rest of the analysis. In this case, the research hypotheses include: Planning for training leads to the accomplishment of training goals, planning for training causes companies to identify the right employees for training, planning for training leads to the identification of the right training schedules, and planning for training leads to the application of the right training method..As stated earlier, this research aims at testing the existing theory; that planning for training leads to tangible organizational results. It was also based on Kirkpatrick’s theory which assumes that effective training has effects on trainees’ attitudes, behavior, and results. These three parameters were the basis for creating the research hypotheses.
After defining the hypotheses, one must then select the case to be analyzed. In this regard, one must look at the prevailing theory to know what kind of case will be studied. Since most literature focuses on western nature, it is critical to select a different location and this was the reason why Microsoft Gulf Plc was selected. Additionally, most of the literature was theoretical in nature and the kind of cases researchers evaluated was too broad; they usually covered whole countries or industries. This dissertation filled that gap by focusing on a particular organization. It was necessary to select a company that planned for human resource planning since this is the first parameter that is highlighted in the research objective. The chosen company is ranked as one of the best organizations to work for in the UAE. Furthermore, it has a robust training system for its employees. Yin (1994) explains that cases must always be selected based on their ability to meet the main research objective. If the research is about planning for training, then the organization must carry out this function to qualify. Furthermore, it must also display better than average capability in that area of research and this was true for Microsoft Gulf. The most important quality to look for when selecting a case is its unique and revelatory abilities as was displayed in the company under analysis.
One must collect data after the clarification of the research hypotheses. This research will be conducted through semi-structured interviews with the following categories of people: trainers, trainees, and line managers. It will also combine these findings with company documents, annual documents, and test results. Although this research is positivist in nature, it will employ the use of a case study method. Case study methods are often ideal in analyzing certain in-depth phenomena. This can be effected in positivist research even though case studies are usually associated with interpretive research. The semi-structured interviews were selected because they do not restrict the respondents to preset categories or choices. The interviewer may not have thought about certain aspects that relate to the research questions, so it is imperative to allow interviewers to contribute to these dimensions.
The respondents will be able to give their own experiences and views without any interfering aspects. A crucial aspect of data collection of the selection of participants will be the interview. The nature of the subjects chosen for the interview will directly affect the outcome of the results. Microsoft Gulf Plc has a series of 158 employees. It would consume a lot of time to talk to all these employees. Furthermore, it would not be productive to focus on everyone as not all employees are involved in the training process at a given time. In this regard, the research first employed critical case sampling in which only the information-rich cases were selected for analysis. Since the analysis revolves around training, then training stakeholders would be the most useful source of information. Trainers who had carried out training in the past 6 months were top on the list, line supervisors were the next source of information. Lastly, employees who had taken part in training within the last 6 months of the interview were also selected as suitable categories for the study. However, after choosing the categories of interviewees, it was then necessary to narrow down the sample size to a manageable number. A different sampling strategy was employed known as stratified sampling.
In this method, one selects the nth element in the population size and continues selecting the same element until the end of the population. The nth element is determined by the total sample size and the total population. For example, if the total population in a certain organization is a hundred and the total sample size required is 50 then the 100/50 would give a quotient of 2. This means that every second person must be selected randomly from the list. Stratified sampling was applied to each category of participants; there were 12 trainers,15 line managers whose subordinates had taken part in a training session within the past six months and there were also forty-five employees who had participated in a training session within the past six months. All the names of the employees were written in alphabetical order and the nth person selected. The total sample size for trainers was four. Consequently, the nth number for trainers was 3; every third trainer in the list (in alphabetical order) was selected for the research. Similarly, four-line managers were also required for the study. Since the total population size was fifteen, then an nth element of 4 was selected; 15/4 was rounded off to the nearest whole number. Every fourth member in the list was selected for the analysis. The number of eligible trainees was 45 while the desired sample size was 15. This implied that the nth element was 3 for employees (Westfall, 2009).
There are several issues of validity and generalisability that arise from the use of case study and face to face interviews with the participants. Validity is the ability of research to measure what it purports to be measuring. Since a qualitative method will be used, then validity issues will be a serious problem in the study. One way of mitigating this problem is through the use of triangulation. The term refers to the use of multiple information sources concerning a certain phenomenon. The logic behind such an approach is to create converging inquiry lines on the same subject matter. In this paper, multiple sources of information were used; some were company reports, others were interviews and others were test results. This verifies the repeatability of the interpretation in the research and also clarifies certain meanings. The face-to-face interviews were crucial in assessing employees, trainers, and supervisory perspectives in the selection of the right employees for training, the planning of training schedules, and the application of the right training method; these are all qualitative aspects. The quantitative aspects were clarified through the company documents and test results. This information will complement assertions made by all the interviewees. The quantitative aspect will be especially useful in understanding whether training led to the accomplishment of training goals (Pare, 2001).
In addition to the use of methodological triangulation to increase the validity of the research, this paper also relies upon data triangulation. In this regard, several informants and documents were used in the analysis. Not only did the research focus on several categories of interviews, i.e., the employees, trainers, and line supervisors, but it also relied upon different series of documents for the same results. If the study had only relied upon trainees, then it is likely that the findings would have been skewed towards their perceptions. Additionally, if it only depended upon line supervisors then chances are some information would be skewed towards management and not day to day tasks. Trainers alone would not have been sufficient to provide information because they would not know whether their teaching methods were suitable or not to their audience. A researcher cannot rely upon someone’s self-evaluation because this is bound to lead to problems. Data triangulation was also done through multiple document sources. All of the trainee’s test results were assessed in the study. Additionally, different company reports were also analyzed for accuracy and this made the research highly valid.
Reliability refers to the extent to which a certain result is free from biases or errors. The case study method presents particular challenges in confirming the validity. One must note the procedures followed in the case to ensure that another researcher can follow the same steps and achieve the same results. This can be achieved through proper documentation of all the procedures used in the result. In this research, the topic of inquiry was identified in the introduction section. Afterward, the data collection method was identified and the sources of this information were laid out. This chronology of information is what can contribute to the successful replication of the research by other investigators. Reliability in this research is also ascertained through interview guides. In the results section of this report, one can find the questions that were asked during the interviews to ensure that the same questions are asked. There was a specific list of questions to be asked in the interviews depending on the job position of the interviewee. For instance, the trainers were supposed to talk about training schedules and the selection of the right employees. Trainees were to talk about their learning styles as well as their perception of the overall interview process.
After the collection of the data, it is necessary to perform data analysis. The data analysis will depend on the type of information under consideration. During the interview process, everything will be recorded and then played back for further analysis. Field notes will then be taken from each interview and used to make transcripts. I will then place my own remarks on the transcripts. After making the transcripts, the qualitative information will be coded. This will be done by borrowing from other theoretical work that acknowledges the role of well-defined codes. Pattern-matching will follow and then the hypotheses will be nullified or confirmed. These findings will all be represented using diagrams. Document analysis will be quantitative. Correlational relationships will be established for all the parameters under consideration.
The first major challenge that one must address is the size of the sample. Since only a small number will be used, some individuals wonder whether it can be possible to answer the research questions using these few numbers. However, the major objective in carrying out this research is to do an in-depth analysis. This would not have been possible if the sample size was so large, as in a survey.
There is also the problem of oversimplifying one’s data or over determining one’s data. This can especially arise during the qualitative analysis of the information. To avoid this occurrence, one must strike a balance between the two concepts. In line with this argument is the problem of experiencing ex-post obviousness. The term refers to finding results from the case that are obvious. Therefore, the findings will not contribute to the literature and will thus be a waste of time. To avoid this problem, one must take the time to select the right cases. In the research, the right institution was selected through its HR planning process.
Since this research will partly be a qualitative study, certain challenges may arise in the presentation of the findings in the paper. There will be plenty of information from all the participants and it is not feasible to write everything said by the interviewer or interviewees. Consequently, one must take the time to select the most appropriate or vital information asserted by the informants. This will be thoroughly ensured in the subsequent section of the paper by carefully selecting statements that directly relate to the research hypothesis.
Another ethical concern may emanate from the assessment of the trainer’s efforts by trainees or vice versa. Trainers may especially object to a critique of their teaching style by trainees as they may feel that this is insubordination. This may lead to a degree of turmoil within the organization. To avoid this occurrence, participant anonymity will be ensured. Trainees will not know which other trainees participated in the survey. Additionally, trainers will not also know which trainers or trainees participated in the survey. The same will apply to line managers. Participant confidentiality can minimize future confidence in researches within the organization; this will be accommodated.
Data Collection and Results
Test results for trainees
|Technical skills Test||74||80||71||80||69||77||94||80||87||98||85||76||71||89||94||70|
|Nontechnical skill test||63||NA||62||NA||75||56||NA||NA||67||NA||54||NA||NA||NA||NA||59|
Company report results
The company recognizes that it takes more than just technical skills to deliver. Consequently, employees are made proficient in their line of work as well as in other relevant non-technical skills such as business processes and innovation. The technical skills that employees train for include writing software in various windows operating systems such as Win32,.NET, and many more.
An analysis of company reports revealed the following training goals: To increase capability, knowledge, and support within the organization regarding its services. The company trains its personnel to maximize their productivity. It aims at enabling them to provide the right administrative support, infrastructure, administrative systems, and instructional abilities that can be supported by those concerned. Microsoft Gulf also focuses on increasing knowledge during the training process. It requires its employees to gain knowledge in all of its products as well as other services that the company offers.
These may range from PC gaming, business software, cloud computing, Microsoft office, and Windows products (Microsoft Gulf Plc., 2012). After training, employees are supposed to be able to carry out supporting services as this is a vital part of the company’s product portfolio. In addition to these skills, individuals are expected to understand business processes both within the corporation and outside. This necessitates having a proper understanding of the role of IT in organizations to provide them with the right IT solutions. Additionally, training aims at teaching them about corporate-specific processes within the institution. Without this element, then trainees cannot adequately respond to the needs and demands of their workplace.
The employee assessment process in the company assesses a series of competencies and capabilities among the employees. The assessment process was divided into six major categories and these included: staff technology development, professionalism, communication, support and information, troubleshooting, computer systems, and networks. Employees were not expected to meet all the requirements in the six categories as their job descriptions would dictate the area of focus. Therefore, each participant in the research was expected to state which area of competence he was expected to master. Marks for each of those areas were obtained and compared to the pass mark.
Under computer systems, it was found that employees were supposed to demonstrate capability in the maintenance of local area networks. They must have the ability to repair workstations as well as offer support to users who are using Microsoft software. They were supposed to provide user services such as the establishment of directories, maintenance, and installation of networks in different workstations. Employees were also expected to demonstrate knowledge in local area networks through troubleshooting and repair of local area network components. Overly, in this area of computer systems, employees were expected to troubleshoot both software and hardware that relate to their products. Among the employees targeted for the research, five of them were supposed to show familiarity with this section and these were the average scores after training: Troubleshooting: 68.90%, onsite local area networks: 72.70%, providing user services: 86.20% installation and maintenance of local area networks: 79.10%. The average score for the group in this area of training was 76.725%. (It should be noted that all average scores in each segment were rounded off to two decimal places).
Under networks, employees were supposed to show competence in data communications principles such as open system interface models, relevant standards in network handling, and understanding network protocols. They were also supposed to design networks through network models, application of topology principles, and new emerging technologies. Network installation was also another important area of analysis. Here, employees were supposed to know and make recommendations on how network layouts could be made. Additionally, they needed to show competence in the maintenance of the Microsoft network operating systems. Trainees needed to configure, install, operate, and upgrade these network operating systems.
Subsequently, assessment of the employees after training would also assess an employee’s ability to administer network systems through the use of file-sharing or data sharing. Security maintenance in network administration was also examined. This was supposed to be done through user and internet security processes. They needed to know about the latest internet access products in Microsoft. The trainees also had to know or to maintain web service applications including cloud computing. Among the survey participants, only seven of them were required to take training in networks. These were the average scores of the group in various components of the system: data communication principles: 70.33%, Network design: 78.67%, network installation: 81.89%, network operating systems: 95.29%, security establishment, and maintenance: 91.00%, web service maintenance: 83.21%. The average score for the whole group in this area was 83.35%.
Support and troubleshooting were also covered in the training process and this was the most crucial technical aspect covered in training as seen by the 13 members who have done the course. They were tested on their ability to resolve and diagnose problems. Employees were expected to use diagnostic tools to test software, they were expected to ask users about any software problems, resolve those problems, and coach users on solving them. In this category, only one aspect was analyzed and it was the diagnosis and resolution of problems. The average score for the group was 70.28%.
In staff technology support, trainees were expected to be in tune with current trends and development in technology. They were supposed to know about all the latest products in telecommunications, computer systems, gaming, and the business environment that either competed with or complemented Microsoft products. This area was not subdivided into smaller segments. 12 trainees had taken this course and recorded an average score of 82.56%.
In communication, the trainees were supposed to demonstrate effective communication by reading and understanding business documents, demonstrating good listening skills, speaking effectively with others, and also writing clearly. 3 research participants had done this course and their average score was 60.37%.
Lastly, the trainees also did a course on professionalism. One segment of the course was good to work habits. In this segment, they needed to show decision making skills, respect, confidentiality, and follow directions. Time management, flexibility, and good organization were also analyzed. Another aspect of the course was employee ethics and attitude. A trainee was expected to learn about the importance of meeting deadlines, having analytical skills, and being a team player. Trainees were also taught about the importance of quick adaptability, compromise, and work-life balance. Issues of honesty and having a positive attitude were also discussed in the analyses.
Employees were taught about the role of respecting others and themselves. Here, they heard about the need to cooperate with others, be courteous, and respond to others. Since these traits are difficult to test in a formal environment, trainees were not tested on the above issues. However, their line supervisors were contacted and asked to rate their behavior. Managers were supposed to select a score of between 1 and 10. The 4 trainees who took part in the research had the following average ratings. Respect towards others: 6.25, ethics, and personal attributes: 6.75, good work habits: 5.25. The average rating for these trainees was 6.08/10. In percentage form, this figure translates to 60.8%.
The interviews conducted among the fifteen respondents were geared at assessing their training experience. This would assist in meeting two of the specific research objectives: ‘to determine whether training schedules were appropriate’ and ‘to determine whether the right training methods were used’. Since different trainers were used in the various courses, trainees were asked to give an overall impression of the entire training experience. These were the questions they were expected to respond to:
- Did you feel like you need training?
- How does training in ‘soft skills’ compare to ‘hard skills’? Do you think both were crucial to your development?
- What did you find particularly interesting about the classes?
- Did the training schedules suit your schedule? If not, explain how.
- What could the trainer change if he had an opportunity to do so?
- How did your trainers deliver their material and did this suit you?
- In what way did the schedules affect your performance?
The following were excerpts from some of the interviews.
One trainee gave the following response about the question number (2)
“I thought that some of the courses were not necessary: I mean who does not know about respect, attitude and all those other obvious things? It would have been better to focus on relevant topics. Why would an IT professional like myself need to learn about writing the perfect memo anyway? Shouldn’t that be left to the HR guys?”
In response to question 6, one of the participants said this:
“I think my tutor did not know much about me. If he did, then he wouldn’t’ waste time with the basic principles of data communication. We should just have gotten into all the practical stuff. I was bored out of my mind and almost thought about skipping those first classes. Things picked up as we took on a hands-on approach with the course work.”
Another trainee said the following when asked about suggestions for improvement in question 5
“I know most of our material is so technical, but this doesn’t mean that our teachers have to be technical too. I wish we did more things as a group; you know, break it up a bit”
When responding to question 6, one of the respondents made this observation
“I thought most of my trainers made good use of classroom space. One of the lecturers let us do the teaching in all his classes. He was always asking us to answer questions and this kept me tuned in”
This is what another participant said in response to question 3:
“I liked the way the classes were organized. I thought my teachers had done a perfect job of starting with the really hard courses then finishing with the simple ones. Since I knew in the company, it was great to enter a work culture that understands what is involved”
It is not possible to document all the responses made by the respondents because they all had something to say about the interview questions yet they were 15 in number. However, some common themes emerged from their assertions and these could be codified as follows: teaching schedules, teacher engagement, level of interests, relevance to the employee’s personal needs, use of visual aids, and lesson organization. To classify these responses, it was necessary to look at certain keywords or attitudes in those statements. Words such as ‘boring’, ‘too lengthy’, ‘I wish we’ve all denoted that there was a problem with the teaching style in the class. Words such as ‘Unapproachable’, ‘animated’ denoted something about the level of teacher engagement in the class. All themes were subdivided into two components which either supported the theme or nullified it.
Appropriate teaching schedules: “Our instructors were always on time”, “I did not mind attending the classes at whatever time”, “My personal schedule was flexible enough to accommodate all teachers”, “I wanted to finish the program as soon as I could, so it was great that the courses were consecutively placed”, “The subjects were arranged in line with their level of difficulty; so we started with the basics ones and then went on to the more complicated ones”.- number of comments -16
Poor teaching schedules: “I did not like doing communication courses so early in the morning”, “Sometimes I would get confused about something if we took too long to get tested”, “I wish I did the security maintenance courses later on in the year”, “I wanted to take about half of the courses that we were supposed to take: Number of comments – 24
‘Low Teacher engagement, “I struggled to understand the lecturer because he was moving too much”, “The trainer was unapproachable and tough in the XYZ class”, “She seemed to have something against asking questions in the middle of a session”. Number of comments – 22
High Teacher engagement: “My trainers made good use of classroom space”, “I liked the way my teachers knew our names”. “Things got interesting when we got gifts for excellent work”, “some instructors listened to us; they tried to get feedback from us about the course work”, “some external consultants are so fresh and animated” Number of comments – 15
Not Interesting: “The lectures were too lengthy and wordy”, “I was bored out of my mind”, “I wish we did more things as a group”, “There weren’t enough activities in that class”, “Couldn’t we organize a road trip or something?”, “It was always about getting in class, listening to the lecture and leaving”, Number of comments -28
Interesting: “There was something for everyone in those classes”, “We were expected to practice everything he was talking about; I enjoyed every bit of it”, “Am quite passionate about this job and the classes matched my sentiments”. Number of comments-12
Irrelevant to personal needs: “Why would an IT professional like myself need to learn about writing the perfect memo anyway?”, “I already knew about network layouts”, “I did not think that the lecturer knew much about me”, “What was the point of…?”. Number of comments – 10
Relevant to personal needs: “I really needed to sharpen my skills in troubleshooting”, “the course on Microsoft network operating systems is the only way I can advance in this company”, “I wish that I had known about the cloud computing classes earlier; I would have had an advantage over my peers”, “This company promotes by merit, so my training is an important part of my growth”. “I know what’s in it for me, so training will be a great place to start” Number of comments – 25
Appropriate use of training aids: “I enjoyed the videos used in some of the sessions”, “When we got to the part of the lecture that involved using our laptops to practice, the class came to life”, “It will be quite hard for me to forget the network installation course because everything was so practical”. Number of comments – 10
Poor use of training aids: “I kept wondering why we had a pointer and a projector because we rarely used it”, “It would have been better if the laptops were used every time, all the time.” Number of comments – 8
Organization of lessons: “I think this is the best company to work for; the lecturers were well organised”, “Some of the choices made on course topics probably depend on what the tutors thought was best for us”. Number of comments – 17
Poor organization of lessons: “I wish all our teachers told us about the next topic so that we could prepare”, “There were too many tests in these classes”, “I did tests before I was sure about the content”, “I think the lecturer focused too much on general information and not enough troubleshooting”, “Sometimes I wish the classes started with brain teasers or questions”– Number of comments -23
The aim of interviewing trainers was to establish whether the right employees were selected for the courses. The questions asked needed to reflect this.
- What does the performance of your trainees tell you about selection?
- Did employees already know about the information you were teaching them?
- Were the employees engaged in the classroom or did it seem like just another workplace regimen?
- Do you carry out trainee assessment needs and if so, what kind?
The trainers interviewed had the following to say about their trainees:
In response to question 1:
“The participants did very well in the course; this is proof of their involvement in the program. If it was possible to do it again, then I would repeat the same approach. I respect the company administration for creating a learning culture. ”
“Some of the participants seemed out of it while others appeared to be more focused on noting down vital information. However, I was not particularly inspired by my students. In my opinion, more people wanted to do the course than those who didn’t.”
In response to question 4, one lecturer asserted that:
“I do not carry out any formal assessments of students prior to the course, but I can always tell when a trainee really wants to do this or not. I can then work on methods for teaching both types of students. In my opinion, more people wanted to do the course than those who didn’t”
Another tutor said the following about question 2:
“I thought that my trainees were already familiar with the basics in the course since Microsoft does not just employee any person off the street. But as we delved into detailed analyses, most of them appeared to have difficulties. They asked for clarifications and repetitions so it looks like they needed some polishing up.”
A different tutor made comments about employee engagement in question 3:
“I had good days and bad days. Sometimes the hours would seem like they are flying by; everyone was eager to try out what I had taught them. In other days, it seemed like they already knew this stuff or were simply not willing to listen to what I had to say. I guess they must be offloading some of their work stress in my classes”
Several themes were identified in the interviews and these were classified on the basis of certain code words. For instance ‘creating a learning culture’, ‘they needed some polishing up”, I was not inspired’ were all reflective of forceful or willing participation.
Forceful participation: “I was not particularly inspired by my students”, “some of the participants seemed out of it”, “they just wanted to get through the classes”, “if I can use yours words; it was just another workplace regimen” Number of comments- 16.
Willing participation: “more people wanted to do the course than those who didn’t”, “I respect the administration for creating a learning culture”, “the trainees seemed to know the importance of my material in their careers so they were on board.” Number of comments-17.
Familiarity with course content: “they knew most of the things that I taught them; I could tell from their answers.”, “some of them were uninterested, maybe they had heard it before”, “more screening should have been done to identify those who knew little about the subject”, “it was like we simply went over what they had already done in college”-Number of comments – 12.
Lack of familiarity with course content. “since my course is relatively new in IT, then most of my students were fascinated with the classes”, “they did not know how to apply the course principles in problem-solving”, “going by the way I had to repeat some ideas, these trainees had not learnt about network operating system troubleshooting” –Number of comments -15.
Performance and suitability: “The trainees did the course well, so there must be a need for it”, “I feel quite fulfilled; I did my job and they passed”, “my trainees surely didn’t disappoint”. Number of comments- 12.
Poor performance and lack of suitability: “Given the relative ease of this course, the trainees should have recorded better results”, “the disappointing results in my course show that the employees did not understand the role this course”, “there was a serious divide between people who needed my material and the ones who wanted it” Number of comments-9
Line supervisor interviews
The purpose of interviewing line supervisors was to meet a specific objective: To determine whether planning training leads to the accomplishment of training goals. Line supervisors are the ones who are in a position to ascertain whether training accomplished the goals that it was meant to accomplish. They can assess the behavior and the changes that employees display after taking those courses. The following questions were asked during the training process:
- Do you think trainees applied their learning in their jobs?
- Did you notice any change in their productivity or activity levels>?
- Can the trainees transfer their learning to other people?
- Do you think the trainee himself/ herself is aware of changes in his/ her own knowledge, skills?
One of the supervisors gave the following response to question number 2.
“The training was helpful. It would not have been possible to keep up with all those requests about cloud computing if employees were not taken through the course. There was a positive change in my assistant’s productivity”
Another manager said the following in response to the same question.
“One of my subordinates had a problem with an attitude so we recommended that he goes through the professionalism course; I see no change and am beginning to think that it was a waste of company resources.”
In response to question 1, one of the supervisors stated the following:
“Most of my subordinates tend to apply their new skills in their job roles; this company deals with very practical work, so new skills are always welcome here. We put a lot of thought in identifying the right employees for training”
One manager said the following concerning question 3.
“Training has changed my juniors greatly; one of them is thinking about becoming a tutor himself. In my opinion, one must have mastered a certain concept for him to be willing to teach others about it. I suppose we can say that some trainees can transfer their learning to others.”
In response to question 4, this was one manager’s discovery:
“The employees take time before they can actually merge their learning with their day to day tasks. Sometimes some of them can consult with me about something, then I have to remind them that they already covered this in a training course. After some months, many of them realize that the training does come in handy.”
The interviews were done among the employees can shed some light on whether the planning process led to the identification of the right employees since employee assessment tests were done before the identification of the right individuals for the interviews. One theme identified in the coded work was the relevance of training to employee’s personal needs. 71.4% of the comments made indicated that workers felt that the training they went through was relevant to their personal needs. In this regard, they saw a need for the training and were applying it in their respective fields. Others found that the courses would help them in their advancement within the company. In terms of accomplishment of training goals for employees, one can assert that most of the employees think that training led to goal accomplishment.
In accordance to the findings from the line supervisors’ interviews, certain themes were evident in their assertions: higher productivity, no effect or negative effect on productivity, change in behavior, no change in behavior, self-awareness, no self-awareness, the transference of knowledge and no transference of knowledge.
Higher productivity: “There was a positive change in my assistant’s productivity”, “Training in any shape of form always makes my department on top of the game,”, “Without these programs, we would never apply or know about advancements in our industry”-Number of comments – 9.
No effect or negative effect on productivity: “I am yet to witness record numbers in the department as a result of recent training”, “Some employees need more time to apply their training”- Number of comments-3.
Change in behavior: “Employee’s confidence in their abilities soars after training”, “the classes cause them to deal with clients more effectively”, “the learning environment in this organization is indisputable” –Number of comments – 8.
No change in behavior: “I rarely witness changes in attitude even after training”, “sometimes employees need more guidance to start applying what they learnt”, -Number of comments – 4.
Self-awareness: “The employees know how vital training is to their career growth.”, “most of my subordinates appreciate the implications of the training program, “my assistants never take these training for granted” “After some months, many of them realize that the training does come in handy” Number of comments – 9.
No self-awareness; “I had to remind them about why they needed to take the course”, “Few trainees fully understood the potential of what they had learned”, “Training can only do so much to an individual’s attitude”. Number of comments-5.
Transference of knowledge: “in fact, one of them is thinking about becoming a tutor himself”, “Employees often consult one another about subjects they learned in training:”, “the older workers sometimes share ideas with the younger ones thanks to the knowledge they obtained from training. Number of comments – 5.
No transference of knowledge: “It is somewhat difficult to assess a persons’ ability to teach another because this is highly personal”, “lack of participation minimizes one’s teachability”- Number of comments -3.
An analysis of the findings from the employees’ interviews reveals that there were challenges with how the lessons were organized and scheduled. These have implications on one of the specific objectives that deal with training schedules. The percentage of comments that represented employee contentment with training schedules was 40% while all other comments on training schedules were negative. This implies that employees in this organization were dissatisfied with the training schedules. Some of them were discontented with the time of day chosen for the classes, others were overwhelmed by the number of courses they took at certain times and even suggested redistributing them to different times of the year. Therefore, for the employees, the training programs were largely inappropriately scheduled and could be improved upon. Nonetheless, forty percent were still comfortable with the training schedules, so this implies that the company is not too far from the mark.
Teaching methods and learning styles
In terms of employee perspectives, the interviews highlighted several aspects that relate to how employees took up the courses. 59.5% of all employees thought that their teachers were not engaging, 57.5% thought that lessons were poorly organized, 44.4% thought that their teachers made poor use of learning aids, and 70% thought their classes were not interesting. These findings indicate that a large proportion of employees were not content with the teaching methods. Some wanted more active involvement in the course while others did not like how tests were administered or questions asked. Employees were only satisfied with one element of teaching methods in the class; the use of teaching aids. About all the other parameters, less than half of the comments made were in the negative. This has adverse implications on the organization because employees are not in tune with their lecturer’s teaching approaches.
Identification of the right employees
Trainers were the most appropriate category of individuals to identify whether the right employees were selected for training because they have a neutral take on the matter. They did not carry out the employee assessments or plan for the occurrence of the training programs, so they are ideal for this part of the research. Employee opinions cannot be a reliable source for this aspect of the research because they may not look at the matter objectively.
51.5% of the comments made by trainers reflected how willing employees were to take part in training while the remaining percentage indicated that some of the trainees were doing this out of sheer obligation. The trainers observed trainees’ attitudes and enthusiasm towards their classes in order to establish this. An employee’s willingness to take part in training is reflective of whether that person is the right one for the class or not. If one is not willing to take part in the course, then he or she is unlikely to grasp the material in the course or even apply it in his or her daily tasks. An organization must prepare employees for training by sensitizing them about the need for it. If an unwilling individual is taken through a course without sensitization of its importance, then he or she is simply the wrong one for that course. In this regard, more trainers seem to think that employees are willing to do the course than those who do not. As such, the right employees were selected in accordance with this parameter (willing participation).
To make training relevant, trainees should not be familiar with the course content. If they already know what is in store for them, then they will think of the training as a misuse of their time. In fact, it does not make sense to teach people about what they already know. The best use of organizational resources is in the development of people who need to acquire new skills. In the trainer interviews, it was found that 55.56% of the comments made by trainers indicated a lack of familiarity with course content. This means that the trainers thought the material was new to the employees thus making it relevant to them as well.
Lastly, a group’s performance can also show how appropriate they were for the course. Some tutors thought that their students did not do well in the course so they probably did not see the relevance of that subject in their careers. This makes them highly unsuitable candidates. According to trainers, 57.14% of these trainers indicated that high performance denoted the high suitability of students.
Overly, trainers thought students were willing to participate, unfamiliar with course content, and good performers. These findings reflect how the trainers concur with the administrators who carried out employee assessments; that the right candidates were selected. All the three parameters mentioned above are prerequisites to success or support the fact that the right candidates were selected. However, differences between the comments of those trainers who agree with this perspective and those who do not are relatively minor. There was no overwhelming majority in this matter, so Microsoft Gulf must still analyze the suitability of its selection process and the candidates that go for training in the institution.
The accomplishment of training goals
The quantitative part of the research illustrates that all participants did relatively well in their tests. All of them recorded more than 50%. However, the overwhelming majority of the students did better in technical skills such as computer systems, networks, and staff technical support. However, in soft skills such as professionalism and communication, most students performed poorly. This may be an indication that the trainees did not see the importance of the course and thus did not give it the seriousness it deserves. In fact, this view can be supported by the qualitative part of the study. Trainers felt that employees were not interested in the subject matter for soft skills training. Trainees themselves asserted that they did not feel like they deserved to do training in those courses. Consequently, the organization must re-evaluate its strategy about this matter.
It is important to assess the views of supervisors because they spend most of their time with the employees. They can assess the impact of training through behavioral and productivity changes among their subordinates. Most of them can effectively note how teachings were translated into tangible job-related changes. Employee opinions are insightful but highly biased. A trainee would rarely admit or know if his behavior had changed after a training program. Additionally, external observers are always the best judge of behavior. Trainers would not be highly useful in assessing the accomplishment of training gaols because most of them can only do short term measurement. Few of them would know about the sustainability of the knowledge that they had acquired.
By the findings from the line supervisors, 75% of the comments showed that there was a higher effect on productivity before training than after training. Most of the supervisors explained that the technology industry highly favored a well-trained workforce. Therefore, this denotes an accomplishment of training goals. Changes in behavior were noted in 67.7% of the comments. It was quite clear that technical skill training caused more changes than attitudinal-related training. The overwhelming majority of supervisors felt that training gaols were also accomplished about this parameter. Training caused more self-awareness as seen through 64.3% of the comments and transference of knowledge was represented by 62.5% of the comments. All these parameters indicate that the supervisors believe that training accomplished its goals. Some of the discrepancies were only witnessed among those who failed to take part in their respective challenges.
However, when one analysis the company reports on training goals, it is stated that trainees are expected to learn about business processes as well as other skills that will assist in meeting customer expectations. Professionalism, communication, and other technical skills are very critical components of these organizational goals. If employees are performing poorly in such courses, then Microsoft Gulf is not fully realizing its potential.
The study carried out confirmed some of the research hypotheses but nullified others. The results indicated that: “Planning for training at this organization led to gaol accomplishment”. It also indicated that “planning for training at Microsoft Gulf led to the identification of the right employees for training”. The results nullified the third specific objective. In other words, it was shown that “planning for training had a negative effect on training schedules. Additionally, planning for training did not lead to the use of the right teaching methods.
These findings have adverse implications for the organizations and others in the field of human resource planning. They indicate that sometimes tangible results may be reported in a certain organization even when employees are disgruntled with the training process. Juniors in any organization are always obligated to adapt to their work procedures even when they have to do so strenuously. This company is highly successful but a large portion of its clients feel dissatisfied with their training schedules and their teaching methods. Therefore, they need to be open to these criticisms and make the necessary changes. Instructors from all types of industries can learn about the importance of understanding their trainees’ learning styles so as to make their work effective.
All the findings also illuminate the need to identify, conceptualize, and prioritize the development needs of one’s employees. Companies need not focus on skills and knowledge alone; they should also think about the experiences or the attitudes of their employees whenever they plan for training. This can build the relationship between individuals and their superiors as well as trainees and their trainers (Bhatta, 2002).
The lessons have implications for human resource personnel in other industries. They illustrate that the assessment of the training process is a critical component of the program. However, it is never enough to rely upon the quantitative aspects of data such as test results as other underlying issues may be missed. One must balance the opinions of trainers with that of other stakeholders such as employees as well as line supervisors. It is necessary to corroborate quantitative findings with employee feedback, supervisory feedback, and even nonquantitative trainer feedbacks. This all-rounded approach will eliminate the biases or the inefficiencies in a particular type of information source.
During one of the interviews, it was pointed out that some of the trainees did not feel like they needed to do training. Others were comfortable with it but felt that the nature of the courses done was inappropriate. From these findings, it is evident that companies need to sensitize their employees on the importance of certain aspects of training in order to boost outcomes. This research found that there are substantial issues with soft skills. The quantitative and qualitative results all proved that the company still has a long way to go in creating well-rounded individuals. It is useless for one to have technically competent employees who do not respect their seniors or know how to handle clients courteously. The research is also a challenge to most trainers because it shows that sometimes employees cannot relate their respective challenges to the material that they learn in class. In this regard, it becomes necessary for them to relate their course materials to daily practices in the company.
In general, it can be stated that the overall research objective was confirmed; that planning for HR does lead to tangible results.
According to the results, employees disagree with trainers and line supervisors concerning the effect of training in this institution. The organization ought to revise its training strategy in order to incorporate the views of this group. Their needs should be prioritized during the planning process by changing teaching methods in order to suit their needs. Trainers need to provide a myriad of learning approaches in their classes so as to provide their employees with all the options that they require. Some trainees suggested that they wanted to see more group work. Others claimed that they needed more brain teasers or questions. These are all elements that trainers may want to consider. The company administration may also want to develop its trainers. It should not just focus on their technical competence; they should learn about the importance of engaging with their trainees. In this regard, they should also improve their enthusiasm during the teaching process.
The quantitative results revealed that most employees do not value nontechnical skills. This means that the organization needs to sensitize its workers on the importance of these courses. Many of the participants felt that they did not deserve to do such courses. Consequently, the company can teach them how these skills will affect their productivity in the company before taking them to train.
This company needs to include employees in the HR planning process, especially for training. All employees should participate in their development phase not as a workplace procedure but as a voluntary part of their development. Unless they can link training to their own development, then the firm will not realize its full potential. Some of the individuals involved in the interviews seemed to think that the company only did this for its own benefit. They should be made to realize that the person who benefits the most from training is the trainee himself.
Microsoft Gulf must also realize that training never stops. Even though an employee may know about the basic components of a course, he or she should be taught how to apply those skills in one organization. In fact, this should be taken a step further and used to teach other individuals about the same. The institution can think about establishing mentoring programs for new employees. Older employees who have already applied their skills at work can mentor younger ones on how they can do the same. Line supervisors may also direct their employees in a manner that will allow them to use the skills they acquired from the training. The qualitative interviews revealed that some of the trainees consulted their supervisors about aspects of training, and this shows that they may have forgotten what they had learned.
The company also needs to work on its schedules. Some participants felt that certain subjects would be better understood at different times of the day. Others argued that they were already under a lot of pressure at work so training was a huge problem for them. HR personnel in the company need to sit down with their employees and get suggestions on how subjects should be arranged. It is almost impossible to meet everyone’s expectations but it is possible to meet most of them. More classes should be available in order to accord employees greater flexibility. With regard to schedules, test administration seemed to be a huge problem to some of the participants. They ended up forgetting what they had learned if the tests took too long. This shows that individuals did not conceptualize the ideas fully thus forgetting about what they had learned. The information may also illustrate that test strategy have to be revisited. If participants know that they will be tested frequently, then they will revise more and understand the information more clearly.
Despite these anomalies, the results also indicated that the company is doing some right things in training. Most employees feel that they have a learning culture in the company and they also appreciate the company’s commitment to their improvement. All it has to do is work on these anomalies in order to eliminate future inefficiencies.
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