The training and development process entails a behavior modification which is usually carried out officially and systematically which is as a result of planned experience, instruction, and learning. Training and development play a key function in the accomplishment of organizational objectives and most of these goals are more often than not long-term in nature. Training and development is part of the strategic framework of organizations and therefore it produces a comprehensive and coherent plan that helps in developing employees and other stakeholders in organizations (Bohlander and Snell, 2007).
When a business incorporates training and development therein, it acquires a competitive advantage over the other businesses since the intellectual capital in the business is greatly developed. In fact employees in an organization get an opportunity to improve their skills in their areas of specialization. Training and development strategy entails several steps and includes; formulation of a training policy, identification of training needs, training plan development, implementation of the training program and training responsibilities, and training evaluation.
Identification of Training Needs
When conducting a training and development strategy, it is very vital to identify the training needs in the organization. This will aid in realizing what the employees in the organization know and what they can do. It will also help in identifying what they need to know such that services in the organization are improved about the goals to be accomplished. For instance one of the goals is to ensure customer satisfaction in their service provision.
Needs that may require training and development in the organization include the following; to recruit and promote new staff on a merit basis that is to ensure that the right human resources in the organization are competent and qualified to carry out the daily operations of the organization effectively and efficiently. The other need is that of eradicating or minimizing absenteeism in the organization; therefore it will be prudent to train the employees on the importance of being in the workplace earlier thus ensuring that the strategic goals of the organization are achieved (Raymond, 2008).
The training needs in an organization have to be analyzed at a corporate level then analyze at the departments level thereafter. This includes customer care, finance, and sales departments. Later on, they need to be analyzed at team levels then finally at the individual level. Various tools can be used when carrying out this analysis such as administering questionnaires to the employees. This is because employees normally have first-hand information concerning what they know and what they need to know.
Focus group discussion between management and employees can be used in the organization in identifying the training needs. Such discussions should also be done between the management and the departmental heads since the information acquired will be beneficial to the organization when carrying out their long-term and short-term goals on training. Also, needs can be assessed in terms of the current output that the current workers are producing thus easily determining their training and development needs if any. Also, the response of the customers is another source of training needs of the workers, for instance, customers may complain of poor quality products or poor customer relations. With such complaints therefore training managers can easily identify and address such areas of training. (Bohlander and Snell, 2007)
After clearly assessing the training needs of the organization training policies should be formulated; such outlines will provide guidelines on the extent of training that should be carried out in the organization for example they direct on the employees that need to be subjected to the process of training and development. In this phase, there is an allocation of funds required to facilitate the training and development programs. Therefore the objectives of the training are assessed at this phase and all such information has to be disseminated to the employees and the entire workforce in the organization to facilitate the process. This will help employees particularly to understand that the management is interested in their welfare. This is about career development. Training the employees in an organization will greatly influence goal achievement since policies drawn should focus on sharpening employees’ skills which in turn will lead to the success of the organization (Raymond, 2008).
The training and development in the organization can be carried out in two ways. One of them is where it is oriented to actions and the other method relates to the performance of the employees. Performance training has to do with the competence of employees which means that they are trained to be more competent in their various responsibilities. When the training is action-oriented, the employees in an organization are trained to make things happen. For example, guidelines that will focus on customer care skills can be outlined to influence many customers to deal with the organizations i.e. purchase its products or services.
The content of the training programs to be adopted will dictate the length of time required by the employees to be fully trained and developed in their areas of weaknesses. Therefore, training and development can be done by the managers by carrying out the process of job training of the employees in the organization. They can do this by coaching the staff at low levels in whereby such employees will be expected to learn how to do their jobs under the manager’s guidance. They are not left alone just to learn naturally but they interact with other employees and managers in the organization. This process is very efficient and effective since it is done on a day-to-day basis. Also, those employees and supervisors identified to need training and development in the organization can go for training offered externally by experts and not necessarily internally. They can make good use of consultants who provide these services at a fee and thus these employees will gain skills in leadership and technical areas which they may be lacking (Bramley, 1996).
Several approaches can be used in the organization and therefore as training manager I will utilize one of the following strategies of evaluation;
The goal-based evaluation method is used as an approach to evaluating training which involves several frameworks of training evaluation that were wished-for basing on this strategy. For example, Kirkpatrick’s model has been reasonably prominent in generating this structure. In Kirkpatrick’s replica, there is the utilization of objective-based evaluation technique which is founded on levels of evaluation. The evaluation levels are four in number and include; learning, behavior, reaction, and results. In the reaction phase, there is the collection of information particularly on how the trainees respond and it is usually carried out at the end of the training set. The results phase is where costs concerning benefits are considered. There is the assessment of the effect of training on the organization employees which takes the form of reduction in overall costs (Alliger, 1989).
Another strategy is the systems-based approach which is used for assessing the cost of training provided to the workers. Under this method, there is the application of diverse models such as Input, Context, Training and Validation Systems method, Product Model, and Outcome Model. System-based representations like the above are extremely necessary for terms of their state of affairs and in general context. Previous research indicates that these models though may not provide sufficient granularity they may also not demonstrate the various interactions among assessment of training and design. However, some of these models are comprehensive and offer exhaustive descriptions and the steps within too. These models do not address the issue of the collaborative process of assessment e.g. everyday jobs and functions that are carried out by different trainees and trainers in the whole procedure of evaluation. Under this method, there is also measurement of service and productivity which can be articulated in terms of financial gains which aid in evaluating the outlay of training and development (Phillips, 1996).
Another evaluating strategy is that of stakeholder method of evaluating training which is founded on two theoretical concepts i.e. the stakeholder theory and contributions inducement view of organizations which are also linked together. In the stakeholder premise, there is the recognition of all participants concerned i.e. investors, human resources, and clientele. All of them are regarded to be compound constituents in an organization even if they are public, private, nonprofit, or profit companies. In the contribution inducement approach, there is no recognition of multiple constituents. The dimension of the universal achievement of an organization is based on how it serves its constituents better than its competitors (Gupta, 1999).
Training must always have the support of stakeholders or key constituency groups and therefore they must be a strike of balance between training, needs, and stakeholders in an organization. According to this approach, training also depends on the balance of contributions that it receives from every stakeholder against the inducements that the stakeholders receive. This implies the returns or contributions that training gives to the organization. Stakeholders are people who are interested in the success of an endeavor. In this respect, stakeholders normally expect to get something out of the effort. Stakeholders take something out even as they put something in. Managers in an organization fund the training process and hope that there will be positive impacts on costs, some other pay off, or productivity. A look at trainee’s input shows that they contribute energy, attention, and time. This is normally done with the hope of getting skills and knowledge. Trainers also put in their energy, time, and skills. All these are done such that the subject matter being discussed is quite interesting and discussions are well facilitated thus attaining the training goals stated (Raymond, 2008).
Every business organization needs to incorporate a training and development strategy to be part of the integral processes of the organization. This helps in modifying employee’s behaviors and thus such training and developments processes should be carried out constantly. Organizational goals are easily achieved when training and development are well implemented. There are various steps in employee training and development and all are significant and should be carried out by business organizations. Evaluation will help in knowing whether the set objectives were achieved or not and if not it will enable the management to formulate strategies to attain the set objectives.
- Alliger, G. (1989): Kirkpatrick’s levels of training criteria. Thirty years later. Personnel Psychology, Vol 42
- Beard, C. and Wilson, J. (2002): The power of experiential learning. A handbook for trainers and educators, London, Kogan
- Bohlander, G. and Snell, S. (2007): Managing Human Resources. New York, Thomson Learning
- Bramley, P. (1996): Evaluating training effectiveness: Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill
- Gupta, K. (1999): A Practical Guide to Needs Assessment: San Francisco, Jossey- Bass/Pfeiffer
- Phillips, J. (1996): ROI- The search for best practices: Training and Development, Vol 5
- Raymond A, (2008) Employment Training & Development Fourth Edition ISBN: 978-0-07-340490-5