Personnel Training and Development Programs

Introduction

Personnel training and development programs are shown to significantly enhance the performance of the workforce. It helps them understand the organizational culture, whether they will fit in, whether they have made the right choice, what is expected of them, who they must report to, who they have authority over, how they must perform their work efficiently and the like.

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There are many different kinds of training programs. Seven of them will be discussed in the following sections of this paper. An organization will then be studied to see which of the seven training programs it employs, which ones are most cost effective and what kind of employees are enrolled in which program.

Discussion

Induction

Induction is the most initial form of training. It is basically an introduction of the company to the newly hired employees. Induction is essential for today’s businesses as it has a relation with employee productivity. A good induction program can motivate employees while a bad one can cause confusion and may affect productivity (McConnell, 2007).

An induction will generally give a company overview; its organizational culture, rules and regulations, values, policies, how the company operates, what the core product/service is, how the companies deal with partners, how the employees fit into the overall picture, how they will be compensated, hours of work, etc. It may be anything from an hour to three days or even more, and the medium used is mainly elaborate PowerPoint presentations, over-head projectors, or slideshows (Impact Factory, 2009). For example, ‘Food Safety & You’ is a 3-hour induction training program, for employees in all sectors of the food industry. (Food Safety Authority of Ireland, 2009)

The problem with most induction training programs is that it does not aim to engage the employees completely, while at the same time they try to include everything there is to know about the company. It is similar to a lecture in a classroom. It tells the employees about the company, the rules and regulations, and many other things. But it fails to ask the employees about what they may be feeling, or what they are expecting from the company. For this reason, many induction training programs are ineffective. They put the employees to sleep, they fail to answer any questions or issues that the employees may be thinking about and on top of all this, employees are expected to retain the whole of it (Impact factory, 2009).

Due to minimal interaction of with the employees, it is fairly impossible for employees to take in all that has been talked about. Therefore, the aim of such an introductory training program must be to emphasize on employee engagement and involvement, and address their concerns such as whether they will fit in, whether they will be welcomed by their colleagues, whether lunch will be served or must be ordered or something as insignificant as whether the company will give them their coffee mugs. A good induction will cover all these concerns and address them, so the employees stay involved.

A good induction will leave the new employee empowered and will make him feel like s/he is a part of the company. As a result, these employees are more loyal as they feel integrated into the company values and culture. They are likely to be more motivated and stay with the company longer (McConnell, 2007).

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Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship is when “as employees, apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills. Off-the-job, usually on a day release basis, apprentices receive training with a local training provider such as a college.” (Apprenticeships, 2009). Once the off-the job training begins, the mentor is responsible for looking out for the apprentices and dealing with any issues that they may have. This training is paid for by the employer, and the apprentice can also expect a salary while he is working with the organization.

Apprenticeships are important skill-building programs. They give fresh graduates a chance to build on their expertise so that finding or applying for a job may become simple. Also, apprentices have the advantage of earning while they are building their skills. It also gives them an edge in the corporate world over those who have not been a part of an apprenticeship in terms of career progression (Apprenticeships, 2009).

The time duration of an apprenticeship will vary, depending on the apprentice’s ability and the employer’s requirements, but it may take anywhere from 12 to 36 months (Apprenticeships, 2009). An apprenticeship can also be continued at an employee’s current workplace, that is, if the employer agrees. Employees and employers would go for this if there is a need to build on the skills of the employees. It is important to note that the aim of apprenticeships is not to discourage people from going to university. It is merely an alternative to it. However, in some cases, it also leads to university admissions (Apprenticeships, 2009). An example of an apprenticeship is of Amina Begum, who enrolled herself in a childcare apprenticeship program at the age of 19, after leaving secondary school, where she was trained to work in a nursery (Apprenticeships, 2009).

Training Centers

A training center is a place, perhaps a school or an institute, where employees are sent for training by either the employer, or the company. It is any place that specializes in providing appropriate training. It helps employees build on special skills especially managerial skills. It is used for leadership and management development.

The advantage of such a center is that it specializes in providing training and so it knows exactly how to train which employees. The drawbacks are that it is costly to set up or even to enroll employees in a foreign one. Also, it calls for off-the-job training. So while employees are training in the training centers, their routine, regular work is halted. However, it must be seen as an investment. Another option is to send employees for training after work hours. For example, the London Business School is a training center for Chevron’s Leadership and Management Development program.

Shadowing

Shadowing or Job shadowing is one of the most common training methods for new employees. This is when a newly hired employee is to observe an established, competent employee perform his tasks around the workplace. This allows the new hire to see how work is done around the organization and it helps him get a ‘hang of it’.

The benefits of such a training program are many. First of all, working for the first time without any prior know how about the kind of work can be intimidating (Tatum, 2009). However, shadowing injects confidence in new hires by allowing them to see how exactly work is done. It allows new hires to relate to what they had learned in school with actual work surroundings. It helps new hires to become familiar with the organizational culture, and the people of the organization. This enables them to easily integrate into the company, as soon as they start work (Tatum, 2009). They find out about the employability in the organization also.

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The disadvantage, however, is that training given to these new hires is limited. This is because they are allowed to only observe. Observing and carrying out tasks are two different things. While the former is much simpler, the latter involves much more understanding and experience. An example of job shadowing is of that high school graduate who joins an organization to observe how work is done after he graduates so he may start work as soon as he can.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a training program that organizations employ to grow their people. It is when a mentor, who generally is a person who has ‘been there, done that’, is appointed to demonstrate, explain and model how work is done to a mentee or protégé (Free Management Library, 2009). He does this by instructing, coaching, modeling, telling experiences (negative and positive both), and advising. A mentor is responsible for watching over the protégés, looking out for them, guiding them, showing them how it is done, etc.

It is important to note that mentoring is a constant learning process, which “it is the synthesis of ongoing event, experiences, observation, studies, and thoughtful analyses” (Free Management Library, 2009).

It is also important to note that not all business people become effective mentors. There are certain characteristics that a business person must have in order to become a mentor. Some of these are that he must have a desire to help, up-to-date knowledge, time and energy, positive experiences, a good reputation for having developed others, etc. (Free Management Library, 2009). Protégés, on the other hand, must be willing and committed to broadening their capabilities, open up to new ideas and methods, accept feedback and act on it, focused on achieving results, etc. (Free Management Library, 2009).

Coaching

Coaching is similar to mentoring. However, coaching is more goal-oriented than mentoring which focuses more in development and guidance. Coaching is when there is a partnership between a coach and a client. The coach is responsible for providing guidance to clients so that they may achieve results.

According to the Free Management Library (2009), coaching allows clients to:

  1. “ Take a complete look at their current state, including their assumptions and perceptions about their work, themselves and others;
  2. Set relevant and realistic goals for themselves, based on their own nature and needs;
  3. Take relevant and realistic actions toward reaching their goals; and
  4. Learn by continuing to reflect on their actions and sharing feedback with others along the way.”

Therefore, the focus of coaching is more on achieving results and meeting goals, and that also, in a personalized manner.

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Job Rotation

Job rotation is simply when employees are moved from one job to another. The purpose of this is to give employees a breadth of exposure to many of the organizational activities that take place in the company. This is used as an effective training and management development tool that allows employees to build skills in a wide range of activities, and witness the process of the organization. The consequence of Job rotation is that it prevents employees from getting bored. When they move from job to job, employees witness variation and hence, look forward to new opportunities. This increases job satisfaction. However, it may become tiring and frustrating to not being able to specialize in one area.

Organization Analysis

The organization chosen for this survey was Chevron UK, parent company of the popular brand – Texaco. Although this is a multinational company, it has operations in the UK as well. In the HR Department, I talked to Joanna Pavit, Payroll Operations Coordinator.

As a result of my survey, I found out that at Chevron UK, there are two programs that come under ‘Learning and Development’. One is External and the other is Internal. ‘Internal’ focuses on developing people by identifying and cultivating key talents and encouraging capabilities that are essential for the organization. The Global Workforce Development (GWD) supports this program to ensure the professional success of people.

The External Learning and Development provides training opportunities in areas such as Leadership and Management Development, and Skills Development. Furthermore, Skills Development is responsible for building ‘Oil’ skills, generic skills, Marketing, IT, and Languages skills, computer-based training, and personnel training and development. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) offers a range of courses for both people management and development professionals at every stage of their career.

Leadership and Management Development program takes the support of training providers and business schools such as Ashridge, Hemsley Fraser, London Business School, and many more to provide development programs for employees at all stages.

So, out of the seven training programs discussed above, Chevron UK employs induction by offering workshops such New to Chevron (NTC), and many more under its Internal Learning and Development programs. Apart from induction, Chevron UK also employs mentoring and coaching by offering workshops such as Supervisor Essentials, People Leadership 1 & 2, Manager Essentials, and 360 Train the Coach. Furthermore, it takes the help of local training centers to provide training opportunities to its employees. Apprenticeships, however, are not offered in the UK but are offered in other Chevron operations such as Australia.

According to my survey, the most cost effective training program is induction. It involves investing in a little time, a few effective sessions to train the employees, and a few experienced speakers to talk about the company. However, mentoring can be cost effective, given that the mentees are willing to expand their capabilities.

The kind of people enrolled in the training program depends on the employer’s requirements and the needs of the employees. Mostly, newer employees (up to three-month old employees) are enrolled for the New to Chevron induction workshops. Employees wishing to transit to supervisors are enrolled in the Supervisor Essentials workshops. Employees wishing and able to transit to managerial positions are enrolled in the Management Essentials workshop. Therefore, it all depends on the length of the employment, the needs of the employees, and the requirements of the employers.

Bibliography

(2009) Coaching. Free Management Library. Web.

(2009) Frequently Asked Questions. Apprenticeships. Web.

(2009) Mentoring. Free Management Library. Web.

(2009) Induction Training Program: Food Safety and You. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland [Internet]. Available from http://www.fsai.ie/food_businesses/training/food_safety_and_you.html [Accessed June 23, 2009].

(2009) Induction. Impact Factory. Web.

McConnell, Megan. (2007) Induction & Training: Why a good Induction & Training Program is Vital. Suite 101. Web.

Pennington, A. & Edwards, T. Introduction to Human Resource Management. Oxford University press.

Tatum, Malcolm. (2009) Job Shadowing. Wise Geek. Web.

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