Training at Work
Training is a vast and somewhat controversial topic. Different people have different perceptions and theories about training, and the process to make it more effective and efficient; however there is a strong consensus on the fact that training is a very important ingredient in the success of the business.
Reid and Barrington (1994) define training as a planned process to modify attitudes, knowledge or skill behavior through learning experience to achieve effective performance in an activity or range of activities’. Training tends to be a short process on a specific topic, with specific learning outcomes. It facilitates learning by focusing on implementation and job performance.
Benefits of Employee Training
Increases performance and productivity
Imparting knowledge of skills not known beforehand and learning means to perform tasks better and more confidently; this certainly reflects on the individual’s performance and results in better productivity for the business.
Develops Employee potential
Training is a pathway for learning, Learning for any individual would help enhance employee potential, as he/she would have gained new skills and behaviors, Learnt better ways of doing things, all these enhance the employee potential.
Improves morale and quality
Training helps in increasing employee morale at work, Only Employers who believe in the abilities of their employees and have conviction that learning would help enhance organizational performance, this aids in showing Managements Commitment towards the employee and help in motivating the staff, and thus results in better quality of work. Training could very well be a cause of intrinsic motivation to the employee as it offers a change for career progression to the individual.
Leads to improved customer satisfaction
Enhanced Employee Potential, high morale, better quality of product and services all are major contributors to the improved level of satisfaction of the customer.
Reduces need for supervision
Learning would help in making the staff better equipped with skills that are helpful in doing the job, moreover it help creates that motivation which is key to perform without the need of supervision, work would come natural to them (McGregor Theory Y).
Saves cost in the long run
Increased Quality, Enhanced Customer Satisfaction, Better Quality, Reduced need for supervision, all could very well contribute in reducing cost, as the employees would become more efficient in the use of Organizational Resources.
The shift from the manufacturing to the rise of service industry has shifted the focus of training from manual skills to knowledge, learning and employee development where the focus is not just learning skills but on the means of transferring them to others, making sure that not only there is employee development but organizational development as well. The organization regularly needs to review the training and development needs of its employees. It has to train its employees from recruitment until retirement. It has to evaluate the investment in training and development to measure achievement and improve future efficiency (Marchington and Wilkinson, 2000).
Importance of trainings and development
Training is a very effective way of increasing employee knowledge and skills due of the following reasons
Training manages to get the employees in a safe environment where the feeling to interact and learn prevails, everybody is more or less at a similar level, this makes the questioning and discussion more fruitful.
Secondly, during training the chances of having interruptions are low, unlike during work, where almost every minute there is something else to do.
It is cost effective to deliver training to all employees during the training event rather than teaching or showing certain skills to different individuals in different times. Also, training events have clear objectives, so employees know why they are there for and what they are going to learn from the event.
There is the element of social interaction. It is argued that learning in groups increases individuals’ learning. Individuals benefit from learning in a group as there are more people to interact with, ask questions, get variety of opinions, see different people doing the same thing in different ways.
Issues in Employee Training
Training has its share of issues within the organization, Reality is always different from the Rhetoric, Management might not always support training, as it’s mostly regarded as a thing for the future, and questions are always raised on the return of investment. One of the problems faced by the HR Practitioners is to motivate the staff to attend the learning event, it more or less seen as just an activity organisation has to do, and employees do not see the benefit, In order for the employees to see the benefit, the management needs to provide adequate learning resources and more importantly means to transfer the learning to workplace.
How to make trainings effective?
Probably the most important point is that HR managers need to provide training solutions that are SMART:
Specific / significant
The training solutions must have a focus and be objective, rather than vague, conducting training just for the sake of it will not go down very well with the employees.
Measurable / meaningful
The Results shall be measurable and meaningful, the implication should be visible.
Attainable / achievable
The objective drafted for the training programs shall be attainable.
Realistic / relevant
The trainings shall be realistic and relevant to the job, with the learning transferable and results visible.
Time framed / timely
An important ingredient for success of training is its timing, undue learning event will always be waste of time and money and would lower employee motivation.
Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2000) Core Personnel and Development. London :CIPD.
Porter, C. Bingham, C. and Simmonds, D. (2008) Exploring Human Resource Management. McGraw-Hill: Maidenhead.
Reid, M. and Barrington, H. (1994) Training Interventions: Managing employee development, 4 thed. London: IPD
Storey, J. (1992) Developments in the Management of Human Resources. Oxford: Blackwell.