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Modernization and Improvement

HR Management: Training & Development

In this section we will define training and
its purpose as well as the basic training process. Included within this process is how
organizations identify training needs and select, implement, and evaluate training programs. Training is the process of teaching employees
the basic skills they need to perform their jobs or for developing additional skills.
The firm’s training programs must make sense in terms of the company’s strategic goals.
For example, if one of the goals of the company is to expand its international market, then
one of the things they may focus on is training their employees in multiple languages. Also,
training is part of the larger issue of performance management. This is an integrated, goal-oriented
approach to assigning, training, assessing, and rewarding employees’ performance. Managers
set goals for their employees and training is one of the ways an organization helps an
employee meets those goals. The training process includes these 5 steps.
It is important that each step in the process be completed thoroughly because each builds
on the other. The more time and effort spent on the previous step, the better the next
steps can be. Step one, needs analysis identifies the training
needs of an employee. The two main ways of identifying those needs are through a task
analysis and a performance analysis. The task analysis is a detailed study of a
job to identify the specific skills required, especially for new employees. A task analysis
record form can also be used. Here is an example of this form for a printing press operator.
The task analyses contain the following information: a task list; when and how often each task
is performed; the quantity and quality of performance expected; the working conditions;
the skills or knowledge required; and where those can best be learned. The second type of needs analysis is a performance
analysis. The goal here is to verify if there is a performance deficiency and to determine
whether that deficiency should be corrected through training or through some other means
(such as transferring the employee). There are several methods that can be used
to identify an employee’s training needs, including: 360-degree performance reviews;
job-related performance data; observations by supervisors or other specialists; and tests
of things like job knowledge and skills. When beginning the discussion of what types of
training methods to use, there are several tips to keep in mind to make the training
more effective. First, the learning needs to be meaningful.
Material that is meaningful is usually easier for trainees to understand and remember. For
example, it is important at the start of training to provide a bird’s-eye view of the material
to be presented. It is also valuable to use a variety of familiar examples and to organize
the information so it can be presented logically, and in meaningful units. Second, it is imperative to design the training
to make it easy for the skills being learned to transfer from the training site to the
job site. This can be accomplished by maximizing the similarity between the training environment
and the work situation and by providing time for adequate practice. It is also important
to provide a “heads-up” or some preparatory information that lets trainees know what problems
or situations may occur on the job. Lastly, it is important to motivate the learner.
This is easily done by defining for the learner why this training is important and how it
will benefit them. People learn best by doing– so provide as much realistic practice as possible
and allow them to learn at their own pace. Trainees also learn best when the trainers
immediately reinforce correct responses. With this is mind, take a look at several
different methods organizations can use when designing their training. I will not spend
time discussing all of them as you can read about them in your text, but understand that
each method has advantages and disadvantages. Thus, depending on the situation each method
can be a valuable tool for teaching employees new skills and behaviors. Step 3 is the validation process. By now the
term validity should be a familiar one. We discussed this in great detail during the
selection chapter, when we talked about how organizations create valid selection measures
for hiring new employees. In order to determine a training’s validity
the company must test the training on a sample of employees to see if those who receive the
training have better performance on the job than those who did not receive the training.
This sampling process should be conducted on multiple groups to make sure the training
is valid. Implementation, step four, is the easiest
to do if all the previous steps have been done well. Now we simply need to train the
employees that need to learn this new skill or behavior. It is important to schedule the
training at a time when the employee is fresh and that the training is broken down in to
small segments to lower the chance of fatigue. Step 5, evaluating the training, is the most
overlooked step. In many instances organizations will spend a lot of time and resources on
the first four steps and then completely forget about what is arguably the most important
part of the training process. My point is that it makes no sense for organizations to
spend hundreds and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on designing a training program
to not have any proof that the training actually has proven results. There are four basic ways to measure training
effectiveness. The first is the trainee’s reaction to, or perception of, the training.
Did they like it? Did they enjoy it? These reactions are very similar to the types of
evaluations you complete at the end of every semester on your teachers. The second way
is to measure the trainee’s learning. This can be done by testing the individual’s knowledge
of the material covered. Third is to assess the trainee’s behavior. Are they using the
skills or behavior they learned in the training in the actual work environment? Lastly, organizations
should measure the results or outcomes of the training. In other words, did those who
participated in the training actually improve their job performance? This is an example
of a time series experiment. Before training, the company measures employee performance
several times. In a perfect world this is what all organizations hope to see as a result
of training. Ultimately, what organizations want to see is a significant increase in employee
performance which is illustrated on the right side of the graph. In the end, if organizations can’t track this,
and understand how training is affecting performance, then the training is not as effective as it
could be. In conclusion, today we have discussed the
basics of designing and implementing a training program. It is a complicated and time-consuming
process but in the end, a well-constructed training program is worth the effort which
must include all five steps.

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