Trends in Workplace Learning and Development

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Introduction

With the ever increasing pressure on business organizations, it has become clear that getting the best of talent in the industry market is the only way of sharpening their competitive spearhead. However, how can an organization ensure that it has only the best in comparison to other competing organizations? According to the HR Magazine (2008), it is important that organizations ensure that its employees enhance their performance efficiency and quality. Apart from hiring the best talent in the market, the magazine further argues that the most important way that an organization can ensure efficiency and quality is through training and development.

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Research Topic

Given the importance of employees’ efficiency and quality input, this research paper intends to examine profoundly the following question; given its costly nature, do business organizations benefit from employee training and development or is the practice a waste of company time and resources? This question is a foundation that will assist in increasing the understanding of policy makers within organizations on how employee training and development can be used as a tool from which an organization can achieve great competitive advantages.

To ensure that the given research question is clearly addressed, it is relevant that data concerning the frequency with which companies carry out this practice is collected. i.e. it is important that policy makers from business organizations are questioned on how they feel about the practice and whether they put it in practice or not. If yes, how often are employees subjected to training and development? The attitude of the organization towards the practice is another set of data that can prove very essential in the overall unraveling of the mystery behind employee training and development. It is important that the data reflects how business organizations feel about this practice because this will determine whether they can invest heavily in it or avoid it completely. Finally, it is important that organization performances after and before the practice are analyzed. This is very essential because it will serve as the yard stick through which the contribution of the practice can be determined. For instance, it is fundamental that a company’s performance before it started using this practice are identified. Later, the performance after the practice should be put on the measuring scale so that it is clarified whether the employee production and efficiency has improved or not.

By answering the research question mentioned above, it is evident that policy makers will be able to make the appropriate decisions on whether to implement employee training and development within their organizations or abolish the practice completely. Therefore, the research question answers the research problem in that it will try to elucidate on how employee training and development acts as a tool by which organizations can achieve a competitive advantage.

Every research is always marked by a certain setback. In this case it will be difficult to measure attitude which is an abstract word. Finding the best measurement of this phenomenon might prove a bit difficult. In addition, it may prove difficult to access company performance records which is an essential part of this research. For instance, some companies might give false information in order to protect their reputation. Finally, a company might show great signs of success after having undertaken well strategized employee training and development programs. However, this does not really mean that the success has to be attributed to the program. There are several other internal and external environmental factors that could be put in consideration before ruling out that the success was a result of training and development.

I am personally interested in this topic because some companies have tried to improve their competitive edge by hiring the best and outstanding talents in the market. However, they have not become a threat to their competitors. In fact, some of them have lagged behind despite the top cream. According to me, this is an expression of lack of understanding. The business environment is constantly faced by changes. Organizations therefore need to address the changes. By hiring a competent person and failing to train him so that he meets the new changes, his talent might end up irrelevant in the new scenario.

Literature Review

The HR Magazine (2008) clearly defines employee training and development as “the process to obtain or transfer knowledge, skills and abilities needed to carry out a specific activity or task” (p. 1). The magazine further outlines the importance of this in the overall well being of a business organization. The learning actions within training and development are usually designed to ensure that the subjects achieve enough knowledge in the fields of customer service and improving on the career skills and knowledge. This does not help the individual to be effective but also ensure collective effectiveness of the whole organization.

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Second, employee training and development assists the organization to meet its goals and objectives through the identification of the exact points of needs of the organization. This position is argued by HR Magazine who point out that business organizations are faced by changes and shortcomings in terms of aging workforce, need for imported employees, cases of poor education standards, increased changes in the economic and technological realms etc. all these lead to shortcomings that the company must address in its quest for training. As a result, the training must be strategic. This position is echoed by Bassi (1998) who argues that globalization and advanced technological inventions are calling upon every organization to be reliant upon employee training and development so that they can be able to keep abreast with these changes. Bassi further argues that strategic learning is imperative as it sharpens competitive advantage of not only the individual but also the organization as a whole.

A study carried out by the World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (2010) points out that training and development improves on quality on quality and efficiency. In their study on visual inspectors, it was realized that lack of proper training on these members of staff resulted into paving way for poor quality products into the market. This would result into customer dissatisfaction and hence lagging behind within the competition. The study showed that the quality and efficiency of inspectors increased greatly when given tailor made training on how to carry about their duties. As expected, the efficiency of the trained inspectors increased greatly. On the other hand, fewer low quality and substandard goods reached the customers hence ensuring customer satisfaction. This puts a business organization at the forefront of the pack.

On his part, Schramm (2006) argues that a survey carried out by the Society for Human Resource Management as quoted by posited that the success of a business organization increases when training is carried out in a strategic manner. In the report, it was identified that employees always reacted actively on their need for career development and that they increased their productivity if their skills were well used at the work. therefore, the ability to effectively make use of skills at the workplace and increased prospects of career development acted as major factors that would determine the success of the organization. According to the report, the success associated with heavy investment in training and development included ensuring employee motivation and hence retention, their trust and initiative. This means that with employee training, a company standards a good chance of increasing its product quality and quantity.

The given arguments point out that despite the costly nature of employee training and development, it is important that organizations invest in them. This is attributed to the several benefits associated with it. They include employee effectiveness, increase in the quality of products, increased motivation, employee retention, trust et cetera. This means that employee training and development can greatly help a business organization to stand out and beat all competition making it successful.

Methodology

To facilitate my research, several methods will be used. First, I intend to use interviews as a means of data collection. In this form of data collection, I intend to interview the management and find all the necessary information concerning training and development. In addition, I will also interview the employees to understand their attitudes and feelings about training and development. Most of the interview will be carried out in person. However, I intend to carry out telephone interviews as well. I intend to have a total of not less than one hundred and fifty respondents from at least ten organizations.

In addition to interviews, I intend to carry out my research by use of questionnaires. The questionnaires will be delivered physically or online. The designed questionnaires will be sample specific. It will involve intentional sampling where the questions will be directed to specific groups of people. For instance, the questions meant for management will not be similar to those given to the lower ladder employees. This is because my expectations from the managers are different from those on the employee.

Finally, I intend to use secondary material by using literature from other researches and scholarly contributions to elaborate on the issue. I will try to find out what other people have talked about training and development and what results have been found by studies carried out earlier.

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As mentioned earlier, one of the hurdles during this research was receiving unreliable information. Some managers could lie in order to protect the reputation of their organizations. On the other hand, employees would give wrong information for the sake of their job security. This is the main reason why I opted to use telephone interviews and online questionnaires. These two forms of data collection will enable the respondents to feel the safety of anonymity. This will enable me to overcome one of the challenges. Second, by resorting to use two specific samples (the management and the employees) separately, it will be easier for me to identify the attitude on both sides because they both contribute to the failure or success of the organization.

Conclusion

Finally, my intention to use secondary sources will allow me to measure my findings in relation to other studies. In cases of similarities or differences, I will have to examine why they exist and hence contribute more to the topic.

This methodology is similar to that carried by the World academy of Science, Engineering and Technology who also employed the use of questionnaires and interviews. In addition, the research by Bassi also employed the use of literature review to identify the importance of training and development for the success of an organization.

Questionnaire

Management

  1. How does your company deal with emerging challenges like advancing technology and aging workforce?
  2. In a given year, what is the average investment pumped into training and development?
  3. Do you have a fixed budget for training and development or do you have a flexible one?
  4. Given chance, would you increase the specified amount on training and development or would you reduce it?
  5. How are critical decision making positions filled in your organization, is it through succession or outside hiring?
  6. If flexible, has the outcome reflected the differences in the level of investment or have the outcomes remained constant?
  7. Do you believe that strategic training and development can help an organization address the contemporary technological and economic challenges?

Employee

  1. Are the skills that you apply daily in your tasks part of what you learned in school and college or have they been acquired during your work in the organization?
  2. Does your company offer training and development?
  3. Do you think the management understands exactly what you go through as employees?
  4. Do you believe you have enough skill to handle the most recent technological invention as pertains your work?
  5. Do you think the management could do anything to improve your skills?
  6. Are you happy with your career prospects in this organization?

References

Bassi, L.,1998. “Trends in workplace learning: supply and demand in interesting times.” Training & Development 52.11, pp. 51-58

HR Magazine., 2008. “Strategic training and development: A gateway to organizational success.” Findarticles.com. Web.

Schramm, J., 2006. SHRM workplace forecast. Alexandria, VA: Society for Human Resource Management

World Academic of Science, Engineer & Technology., 2010. “A comparative study of the effectiveness of trained inspectors in different workloads between feed forward and feedback training.” International Journal of Behavioral, Cognitive, Education and Psychological Sciences. 2(2), pp. 75-76.

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BusinessEssay. (2021, December 6). Trends in Workplace Learning and Development. Retrieved from https://business-essay.com/trends-in-workplace-learning-and-development/

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BusinessEssay. 2021. "Trends in Workplace Learning and Development." December 6, 2021. https://business-essay.com/trends-in-workplace-learning-and-development/.

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