Training and Development
The Scope of Training
Orientation and Onboarding
Basic Skills Training
Criterion 1: Reactions
Criterion 2: Learning
Criterion 3: Behavior
After studying this chapter, you should be able to
· LO 1Discuss the scope of training and development and its strategic aspects.
· LO 2Describe how a training needs assessment should be done.
· LO 3Describe the factors that must be taken into account when designing a training program.
· LO 4Identify the types of training-delivery methods organizations use.
· LO 5Explain how the effectiveness of training programs are evaluated, and describe some of the additional training programs conducted by firms.
Workplace training used to be rather boxlike. It focused on teaching employees to do particular activities—operate machines, process work, and so forth. However, as the workplace has shifted from “touch labor” to “knowledge workers” (see Chapter 1), the focus of training has shifted as well. Companies are realizing that workers need not only operational knowhow but also superior job expertise; knowledge about competitive, industry, and technological trends; and the ability to continually learn and utilize new information. These characteristics better help an organization adapt and innovate to compete far more effectively in today’s fast-paced global business world. Because training plays a central role in nurturing, strengthening, and expanding the capabilities of a firm in this way, it has become part of the backbone of strategic management.
The Scope of Training
Many new employees come equipped with most of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to start work. Others require extensive training before they are ready to make much of a contribution to the organization. The term training is often used casually to describe almost any effort initiated by an organization to foster learning among its members. However, many experts distinguish between training, which tends to be more narrowly focused and oriented toward short-term performance concerns, and development, which, as you learned in Chapter 5, tends to be oriented more toward broadening an individual’s skills for future responsibilities. The two terms tend to be combined into a single phrase—training and development—to recognize the combination of activities organizations use to increase the knowledge and skills of employees.
Research shows that an organization’s revenues and overall profitability are positively correlated to the amount of training it gives its employees. According to Training magazine’s ongoing industry report, U.S. businesses provide each of their employees between 35 and 55 hours, on average, of training annually. By contrast, the 100 best U.S. companies to work for, as cited by Fortune magazine, provide their employees with approximately double that amount of training and sometimes even more. New employees hired by the Ritz Carlton hotel chain get over 300 hours of training. The greatest proportion of training is spent on rank-and-file employees and supervisors.
It’s not unusual for large corporations to have their own “universities” where they train their employees and future managers. Hamburger University, operated by McDonald’s Corporation near Chicago, is probably the best known corporate university. General Electric has a 53-acre training campus north of New York City, where about 10,000 people attend classes each year. The Campbell’s Soup Company operates Campbell University, which has a 2-year program focused on personal leadership development for both aspiring and seasoned managers.
Hamburger University, located at headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, is McDonald’s management training center.
Qilai Shen/Getty Images
So how much does all of this corporate training cost? About $70 billion annually. That’s a significant amount of money, so firms want to ensure it’s well spent.
U.S. businesses spend nearly four times as much on informal instruction as they do formal instruction, however. The informal instruction ranges from simple, on-the-job instruction to sophisticated skills training conducted on multimillion-dollar simulators. Other types of training include regular training given to new hires, customer service and communication-skills training, and compliance training—training employees must receive as a result of various legal mandates, such as EEO requirements or OSHA requirements. Airline attendants must undergo mandatory safety training designated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Train crews must annually undergo training mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
7.1aA Strategic Approach to Training
Managers should keep a close eye on their firm’s goals and strategies and orient their training accordingly. Is it the firm’s goal to develop new product lines? If so, how should this goal affect its training initiatives? Is the firm trying to lower its costs of production so it can utilize a low-cost strategy to capture new business? If so, are there training initiatives that can be undertaken to deliver on this strategy?
Unfortunately, some organizations fail to make the connection between training and an organization’s goals. Instead, they do whatever the competition is doing or what is the latest trend. As a result, training programs are often misdirected, poorly designed, and inadequately evaluated—not to mention a waste of money. One, not all of a firm’s strategic initiatives can be accomplished with training. Two, not all training programs—no matter how widely they are adopted by other organizations—will be a strategic imperative for your firm.
Because business conditions change rapidly, as does technology, keeping abreast of the types of training a firm’s employees need to remain competitive can be a challenge. If employees consistently fail to achieve their productivity objectives, this might be a signal that training is needed. Likewise, if organizations receive an excessive number of customer complaints, this, too, might suggest a firm’s training is inadequate. Larger firms typically have
chief learning officers
, who are high-ranking executives responsible for ensuring a company’s training is timely, well designed, and focused on the firm’s strategic issues.
To ensure a firm’s training and development investment has the maximum impact possible, a strategic and systematic approach should be used that involves four phases:
1. A needs assessment based on the firm’s competitive objectives: What training does the firm really need?
2. Program design: Given those needs, how should the training program best designed or structured?
3. Implementation: How should the program be delivered—that is, by what method?
4. Evaluation: How can the firm tell if the training program is really working?
Figure 7.1 presents these elements. We will use it as a framework for organizing the material in this chapter.
Figure 7.1Strategic Model of Training and Development
7.2Phase 1: Conducting the Needs Assessment
If you own or manage a business, how would you figure out what types of training your employees need and how much of it? The following are some of the most common types of training employees are given. “Hard skills” refer to the tangible and teachable skills needed to do a job. Learning to operate a machine is an example. “Soft skills” refer to subjective skills that are harder to measure, requiring more discretion or judgment, but equally valuable in the workplace. Working well with other people is an example of a soft skill.
· On-the-job training for new hires
· Basic skills training
· Budgeting and accounting training
· Machinery operating training
· IT/computer training
· Customer service training
· Compliance (regulations) training
· Ethics training
· Diversity training
· Leadership training
· Communications training
· Team training
· Time management training
· Interpersonal skills training
To determine what type of training your firm needs, you must conduct a training needs assessment. However, a study conducted a few years ago by the American Society for Training and Development found that organizations conduct needs assessments less than 50 percent of the time. This situation has improved somewhat, in part because tighter training budgets have forced firms to ensure that their training is well aligned with their objectives. Being able to quickly assess the training your employees need is especially important for small businesses that may not have the time or resources to do lengthy needs assessment analyses. Doing a needs assessment does not need to be a laborious task, as this chapter’s small-business feature shows. As Figure 7.2 shows, a needs assessment consists of three parts: an organization analysis, a task analysis, and a person analysis. Each of these steps will be discussed next.
Figure 7.2Needs Assessment for Training
is an examination of a firm’s environment, goals, strategies, performance, and resources so as to determine what training it should do. For this purpose, HR personnel typically collect data such as information on the quality of a firm’s goods or services, its absenteeism, turnover, and number of accidents. The availability of potential replacements and the time required to train them are important factors in organization analysis. Other issues include technological change, innovation, globalization, quality and process improvement, mergers and acquisition, and restructuring—all of which necessitate training. Why? Because they frequently require employees and managers to take on new roles and responsibilities and adjust to new cultures and ways of doing business.
Economic and public policy issues influence corporate training needs as well. For example, terrorist and cyber attacks continue to change the training that airport and airline workers need, as well as police, IT and transportation employees, nuclear power plant employees, and even security staff at theme parks. Finally, trends in the workforce itself affect a firm’s training needs. As older workers near retirement, younger workers need the training and knowledge to take their place.
Conducting an organization analysis also involves examining a firm’s resources—technological, financial, and human—available to conduct the training. HR departments are under constant pressure to make the most of their training dollars. When budgets are tight, training and development are usually the first programs to be cut. Companies such as Darden Restaurants, Ford, and Merck have used information technology to significantly cut their training budgets. Other companies outsource their training programs, or at least part of them, to external firms to cut costs or to take advantage of expertise the firm lacks. Other organizations purchase “off the shelf” course materials developed by training companies rather than develop their own. Another trend is for companies to partner with firms in their supply chains to jointly train their employees more cost effectively.
Small Business Application
A Small Business’s Guide to Quickly Assessing Its Training Needs
· Do environmental scanning. Continually look at what is going on in your industry and organization to anticipate upcoming training needs. Enlist the help of employees and managers in the process. Question managers about their strategic goals and their impact on the organization, and gear your analysis accordingly.
· Do internal scanning. Determine what skills are most important to acquire in terms of your organization’s current and future needs. Which ones will provide the biggest payback?
· Gather organizational data. Performance data for your firm (such as errors, sales, and customer complaints) and staffing data (such as turnover and absenteeism) can be very helpful as a starting point.
· Develop a plan. Once the training need has been identified, identify various ways to deliver it and consider the costs and benefits of each. Determine what kind of growth or other measure is a reasonable result of the training.
· Utilize state and local government programs. Many state and local governments have programs to help small businesses train their employees. For example, the Texas Workforce Commission will pay small businesses in Texas up to $1,800 annually in tuition and fees for each new full-time employee hired and trained at a local college. (For a current employee, the program covers tuition and fees up to $900 annually.)
· Make the needs-assessment process ongoing. Repeat these activities as your business needs change.
Sources: Patti Greene, “Five Affordable and Effective Ways Small Business Owners Could Better Train Employees,” Forbes (October 21, 2016), https://www.forbes.com; “TWC Launches Small Busin.ess Employee Training Program,” Your Houston News (November 20, 2010), http://www.yourhoustonnews.com; “Employee Training Tips,” dnb.com, http://smallbusiness.dnb.com; Ron Zemke, “How to Do a Needs Assessment When You Think You Don’t Have Time,” Training 35, no. 3 (March 1998): 38–44.
The second step in training-needs assessment is task analysis. A
involves reviewing the job description and KSAOs of a particular position, including the specific actions and behaviors required to do it. In other words, a task analysis goes beyond just the “what” of a job and also includes the “how.”
If the job is new or jobs are changing, the first step in a task analysis is to list all the tasks or duties included in the job. The second step is to list the steps the employee needs to take to complete each task. The type of performance for each task (i.e., manipulation, speech, and discrimination), along with the skills and knowledge necessary to do it, can then be identified. For example, in the task of taking a chest X-ray, a radiologist correctly positions the patient (manipulation), gives special instructions (speech), and checks the proper distance of the X-ray tube from the patient (discrimination). The types of skills and knowledge that trainees need can be determined by observing and questioning skilled jobholders or by reviewing job descriptions. This information helps trainers select program content and choose the most effective training methods.
Jobs are changing so quickly today that instead of focusing on a fixed sequence of tasks, firms are finding that their employees need more flexible sets of competencies to adapt. A
focuses on the sets of skills and knowledge employees need to be successful, particularly for decision-oriented and knowledge-intensive jobs. A competency assessment goes beyond simply describing the traits employees must have to successfully perform the work. It also captures elements of how those traits should be used within an organization’s context and culture. That might include the motivation levels of employees, their interpersonal skills, and so on. “It’s easy for top performers to become experts in a certain niche, but ‘talent factories’ focus on creating generalists,” explains one HR consultant. “To get the most from talented employees, they should know how to handle a wide range of functions.”
Instead of offering a laundry list of training plans as it used to, Amway has established job competencies for its employees around the world. The competencies denote the particular skills each employee needs for his or her job and a training “road map” to get them there. Highlights in HRM 1 shows an example of a partial competency assessment tool used for evaluating a manager.
Highlights in HRM 1
A Competency Assessment for a Managerial Position
For each item, select the number that best describes the manager’s characteristics. For items that do not apply, select NA (not applicable). For other items for which you lack sufficient observations or documentary evidence, select DK (don’t know).
· 4 – Exemplary
· 3 – Proficient
· 2 – Progressing
· 1 – Needs Assistance
· NA – Not Applicable
· DK – Don’t Know
2. Competency 1: Behaves professionally and encourages other staff members to do likewise.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
3. Competency 2: Behaves ethically and encourages staff members to do likewise.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
4. Competency 3: Uses a variety of modes of communication and conveys information fully and clearly.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
5. Competency 4: Seeks input from all levels and demonstrates fairness and consistency.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
6. Competency 5: Engages in an open style of management and is open to criticism from supervisors and subordinates.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
7. Competency 6: Searches for and embraces innovative solutions to improve department’s programs and products.
4 3 2 1 NA DK
is the process of determining which employees require training and, equally important, which do not. This helps organizations avoid providing all employees training when some do not need it. In addition, a person analysis helps managers determine what prospective trainees are able to do currently so that the programs can be designed to provide training that will benefit them.
Performance appraisal information can also be used to conduct a person analysis. However, although performance appraisals might reveal which employees are not meeting the firm’s expectations, for example, they typically do not reveal why. If the performance is due to ability problems, training is likely to be a good solution. If the performance is due to poor motivation or factors outside an employee’s control, training might not be the answer. Conducting a deeper performance diagnosis is discussed in Chapter 8 on performance appraisals. Ultimately, managers have to sit down with employees to talk about areas for improvement so that they can jointly determine the training or other approaches that will have maximum benefit. A person analysis along with appraisal information can also be used to determine the training someone needs for a new position, a promotion, or to take on new responsibilities.
7.3Phase 2: Designing the Training Program
Once you have assessed your firm’s training needs, the next step is to design the training program. Experts believe that the design of training programs should focus on at least four related issues:
1. the training’s instructional objectives,
2. readiness of trainees and their motivation,
3. principles of learning, and
4. characteristics of instructors.
7.3aDeveloping Instructional Objectives
After conducting organization, task, and person analyses, managers should have a more complete picture of their firms’ training needs. On the basis of this information, they can more formally state the desired outcomes of training via written
, which describe the skills or knowledge to be acquired and/or the attitudes to be changed. The learning objectives at the beginning of this chapter are examples of instructional objectives.
The objectives should be performance centered. Performance-centered objectives typically include precise terms, such as “to calculate,” “to repair,” “to adjust,” “to construct,” “to assemble,” and “to classify.” For example, the stated objective for one training program might be, “Employees trained in team methods will be able to perform the different jobs of their team members within six months.”
7.3bAssessing the Readiness and Motivation of Trainees
Two preconditions for learning affect the success of those who are to receive training: readiness and motivation. Trainee readiness refers to whether or not the experience and knowledge of trainees have made them ready to absorb the training. Do they have the background knowledge and the skills necessary to absorb what will be presented?
It is often desirable to group individuals according to their readiness, as determined by test scores or other assessment information, and to provide alternative types of instruction for those who need it. The receptiveness and readiness of participants in training programs can be increased by having them complete questionnaires about why they are attending training and what they hope to accomplish as a result of it.
The other precondition for learning is trainee motivation. The organization needs to help employees understand the link between the effort they put into training and the payoff. Why is the training important? What will happen if it does not occur? Moreover, what is in it for the individual employee? By focusing on the trainees themselves, managers can create a training environment that is conducive to learning. Unless they are nearing retirement, most employees are motivated by training if it can help them perform better, advance their careers, or both.
7.3cIncorporating the Principles of Learning
What makes some types of training more effective than others? Training has to build a bridge between employees and the organization. One important step in this transition is giving full consideration to the psychological principles of learning—that is, the characteristics of training programs that help employees grasp new material, make sense of it in their own lives, and transfer it back to their jobs. All things considered, training programs are likely to be more effective if they incorporate the principles of learning shown in Figure 7.3.
Figure 7.3Principles of Learning
In some cases, goal setting can simply take the form of a “road map” of the course or program, its objectives, and its learning points. When trainers take the time to explain the training’s goals and objectives to trainees—or when trainees are encouraged to set goals on their own—the level of interest, understanding, motivation, and effort directed toward the training is likely to increase. Allowing employees to undergo training in areas that they want to pursue can be very motivating, as can enlisting employees to train other employees with the information they learn. Who in an organization does not want to be called upon for their expertise?
Meaningfulness of Presentation
Trainees will be better able to learn new information if it is presented using terminology they can understand and the training is connected with things already familiar to them. This is the reason why trainers frequently use colorful examples to which trainees can relate. The examples make the material meaningful. In addition, material should be arranged so that each experience builds on preceding ones. In this way, trainees are able to integrate the experiences into a usable pattern of knowledge and skills.
The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” applies to training. Just as examples increase the meaningfulness of factual material or new knowledge in a training environment, modeling increases the salience of behavioral training. In other words, people learn by mimicking other people. For example, if you were learning to ride a horse, it would be much easier to watch someone do it—and then try it yourself—than to read a book or listen to a lecture and hope you can do it right.
Modeling can take many forms. Real-life demonstrations and recorded demonstrations, visual aids, pictures, and drawings can get the message across. In some cases, modeling the wrong behavior can even be helpful if it shows trainees what not to do and then clarifies the right behavior.
Individual Learning Differences
People learn at different rates and in different ways. Visual learners absorb information best through pictures, diagrams, and demonstrations. Verbal learners absorb information best through spoken or written words. Similarly, some learners who do horribly in large lecture settings excel in small discussion groups.
Trainers can help accommodate different learning styles in a variety of ways. The key is to avoid delivering the material in only one way. So, for example, instead of delivering a monologue, trainers should incorporate variety into their presentations. They should use visual aids, encourage the participation of learners by including them in demonstrations, and ask them questions about their own experiences. Hands-on activities and breaking large groups into smaller groups for specific activit