The focus of human resources management at Maersk Group has historically been on hiring young, inexperienced cadres and providing them with extensive training. As a result of the training, individuals could be moved across Maersk Group’s business lines and were guaranteed an overseas placement. At the same time, the company made its selection procedure more robust and set rigid performance objectives and key performance indicators for existing employees. However, with time, it became apparent that training standardization came with a price because it often ignored the unique profile of some candidates. Extensive training was no longer having the same return on investment due to the “job-hopping” trend, and the excessive focus on young trainees left the talent of experienced employees underdeveloped. Therefore, it was critical to conduct an assessment of training needs to put together a realistic picture.
In general, training needs analysis comprises three components: strategic/ organizational analysis, task/ job needs analysis, and person analysis. At this point in its development, Maersk Group continues its strategy of expansion in Asia and Africa and cost control, and enhanced efficiency in mature markets. Organizational needs stemming from this strategy include better performance and the placement of specialists in fitting roles. Task/ job needs analysis may help with specifying what a particular position requires. For instance, Maersk Group has discovered a lack of cross-functional collaboration. Lastly, person analysis is aligned with the company’s intention to take a more individualistic approach toward talent development.
Any training plan needs to have clear objectives, and it is best to set them within the SMART framework. The abbreviation SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-oriented. A recent study has shown that writing down goals, associating them with specific steps, and having to report the results increases the chances of achieving the said goals (Aghera et al., 2018). Aghera et al. (2018) report that the goals set by participants in the SMART goal setting intervention group were higher in number and better in quality. Moreover, SMART goal setting resulted in taking more educational actions consistent with the desired outcome.
Developing learning activities for a Maersk Customer Service should be in line with the discovered training needs at all levels: organizational, job, and personal. A training needs analysis will help to identify knowledge and skill gaps that will later be addressed by specific learning activities. The design of learning activities makes all the difference because it is built around a certain topic, is consistent with Maersk Group’s goals, and has a sequence of events that help learners reach the desired result.
Adult learning is different from children’s learning because on average, mature individuals have a greater sense of self-direction than their younger counterparts. However, while generally positive, this trait comes with discernment, meaning that adult learners are more practical and require clear explanations with regard to how specific learning activities are relevant to their professional track. Adults are looking for mentorship and respect for their unique path, which means that a standardized one-size-fits-all course may leave adult learners dissatisfied. Moreover, adult training has to draw on real-life examples and relatable scenarios because adults best learn from experience. To conclude, the Maersk Customer Service educational plan should allow flexibility and adjustment to specific goals and roles and incorporate relevant learning material as opposed to pure theory.
Aghera, A., Emery, M., Bounds, R., Bush, C., Stansfield, R. B., Gillett, B., & Santen, S. A. (2018). A randomized trial of SMART goal enhanced debriefing after simulation to promote educational actions. The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 19(1), 112–120. Web.