In recent years, the general enthusiasm for workplace learning (WPL) increased tremendously. The development of this topic is closely associated with research of related theories that are considered to guide managers in training their employees. Of the great variety of theories and trends, it is essential to select those that fit a particular company. In this connection, this paper focuses on the critical review of the related literature and its application to the proposed project of The Body Shop employees’ training needs.
Key Theoretical Approaches and Trends
The majority of the existing training approaches to workplace learning consider a narrow component of training. This leads to the creation of an imperfect picture of learning role in work productivity. For example, Kolb’s learning cycle presents the framework for introducing education into the workplace. It consists of the four subsequent elements, such as concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.
Even though it may seem too broad, Kolb’s theory emphasizes the role of teacher-learner relationships as well as the importance of knowledge. In turn, Olsen and Tikkanen (2018) offer the interdisciplinary approach to equipping employees with the necessary skills and information to reinvent their workplace effectiveness. The essence of the identified theory lies in connecting people across the enterprise so that each of them can be aware of the general idea and his or her place in this common mission.
Personalization and making better use of the existing employees are two major trends in the field of WPL. Many employers realize that people compose a valuable asset that requires development and investments, when learning approaches should fit the individual needs of employees, as stated by the 2019 Human Capital Management Trends (2019). Instead of recruiting more people to replace those who were dismissed, it is more efficient to ensure that employees have relevant skills and are interested in their professional growth. The latter is taken as the foundation for the training engagement theory that was elaborated by Sitzmann and Weinhardt (2018).
The authors conceptualized the multilevel predictors of training effectiveness and identified that goal establishment, prioritization, and persistence are the key issues that should be taken into account. This temporal sequence is regarded as the mechanism that is expected to engage employees on the work processes and link their efforts. Accordingly, the predictive analytics is the third trend used by many companies to anticipate employee skill gaps and implement technology into the workplace.
Importance of Moving Towards Performance Improvement
The movement from traditional learning to performance support initiatives is advantageous due to the opportunity to apply e-learning solutions and advance employee skills and knowledge. First, the real-time education allows providing the staff with the possibility of learning at their own pace, which meets the trend of personalization (Olsen & Tikkanen, 2018). Second, the organizations using performance improvement systems create knowledge assets that can be easily accessed and disseminated to new projects.
By transferring valuable information across the organization, managers promote deeper learning and greater awareness among the staff members. Third, the emphasis placed on the performance enhancement contributes to linking theoretical considerations with the practice since the employees receive the tools to adopt the concepts and approaches they learned in real-time conditions. The culture of collaboration is the result of the movement towards performance improvement, in which the employees can provide and receive feedback, discussing pertinent issues.
Proposing the Use of the Engagement Theory
The underlying reason for choosing the theory of training engagement refers to its goal of maximizing the effect of employee education. Since the needs of The Body Shop company are support for innovations, culture awareness, and communication improvement, this theory is expected to serve as the theoretical framework for multilevel training. In particular, the hierarchal goal establishment, along with the strategic training initiatives, is likely to promote self-efficacy and cognitive ability of employees (Sitzmann & Weinhardt, 2018). Furthermore, goal prioritization should include the development of training culture and conscientiousness, which is to be supported in terms of goal persistence efforts. The latter may contain rewards and sanctions to motivate the employees with the ultimate goal of achieving self-regulated learning.
Speaking of the characteristics of target learners, one should stress that the majority of employees are women who are highly interested in the industry of cosmetics, which increases their enthusiasm to grow professionally. Good communication skills are another feature that is often used while working with clients (Hanaysha & Tahir, 2016). Cultural diversity can also be noted among characteristics that make internal relationships an issue of improvement. A lack of team spirit, patience, and tolerance points to the need to focus on teamwork. In addition, the target learners can be identified as detail-oriented and creative, which allows preventing mistakes and offering great ideas.
Upon the implementation of the proposed training engagement theory, the employees should be able to interact with each other effectively and avoid conflicts. The social skills are to be mastered to increase the efficiency of processes, which would make the company more competitive (Hanaysha & Tahir, 2016). The growth in motivation and engagement is another objective, which can be measured in employees’ willingness to achieve promotions and be committed to the organization (Hanaysha, 2016). Tolerance and patience within the company are to be achieved by developing cultural competences. Last but not least, employees are expected to support innovations conscientiously to meet the company goals.
The benefits of the proposed training include active listening and cultural awareness, which are essential to make the company a better place for work, where everyone would feel comfortable. As stated by Mozael (2015), the improved collaboration between workers impacts their performance positively, leading to organizational loyalty and higher motivation. The workplace satisfaction of employees presents one more advantage of the proposed theory application, which allows retaining and developing their talents. In a long-term period, the interest in adopting innovations into the work would be achieved as a natural outcome of employees’ organizational commitment (Mozael, 2015). Thus, it becomes evident that each of the objectives and benefits are closely intertwined, and they should be considered in combination.
This paper discussed the recent trends and theoretical approaches in the field of workplace training with the aim of selecting the most relevant ideas to meet the needs of employees working for The Body Shop. Of a variety of options, the training engagement theory is determined as the one that provides a valuable framework for developing the skills of employees. The goals of the identified training are the development of cultural awareness, innovation support, and effective interpersonal communication. The key idea of implementing the training engagement theory is that it proposes a structured and comprehensive inclusion of the most critical work productivity factors.
Hanaysha, J. (2016). Examining the effects of employee empowerment, teamwork, and employee training on organizational commitment. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 229, 298-306.
Hanaysha, J., & Tahir, P. R. (2016). Examining the effects of employee empowerment, teamwork, and employee training on job satisfaction. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219, 272-282.
Mozael, B. (2015). Impact of training and development programs on employee performance. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 5(11), 37-42.
Olsen, D. S., & Tikkanen, T. (2018). The developing field of workplace learning and the contribution of PIAAC. International Journal of lifelong education, 37(5), 546-559.
Sitzmann, T., & Weinhardt, J. M. (2018). Training engagement theory: A multilevel perspective on the effectiveness of work-related training. Journal of Management, 44(2), 732-756.
2019 Human Capital Management Trends report. (2019). Web.