Employee training and development are essential in ensuring the efficient running of any organization. Without the provision of training, employees’ knowledge and skills may become obsolete in application over time. Employees need training and development of their skills to enable them to cope with change and the new technologies that seem to be evolving every day. Training can be done on the job or off the job, depending on the organization’s particular needs.
One: Training Models
Most organizations employ individuals after assessing their qualifications and abilities. Once a candidate is qualified and employed, the employee must be trained to keep up with the business world’s upcoming trends. Training is a transformative process that aims at producing better and more efficient employees. Various models try to explain the training and its importance.
The systems model is a planned form of training that follows a logical sequence of steps and has five phases. The first step involves identifying the training needs of the employees. After identifying the employee needs, the next step consists of developing the training objectives and then designing and providing the training. After the training has been provided, the development of the objectives follows. The set goals are then implemented, and then a follow-up evaluation is carried out to determine whether the training was successful (Giri, 2008). This model of training is simple to implement. It also shows the importance of evaluation in the training process. However, the model does indicate the need to incorporate modern training methods in the process of training.
The next model is the transition model that focuses not only on the individual employees but also on the entire organization. This model encompasses the vision, mission, and values of the organization. These three factors form the basis on which the objectives of the training are formed. The model was developed to improve the traditional model, that is, the systems model. It tries to bring credibility and professionalism to the training process (Sloman, 1994). The next model is known as the instructional system development model, which has five phases (Giri, 2008). This model focuses on why training is vital in performing tasks in the organization. In this model, the training objectives are formulated depending on the job responsibilities that the employee has. After the goals have been developed, they are used to measure the progress made by each employee.
The first phase is the analysis phase used to determine the need for training and the audience targeted for the practice. Next comes the planning phase, where the objectives of the training are put in place. Strategies and methods to be used in the training process are also determined here. The development phase follows. This phase is used to convert the design decisions into material that can be used for the training. It makes use of handouts and other learning materials to administer training. The execution phase then organizes all the relevant materials required for the activity. In ensuring that the training process has achieved its objectives, the evaluation phase is used. This model is a continuous process and advantage since it becomes easy to monitor progress. The only disadvantage is that it might be expensive for an organization to run training programs continuously.
Training is mandatory for any organization that wishes to succeed. While employees may seem skilled, training will help sharpen those skills and produce more efficient results. The training can be done on the job or off the job. The aim here is for the employees to learn something new and apply the new knowledge to their jobs. Training can also help improve relationships in the organization through seminars and workshops that ensure employees interact.
Two: Inhibitions on the transfer of new capabilities
It has become common practice for organizations’ management to organize training seminars and workshops to improve attitudes, skills, and employees. Training of employees is viewed as an investment. After the training, employers expect to get returns once the employees apply whatever knowledge they have gained through their work training. It is, however, not easy for the employees to apply the knowledge and skills acquired back in the workplace. This application of the new skills and knowledge is known as the transfer of training.
Transfer of training may mean how well the trained employees apply the newly acquired skills and knowledge to their jobs after undergoing training. Unless the employees use what they have learned back on the job, the training process will not be complete (Bird & Cassell, 2013). To have an effective transfer of capabilities back to the job, it is essential that the trainee is motivated and that the training being given is in line with its position. It is also crucial to have an enabling environment that supports the transfer of training to the job. The workplace has some factors that influence how well the transfer of skills is done. These factors can be broadly classified as social or task support and the organization’s climate.
The climate of the organization refers to the values, systems, and structure of the organization. Social support involves the management and the peers of the employee in the workplace. On the other hand, task support refers to the tools and methods used within the organization to help employees perform their duties. While these factors determine an employee’s ability to transfer new skills to the workplace, some elements may hinder the transfer of learning back to the job.
One of the significant factors that may hinder the transfer of capabilities in the workplace is the lack of support from fellow employees and managers (Krishnaveni, 2008). One may find that after an employee has undergone some form of training, the other employees become jealous and look for ways to sabotage that employee. They may do so by refusing to do what is required of them properly, leading to frustration on the trained employee’s part. The management may also choose not to support the employee because they feel threatened that their positions might be at stake. As a result, the management decides to frustrate the employee until the employee quits or is seen by the employers as incapable of performing the tasks given.
Another factor that may prevent the transfer process is the complexity of the job and the pressure that comes with it to meet deadlines and deliver results. An example is when an employee gets some level of training using some advanced machinery and then gets back to work and is required to apply the workplace training. Yet, the organization lacks that kind of machinery. The employee will feel pressured to perform, yet the needed technology is missing, making the practice difficult.
When the employee who has been trained cannot apply the training in the job, it leads to lapses. Lapses come about when the employee uses old methods of performing tasks instead of using the newly acquired knowledge and skills (Krishnaveni, 2008). While setbacks are a common occurrence in the workplace, employees must learn how to avoid these lapses by ensuring they use the newly acquired and do not go back to the old methods. Employees may find it challenging to apply the training they received from a seminar or workshop, depending on their work environment. It is up to the employers to ensure that all the employees feel that they are not isolated by organizing more training programs to help all the employees do their jobs better.
Three: Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
When it comes to businesses, the external environment has a significant impact on the business’s operations. The external environment is made up of social, economic, and political factors. The social factors encompass the cultural aspects of the society in which the business operates. Culture refers to the way of life of people. Gert Hofstede proposed that the scope of culture was divided into five classes.
In the Individualism-Collectivism dimension, the individualism aspect shows the extent to which a society is likely to accept individuals who only worry and care about themselves and their individual needs. On the other hand, the collectivism aspect shows how individuals come together and form groups to maintain peace and oneness (Onsrud, 2007). Individualistic societies such as the United States have people who pursue only their individual goals and make decisions that are meant to benefit them and their individual needs. In such societies, individuals are encouraged to make decisions as individuals, and compensation is also given individually. When it comes to collectivist cultures such as China, each member of the group puts aside their personal needs for the group’s good. In such societies, the group needs come first. Here, decisions are made as a group, tasks are performed together as a group, and even compensation is awarded to the group as a whole regardless of participation (Neelankavil & Rai, 2009). Individualistic societies need to train an organization on the importance of teamwork. In contrast, those in collective organizations need to be trained on individual success’s importance before achieving group success.
The other dimension, according to Hofstede, is power distance that shows whether a society will readily accept the even and uneven distributions of power in the community. In cultures with low power distances, everyone’s ideas are listened to and accepted if deemed fit. Here, the top-level management consults their subordinates before making decisions concerning the company (Neelankavil & Rai, 2009). Societies with high power distance seem dictatorial. Everyone in the organization knows their place and position. These societies do not encourage creativity since all the orders on what needs to be done come from authority. It is vital that employee training promotes innovation and open communication for the betterment of the organization.
Uncertainty avoidance is the other dimension that shows how well a society can deal with risks that arise. People in high uncertainty avoidance societies focus on security, whereas people in low uncertainty societies embrace change. They always seek new ways to do different things. Training, in this case, involves making sure all the employees learn that it is essential to take risks to ensure there is personal and organizational growth.
The masculinity-femininity dimension explains that feminist cultures have emotional gender roles overlapping, whereas, in the masculine cultures, individuals focus on innovation to prove their worth (Onsrud, 2007). This dimension affects a company’s organizational structure since companies in a feminist culture tend to have comfortable work schedules. Those in masculine cultures are ambitious and always seek promotions and pay increments. The feminist culture needs to be encouraged through training to take up promotions and to be more ambitious.
The short-term/long-term dimension shows societies with short-term orientation focus on the present and satisfying their immediate desires. In contrast, those in long-term-oriented organizations focus on the future, making plans for that future (Neelankavil & Rai, 2009). While short-term gratification is essential, employees must learn the importance of planning. These dimensions have simplified the types of people one is likely to find in organizations. They, therefore, help organizations determine the kind of training that their employees need since it is easier to categorize them in their various classes.
Four: Dual Career Systems
In most organizations, employers always want to see the employees grow and perform their duties well. For this reason, employees get training on how to perform their duties efficiently. Employers know that the employees need to grow and reach their maximum potential for the organization to grow. For this reason, employers create an enabling environment where the employees feel comfortable and appreciated. One way that organizations can encourage employee growth is through setting career paths.
Most employees, especially in the technical field such as engineering, typically have a career growth problem. It becomes difficult for these technical experts to get promoted to senior positions. Even if they change their area of specialization, it becomes difficult to return to their previous jobs. The reason behind this is that technology is always changing. By the time the technical staff moves from one area of specialization to another, their knowledge will have lost relevance and applicability (Prasad, 2012).
To help resolve this problem that technical experts face, organizations develop a dual career path system that enables technical experts to advance a technical ladder after years of experience and attainment of high-level expertise in their respective fields (Prasad, 2012). While this dual career path system creates a sense of promotion, the ladder is not taken seriously as a senior management promotion (Sims, 2006).
Another problem that organizations face is the issue of dual-career couples. One of the problems comes about when a household has both parents working and the children are involved. It becomes difficult for one or both parents to stay at home with the children, especially with the current working trend. To help the employees feel at ease when at work, organizations have come up with arrangements that support their employees. Such structures include flexible working hours, creating daycare services in the organization where the employees work, and allowance for maternity leaves. The other problem that couples may face is the probability of relocation. In the case of the relocation of one employee, employers have come up with a way to assist the transferred employee’s spouses in getting employment opportunities in the new state (Sims, 2006).
When it comes to dual-career systems, it is crucial to ensure that the arrangements put in place work effectively. The managers in an organization with such procedures should ensure that all the organization employees recognize the fast advancement in the technical ladder is the equivalent of advancing in the management hierarchy (Sims, 2006). Once all the employees are aware of that fact, the technical experts will gain more respect and feel that the advancement is a promotion. The pay increment that comes with the dual career system should also be equivalent to the pay rise that management promotions have. Through this uniformity, there will be more respect and appreciation in the workplace.
With respect comes peace of mind and efficiency in performing one’s duties. These dual-career systems’ effectiveness may also be guaranteed if these systems were fully incorporated in the organization. It becomes part of the standard course of operation within that particular organization. Through the incorporation, the dual-career system will cease appearing as it is just a temporary provision, and it will be taken more seriously. Dual career systems have positive impacts on the lives of those they affect. Parents can work in peace knowing that their children are safe in the daycares that are provided. Technical employees are also motivated to work harder since they have a chance of recognition and promotion.
There are several aspects to employee training and development. One cannot emphasize enough the need for training. However, practice is influenced by cultural factors and the job description of an employee. The workplace environment also determines how well the training can be put to good use. It is, therefore, the management’s mandate to ensure there are proper training and application of new skills to the job to maximize efficiency.
*Dr. Mustapha Kulungu is the Principal Researcher at the ILM Foundation Institute of Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, California.
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Onsrud, H. (2007). Research and theory in advancing spatial data infrastructure concepts. Redlands, Calif.: ESRI Press.
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