HR Management: Training & Development

Uploaded by IUSoutheast on 20.07.2009

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.