Staff training and development is an important aspect in any organization’s continuous improvement. For that matter, Noe (2010) believed that there is need to have a sound training programme in the organization that seeks to improve skills and knowledge of the workforce in order to promote their output. However, it is relatively important to continue reviewing training and development programme of employees in order to continuously respond to the changing needs of the organisation.
Therefore, Noe (2010) continued to affirm that situational and individual factors need to be put into consideration when developing a comprehensive programme. This programme needs to be proactive and reactive to both organizational and individual needs. As a result, this paper examines Mason’s major problems of the management of and attitudes towards training and development of staff in this organisation. Therefore, the paper provides strategies to overcome the identified problems. Solution strategies hence provide mechanisms for both the organization and the staff to maximize benefits of the programme.
Major Problems with the Management of and Attitudes towards Training
Staff training and development remains a crucial aspect for organizational effectiveness. According to Ansoff (1990), staff learning and development remains an important endeavour for all staff members including new and older ones. However, there are several problems that present themselves in the management of human resource in the organisation. From the case study presented, it is evident that this department employed a bureaucratic style of management. This kind of management is usually characterized by complicated procedures and paperwork which make provision of services in the organization an uphill task (Berman & Evans, 2006).
Consequently, Clegg and Hardy (1999) alluded that bureaucratic style of management results to a lengthy decision making process which affects other organizational processes especially in case of an eventuality. In the event of an eventuality, there are usually a lot of processes to be followed which makes staff to be complaisant. For that matter, effectiveness and efficiency in the organization’s performance is affected since iteration and duplication of tasks and processes is the order of the day. Moreover, it is also opined by Jenkins and Ambrosini (2002) that bureaucratic system of management provides complex hierarchy. This in most cases provides loopholes for favouritisms that normally affect objectivity in staff training and development.
For that matter, Ehnert (2009) opined that presence of other unethical considerations such as favouritism in terms of staff selection for training and development disregards needs assessment process which needs to be followed in this exercise. However, according to Lynch (2006), a good training and development programme should follow needs assessment process which obeys several processes. The first process according to Lynch entail organisational analysis where business strategy must be considered in selecting staff for training rather than favouring some staff. Secondly, personal analysis should be carried out. In this analysis, individual’s performance need to be considered rather than unethical factors taking centre stage. Lastly, task analysis also needs to be undertaken. This process ensures that working environment in the organisation is put into consideration which helps to analyse organizational needs and requirements in determining relevant areas that are critical to the organisation. As a result, the programme becomes tailor made to the needs and requirements hence helping to achieve continuous improvement in the organization. Contrary, analysis of this organization indicates that Mason do not observe these guidelines hence present fatal errors in the training and development programme.
Moreover, another problem is that staffs in the organisation are always unenthusiastic to ask the human resource director for any help. This is so since they believe that it might result to being appraised as incompetent. For that matter, they strictly observe their job description which makes them reluctant to go an extra mile in their work performance. This has made the staff to be disillusioned about their working environment in the department. In this kind of environment, Mintzberg and others (2005) believed employees are left to hope that at one point they will have a chance to move out of the department and the organisation as a whole releasing themselves this load.
In addition, in terms of staff development, the human resource director was quite sensitive in terms of programmes. For instance, programmes to be undertaken must not be expensive. For that matter, training and development programme in this organization lacked planning and enough budget sponsorship. Therefore, the human resource director was usually concerned with what Johnson and Scholes (2008) believed to be desire to increase performance rather than the desire to increase learning. As a result, this results to total failure of the organizational processes. As a result, organizational resources are in the long run put to waste since the programme does not achieve the desired outcome of continuous improvement.
Additionally, due to lack of proper planning of this programme resources were only wasted since skills and knowledge that employee acquired through it were not applied in the workplace. In addition, employees considered the kind of training that was being offered in the programme as non simulative where by it did not represent real and actual working situations in their organisation. This made majority of them to believe that they could only apply the skills and knowledge of the programme in another, the working environment rather than in the sponsoring organization.
Besides, the nomination procedures for those to undertake the training programme were opaque since the human resource director did not follow any structured way of selecting these staff. According to Niven (2008), this goes against training and development theories such as expectancy theory which demands some assessment of the employee to ensure that they deliver good performance. For that matter, the selections criteria must ensure that a candidate has the ability to learn in addition of being confident of performing well in the training programme (Koteen, 1997).
In addition, it was evident that there was no support for training in most of the departments and therefore interests of most employees was low in relation to the training programme. For that matter, departmental heads were seen to be out of date. This made the staff who were enrolled into this training to have a perception of applying these skills and knowledge in another working environment rather than the current environment. This means that there was no group building in this process. Johnson and Scholes (2008) believed that human resource is a group activity. Therefore, in terms of training and development of these employees, there is need to develop coordination and leadership activities. For instance, the heads of departments need to be at the forefront in championing training and development programme. It is therefore evident that there was no proper coordination that could result to peers beneficial which is one of the cornerstones of organizational improvement (Robert, 1998).
Strategies to Overcome these Problems
In relation to the existing problems in terms of staff training and development, it relatively important to come up with relevant strategies that seeks to overcome these problems. These strategies need to prioritize organizational continuous improvement and employees’ self development and advancement (Wilson, 2000).). Therefore, for these to be effectively achieved, Laborda (2007) opined there is need to carry out strategic analysis of both the organization and its staff in terms of training and development needs.
For that matter, Jamieson (2005) believed that strategies to overcome these problems must begin with analysis phase where training needs for the organization should be established. The analysis must establish specific areas in the organization that requires skills and knowledge training t in order to cater for these areas and also to create some buffer incase of unexpected shocks in terms of employee turnover. Thereafter, Mintzberg and Quinn (2003) postulated that there is need to design training and development programme. The programme must entails aligning organizational needs with the learning programme in order to equip candidates with proper skills and knowledge that will not be pointless as noted in the problems. Therefore, it is expected to obtain pointed outcomes that will be proactive and reactive in solving organizational problems.
Furthermore, in order to transfer all that has been learnt in the training and development programme into practice, it is relatively important to apply model of process transfer. In using this model, employees need to be motivated both in the organization and in their training and development programme (Robert, 1998). According to Bryson, (2011), a motivated employer will always be willing to improve his or her working environment in order to improve outcomes. Therefore, in order to achieve this, it is important that both working and learning environment in which these employees are operating in are made conducive. The environment should therefore be characterized by peer and management support, technological support and opportunity to perform (Landskroner, 2002).). With implementation of this strategy, there is high likelihood that it will increase employee retention in the organization and promote training and development programme.
Moreover, in order to ensure that training and development programme results to positive outcomes, it is relatively important for the organization to apply identical elements model. This ensures that training and development environment where the programme is taking place is made identical to the actual working environment of the organization (Armstrong & Templer, 2005). According to Healey (1997), features of working environment can be predicted. Therefore, training environment must be tailored to conform to the organizational working environment.
Additionally, to effectively solve existing training and development programme, it is essential to have building blocks in the organization (Noe, 2010). These blocks need to support learning through creation of conducive learning environment. This can be achieved through appreciating differences amongst different stakeholders. Moreover, it is also important to develop an attitude of openness in order to appreciate new and divergent ideas in the organization (Healey, 1997).
Furthermore, in order to build strong blocks of learning, it is also critical that concrete learning practices and processes should be adopted by the organization. According to Noe (2010), this should include systematic and structured approaches in terms of sharing information and knowledge. In addition, training and development process must integrate emerging technological trends in its programme to make it proactive and reactive in the operating environment. Lastly, in terms of consolidating building blocks, it is vital to apply leadership characteristics that reinforce training and learning process.
Still, there is need to have a strategy on organizational development. This should aid the organization in planning on how to manage change that comes with training and development programme. Moreover, the strategy will also ensure that management by objective is used to guarantee continuous improvement of the organization (Clegg& Hardy,1999). Moreover, this will call for participative management where all management levels will be brought on board to guarantee success of the programme.
Lastly, one of the most important strategies to be employed to solve this training and management problem is to adopt an evaluation mechanism that intends to evaluate training and development outcomes. According to Noe (2010), evaluation strategy is a vital component of the programme since it determines worthiness of the exercise. However, it is important that the evaluation process follows a structured process. This process should develop parameters on evaluating outcomes. Therefore, the strategy should inform the progress of the program. Consequently, improvement of the programme needs to be regularly done.
To wind up, it is evident that human resource training and development in the organization is prone to several problems. These problems may emanate from organizational factors while some spring from the workforce (Mintzberg et.al, 2005). For that matter, it is relatively important to have strategies in place that seek to address these problems in order to curb their negative effects to training and development process. Therefore, it should be noted that these problems inhibits continuous improvement that training and development programme is geared to achieve. However, with proper implementation of these strategies, these problems can be successfully addressed hence achieving efficiency and effectiveness that is desired in organizational performance.
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