SUBJECT: TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT AND THE NEED FOR TRAINING NEEDS ANALYSIS 1. HRD skills or competence that an HRD manager needs and how these skills are acquired. The world is rapidly changing and to be a success, there must be maximum use of all resources (physical, financial, information, and human resources) whether for a nation, organization or individual.
After huge investments in the physical, financial and information and knowledge resources, the human resources which comprises the workforce of an organisation remains the leverage point where significant differences can be made in the lives of the employees, their careers and the organisation. Human Resource Development (HRD) involves helping individuals in organisations to perform better. Humans are the most valuable resource the organisation has, since the organisation depends on human resources for the production of goods and services.
They must be continuously developed. HRD aims to improve the performance of an organization by maximizing the efficiency and performance of its employees through constant learning. It involves “organized learning activities arranged within an organization in order to improve performance and/or personal growth for the purpose of improving the job, the individual, and/or the organization” To develop their knowledge and skills, their actions and standards, their motivation, incentives, attitudes and work environment.
HRD includes three major areas of training and development, career development, and organization development. Training and development: Involves teaching the employees regularly on skills they require to perform a current job while development activities focuses on ensuring the employees are equipped for future job responsibilities. Examples of training and development activities: adult learning theory and applications, instructional systems design, train the trainer programs, and instructional strategies and methods.
Organisation development: Is a planned system of change aided by the diagnosis and design of systems Examples of OD activities include: Change management, team building, learning organizations, management development, and quality of work life, strategic planning, and participative management. Organizational restructuring, job redesign, changes in the organization’s reward structure, and more. Career development: Involves planned activities and processes for mutual career planning and management between employees and organizations.
Because change is a continuous process Human Resource Development managers must have the required skills and competences to act as change agents in an organisation to improve both employee and organisation performance. The skills and competencies the Human Resource Development Manager must have can be broadly categorised into three: • Personal skills • Interpersonal skill • Business and Management skills The HRD manger has four major roles to play; he is expected to be the learning strategist, Business partner, project manager and professional specialist. To fulfil the obligations that come with these roles the HRD manger must have the skills to develop training and development programs in an organisation that align with the overall organisational goals and objectives. • Since he is tasked with the job of a learning strategist, the HRD manager must be able to assess current individual employee productivity levels by assessing their strengths, needs or gaps vis a vis their current tasks or job function. He must be able to identify the ‘’need areas’’ where performance is not at the optimum level and design and develop both individual and group skills and competencies towards the need areas. • In assessing employee’s competencies and goals he must also have the skill to help develop career plans based on his earlier assessment of employee competencies and how they fit into the overall organisation’s development plans. The activities that would be required of the HRD manager include workshop facilitator, career guidance, and individual assessment sessions. The HRD manager must be a good trainer and facilitator. Aside having the skill to identify individual employee needs or gaps. The HRD manager must be able to select appropriate instructional methods and facilitate structured learning experiences. They must have the skill to develop and design appropriate learning programs, preparing materials and other learning aids. The HRD manager will be required to design program objectives, lesson plans and intervention strategies. To be an effective HRD manager, the HRD manager must be able to monitor and assess implemented HRD initiatives and answer the following questions – whether it has bridged the observed employees and organisational ‘‘needs’’ or ‘’gaps’’ or whether the expected directional change required to meet internal and external business environment has been achieved. If yes, how well has it benefited the individual employees and the organisation? The HRD manager must be able to evaluate implemented HRD practices and programs using appropriate statistical procedures to determine their overall effectiveness and communicate the results to executive management. This involves the development of research designs and findings, recommendations and reports. • Cost effectiveness is top most priority for the management of any organisation. The HRD manager must be able to allocate budget schedules to developmental plans and strategies so the total cost can be visibly clear to management and measured against achievement.
As this is the only way to keep the management of any organisation committed to HRD initiatives. The HRD manager must have the skill to know the best cost effective method to deliver any HRD initiative. Examples is to know when to inculcate identified staff with competencies that can be trained to also perform train the trainers programs and further take the training at the individual level. • He must have the skills to develop long-range plans and strategies, policies to meet organisational development plans taking into consideration the external business environment in which the organisation and individual employees operate. For personal skills: The HRD manager must be able to show adaptability to change where an organisation has for example decided to change certain strategies as a result of new challenges posed by the current business environment. The HRD manager must immediately embrace the change and be able to serve as the change agent in the organisation by reflecting the new management perspective and highlighting the benefits of the change. Developing strategies that will capture management perspective vis a vis organisational goals and objectives.
To demonstrate adaptability he must a model for personal development himself. • The HRD manager must have very good interpersonal skills and human relations, as his job requires constant interaction with almost all department and units within the organisation. He must be able to work with other managers even from various departments to determine how HRD initiatives will be implemented, appraised and evaluated. He will also be involved in the day to day planning, funding and monitoring of all HRD initiatives across the organisation. Because the HRD manager is involved in high level decision making regarding how HRD initiatives will support the goals and strategies of the organisation. It is important for the HRD manager to have good communication skills so he can articulate and communicate what he really means without ambiguity both to the management and to employees in a training program or management meeting and convince them that HRD is a necessity for the maximum utilisation of all production resources of the organisation.
He must have the skill to win not only the trust of the management but also individual employees, other managers and department to ensure proper networking and partnering to achieve success in the implementation and evaluation of all HRD initiatives in the organisations. • The HRD manager must not only be a good communicator but also a good coach and counsellor as this is one of the crucial functions of his job. Coaching is about enabling people to create change through learning.
It is the ability to motivate and inspire workers to help workers enhance the skills they already have, to be clear about where they are effective at work and provide on going support. • The HRD manager must be self-motivated having the skill to maintain quality management training and HRD initiatives that will continue to motivate staff over different changing periods as such the HRD manager himself must be able to constantly assess himself with a view to improving himself and learning new skills to ensure he is competent to attend to both internal and external changing business environment.
If workers are sufficiently motivated, trained, informed, managed, utilized and empowered an organisation will performance at its optimum and have comparative advantages over its peers. The skill of the HRD manager is very crucial and needed in the this currently volatile business environment where only the superior return delivered by the human resources of organisations will set them apart and HRD helps the organisation not only to identify what is required for their human resources to work optimally but also to gear them towards achieving competencies and deliver superior return.
To acquire these skills and competencies the HRD manager must frequently examine practices of leading organisations hereby identifying and learning about ‘‘best practices’’ within organisations who are members of American Society for Training and development such that they can be adopted by other organisations, because the American Society for Training and development (ASTD) have benchmarked standards. Also the HRD manager can always update himself regularly by reading published research journals focusing on HRD issues example is the Human Resource Development Quarterly published in 1990.
The skills and competencies can also be acquired from short Human Resource Development courses and programs in colleges and Universities or schools of Business. Such courses include the three major areas of HRD – Training and Development, Organisation Development and Career development. They can also acquire these skills via certification by sitting for exams to become a Professional Human Resource (PHR) person or better still Senior Professional Human Resource (SPHR) person as these exams cover 15% and 13% HRD issues.
What is need assessment? Why is needs assessment information critical to the development and delivery of an effective HRD programme? For the purpose of our study a need is any behaviour or lack of skill that hinders the achievement of both the indivdual obejctives and the corporate organisation’s goal and objectives. For example these could be an employee lacking customer care skills that has impacted negatively on the organisation or a manager’s lack of interpersonal skills that has affected staff retention.
Needs assessment identifies performance deficiencies that does not allow the individual employee or organisation fully achieve its desired goal or objective for example it identifies material problems,weaknesses, strengths, opportunities and advantages, evaluating possible solutions that take those qualities into consideration. It involves a process of identifying and addressing needs, or “gaps” between current conditions and desired conditions. The results of a needs asseement s often used to improve workers performance, improve projects, training and organisation’s performance. Needs Assessment serves as a check on both the individual employee and organisations, it looks at how things are presently and how they should be for both employees in an organisation and the organisation as a whole. The importance of carrying out a needs assessment in any organisation cannot be over emphasised, as needs assessment helps to identify key areas that require improvement by the individual workers and the organisation as an entity.
The information derived from a needs assessment identifies knowledge gap, areas of challenges in employees or the organisation taking into consideration the employees’ current task and the organisation’s goals and objectives. This information helps identify areas of focus for training and development and career development for individual employees and organisation development plans for the organisation. It enables the HRD manger to identify these needs and prioritise them placing the critical areas/issues to be addressed first and designing appropriate programs or initiatives that reflect these priorities.
The derived information from needs assessment, that is the identified needs, will also define the type of HRD initiative to be implemented whether it is training that is required or whether management itself needs to implement job redesign and enrichment, process re engineering, and organisation re structuring to mention a few or just align employee career plans by ensuring proper job rotation thereby ensuring proper employee placements and reducing job mis fits.
This also prevents management from embarking on initiatives and trainings that are not necessary or not relevant to employee and the organisation’s performance. The information obtained from the needs assessment ensures resources are targeted at identified priorities. Because the needs or gaps have been assessed the appropriate program design can be developed as the identified needs will determine the objectives of the training programs, lesson plans, and materials to be used and will influence the program methods and techniques that are adopted and determine the program/training schedule.
If the need or gap identified is as a result of new challenges facing the organisation from competition and the organisation is changing some of its strategies from wholesale customers to retail customers then the training program may need to be done on weekends Saturday and Sunday for about 6 months (for all staff in the organisation) due to the urgency to immediately focus on retail customers and the need for staff to be urgently equipped to meet the needs of these new market. The needs identified will also determine the trainer to be selected so the correct needs or gaps are those that are addressed and in the best possible approach.
The needs assessment phase ensures that needs and gaps are not overlooked while less critical areas may be addressed instead of the critical areas where the employees and or organisation needs to be empowered. Information obtained from the needs assessment phase helps to streamline budgeting and resource allocation. It encourages cost effectiveness since HRD initiatives are targeted at identified needs and are not wasted. It allows the organisation to analyse what needs are vital pre requisite to the optimal performance of an employees current job function and concentrate on it to yield better employee and organisation’s performance.
It therefore allows management to take a disciplined and active plan to invest more in people resources rather than take a fire fighting approach when issues arise. Doing needs assessment enables the HRD manager know exactly what is lacking to fulfil individual employees current job functions and since he is a career planner and developer with co create with the employees contributions a career plan that the HRD initiatives and programs will support to fulfil their future job responsibilities as well. Performing needs assessment provides a constructive base for improving performance.
Since the needs are clear to all it allows enables managers across the company to be more objective about their staff and therefore reduces subjective judgment of employees and enhances the employee appraisal system. The needs assessment enables the HRD manager determine how the training program, initiative or intervention is to be implemented in the best possible way all individual employees will benefit to the maximum. That is, the correct intervention is done, the correct method/technique in teaching is adopted vis a via the observed needs or gaps in the workers and organisation as a whole.
The information derived from the needs assessment also enables the appropriate evaluation criteria to be selected taking into consideration the identified needs. The evaluation design will seek to know whether the improvement in the individual or organisation’s performance, which is sought, has been achieved. The information from the needs assessment program still forms the basis for the evaluation program. The results of the evaluation are expected to reflect the benefit to the individual employee and the organisation as a standard of measurement against the initial needs and gaps that were identified.
The success of the needs assessment phase is basically the foundation of any successful Human Resource Development program as the results of the needs assessment dictate what needs to be done to improve employee and organisation performance. Since needs assessment determines the design and implementation of HRD initiatives and any HRD initiative done after a proper needs assessment answers the questions at the heart of Human Resource Development What needs exist? What changes in behaviour and performance are expected or should be to result in a better performance?
Needs assessment leads to several possible ways to improve performance giving organisations direction and focus. 2. Why needs assessment not often is performed in many organisations and how could an effective HRD manager encourage a reluctant management to approve the time and other resources necessary for a needs assessment before selecting and implementing an HRD programme? Needs assessment is not done by most organisations because the management of most organisations do not perceive it as a central business function but rather as an optional or non-essential activity.
Rather than conduct a research to identify specific people and organisational needs for their organisation most mangers would make the in correct assumptions that needs assessment is not necessary since available information already specifies what all organisations require. They fail to take into consideration that the internal economies operating within their own organisation will be different and unique to them alone. Example the organisation’s core values, goals and objectives are unique to the organisation.
Managers also assume that copying HRD programs of leading and widely recognised organisations Automatically means that such initiatives will meet their organisation’s peculiar staffing needs and environment, which is not true. Organisations hardly ever have a disciplined or active planning approach in their management styles but rather are more reactive and concentrate on fire fighting. That is dealing with issues after they have become obvious challenges.
Organisations are not interested in needs assessment because of the inability of HRD managers in selling this product to them. As an effective HRD manager I will outline its benefits to the organisation. and explain that results can only be guaranteed when needs assessment is carried out for the individual employee and the organisation as a whole. Organisations avoid doing needs assessment because it is time consuming and entails measuring variety of factors at different levels of the organisation sometimes simultaneously.
Financial consideration poses a great hindrance to most organisations performing needs assessment as the focus of all organisations is cost effectiveness considering the ever changing highly competitive and volatile business environment. The executive management of most organisations are under the mis conception that needs assessment is highly costly and even the few that occasionally embark on it always tend to first discontinue it as a means to reduce cost.
This however is not entirely true, according to Robert . H Ronda and Mitchell . E Kusy Jr in their article titled Needs Assessment: The first step (1995) The largest expense in Human Resource Development is training cost due to the man hours spent by the participants in training programs, career development, and/or organization development activities and lost production and travel time can be as much as 90-95% of the total program costs.
Direct and indirect costs for the delivery of training are about 6% of the total cost, and design and development count for only about 1-2% of the total costs. It makes sense to invest in an assessment of needs to make sure we are making wise investments in training and other possible interventions. As an effective Human Resource development Manager who needs to encourage a reluctant management to approve the time and other resources necessary for needs assessment to be done before selecting and implementing an HRD programme.
I will make it clear to executive management that needs assessment forms the foundation of any successful Human Resource development programme as it ensures that resources are targeted at identified priorities making sure organisations invest wisely in training and other possible interventions as appropriate. Needs assessment ensures that there is analysis of what training needs are a vital pre requisite to effective training since the identified needs from these assessments will determine the training design and implementation. It ensures effective training or that other appropriate interventions are used.
Simply throwing training at individuals for example may miss the priority needs and even cover areas that are not essential. Need assessment helps in placing the right employee on the right job as the assessment will reveal any job mis fits to ensure optimum staff input and improve job satisfaction thereby increasing commitment to assigned responsibilities and tasks. The needs assessment therefore provides a constructive base for improving performance as this can be classified as a natural function of an appraisal system where discussions take place on what skills need to be improved and how.
The needs assessment helps the organisation to clearly see where they are in terms of development and performance and provides information about performances on which to base appropriate future training plans and processes. Having needs assessment as part of a central business function, individuals and teams and execute management know what results are expected from HRD initiatives and other possible interventions since needs and gaps have been identified and the focus is on how to improve on these observed needs and gaps.
This raises the commitment of all participants including top management and increases their involvement towards investing in people which is a key standard and expectation of any organisation that will be effectiveness and successful. Carrying out a need assessment before embarking on selection and implementation of HRD programs ensures that the appropriate HRD intervention, initiative and or programs are selected the appropriate designs and implementation strategies are adopted to help bridge the identified needs/gaps.
It will define the type of HRD initiative to be implemented whether it is training that is required or whether management itself needs to implement job redesign and enrichment, process re engineering, and organisation re structuring to mention a few or just align employee career plans by ensuring proper job rotation thereby ensuring proper employee placements and reducing job mis fits. This also prevents management from embarking on initiatives and trainings that are not necessary or not relevant to employee and the organisation’s performance.
In conclusion organisations often implement solutions to perceived areas of needs but these solutions are not always the correct intervention and even where they are, they may not be implemented in the best possible way to achieve optimum returns both from the people and organisational level. Organisations however tend to plan, very carefully and cautiously, before making most other investments in process changes and in capital and operating expenditures.
This has to be imbibed for Human Resource Development if the most valuable resource of the organisation the ‘‘Human Resource’’ is to perform optimally and sustainable growth is to be achieved. 3. What is the idea of a scoreboard? How can this be applied to HRD and training? A scoreboard is a large board for publicly displaying the score in a game or match and is mainly used to record and display performance in a sporting event or to show the statistics in a sporting event or organisation. The scoreboard is used for keeping score, measuring time, and displaying statistics.
Scoreboards can be used indoors and outdoor and they now come with high-end LED messages and video displays. Most scoreboards are used for sports activity as earlier mention and as such they are used to analyze athletic facilities, Score Tables by Design will design a program that will not only enhance their facility, but add value to the school’s activities and department as well. Scoreboards are usually updated regularly either automatically by electronic method or manually updated by regularly changing scores or statistics to reflect current event and statistics.
The idea of the scoreboard is to ensure all parties involved know their scores and performance at each point in time, and this is visible and made clear to all as previous records and current records are displayed. Because the present and past performance records are outlined comparative performance analysis can be done performance improvement can be evaluated. Human Resources Development focuses on organizations competencies, training, and then developing the employee, through education, to satisfy the organizations long-term needs and the individuals’ career goals and employee value to their present and future employers.
Human Resources Development framework sees employees as an indispensible asset to the enterprise whose value will be enhanced by development. The primary focus of HRD is on growth and employee development. Human Resources Development can involve in-room group training, tertiary or vocational courses or mentoring and coaching by experienced and senior employees with the aim for a desired outcome that will develop the individual’s performance.
HRD program will prepare the individual to undertake a higher level of work, an organise learning over a given period of time, to provide the possibility of performance change The idea of the scoreboard can be applied to Human Resource Development and training in that the scoreboard can help monitor performances from different Human Resource Development programs that are run to improve individual and organizational effectiveness.
Scores for pre test carried out before a training program and after a training program can be displayed on the organizational scoreboard as a method to reveal knowledge and skill gained by individual employees and or departments. The idea of the scoreboard can also be used to analyze previous performance when compared to the current.
In showing statistics of performances rating over a period employees can be motivated to work harder to build on their current performance status as the scoreboard will serve as objective appraisals of employee performance over a period which can be used for needs assessment as it will show where individual employees, departments and even the whole organisation have gaps, needs or areas they need to improve on and pay more attention to those areas for review and training.
The scoreboard can further serve as a needs assessment tool because information obtained from the scoreboard such as areas that require training skills due to poor performance will determine the training objective, training technique and method that must be applied to suit the particular individual employee, department or the organisation. The scoreboard helps outline areas of priority (needs and gaps) in an organisation and in individual employees that must not be overlooked if superior performance is to be sustained.
It also serves as a measure of evaluating training over a period as the scoreboard can be used to display training video and high LED messages to reiterate new knowledge or skill learned in the training. Employee rating makes some employee more focused on their job tasks and responsibility to attain a higher performance. If other employees are able to see from the rate board the success of a training or HRD program they will be motivated to attend the trainings and update their skills for their current and future responsibility.
The importance of applying the idea of scoreboard to Human Resource Development programs and training is very crucial as it aids the easy retrieval of performance analysis and returns on investment. That is, on training and developing the Human Resource which is what decision makers in an organisation will be interested in as this forms the basis of their future decisions on the employee training and development.
The basic purpose of HRD in an organisation is to maximise the Human Resource outcome skill and knowledge levels, maximise higher Performance, improve learning and productivity HRD and training ensures improved behavior changes and return on investment. All these can be measured by using the scoreboard in HRD and training programs as outlined above.