Identification of the key aspects of the business’s training Essay

Identification of the key aspects of the business’s training and development program and the importance of these to the performance of the business

The point of training

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Training employees is to improve the skills of the employee or teaching them new skills, so obviously a well trained workforce will have large benefits for a business over a poorly or not trained workforce.

* Well trained staff will generally be more productive which is good because goals will be achieved on time or quicker than usual and overall objectives will be met faster and more efficiently.

* Through training employees improve their skills and themselves which brings the chance of promotion, as the more important the job within the business the more sense it makes to have a skilled trained employee with the most qualification.

* Training helps the business use new technology as they can be trained to use new machinery, computers, software and the workers will be more efficient and quicker in their job through the implementation of this technology.

* To improve flexibility, if the organisation of the business is being changed people can be trained to do new jobs and new tasks.

* Job satisfaction should be increased for employees and the higher the job satisfaction for an employee the more motivated they are likely to be and a motivated worker is a more efficient worker.

Why do we need training?

Although training is costly and time consuming it is a very valuable benefit to a business if it is well trained.

To realise a need for training can be found in various different ways, if you compare the skills needed to do a job with the job description then you can see any major differences indicate that training would benefit. Many businesses offer optional training as a employee forced to train will be less likely to want to comply than someone who chose to do the training themselves, often managers will ask employees what they feel are their weaknesses and/or what they believe they would benefit from through training.

Once a manager has established a need for training they must justify it, this is generally how it will help the company to achieve its objectives and aims. Occasionally criteria will be measured before the training and after to identify whether the training was effective.

Within Alcatel they tend to send their staff on long training courses which will cover many different aspects from the actual job in this case a sales person. They would be taught the sales technique but also team development and other motivational techniques, Alcatel sees training as a very important tool which can make even the best workers that bit better and is a better alternative to finding a new person for a job. Often they will mix training with something fun so that it is taken in well for example a meal in an expensive restaurant as the ‘treat’ for their hard work. This is a great way to motivate people as they are not only gaining the skills but something they see as an enjoyable time, which they will link to the training.

Training methods

Training is generally seen in two ways, there is off-the-job training and on-the-job training which I will now explain.

Off-the-job training

This is internal and external training courses, generally the employee is sent once a week to college or university to be trained. Training staff are often employed by the company to teach staff about new technology or methods that the business is keen to use. Large businesses can have training centres on the property so that they can be constantly improving their workforce, offering courses which can be from a day to weeks depending on what the actual training is for.

Firms today are keener to offer training that incorporates qualifications in with it; these are offered by external examination by universities and colleges. A few examples of this are;

* Vocational training, offers the qualifications of an NVQ or GNVQ (national vocational qualification ; general national vocational qualification). The difference really is that the GNVQ or is more the knowledge of what you are training for and the skills required where as the NVQ is how to do the job being training for.

* Professional courses, offered by institute of personnel management and others this offers good qualifications in the area studied. This qualification would be more expected for higher staff e.g. area managers than just general workers.

* Modern apprenticeship, a person is employed for 1-2 years by a company where they are given a salary and also a qualification generally an NVQ depending on where and what apprenticeship they take.

On-the-job training

This is where the worker being trained is working while completing certain activities related to their work environment, these include;

* Mentors, where a trainee is paired with a more experience member of the work force. The trainee does their job but goes to the ‘mentor’ to discuss problems and learn how best to solve them.

* Coaching, where an experienced worker shows the trainee how to use the equipment required.

* Job rotation, in large companies this can be used to trained ‘high flyers’. The employee works in different departments for short spaces of time acquiring the skills from each area. This enables the person to know how the whole business works so that as they progress up the hierarchy of the business they will have the range of experience they need.

* Often a young trainee will follow or more experienced worker around to pickup what they need to do etc. This is useful because they learn exactly how a good employee does their job and how they will ‘copy’ this to achieve their work.

Many methods are one-on-one training where a member of staff will not be able to do their job while training the new employee. Specialists can be called into the business but this can prove very expensive so is often the second choice.

Induction training

There is a general legal duty on the University (as an employer) to provide “…such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees” (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Section 2(2)c). Similar requirements are made in all new sets of Regulations and Approved Codes of Practice made under the Health and Safety at Work Act. In some cases detailed, specific training requirements are made.

The University Safety Policy makes Heads of Department responsible for ensuring their staff are adequately trained in the safety aspects of their duties . In many instances, training requirements are specialised, and are the sole concern of a few members of a department.

However in other areas there is a more general training requirement which applies to all members of a department. One such area is that of induction training for new staff and students joining the department.

For the majority of people, induction training is provided on a departmental or faculty basis. In a small number of cases, it is provided centrally by the University. For example: induction training for Departmental Safety Officers is provided by the Safety Office; a certain amount of training for Heads of Department and for clerical staff is provided centrally. Where training is provided centrally it will consist mainly of information of a general nature which will need to be augmented by specific information provided by the department.

The following advice has been prepared by the Safety Training Sub- Committee as guidance to Heads of Departments and Departmental Safety Officers. It is intended to highlight some of the factors that should be considered when planning induction training, and the type of information that should be provided during induction training. It is recommended that induction training is given at the earliest opportunity to all new members of the department – staff and students.

Induction training courses

What is induction training?

Induction training is training given to new employees.

The purpose of the induction period (which may be a few hours or a few days) is to help a new employee settle down quickly into the job by becoming familiar with the people, the surroundings, the job and the business.

It is important to give a new employee a good impression on the first day of work. However, the induction programme should not end there.

It is also important to have a systematic induction programme, spread out over several days, to cover all the ground in the shortest effective time.

A) Induction safety training of a general nature should be included with other induction training provided by the department/faculty. It is counter productive to isolate general safety training from other routine matters because if this is done, safety then becomes seen as something separate from other departmental matters.

B) The likelihood of “information overload” should be recognised in certain circumstances eg with the annual intake of new students. The type of information given and the method and timing of its presentation must be such that the message is actually put across.

C) The need for repeat and/or refresher training should be considered for each group of people being given induction training.

D) Those presenting the information should be from within the department/faculty unless there is an overriding reason to include outside specialists. Using departmental staff has the advantage of emphasising the point that safety is a matter of general departmental concern – not something that involves outside “experts.”

E) To satisfy legal requirements, all safety training should be recorded.

F) In many cases, the legal requirements for adequate training will not be met by simply handing out documents and expecting people to read and understand them. In addition to requiring sufficient information to be provided, the law also requires sufficient instruction to be given.

G) Information to be included in induction training courses can usefully be considered under the following headings: information about safety at the University in general;

-information about safety within the department/faculty:

-of a general nature,

-of a more specific nature.

Devising an effective induction training programme

The induction programme should be drawn up in consultation with all those involved. Depending on the size and complexity of the business this may include:

Senior management (including directors)

Supervisors or line managers

Personnel officers

Health and Safety managers

Employee or trade union representatives

Target Account Selling (TAS)

When I spoke to my contact at Alcatel they informed me that they had recently gone on a training course known as TAS, this contained various strategies and ways to plan to be more prepared the task at hand. One of these strategies was known as GOAL POST,

It is called goal post because;

GOAL: where you are going and what you want to achieve

Profile: database of customer information

Objective: specific(products/services), measurable(order amount), time bound(close date)

Strategy: your general approach, the route to the objective

Tactics: connected to strategy, individual style, what specific actions need to take place

Out of all these different aspects the one I will focus on in is the tactics aspect, this is a general guideline given by TAS.

COMPONENTS EXAMPLE

What needs to be accomplished? Meet with Peter to discuss finance issues

and obtain his endorsement before the

upcoming presentation with senior management.

When will it happen? October 16th at 8.00 a.m

Who will execute the tactic? John and Nicole

What resources will we need? Cost benefit analysis, �450 in travel expenses

(time, people money, or material)

Another aspect in TAS is known as PRIME tactics which consists of;

Prove your value

* Demonstrate how your solution addresses or accelerates the customer’s compelling event

* Prove your ability to deliver unique business value

* Confirm the value you have deliver to this customer in the past

Retrieve missing information

* Question your supporters and mentors in the customer organisation

* Use your peers, your network and your sales team

* Involve business partners and consultants

* Access publicly available information

Insulate against competition

* Connect your solution to the personal agenda of key players

* Broaden your support inside the organisation

* Leverage your relationships with key players to other areas within the organisation

* Test your plan with your supporters and mentors

Minimise your weaknesses

* Test your weaknesses against the customers formal and informal decision criteria

* Determine how to influence the weight and ranking of each criterion to your advantage

* Utilise business partners and alliances to enhance your solution

* Validate your weakness with your mentors and supporters to understand their impact

Emphasize your strengths

* Compare your strengths to alternative solutions (internal and external)

* Embed your strengths within the customers formal and informal decision criteria

* Validate your strengths with your mentors and supporters

The need to evaluate training

Training is expensive so it is very important to see if the training is worth the money spent. Evaluation can range from;

* Asking the participants of the training and also managers to fill out a questionnaire before the training and then afterwards so they know what they want to achieve and then can see if they have achieved this over the course of their training.

* Send staff to analyse the worker who has had the training to see if they have progressed to a higher level of working.

Evaluation can be simple when the result of the training is visible, but when trying to evaluate management, this is not a simple matter of looking at charts of sales you have to observe carefully how things have changed from before the training to see if the training was worth while.

Evaluating training is very important because if the company is wasting money on training that isn’t actually improving the business then they are wasting money which could be spent on improving other parts of the business.

Developing employees

Alcatel are always keen to improve their employees as generally training people makes them far more efficient and an efficient workforce it what all businesses look for. But as well as training workers Alcatel is keen to develop them as well where training is dealing with now and developing is future progression for the employee. If the existing staff are able to be promoted up through the business then this is not only an efficient way of recruiting for the future but good for motivation of staff as well.

Within Alcatel it is obvious that some people will not be correct for certain jobs, for example a sales person would generally not be considered to move to a high post in the HR department. This is why often goals are set by managers so that the employee has a target of where they want to be in the next 5 years and how they will achieve this. This works great for morale and also enables the company to know exactly what training is going to be needed.

Performance management

There are many different ways to measure performance levels.

One method is to measure output through setting targets, these targets could be set for the company nationally, or just within one branch. When the target is set for example to obtain a higher turn over then this can be used as a measure of success.

Another example of measuring performance levels is the appraisal system where members of staff are regularly reviewed to see how they are performing in their job. This is generally done by the employees manager but sometimes self appraisal or peer appraisal is used where the employee or his equivalent employee at his level measure the performance of the employee.

Regular appraisals let the human resource department identify a group of accurate information on which skills and of what quality these skills are. This plays an important part in manpower planning. Appraisal can help to;

* Identify strengths and weaknesses, so that the manager can focus on building their strengths and improving their weaknesses.

* Identify potential, showing who has the potential for a more senior post within the business which is good for career progression.

* Improving communication, this makes sure that the employee and manager have a constant relationship and no barriers can be made between them. The manager will then be able to inform his bosses on who is causing problems or working well and how it should be dealt with.

* Decide rewards, including salary increases and bonuses with the largest rewards going to the employees who are most highly rated. Unfortunately this can affect the truthfulness of the employee as if there is a higher wage then they may lie to try and get it.

* Improve motivation, so that an employee working well will appreciate being thanked and warm encouragement. Employees not performing that well will be told what is expected and will be given guidance on how to achieve this.

* Identify training needs, where someone is not performing to their best then they may benefit from further training or a refresher course on training already received.

It is very important to keep motivation high and a worker who feels they are not achieving will not be very motivated. If they are working well then they will be rewarded and will be more motivated to do well as they will gain a higher salary or bonus. Often job satisfaction is important to motivation so keeping close contact with workers is important to see if they are happy with what they are doing and how the employee and the company can help each other to be more happy and productive.

The person carrying out the appraisal is called the appraiser and the person being appraised is the appraisee. Appraisal usually follows a standard format:

First, the appraiser writes an appraisal report on the employee in question.

This can be done in a number of ways:

* * A blank sheet of paper can be used which gives the appraiser the freedom to write whatever they like.

* * A form can be used which has spaces to fill in notes on particular issues- this ensures that all issues are covered.

* * A rating form- for each heading, the appraiser gives the appraisee a mark out of ten or a grade.

Probably the best choice would be a mixture of all three. The essential features of an appraisal report would be:

* * An examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the appraisee.

* * The advice that has been given to the employee regarding their future performance this would include praise for strengths or helpful criticisms of the identified weaknesses.

* * An action plan for the employee to work towards for the next few months until the next appraisal.

Secondly, the appraisal report is discussed with the appraisee during an interview. There are three ways to do this:

* * Open appraisal- The appraisee is able to discuss the appraisal with the appraiser during the interview.

* * Two-way appraisal- Alcatel may ask the employee to carry out an appraisal themselves. They will be given an identical form that of the appraiser and asked to grade themselves. The two forms are then compared and where there are clear differences, there is need for discussion.

* * 360 degree appraisal- This is the most modern of the three approaches, it is sometimes referred to as ‘Peer appraisal’. The appraisee is appraised by most of the people they work with. The opinions of customers may also be collected. This method gives a thorough picture of the employee and is able to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. Alcatel commonly adopts this approach

The benefit of appraisal

* * it helps to identify training needs

* * other problems may be revealed such as workplace difficulties with other staff.

* * Useful skills may be uncovered

* * Communications between managers and employees are improved. When a manager encourages and praises a member of staff, it is highly motivating for them.

* * Appraisals provide disciplinary documentation- If Alcatel need to dismiss someone, the appraisal records which identify the employee’s inability’s and/or lack of effort will be useful.

Examples of motivational techniques

In 1943 Abraham Maslow suggested that all people have a hierarchy of needs. He said that a person is motivated by his or her own needs, so he developed this pyramid. He believed that once someone had achieved one level of needs then they would want to move onto a higher level of need.

Douglas McGregor’s X and Y theory

In the 1960’s Douglas McGregor developed the ideas of theory X and theory Y. Theory X is the view that people really don’t want to do work and if they can avoid doing the work in anyway they will try to. This means that they are being persuaded to work by being given money or rewards and must be closely supervised and controlled so that they will do their work.

Theory Y is the belief that humans can be stimulated by being given responsibility and strive to prove themselves. This management style is the view that the work itself can be rewarding and given the right conditions then they will strive to achieve goals and targets.

Frederick Herzberg’s two factor theory

This American psychologisat research in the 1950’s led him to develop the two-factor theory of job satisfaction. Many criticised him for drawing conclusions about workers as a whole from a sample drawn from just accountants and engineers, although his theory has proved very robust.

His view was that the factors related to job satisfaction can be divided into two; those that only have the potential to provide a positive job satisfaction and those that can only cause dissatisfaction.

Hygiene Factors

Hygiene factors are based on the need to for a business to avoid unpleasantness at work. If these factors are considered inadequate by employees, then they can cause dissatisfaction with work. Hygiene factors include:

– Company policy and administration- Wages, salaries and other financial remuneration

– Quality of supervision- Quality of inter-personal relations

– Working conditions- Feelings of job security

Motivator Factors

Motivator factors are based on an individual’s need for personal growth. When they exist, motivator factors actively create job satisfaction. If they are effective, then they can motivate an individual to achieve above-average performance and effort. Motivator factors include:

– Status- Opportunity for advancement- Gaining recognition- Responsibility- Challenging / stimulating work- Sense of personal achievement ; personal growth in a job

There is some similarity between Herzberg’s and Maslow’s models. They both suggest that needs have to be satisfied for the employee to be motivated. However, Herzberg argues that only the higher levels of the Maslow Hierarchy (e.g. self-actualisation, esteem needs) act as a motivator. The remaining needs can only cause dissatisfaction if not addressed.

Applying Hertzberg’s model to de-motivated workers

What might the evidence of de-motivated employees be in a business?

– Low productivity- Poor production or service quality

– Strikes / industrial disputes / breakdowns in employee communication and relationships

– Complaints about pay and working conditions

According to Herzberg, management should focus on rearranging work so that motivator factors can take effect. He suggested three ways in which this could be done:

– Job enlargement- Job rotation- Job enrichment

By using performance management, Alcatel are able to identify weak areas amongst employees and determine which training is required to rectify the situation.

Alcatel must determine why the particular employee is not trained properly.

* * Is it because the employee was not provided with sufficient induction training?

* * Has technology advanced so much that new training is needed?

By monitoring these aspects, Alcatel can ensure all of their workers are properly trained and well motivated in their work. This will ensure that all workers will work to the best of their ability.

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