For organizations to remain competitive in the 21st century, they must adopt new and efficient technologies, they must ensure workers continue their job-related education, and they must provide training, learning, and development to their staff. All three aims are important; however, training and development are essential in order to motivate and retain employees in which the organization invested its time, resources, and energy. It is a mutually beneficial relationship between the two. Through training, workers increase their level of job performance, productivity, and job-related skills.
It also reduces complacency. Pace (2006) states, “The main danger of becoming complacent and comfortable is you may forget to take risks that can lead to success. Goals are cast aside and easily forgotten” (p. 56). The organization benefits by reducing attrition and by aligning the workers with its goals and objectives. Before rolling out any training, the organization determines what its needs are and what the training objectives are. Once determined, the organization selects the training method. There are various types of training methods, some methods work for organizations, while others do not.
Ivancevich (2010) notes that the most widely used method of training is on-the-job training. “It is estimated that more than 60 percent of training occurs on the job” (p. 403). Major employers like General Electric, ExxonMobil, JC Penney, Armstrong Floors, and Verizon utilize this training for their employees because the most efficient and effective way to learn for certain jobs is to actively perform the job. This belief applies across the employment spectrum from entry-level customer service representatives to engineers. This method works for these organizations.
Companies use the case method to compare a situation that occurred at another organization. The learners collaborate on the best solution for the situation and then apply decision-making abilities to the scenario. This method works well with good facilitators who get the group engaged. Role-playing is exactly what the name implies, the trainer assigns the managers a role, and they act out a brief script, which is similar to the case method. To accomplish, use small groups, but the success depends on the believability of the “actors. ” This style may improve issues with diversity by raising awareness about employee feelings.
In-basket techniques test decision-making abilities, sometimes with time-specific requirements, and the trainer grades the learner on the quality of the decisions. To succeed, this style requires realistic materials and uncomplicated decisions. This style is similar to the case method and role-playing. IBM, AT&T, Union Carbide, and others use management games to emphasize the development of problem-solving skills. However, the evidence lacks that this method achieves its intent; in fact, learners participating in these trainings expressed potential “rigged” outcomes (Ivancevich, 2010).
IBM and AT&T also use behavior modeling to improve interpersonal skills faced by managers when interacting with their subordinates. This method also contains elements of role-playing. Evidence suggests this type of training meets the objectives. Ivancevich notes, “…groups trained in behavior modeling have outperformed groups who received no training or traditional management training” (p. 407). Outdoor, action-oriented activities have become a typical training program. The goal of this style is to use teamwork and trust to take common athletic risks like river rafting and hiking.
The scant evidence on this reveals that these programs may not be useful; furthermore, some team members may find the outdoors uncomfortable, and the related activities beyond their athletic prowess. There are three types of on-the-job training for managers: coaching and counseling, transitory anticipatory experiences, and transfers and rotations. In the first type, the new manager works with a seasoned leader to learn how to make competent decisions. The new manager receives decision authority and makes allowed mistakes in order to learn from them.
Although potential downstream consequences can occur as a result, “… many experts contend that coaching and counseling … are effective techniques” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 409). The second method involves managers performing some aspects of a job related to potential advancement for them. This gives them limited experience prior to holding the job. The indicators for the success of this approach are to be determined, but signal that it is a practical approach; however, it is not as prevalent as the first method. In transfers and rotations, managers perform a number of different jobs to expand their experience and skill-sets.
To achieve success with this method, the learner must receive training from an experienced specialist/ trainer. The method has mixed results because “individual differences affect whether the results will be positive” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 409). Lecture-Discussion Approach and computer-assisted instruction (CAI) are two styles of “off-the-job” training. Instructor-led training is very popular and uses videotaped and audiotaped lessons, which allows for repeated viewings in multiple locations. Similarly, organizations with many regional offices deploy CAI, rather than a live instructor for cost optimization.
Learners complete the CAI at their desk by accessing training from their work computer. The CAI captures important, real time, demographic information about the learner: it tracks the learner’s name, office location, the training completion date, the learner’s score on post-training tests, etc. The analysis of the training results leads to organizational process improvement and amelioration of worker deficiencies. The organization may discover that “X” percentage of learners in the “A” department of Region “B” answered the same questions incorrectly. It then devises a strategy to address and correct. The new generations of employees are very comfortable with eLearning and mastering concepts with self-paced study. While there is no substitute for human interaction, many corporate training skills can be transferred through use of computer training programs” (Corporate training, n. d. ). Virtual reality (VR) and distance learning round out the CAI approaches to training. VR allows learners to train in a three dimensional environment. The downside to this training is the cost since employees need to be onsite and hands-on for multiple days at training centers in different parts of the globe.
Additionally, the demand currently exceeds the supply. AT&T, Aetna, and Ford use distance learning. It involves integrating technology (use of laptops in the field) with on-the-go training programs. This is a sensible approach, and employees use this method when accessing resources from their laptops as needed. Government agencies share distance learning programs with their sister agencies; this is resourceful and cost-effective because they are recycling the training, and not starting from scratch. Organization use goal setting to encourage workers to accomplish both personal and company objectives.
The theory is that once a person sets out to achieve a well-defined objective, they tend to follow through with it. This approach is successful when goals are specific; Ivancevich (2010) writes, “In fact, in 99 out of 100 studies…specific goals produce better results” (p. 416). However, goal setting may work better for administrative-type roles than for professional positions. Behavior modification involves conditioning a learner through positive or negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement lets employees know that they performed well on a particular project.
The expectation is that they will repeat the same behavior because they received positive recognition. Negative reinforcement occurs when a negative stimulus motivates a worker to remain on task, finish a job, and avoid criticism from a supervisor. This method has supporters, also detractors that claim that employees become dependent on the reinforcers, and perform only when the reinforcer remains. “The point is also made that when reinforcement is no longer provided, the behavior eventually becomes extinct” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 420).
Team building proponents believe that individuals perform better in groups. Ivancevich (2010) notes its aim is to improve “… problem-solving skills, communication, and sensitivity to others” (p. 421). Corning, General Mills, Aetna, and others realized success with this method. Some of these organizations empower their line staff to work successfully without the benefit of management supervision, as a result, customer service improved, and efficiency and accuracy increased. Some HRM professionals believe that team building is the “wave of the future” (Ivancevich, 2010, p. 421).
In the final analysis, once employees complete training, the next step calls for the organization to evaluate the efficacy of the training rollout. Unfortunately, many organizations skip this step to their detriment (Ivancevich, 2010). However, organizations that are more progressive gather and analyze the data to determine employee reaction, learning assimilation, improvement in job behavior, and other metrics (e. g. , attrition reduction, increased productivity, service improvement, etc. ). Then, they institute needed changes or tweaks in the next training cycle for continuous quality improvement.