Tesco Company’s Human Resources Development

Introduction

Tesco

In order to ensure that the company’s employees contribute towards the attainment of the firm’s goals, Tesco’s management team insists on sharing knowledge and experience. The company also believes in growing its employees to work in top levels of management within the organization (Tesco, 2010, para. 1). This is attained by helping them gain important leadership and professional skills.

Training is one of the human resources management tactics that is used to develop human capital in a business (Zenger, 2009, p.54). This is especially important for Tesco, whose main competitive advantage is its advanced use of IT systems.

Some of the factors that have contributed to the success of Tesco compared to other leading retailers worldwide, including its business strategy and its leadership style. Its leadership is well established through an established training system. Tesco has established an academy (Tesco academy) that spots, develop, and moves Tesco leaders in their career. The company has an options program that helps people develop the skill to take on more senior roles. The company also has an advanced leadership program that equips people to move from the director to the senior director level.

Differentiate between different learning styles

There are three main learning methods adopted by various organizations. These include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learning methods employ the use of images of experience while the audio employs the use of sounds related to an experience. On the other hand, kinesthetic involves the development of a strong feeling towards an experience. Learning is the best description for the development based on improving the person.

In an organization, training starts by considering a number of issues. These include assessing the training needs, creating training or development specifications, consideration of learning styles and personality, laying out of the training and evaluation, and finally designing materials, methods, and delivering training (Boeree, 1987, para. 7). Training extends beyond the classroom to the work environment.

According to Chapman (2009, p. 134), human resource training contributes to a firm’s success in a number of ways. Some of these include;

  • Improving performance
  • Raises employee morale
  • Enhances effectiveness and efficiency within the organization, thus contributing to its productivity.

However, for training to be effective, it has to be integrated with motivation so as to utilize the acquired skills. Tesco emphasizes induction training for new starters, which ensures that they are maintained and that they quickly get acquainted with the organization’s operation. This contributes towards the organization attaining its core purpose, which entails creating value for its customers, which to a large extent, depends on the value contributed by its employees (Tesco, 2010, para. 4).

At Tesco, training is offered both on the job and by offering specialized training courses. Formal training should be accompanied by mentoring and coaching facilities (Chapman, 2009, p.43). For example, some of the employees may prefer learning via example, while others consider trial and error to be the most appropriate method of learning. Chapman (2009, p.130) argues that other training methods include projects, delegated tasks, job swaps, and temporary postings.

Upon completion of the training and development, letters of recognition and coagulations are appropriated from line managers or high-level managers in the organization. In TESCO, those who complete some of the training courses are awarded in various ways. Some of these include being promoted, being awarded a Foundation Degree, or being awarded an apprentice in retail skills.

Analyze learning theories and explain their contribution to the planning and design of learning events

Learning Theories

Gagne’s conditions of learning theory

This translates principals into practical instructional strategies that teachers can use with directed instructions. The theory focuses on intellectual skills and recognizes that different levels of learning require different internal and external conditions. The internal condition includes attention, motivation, and recall (Gagne, 1985, p.34). The various phases of learning include receiving the stimulus, acquisition, storage, and retrieval (Learning Theories Knowledgebase, 2010, para. 4). The instruction events include

  • Gaining the learner’s attention.
  • Ensuring that the employee understands the core objective of learning
  • Stimulating the learner’s remembering capacity
  • Provision of study materials
  • Providing learning guidance
  • Eliciting performance
  • Providing feedback
  • Assessing performance
  • Enhancing knowledge retention and transfer.

Tesco academy can apply this theory from the classroom courses and into the field activities such as apprenticeship programs. For example, during the training for the foundation degree, application of the nine steps as recognized by Gagne will ensure that the students have enough theoretical knowledge, relate this to the practical application and develop this for application in the different situations. The learning events can also be used in planning lessons using instructional software.

Bruner constructivist theory

This theory is based on the study of cognition, which is perception, learning, and reasoning, or simply the process of thinking. According to this theory, learning is considered to be an active process (Keasely, 1994, p.32). The aim of this theory is to enable students to relate well with what is taught and be able to build upon it (spiral curriculum) (Ayer & Moreno, 1998). In planning the course, the instructor has to find material that can be translated by individual learners’ base on their understanding.

Tesco should implement this theory in learning so as to be able to enable its employees to be able to develop their skills in a way that relates to their specific tasks in the organization. The theory also addresses the nature and pacing of rewards (Keasely, 1994, p.43). This theory is therefore helpful to Tesco in its training and the valuation of the results of training so as to reward or give punishment.

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

According to Kearsley (1994, p.45), this is a social learning theory that lays emphasis on the importance of observing and modeling behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of people. This theory can be applied to an organization in understanding conflicts. The theory emphasizes on learning from other people’s behaviors by observation. In its training programs, Tesco should apply this theory. In the application of this theory, the following principles should be put into consideration.

Carroll Minimalist Theory

The theory focuses on the design of the instruction material for computer users and is used in documentation. It emphasizes the use of minimal instructional material and learning in small steps. This theory is related to the constructivist theory by Bruner, emphasizing that learning tasks should be meaningful and self-contained. In addition, the theory postulates that learners should be engaged in practical activities as soon as possible.

It emphasizes on the use of minimal instruction materials and centers on learner-directed activity and accomplishment. The extensive use of IT in Tesco calls for the use of the minimalist theory in training on the various computer applications. The principles of this theory include allowing the learner to start on meaningful tasks and minimizing the amount of passive leaning. This creates a higher amount of motivation for the learner and enables the company to gain from learner’s ideas even before the training is over (Training and Development Agency, 2010, para.4).

Vygotsky’s theory of social cognitive development

Its main emphasis is that social interaction plays an important function in the development of cognitive. The time span has four stages, which can be broken into assistance from the more experienced, assistance by self, internalization, and application of the knowledge (Kearsley, 1994, p. 65). Gillani and Relan (1997, p.42) argue that only after Netscape Navigator 2.0 was introduced did the theory find the application.

Cognitive theory of multimedia learning

This theory is based on a number of concepts. The first concept asserts that there are two separate channels of processing information (audio and visual). The second concept asserts that each channel has limited channel capacity and that learning is an active process of filtering, selecting, organizing, and integrating information. This theory is based on the assumption that people learn more from pictures and words combined that word on their own.

Problem-based learning

This theory was developed by the Medical School at McMaster University, Canada. This theory is based on solving challenging problems that are context-specific. In the planning of the instruction material for this theory, students work in small groups and are self-directed, and instructors are facilitators and promote inquiry. The theory is based on assisting students in applying knowledge to new situations. The use of this instruction theory in Tesco academies will help to encourage critical thinking among the students, improve problem-solving skills, increase motivation, and help students learn to transfer knowledge to new situations.

Experimental Learning

Another theory that is important in training is the experimental theory. This theory has the following qualities personal involvement, self-initiated, evaluation by the learner, and pervasive effects on the learner. The role of the teacher is to set the right environment for learning by creating the appropriate environment, clarifying the work of the learner, organizing and availing learning resources, balancing the various components of learning, and involving the learner in collaborative dialogue.

Self-evaluation is the major method for assessing the success of the learning process. Tesco can apply this form of learning when giving assignments to its employees. For example, an employee charged with the development of new communication software may be given instruction material and other necessary resources and be left to undertake the task. Other theories that are important for training include affordance theory, situated learning theory by Lave, elaboration theory by C Reigeluth, and information processing theory.

Explain the implications of the learning curve and the importance of ensuring the transfer of learning to the workplace

In employee training, the learning curve is important in the productivity of the employees as they adjust to changes in the organization. A learning curve also important in explaining a career path for employees as they gain new skills either to increase their efficiency at work or to gain higher positions at work. Developments in training should aim at shortening the learning curve. This is attained via the use of skill measurement systems so as to show how skill measurement can influence the acquisition of new skills. The system insists on establishing goals for the training and providing a platform for continuous improvement (Thought Leadership Report, 2003).

It is important for managers to ensure that the skills learned are transferred into the organization. Tesco does this by the internal development of its employees. One way to ensure that this is achieved is by setting tangible goals and providing objective tools for employees during learning. Online measurement systems are useful tools as they enable employees to repeat assessments when they want to so as to determine their level of skills acquisition and even use this to set goals for developing new skills. Skills measurement systems can also be used by Tesco to ensure that the acceptance of new processes and systems by employees is faster.

If, for example, Tesco is implementing a new IT system in line with its strategy, employees may take time adapting to this. To enhance this company can use online skills measurement to start the acceptance process early. Online skills measurement systems enable managers to reduce the learning curve by being able to see which skills need improvement, and even what area within the skills needs attention. E-learning is, therefore, the best way to improve the learning curve in Tesco academy. It ensures that the skills are well implemented in reaching the organizational goals.

Explain how training contributes to the achievement of business objectives and the role of a training and development policy

The fast-changing nature of work and the work environment today requires that organizations have skilled and knowledgeable workers who have the capacity to adapt to changes, are flexible, and are focused on the future. Training is now being considered as an investment to an organization as opposed to an expense. In addition, it helps an organization adapt to changes or improve performance. Some of the benefits of staff training and development include enhancement of worker’s skills, providing job satisfaction, thus increasing worker motivation. This contributes towards ensuring that the organization has multiple skilled employees, which enhance their output, increasing employee commitment to their jobs, and also reducing the level of errors in a given task (Chapman, 2009, p.24).

Benefits of training for both the organization and employees

In Tesco training helps it maintain and improve its competitive position by ensuring the continuous improvement of its customer service, thus improving customer confidence. Tesco has incorporated IT into its operations. Considering the fact that this is a continually changing field, training helps to keep the company and its employees updated on the latest and most efficient technology. It also prepares them for any future changes and thus ensuring that they adapt easily.

Employees and managers review their performance regularly and set personal development plans and clear performance objectives, which ensure that they acquire the right skills. This enhances their contribution to the company (Tesco, 2010, p.1).

Staff training and development policies set guidelines and purpose for the training and development needs of employees in line with the objectives of a company. Tesco has well-formulated staff training policies which are designed to ensure employees have a good working condition. The policies ensure that the staff is well developed and provided with opportunities to advance their careers.

Critically evaluate the factors to take into account when planning a training and development event

One of the most important factors that the Tesco management team has to consider in planning a training and development event is the training needs of the company and the individual development needs. Tesco ensures that its training process contributes towards the attainment of the organization’s goals. It also ensures that it contributes to the attainment of individual development that employees need. Training needs should be future-oriented, especially since Tesco is in a fast changing business environment and needs to adapt easily to these changes.

The training and development venue has to be well known in advance, especially for off-job training. This will ensure that employees do not miss out on any training events, and for such activities as team building, good venues also contribute to the success of the activity.

With regard to financial implications, the return versus the cost of training should also be considered. However, management has to view training as an investment as opposed to an expense. Consideration of this factor helps to reduce conflict between the human resource and finance functions of the business. Training in Tesco is well integrated into the organization’s activities; thus, the cost implications are taken care of. The cost of on-job training offered by the store is usually minimal since the trainees are given goals that contribute to the business.

The availability of the training resources, for example, training manuals, teambuilding games, testing instruments, guides to a concept, spreadsheets, case studies, manuals and guides, plans, assessment materials, instructors (Chapman 2009, p. 76).

Explain and describe a systematic approach to training and development using a model and outline each stage of the training cycle

A systematic approach is needed in training so as to have clear objectives for the training and also be able to measure the output. Tesco can apply the Instructional System Design in its training. This has the following steps, as illustrated in the diagram below.

  1. The analysis is done so as to find out what to do. This stage helps an organization to figure out who should be trained, what skills they need when the training takes place, and where the training will be done. The analysis has to be carefully done to ensure that the training is in line with the organization’s mission, vision, and values and is connected to the long-term needs of the organization. Tesco thus has to ensure that the training needs are in line with its objective of good customer services. The Tesco academies curriculum should be geared to the achievement of organizational goals as they help in developing the employees.
  2. The design phase produces the blueprint or model of the training process. The products of this phase include the learning objectives, performance tests, learning steps, the requirements for those entering the training, the structure and design of the instructions outline.
  3. Developing the instructional design involves elaborating and building on learning objectives and learning steps developed in the design phase. This stage forms the learning platform producing the course material such as the course description and content.
  4. The implementation stage now involves the delivery of the course material. This is actually the hardest part, and the method for doing this should be well set out to ensure that the training program works well. This phase includes setting out the training management plan, delivering the training, and learner involvement.
  5. The last phase is the evaluation phase. This is the systematic determination of the success of the entire training process against set standards. The standards are usually set in the analysis stage. This should be followed by continuous improvement to ensure that any deviations from the course requirement are corrected, and thus, the objectives are met.

Evaluate an organization’s approach to training

Tesco has a policy for continuous evaluation of staff performance. This ensures that the firm’s management team is able to determine whether there are any shortages in their skills. The evaluation is guided by the three important themes, which include customer focus, working with others, and personal behaviors. The company has a flexible approach to training, which caters to the employee’s personal needs.

In addition, the firm has incorporated both on-job and off-job training. On-job training help employees adapt easily to the work environment and to working in the team in the organization. The approaches to on-job training include shadowing a person who is in the job, coaching trainees, mentoring, and job rotation, which involves temporarily taking on a job. Off-job training is usually helpful for training in specific new skills such as communication skills. The structured approach to training and development provides a good foundation for the continuous growth of the company (The Times 100, 2010, p. 1-2)

Examine the importance of evaluation and how it can help to market the contribution of training and development to the business

Evaluation is a continuous process in the training and development cycle (Clarke, 1995, para. 3). It ensures measures that outcome of the training process against certain predetermined standards. When evaluating the success of the training program, the human resources faction has to gauge the change in performance as a result of training, the sustainability of the improvement, which refers to the future value of the training, and the cost versus value addition of the training (Clarke (1995, para. 4).

The main reasons for evaluation are providing a feedback mechanism and a platform for quality control, considering the value of training to the organization. The evaluation also forms a basis for evaluating the relationship between the training program and business results (Leonardo, 2007, p. 4).

Evaluation of the training process will give Tesco ideas on areas that may need improvement in its academy and also justify the cost of each training program it undertakes. The company can also use this to restructure the course material and also in improving this.

Explore the way that evaluation needs to be on-going and systematically planned for at each stage of the training cycle

Tesco needs to have a clear evaluation criterion for each stage of the training cycle. According to Clarke (1995), evaluation should be a continuous process in each state of the training cycle from need analysis and should always be followed by continuous improvement. This will help to realize the goals of the training by reducing the amount of deviation from the goals of the event. One has to evaluate how the implementation will contribute towards the attainment of the business goals, and also what output will be required from the workers in achieving the business goals on which the training is based.

In the design phase, the management team should ask what the learners will gain to enable them to achieve the required business goals. In the development phase, the organization has to evaluate what activities will help in achieving the required performance, and finally, in implementation, the organization has to evaluate is the learners have gained the required skills. The senior management has to be involved in the evaluation of each phase as they provide the policies and resources for the training.

Review the key stakeholders in the evaluation process and the roles that they play

The instructors, the trainer and the training program designers, senior management and line managers, and the various business units. The designer understands the training system well thus knows best what results to expect. As such, he has to be involved in formulating the performance benchmarks and also evaluating the results of the training system. Instructors go through the evaluation procedure with the learner, and since they are involved in each of the phases of the training cycle, they help in evaluating deviations and correcting them as soon as they occur. The learner is the other important stakeholder in the evaluation.

He has to give the personal opinion of the effectiveness of various parts of the training cycle and is also the one being evaluated. Other important stakeholders in the evaluation process are the different business units. The finance department, production department, and the marketing department have the greatest interest in the training process and have to be involved in evaluating whether this meets their different business goals (Carr, 1999, para. 5).

Compare and contrast a range of evaluation techniques and the pros and cons of these

Some of the techniques that can be used by Tesco in the evaluation process include the use of questionnaires. These provide qualitative and quantitative information on training content and delivery as viewed by the employee and employee reaction to training. These give reliable information and are also important in evaluating workers’ attitudes. However, if the organization does not give the importance of filling in the questionnaires, the response rate may be low, thus not reliable.

Peer review is another technique in which the employees review each other’s performance on the job. This may not offer information for use by the management, but the employees can help by evaluating each other and giving each other advice on areas that need improvement. Observation is another technique used to provide information regarding employee reactions to the training and is useful in providing general information on the training structure (Harris, 2006, para. 5).

Observation is, however, highly subjective and offers information relating to a specific point in time. Another technique that is used in the evaluation is the use of knowledge reviews, which are multiple-choice questions or short answer questions that the employee is required to fill (Carr, 1999, para. 4). Another evaluation technique that can be used by Tesco is the secret buyer method that is used to show if the employees actually apply the customer handling techniques that they learn during the training programs.

Other evaluation techniques that Tesco can apply include online assessment techniques, goal-based evaluation, responsive evaluation, systems evaluation, and professional review.

Analyze the contribution of evaluation models and the difficulties that these can pose in practice

Evaluation models

Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model is one of the evaluation models that have been used by organizations and is applicable in all levels of management, which include result level, performance and training level, and at the reaction level. This form of evaluation affects capacity building amongst the trainees. Another model is the CIRO (Context evaluation, Input evaluation, Reaction evaluation, Outcome evaluation). This model evaluates the context within which the training takes place by identifying how performance needs are identified, how learning objectives are established, and how objectives relate to the necessary competencies (American Board of Medical Specialties, 2009).

Other evaluation models that Tesco can use for its training programs include object-oriented evaluation in which the main focus is determining the extent to which objectives are achieved. Management oriented model provides important information to the management for use in making decisions. On the other hand, expert oriented evaluation model is useful in giving expert information on quality.

Analyze the context influencing the role of government in training and development and the growing emphasis on lifelong learning and continuous development

With regard to the role of government in training and development, I will refer to a case in Sri Lanka where high levels of unemployment required the government to participate so as to offer the necessary training and reduce this gap. The first intervention was making skills more relevant by offering vocational training. The skills training system was changed to respond to the changes in the economic and labor market landscape by making skills more relevant and improving their quality.

This enabled graduates to be absorbed into the labor market. Other reforms undertaken by the government to reduce youth and female unemployment were geared towards quality and standards, relevance, access, institutional efficiency, and resource mobilization. The government plays an important role in the training process by setting the policies and structure of the training. The government also helps in formulating means for NGO and private sector participation in the training system.

Lifelong learning and continuous development are concepts that have been incorporated into the modern business environment, especially due to the changing nature of the business environment. With regard to companies such as Tesco, which heavily relies on technology, this concept is very important to ensure that its employees are able to adapt and respond to changes in the business environment, which are usually very rapid. Continuous learning contributes towards the employees enhancing their future employment prospects. The main motivations which enable employees to increasingly participate in continuous life-ling training are;

  • Intrinsic pressures.
  • External pressure.
  • Specific drives.
  • Personality factors.

The reasons why employers insist on continuous learning include saving on cost and time, gaining new work habits, reducing staff turnover, and improving staff motivation and job satisfaction.

Review the development of NVQs, MCI, and the competency movement

NVQs-national vocational qualifications are competency-based qualifications, which means that one learns from the practical application of skills.

Management Consultancy International (MCI) is a firm that is involved in consulting, training, and facilitation. It assists organizations in their training and development needs. It is a Registered Training Organization that offers a wide range of programs and qualifications. Most of its clients are innovative in human resources management strategies.

Management Consultancy International website, 2010 competency movement

The competency movement is aimed at ensuring that there is scientific objectivity in employee development and selection. This contributed to the improvement of the hiring process. Companies have created competency lists which are geared towards the improvement of human resource. The reasons why this movement has not been very successful in creating the needed quality of employees include the fact that this movement was too complex. In addition, some of its assumptions were faulty, thus producing consequences that were not intended. As a result, it suffered from poor execution.

Examine a range of contemporary training initiatives introduced by the UK government

These include personalized programs of work and skills training opportunities referred to as the New Deal. They are aimed at helping unemployed people to work efficiently. Another initiative is the Lerndirect Network, which is a network of online learning and information service which is aimed at flexible learning and continuous lifelong learning. Another initiative is the PETA limited, which offers training and development. The government also offers work-based vocational training in government-initiated programs.

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